I have been thinking about all kinds of things in the week and a half since the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Our minds have been drawn to all kinds of questions, from the basic ones about where such evil comes from in the human soul, to policy questions about immigration and surveillance.
As a Jew, I'm sensitive to the questions about Islamic-fundamentalist terror in two ways that pull in different directions. Obviously, Jews have lived this terror up close through decades of attacks against Israelis and other Jews. When such terror reaches the U.S., any of us who have spent time in Israel feel like we're experiencing something familiar.
And as a member of a religious minority, I'm aware of how anything bad that a member of the group does sheds a terrible light on the group as a whole. So I fear that Muslims in general will be demonized again in America because the terrorists here were Muslims, who apparently were motivated by matters in the Middle East and the interpretation of Islam peddled by radical clerics.
As I think about this more, I came across this level-headed essay by Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post. Definitely worth a read:
A better way for America to integrate Muslims
By Fareed Zakaria, Wednesday, April 24, 7:53 PM
As we learn more about the brothers Tsarnaev, we are inclined to ask larger questions about their apparent descent into terror. What does it tell us about radical Islam, Russian immigrants, Muslim communities and the breakdown of assimilation? The most accurate answer might turn out to be: not much. Larger phenomena might be at work — but these two young men might not reflect any rise or intensification of trends. It seems they are just two alienated youths who turned toward hate and then, allegedly, to murder.
That was the point the brothers’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni made when he called his nephews “losers.” He was arguing against the notion that the boys represented a larger community. He and his family, after all, were part of the same Chechen migration to the United States and are well-adjusted, law-abiding and thoroughly American. (click to read the entire piece)