Regional conflict tears apart neighbors

Islamic terrorists have been waging a guerilla war against perceived Western intrusion and interference. The Western presence in Saudi Arabia, home of religious sites Mecca and Medina, is often cited as a cause of tension. Any support of a nation that is seen as aggressive and violative of human rights in turn fosters aggression and violations of human rights from fringe and extremist elements.

Border expansions that are counterintuitive to the idea of our new nation-state-world, compounded with reduced citizenship status in one of the world’s few official theocracies, have created a situation never before seen-true animosity between Jews and Muslims.

For centuries Jews and Muslims have worked together and separately to produce some of the most profound and lasting legacies in philosophy, human progression and scientific revolution. From the Muslims, we got the foundation of the Renaissance that brought Europe out of the Dark Ages; Abbasid thought that is reflected in the works of writers like Blaise Pascal; the number zero and more.

And from Jews we have an amassing of dozens of Nobel prizes and unprecedented achievements in economics, science and bureaucratic systems.

Sans one religion the other would be nonexistent. Jewish law has very evident life in the Quran-they are simply two different sources to the same worldview. Their biggest difference is in language.

The city of Jerusalem has been transformed from a desert in the middle of nowhere to the home of some of the crowning achievements of tolerance, diversity, cooperation and architecture.

The Jews made a trip and never got back-until now, but their ancestors died elsewhere. There are many Jews across the world. They have made every attempt at living peacefully through the years in other people’s countries, only to suffer pogroms and the Holocaust, mass eradication, deportations and extreme discrimination from present allies.

For a very long time in the Middle East people have been able to peacefully ignore each other. Look at Lebanon. But today Druze, Maronite and more all have to submit to laws they derive by cooperation. Now these are problems that politicians attempt to solve.

But then there’s oil. Lots and lots of oil. Now, any country that industrializes needs a stake in the Middle East. So, China has a need to lean on a couple of countries. Russia does; Britain does; France does; we do. We all have our friends and our enemies, so we make deals by slinging mud on the other.

These problems have only really been serious for about 100 years. But this could also be only the first 100 years. We can perpetuate the problem. We can debate and hold panels on the problem. We can have comedy tours for diversity. We can pass it on to the next generation. We can make it worse. The best part is that we, as Americans, have three things as citizens: first and second, freedom and a vote. The third thing we have is a decision-we still have the freedom to do nothing.

Khan, a political science and history junior, can be reached via [email protected]

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