In late January, Mansoor Shams, a 34-year-old former Marine corporal, was running through Seattle-Tacoma National Airport when a woman stopped him. She wanted to talk about the whiteboard sign he was carrying. “I’m a Muslim and a U.S. Marine,” it read in thick red and blue marker. “Ask anything.” He had considered erasing the message. As a Muslim, he’d never felt especially comfortable in airports. But the woman had a big smile on her face. She just wanted to give Shams a high five.
On Nov. 13, three separate attacks in Paris shocked us. Without a doubt, the attacks in Paris were hideous. The perpetrators, planners, and supporters of these acts deserve nothing less than death. Following the attacks social media erupted with sympathy for the victims, but also vitriol and rage. Much outrage was, and continues, to be directed at the Islamic faith as a whole and specifically at the Syrian refugee population. These angry sentiments are counterproductive to an effective response. Anger is understandable, but not toward an entire religion or refugee population.