The Muslim guy in your class probably doesn’t have a bomb strapped to his chest. The hijabi girl you passed on the street probably doesn’t think you’re a whore for wearing short shorts.The bearded, robed guy in the skullcap is probably not amassing enough TNT to build a small, dangerous, house out of it. And if he or anyone else does any of these things, it’s not because they’re Muslims, it’s because they’re idiots.
I believe that most people accept these as truths, and especially in Canada. None of my many non-Muslim friends have ever suspected me of secretly wanting to kills gays, burn Christians, or enslave women for a love dungeon. They were wrong about the last one, of course—but I don’t keep my love dungeon for religious reasons, so it doesn’t count.
You’ll always get the Bill O’Reillys saying “Muslims killed Americans on 9/11,” and you’ll always get governments that handle integration and multi-faith groups more poorly than others; but by and large, I’m pretty sure that everyone can see that Muslims are all just people trying to get through a working day while taking care of our families and following our moral codes as best we can.
And that’s why Nicolai Sennels freaks me out so much. For those of you who haven’t heard the news, Sennels is a Danish psychologist who spoke with Dr. Michael Welner in assessing the mental health of Omar Khadr. Sennels believes, among other things, that Muslim society conditions people for violence and that the Muslim population has been damaged by two thousand years of inbreeding, leaving us all unintelligent and belligerent. This, unfortunately, isn’t a joke. Sennels even has more opinions on Muslims, but I won’t write them down here because frankly reading them turns my stomach.
What you do need to know is that it looks like there are people who take Sennel’s views seriously—so seriously that he spoke with, and is respected by, the psychologist involved in one of the most high-profile legal cases involving a Muslim man. This worries me.
I don’t think I have to dignify Sennel’s beliefs with a breakdown. In fact, saying that we’re all inbred crazies is so outlandish that when I first read it I had to take a moment to wonder if he was a Colbert-esque comedian.
Now, I could bring up the cases of the anti-Muslim discrimination that is running increasingly rampant in Europe. I could talk about my own family members who have faced discrimination either because of their beliefs or where they’ve come from. I could paint myself pink and run naked through the streets, but I’m not going to, because I’ve seen all of this stuff tried, and none of it seems to work and prove that Muslims don’t want any trouble, in Europe or elsewhere.
“Well, Amir, you handsome stud,” you might be saying, “you’ve brought up a heck of a lot of issues, but what are we supposed to do about them? What can we take out of this op-ed to somehow make the world a less stupid place?”
Well, I know that I’ve bitten off a bit more than I can chew in the space of a typical op-ed, and that if I really wanted to go through every point here, it’d take a few books to do it. So I’ll suggest what I always do: I suggest that everyone, without excuses, try to get along as best as they can with each other. Let’s all accept each other as humans and not piss each other off too much, and if someone pisses you off try to give them the benefit of a doubt that they didn’t mean it.
On a seperate note I invite Nicolai Sennels to jam a rusty crowbar where his ideas obviously come from.