It isn’t yet known for a fact that this act was one of arson, but given the timing (with Donald Trump signing executive orders to ban the entry of Muslims into America), and given that the same mosque has been the target for crimes before, what seems to be most likely?
Trump’s ban on incoming refugees has been a blanket one, and his ban in incoming travel from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen is aimed squarely at Muslims. This short-sighted approach ignores the very real human suffering in these countries, and using their religious beliefs as an excuse to deny their humanity is tantamount to a death sentence for many of them.
People are being held at airports across the US – even those with valid visas – since the ban was introduced, though a federal judge has halted the ban for the moment. The ban provides a vehicle to those with anti-Muslim sentiments to turn them away, and turning away refugees who are fleeing war-torn countries like Syria, just when we should be reaching out to show them there is hope and good in this world, will only make it easier for IS and their ilk to radicalise the vulnerable.
This is a battle of hearts and minds. This is a fight between the reactionary right and, ironically, their kindred spirits in the reactionary mindsets of IS, and those who refuse to apply blanket stereotypes and instead, would extend the hand of solidarity and friendship.
The irony is, Trump took an oath on the Bible, and if he actually plans to operate with Biblical influence (not that I approve of religious interference in state affairs), then he would be wise to read this article, which explains how helping those in need is the Christian thing to do.
Let us follow the example being set by America’s neighbour to the north, Canada. Let that sort of message be the light in the darkness.