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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wrong Person Killed in London - Bad Policies Create Terrorists

The London police now say they shot a man who was not connected to the bombers. He had the wrong face, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It turns out he was a Brazilian. They have called it a tragic mistake.

It was. Worse, if he had been a terrorist he would have yielded vital information on his team if captured. Killing him kills the information London police desperately need right now, especially when the real terrorists are still at large. So it was a bad move -- and makes it easier for Al Qaida to recruit more angry young men who want to kill westerners and Muslims alike(unfortunately, the Iraq war has had the same result, spreading to the Egypt bombing and worldwide). And if the person proves to be innocent, we avoid these tragedies.

No one race has a monopoly on good or evil. Tim McVeigh was a terrorist and he had a white face. Does that make all whites terrorists? No. I recently met a Muslim who had applied for U.S. citizenship after being married to an American woman for ten years.

A homeland security official visited his home and seized photos of him with the Mayor of Houston! Then the agent said it was “suspicious” that he had high political contacts. What? This country runs on contacts. It made Mohammad feel awful. I was able to get Mohammad’s photos with the Mayor back. But damage had been done. He was angry that a country he loves could treat him this way.

Like the man who died in London, our society could pay a high price for false assumptions and reacting with intolerance towards an entire race. That will create terrorists where none existed, and we will pay a high price. This same disease of intolerance happened to the Japanese in the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. The Chinese were the target of hate and Internet attacks when one of our spy planes was forced to land in China before 9 11 (no one over-reacted in the China incident and no one died.

We can't condemn all for the acts of the few, be it Tim McVeigh or Osama bin laden. Attacking all Muslims for the acts of a few is throwing gas on Osama's fire. If less than 1% are involved, why punish the 99% who aren't?

We need to focus on all extremists of every color, domestic and foreign -- and insure that our policies don't create terrorists where none existed.

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