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The Surprising Strength of Denial
I am used to people questioning me about Islam, Sharia and terrorism. But this week I had an unbelievable exchange with someone that really made me take a step back and wonder why so many don’t believe or care that Islam is a danger to us all. I was speaking to a woman in her 60s, someone of above average intelligence and who is well read and educated. I have known her for 15 years. This is not an ignorant person.
The two of us were in a local shopping center and I made a comment about Islam as a group of devout Muslim women walked by. They were dressed in traditional Muslim garb, the hijab (head scarves), the robes, the whole nine yards. I honestly don’t even remember what I said that started the conversation. Regardless, she looked at me and asked, “why do you dislike Muslims so much? You can’t believe everything people say.” Understand, I am not one who is ever at a loss for words. When I hear anyone mention anything about the subject, out comes my soapbox and you can’t shut me up. This time I was astonished. All I could say was “WHAT?” She said to me, “People say things all the time; you can’t believe it all. People say things about the Jews, like they run the country and the media, and they have all the money, do you like that?” Needless to say, at this point my jaw was on the floor. From this point I started listing things from the Koran, from Sharia law, from recent happenings right here in our own country and our own backyard. When I was finished she amazed me with the same statement: Yyou can’t believe everything people say.”
What is going on? Is this where we are as a country? What is it going to take for people to wake up and understand the truth, another attack on America? Why is it so hard to understand or believe that what people are “hearing” about Islam on daily basis in the news is the truth? Could it be that maybe they just don’t care, or worse, as I began to realize that because of the way we as a country have handled everything since 9/11, they have no reason to believe it? Maybe they just don’t care because we’ve never given them a reason to care about it.
I think we've all had encounters like this. It's not that they don't believe it, or care, it's just that when fear is sufficiently great, denial kicks in as a coping mechanism.