As comedian Eddie Izzard once philosophically waxed, "It's a holy city for the Christians, it's a holy city for the Muslims, and a holy city for the Islams...it's a bit of a [expletive] mess!"
Honestly, hasn't anyone taught them how to share?
This inability for the various tribes and religious groups in the area to coexist has not only perpetuated fear, violence, misunderstanding, and terror among the people who live here, but across the world, as well.
Some of this muddled view comes from singular events. The term "9/11" stokes a patriotic fire in nearly every red-blooded American. This frenzied patriostism is fueled by hatred for the Taliban and, in some instances, anyone who physically resembles someone from the Middle East.
This singular event spread misinformation across our country at an alarming rate, and sadly, many Americans seemed to buy into it. We saw all Muslims as war-mongering terrorists that act on a religion that preaches jihad and annihilation of non-Muslim infidels. Our media were inundated with images like--
But for those who have studied Islam or knows practicing Muslims knows this culture as a beautiful, historically-relevant religion that is based on love and peace.
So which is it? Is the Koran a book of war or peace?
What if we were to look at America from an outside perspective? Are we, a self-proclaimed Christian Nation, all that different from the various groups in the Middle East?
America views itself as a patriotic, God-fearing nation of good and decent people.
But can we blame Arab cultures for not seeing us a loving, God-fearing mecca of good when we have Christians doing this:
"OK, you can't base your opinion about our country based on one extremist group that even Americans can't stand!"
This is a wonderful point some of my ultra-conservative, hyper-religious acquaintances like to say. They don't care much when I respond with "So why are we doing that to Islams? Why is it appropriate for us to judge an entire nation or religion based on the actions of an extreme few?"
Sometimes, I fear the world will never come to a full understanding of the true followers of Islam, or Christianity, for that matter. Depending upon whom you ask, these lands of religion either have followers that are peace-loving, devout, and accepting of all cultures, or filled with hate-mongers bent on purging the world of non-believers.
With the entrenched dogmas about religion, will any of us be able to understand, appreciate, or accept others?