I was thinking about this in terms of what happened to Germany after WWII. In that era, having a German identity, anywhere in the world, had a stigma. Here is the US, they fared much better than the Japanese, who were put in internment camps during the war, but there was a stigma attached to having German name. In fact, some of it still exists today. How often do we toy with the word Nazi? How often is applied to someone with a German accent, even jokingly, in a movie?
I think many Muslims Americans are responding in a similar way to terrorism overseas as many German-Americans reacted to the Nazis; by showing their compassion for non-Muslims. Other Muslims are wanting people to just simply forget all the bad things in the world and the source of so much personal pain for many. This isn’t realistic. Instead of demanding we change our view and simply quit thinking about terrorists when we pass a mosque or see Muslims in public, they need to understand why this is happening. It’s human nature. It would be very difficult for many people to simply disassociate between the violent actions we read about daily and the most basic signs and symbols of the Muslim faith. The best response by Muslims would be to help repair the image by doing something productive. Many Muslims are doing just this. Many are serving in our military to fight against these extremists that they, in some cases, hate with more intensity because for the disgrace brought on their personal identity. Many are giving to charities and helping in their communities. This is great and I hope we see many more Muslims showing their compassion for others. It will take time to repair the image destroyed by the violent few, but I do hope Muslims can bear with us in the mean time. This violent era will pass, I pray.