Mistreatment elsewhere doesn’t justify mistreatment here. We are a nation that prides itself in being the greatest in the world, and so our standards for justice, tolerance, and freedom should also be the greatest. We shouldn’t measure our treatment of minorities by how other places—places we look down upon for their lack of “civilization” and “development” –treat their minorities. Rights are universal and what is wrong is wrong, regardless of who does it, where it’s done, and who it’s done to. We wouldn’t dare say that it’s okay for a child to be beaten or assaulted in school because he or she might face that kind of treatment at home. Similarly, it is unacceptable to say that bigotry against Muslims should be ignored or tolerated because things elsewhere are unpleasant.
An excerpt from my first piece in SalaamCal, Racism Against Muslims: How Not to Respond and Why. Continued:
A good citizen is not defined by silence or obedience. What defines a good citizen is constant awareness about what is going on and the ability to take action about the things that are wrong in his or her country. A wise man once said that the highest form of patriotism is dissident. Are we even close to that? Or are we busy brushing every hit against us under a carpet of silent approval, because we’re afraid to be told to go back to where we came from?