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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Could A Kristallnacht Happen Here?

German mobs attack Jewish businesses and synagogues, 1938
After a campaign of fear-mongering antisemitism directed at Jews in Nazi Germany, an enflamed citizenry went on a two-night rampage of burning synagogues and vandalizing Jewish homes, schools and businesses. This infamous "Night of Broken Glass" happened November 9 and 10, 1938, less than eight decades ago, and in a supposedly "Christian" nation much like our own. 

Could a growing hostility toward Muslims in the US today bring about a similar outbreak of violence? 

There are already ominous signs of this happening. On December 11, in the wake of one of our leading candidates for president calling for an outright ban on all Muslims entering the US, there was an attempted firebombing of a mosque in Coachella, California. Worshippers inside were peacefully exercising their God-given (and First Amendment) right to pray together in the manner they chose. 

Just the day before, a Sikh temple in Buena Park, California, was vandalized and a truck in their parking lot was spray painted with anti ISIS graffiti. Sikhs, ironically, are not even Muslim, but in a climate of fear and hate, rationality is no deterrence.

Within the same week a man in a pickup truck threw a pig's head in front of a mosque in Philadelphia, a young student in New York City wearing a hijab was assaulted by classmates, a Muslim store owner in Queens was attacked by a random customer, a man threatened a Muslim woman at a car wash in Chino Hills, California, and a local office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Santa Clara had to be evacuated after they received a letter containing some kind of white powder with the message, "Die a painful death, Muslims". 

This is deeply disturbing. During 2015 alone, Islamic Centers and mosques in the US have been targeted a total of 63 times, according to CNN religion editor Daniel Burke. This is three times the number of such incidents reported last year.

Will a widespread Kristallnacht against Muslims in the US be next?

We must all weigh in with the kind of intense prayer and  persuasion necessary to ensure that this kind of history will never repeat itself.
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