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I refuse to racially profile people: Washington, D.C. resident responds to ISIS threat

If all the doomsday headlines are right, the mass-murdering thugs from ISIS have made Washington, D.C., their next target. As someone who lives and works in the nation’s capital, I’m not thrilled to hear the news. 

After what happened in Paris last weekend, it’s easy to indulge the darker side of the imagination and daydream about that moment on the Metro when a suspicious-looking guy yells something in Arabic, pulls a cord and incinerates everyone on board. It’s easy to drive past mosques and wonder if there’s something more nefarious going on inside. It’s easy to embrace a spirit of fear of the “other” — especially if that “other” is a person wearing a hijab or a taqiyah.

Well, life’s too short, and I’ve got better things to do.

I can’t commute in paranoia. I’ve got places to go, people to see, a job to show up for. And I’m not going to do so while chewing off my fingernails in fear.

I refuse to racially profile Middle Eastern people wearing traditional Islamic clothing, and I refuse to indulge fantasies that every mosque is a terrorist haven. It doesn’t line up with the reality of the many peaceable Muslims I’ve met throughout my life. And more importantly, it doesn’t line up with the reality of who I am as a Christian.

As a follower of Christ, I’m not called to live in constant fear of people — much less death. I live with the joy of knowing that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). So I can stay in this city and be at peace with my commute, with my neighbors and with myself until I go home to be with Jesus. I don’t have to indulge useless fantasies of terrorist attacks that may never happen, attacks I can’t control even if they do.

I’m called to love this city, no matter how unsafe it may be. And if those terrorists want to steal the Christian love I have for my neighbor, they’ll have to try and pry it from my cold, dead hands. But by then it will be too late — I will have already given it away.

This piece appeared at Fox News Opinion on FoxNews.com today.  If you’d like an email with a weekly recap of what I’ve written, click here. You can also keep up with my latest articles (and more) on Facebook or Twitter.

11 Comments
  1. Graeme Phillips #

    No matter how well-founded these concerns are, there are bigger concerns. We are called to not fear those who can only destroy the body. The real concern is what Islam does to the soul (John 14:6 and Acts 4:12).

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    November 18, 2015
  2. I am also a Christian but I will most definitely profile these people. To not do so would be incredibly stupid. putting yourself and others in danger. We are at war and niceities don’t have a place here for now. Would you extend your hand into a barrel full of rattlesnakes thinking they probably want bite. You don’t have the luxury to not profile. It may make you feel all warm and fuzzy but it may also get your neighbor killed.

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    November 18, 2015
    • Your comment assumes all my Muslim neighbors are snakes.

      >

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      November 19, 2015
  3. Randy #

    We can’t just lie down and die for them. Then our children and our children’s children may grow up not knowing their parents and their own God. These radical Islam killers will not stop until “everyone” is dead with the exception of other Muslims. Is this a sacrifice you are willing to take sir? Why aren’t there more Muslims pushing back/ speaking up, while everyone else is dying?

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    November 19, 2015
    • My goodness – I’m not proposing an international military defense strategy. I’m just talking about the way God calls me to engage with my Muslim neighbors in Washington DC. And the slim chances of correctly profiling a Muslim as a terrorist, solely based on their clothing, race, and religious affiliation, hardly constitute taking steps to resist and defend against genuine harm.

      >

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      November 19, 2015
  4. Mark Warner #

    Islam is a RELIGION, not a RACE. Wow. I too live in DC, I profile you sir, correctly, as a fool.

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    November 19, 2015
    • I’m pretty sure there’s a significant overlap between the inappropriate profiling of Muslims and the inappropriate profiling Arab-Americans. I know that’s going to vary from person to person, but something tells me most angry white folks don’t picture a blond surfer dude when they’re using the phrase “raghead.”

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      November 19, 2015
  5. Mark Warner #

    “Pretty sure” and “overlap”? MANY non-Arabs are Muslim (Indians, Persians, Malay, etc. off the top of my head) Sure you’re not the one doing the profiling?

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    November 19, 2015
    • That’s a fair point, but there’s definitely a racial overlap. That’s all I’m saying.

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      November 19, 2015
  6. A word from C.S. Lewis on a related topic: “The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.”

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    December 13, 2015
  7. You are assuming a terror attack is analogous to an atomic bomb. Epic fail on that analogy. There are not millions of bombs living among us, with 8% having said they support going nuclear and detonating, and the others being nice kind bombs who see no justification for exploding. In fact, bombs are not sentient and have no moral agency.

    Your words are equal parts naivete and sanctimony.

    Like

    December 13, 2015

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