The Bostonian tragedy does not give room for hate

Khalid Amayreh , Sunday 21 Apr 2013

The Boston Marathon bombings ought to be denounced in the strongest terms, as no cause justifies murdering innocent people; not a single Palestinian family has been spared from the pain caused by acts of terror

There is no doubt that the bombing at the Boston Marathon was a decidedly criminal act, which ought to be condemned in the strongest terms.

There is nothing more evil than targeting innocent people; no legitimate grievances or causes justify murdering or maiming innocent people.

This is why our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this violence and their families.

We, Palestinians, who have been victimised by Israeli terror and violence for decades, understand what it means to be targeted by casual death and calamity.

Indeed, not a single Palestinian family has been spared the pain and anguish accompanying the sudden loss of life as a result of Israeli terror. Palestinians have experienced acts of violence either at the hands of the Israeli occupation army or Para-military Jewish settlers, hell bent on murdering non-Jews in order to expedite the appearance of a Jewish Messiah, who would rule the world and attain redemption for Jews.

The Boston bombing has been condemned by everyone, including Muslims, the likely suspects, given the Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hysteria permeating through the US media ever since the 9/11 attacks.

I do hope that the American authorities will catch the perpetrators and subject them to the full weight of justice.

Having said that, I feel that as a Palestinian and Muslim, I must warn against the voices of hate and racism in the US, which are taking advantage of this tragic incident to incite hatred against Muslims.

These are not truly patriotic American voices. I am not in a position to teach Americans the true meaning of patriotism. However, I believe there is a difference between true patriotism and inciting people to hate and murder.

This hateful incitement does not fall under freedom of speech since freedom of speech does not mean freedom to urge people to murder or harm innocent people.

Otherwise, we must admit that the Nazis were exercising legitimate freedom of speech when they indulged in promoting the mass hysteria of hatred against their opponents.

Erik Rush, a frequent Fox News contributor, is one of these rabid gung-ho bigots of the American media whose tongue apparently functions much more swiftly than his brain does.

Rush got into a Twitter exchange shortly after the tragic bombing. He wrote "Yes, they (Muslims) are evil. Let's kill them all."

Well, this is the kind of stuff that one would expect from such hate-filled individuals who should belong to psychiatric sanitariums, rather than allowed to spew their racist venom via a TV outlet watched by millions.

Make no mistake about it, words can kill, especially when there are too many psychopaths of Rush's ilk lurking throughout America, awaiting the 'right moment' to murder an innocent Muslim man, woman or child.

There is no real difference between killing innocent people at the hands of a terrorist and killing innocent people as an act of revenge.

True, the American law is against killing innocent people and the American law-enforcement agencies ought to be applauded for protecting Muslim citizens and visitors from the random violence of malevolent racists, such as Erik Rush.

However, this is not enough. Venomous, hateful speech, inciting to murder, should be outlawed immediately.

Fox News must be held responsible, accountable and liable for any possible ramifications of Rush's and like-minded people's hate speech.

A gesture of good-will by the eccentric TV station should take the form of stopping any further association with this unreasonable individual.

So far, it is uncertain who carried out the criminal act at the Boston Marathon. But this is not the real issue because terrorists are terrorists first and foremost.

But even if the perpetrator eventually turned to have a Muslim background, would that mean that America should indict the estimated 1,600 million Muslims of this world.

What would Americans say and how would they react if one Muslim preacher in Amman or Cairo or Sana'a urged a massive congregation to kill Americans, wherever they are found, in revenge for the killing of innocent Muslims by Americans?

To be sure, innocent Muslims are being murdered and killed by Americans and their allies in Afghanistan, Yemen, and occupied Palestine and in many other places.

Yet, American visitors and tourists are freely touring the Muslim world, receiving all respect, protection and hospitality.

In the course of the past few decades, this writer has hosted hundreds of Americans and Europeans and I do not remember a moment when I allowed the criminal American policy in occupied Palestine influence me or my people's treatment of our American guests.

As a student, I lived many years in the US, and I know that most Americans are not carbon copies of Erik Rush. None the less, even one spoiled apple can ruin an entire fruit box.

I hope and pray that incidents like that of the Boston Marathon, as painful and tragic as it is, will not make Americans lose their composures and mental equanimity. This is probably the ultimate goal of the perpetrators.

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