The timing for the image of Muslims to change from fire-breathing jihadi terrorists, frothing at the mouth to actual human beings could not have been worse. This election was supposed to be about economic renewal and getting tough on crime and instead we are in a recession and the papers are full of stories about Muslims drowning in the sea.
Many Muslim communities around the world are calling the killing of three young Muslims at Chapel Hill a hate crime. Others are calling it a parking dispute, a sort of road rage over space. According to his Facebook page, Craig Stephen Hicks, the alleged murderer was a supporter of gay rights, but didn't seem to extend the same warm feelings towards Muslims and Islam. Why tolerance is higher for one minority group and not another has complex roots.
Muslims are justifiably worried that we'll be implicated in the crimes of these individuals. But Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was still a human being looking for support from both his Muslim and non-Muslim communities. And although we'll never know the truth, it seems he eventually found his support on the Internet, which preys on the marginalized in our society. People want moderate Muslims to speak out and decry radicalization. And they do, but tweets and press releases are not always the answer because they don't solve a very real societal problem. There are unwell people out there who need our help. And they are increasingly showing up in our mosques.
Like many couples, we learned early that the bed was ruining our marriage. I'm a light sleeper that awakens to the sound of someone else worrying while he can sleep through an earthquake. So we started sleeping apart. When I tell people about our arrangement, I know what goes through their minds and the answer is yes, the elephant in the room is still having sex.