The unspeakable acts of terrorism committed in Paris this weekend has prompted a disgusting but unfortunately inevitable wave of Muslim-blaming and Islamophobia among the ignorant. They appear to be entirely unaware that the majority of terrorist attacks are carried out against Muslims, that the refugees are fleeing such violence, and that there were many Muslims among the victims of the Paris attacks.
Perhaps this will change some minds. The BBC recently published the story of “Safer,” an Algerian immigrant and a Muslim who was working the bar at Cafe Nostra in the 11th arrondissement (district) when the first attacks hit. “Safer” risked his life by diving into a hail of bullets in order to save two injured women at the cafe.
“I was at the counter. We heard explosions — really loud bangs,” Safer told the BBC. “Everyone started screaming, glass rained down on us. It was awful. There was glass all over the place, hitting us in our faces. I saw two women out on the terrace had been hit. One in the wrist and in the other in the shoulder. They were bleeding really badly. I picked them up and rushed them downstairs to the basement. I sat with them and tried to stop the bleeding. As we were downstairs, we could hear the gunfire continuing above. It was terrifying.”
He condemned the attacks and the terrorists, saying that “real Muslims are not made for killing people. These are criminals.” It is vitally important in this critical time that we do not fall into paranoia and discrimination, no matter how hard conservatives howl for blood. Punishing Muslim citizens for the actions of terrorists only plays into their hands, strengthening their cause and dividing our nations from within. In these troubling times, unity and calm are our best weapons in the face of terror and hate.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.