I did everything I could. I did therapy, group support, energy healing, reconnected with my spirituality. After about a year and a few months, as I was battling an illness caused by stress, I was finally getting a reprieve from those physical effects. Slowly over the next 8 months, they went away completely. During that time, as my brain started to come out of the fog and overload it was in, I decided I wanted to learn. I had been asked why I wasn't "angry enough", why I wasn't really mad. (I was at a few points but the anger was toward insensitive people in my social circles. I watched social media and the internet get fired up for a long time. I watched as people spoke of terrorism, of Islam, of anger and hate and fear and sadness. It was too much for me for a while. But, then, I wanted to really know about these things. I wanted to study it and know that I was educated on it before I would really decide where I stood. It would've been easy to just be angry against these people, this group and let myself live in that fear and to brush a broad stroke with that anger and fear. But, I don't do "easy". I do rational and I do research. When I got sick, I didn't simply just take some medications, I researched like crazy and though, it wasn't easy, I healed and learned plenty to feel confident I'll never be there again.
So, I researched, with scholarly articles, a little through media (but selectively staying away for the most part from the obviously biased-but sometimes even those because I think that's also important in research to be open to hear from all sides of an issue), books, people's personal experience, and every other way I could to find out facts. I didn't want to just assume that everything I read online was fact. I wanted to take a collective look at statistics, facts, opinions, and expert research. I didn't do this obsessively, but over time. I'm still doing it. I will be writing a post about a book I'm reading right now which I truly believe everyone should read. It gives some great information on Islam. It does not defend extremists but explains how they come to be. It also lays out why Islam is responsible for that depending on how these people interpret the religion while explaining the "other side"/non-extremist side of the religion. It is written by a man, a son of a Muslim and Orthodox-Christian. Keep an eye out if you really want to learn and hear a very objective view of Islam, no matter what your stance. We can ALWAYS learn something. It helped me gain some perspective even after researching these things for a few years.
That brings us to now with the refugee issue (and I'm going to put aside the humanitarian part of this issue, which could be a whole other blog).
While the anxiety and physical reactions are not back, the fear is now in my mind. It's not in an irrational, doomsday, kind of way like some. If it were, I think I'd have the anxiety as well-that irrational effect. It's thoughtful. It's researched. I am just now aware that we are heading in a direction that all of that research proved would be a bad one. Instead of turning them away, it is actually time to embrace those Muslims who are our allies. They, too, are victims of extremists. Like us, they are terrified of terrorists. They are targeted EVERY SINGLE DAY, watching their children die in the streets. They want to fight back against these people just as much as we do. But they can't do it there, where there is literally nothing left for them. So don't we want them on our side? If we turn them away, if we make them think we hate them, that we won't accept them (the majority which are not extremists), where do you think they'll turn? Young people, especially, are impressionable. They want something to live for, a purpose. They are looking for it. We all remember that time. Those people, once turned away by everyone else, will be vulnerable to terrorist beliefs and brainwashing: "They all hate us and are against you, you have to join the fight" When someone feels lost, feel afraid, what do they do? We are doing it right now.
A large number of people, because some Muslims (VERY small % of total) have committed terrorist acts, meant to scare and horrify us, are afraid and so, wanting to turn all of them away, to fight them. So, what do you think they will do? Even if they think it is wrong, people can be convinced of things when they are literally at the end of their rope. People who just want to save themselves and children from this horror, as they watch their friends, family, neighbors murdered around them. There is a LOT written about this by experts on this issue, people who have been there, people who have fought there, intelligence experts. I'd be happy to share any info you want but won't make this longer by adding it all here. In my research, I've learned a lot about ISIS. And denying Muslims who truly do need help, creating this war against them, is exactly what they want. It feeds an already weakening army which will only hurt us.
And THAT is what scares me. We let our fear control what we think on this issue. I get it. I understand it. I lived it. Fear is a strong thing. It takes hold and it takes real strength to pull out of it. I want to continue to feel safe in my home. Yes, I currently do. People seem surprised by this considering my experience. But, I do because I stopped letting fear control me. I still travel without fear. However, if we continue the way we are going like I spoke about above, I will no longer feel safe here or traveling to visit my friends overseas. Americans will become a even larger target. We will be more vulnerable to attacks there and here. Those who live here peacefully with us, when their families are stranded across the ocean, when they start to see more and more anger toward them and their faith, could decide we are against them. Again, young people and those at the end of their rope are impressionable and regardless of what they truly believe and think, they can be swayed. Any mental health professional will tell you that. Not saying they all will but it seems common sense that some could dependent on how we treat them.
We all have the same goal. We all want to end terrorism. To make claims that those who are against the ban don't want that is ludicrous and insulting. I mean, does anyone truly think I don't want terrorism to stop after what I experienced and went through?? But let's be smart. Let's listen to each other. Tear away that stupid liberal vs conservative B.S. Let's realize what the real strategy needs to be based on facts and rational information instead of fear based ideas. Let's remember that there are far more Muslims who are against these horrible action than for them.
You can have a different opinion on this and I don't think I'll change people's minds if they refuse to be even a little open to the other side. However, maybe people who don't know as much about this issue, maybe people who are ready to pull out of that place of fear and move into a place of real action will read this (or the book or information I can share) and learn something. That's all I can hope. I don't want to be put back in place of fear. I fought way too hard to get out of it.