Newsflash: People who hate Jews also hate Muslims. Anti-semitism is linked to Islamophobia. If you are spreading the former, you will reap the latter. And while the recent Gallup Poll didn’t report directly on this, my guess is if you are spreading the latter, you will reap the former.
That bias is hateful to God is an ancient religious teaching. Take the Qur’anic idea that all human beings have the breath of God, or the Judeo-Christian teaching that we are all made in God’s image.
Every religion holds up the ideal of the equal dignity of human beings. And every generation finds a way to violate that ideal by directing hatred at other communities. But prejudice is like cancer – it spreads.
If we can’t find a way to follow the ancient teachings of our religions, perhaps we will be more likely to heed the lessons of a more contemporary tool – the poll. The single highest predictor of prejudice against Muslims is prejudice against Jews.
Let’s make this as personal as possible. When someone in your synagogue says something ugly about Muslims, know that he is marshaling the forces of anti-Semitism. When someone in your mosque speaks hatefully about Jews, know that he is putting your Muslim children more at risk.
For the purposes of prejudice, the terms ‘dirty Muslim’ and ‘dirty Jew’ are virtually interchangeable. I suggest we drop them from our vocabulary. If not for the sake of other people’s kids, at least do it for your own.