Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

There's a big difference between bigotry toward Jewish and Muslim immigrants


Dear Editor:

In reference to the Feb. 25 meeting at the Holocaust Center about Jewish and Muslim immigrants, it was interesting to hear the history of Americans’ perceptions of immigrants over the last 100 years as Mitch Bloomer explained it.

I have friends on all sides of the specter: Jews, Christians, Muslims, blacks and Mexicans—all of whom have been at one time or another immigrants to this great land. However, I do not believe that Muslim immigrants are on equal ground at this time in history with Jews, blacks and Mexican immigrants.

Bloomer focused on Jewish bigotry as equal to what the Muslims are experiencing now in America. He mentioned the anti-Semitism Henry Ford spewed out in a book that he wrote which laid out a laundry list of hatred toward Jews, which probably affected many Americans’ perception of the Jewish people as they entered this country. Bloomer then suggested exchanging “Muslim” for “Jew” and you see that things have not changed that much.

The wary eye on immigrants may not have changed much, however, I think Ford’s anti-Semitism was based purely on the fact that he hated Jews only because they were born Jews, much like many African Americans have faced prejudice simply because of the color of their skin. In other words, Jewish immigrants were not hated because they were violent people.

Muslims have lived peacefully in this country almost since the founding fathers wrote the Constitution. There was no “Islamophobia” that I am aware of until probably 1993, when Ramzi Yousef confessed that he directed the organization and execution of the first bombing of the World Trade Centers. 

“I am a terrorist and proud of it,” he announced to the court in 1998 as he was sentenced to 240 years in prision. A total of six men were found guilty of carrying out that attack. They were called terrorists, the word Muslim was not mentioned.

Then, Sept. 11, 2001 happened. All those who organized and carried out this attack on innocent Americans were Muslims. Since that time the media has constantly reported terrorist activities carried out by Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni, Shi’ites, Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, ISIS—all are Muslim organizations. And they weren’t organized to maintain peace in the world. In recent years, France, Greece, Germany, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and the United States have tasted savage acts of terrorism carried out by those who proudly call themselves Muslims.

So, in my humble opinion, there is a huge difference between the bigotry against Jewish immigrants and Muslim immigrants. Bigotry toward any group, whether they are immigrants or not, is not right. The attitude of many Americans toward Muslim immigrants isn’t because they are Muslims. It is based on the violent actions of Muslims in Europe and the Middle East. I also happen to believe the statements made by these Muslims—i.e., “Death to America. Death to Israel.”

Until the majority of American Muslims speak out against the hatred and murder committed by Muslims anywhere in the world, and truly distance themseIves from these groups, I can understand why so many have a wary eye on them.

Gertrude Long

Altamonte Springs


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