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Deliver Us, Lord, From the Fear of the Enemy

Dorothy Day often quoted the Psalms. In January of 1967 she said in The Catholic Worker,“‘Deliver us, Lord from the fear of the enemy.’ That is one of the lines in the Psalms, and we are not asking God to deliver us from enemies, but from the fear of them. Love casts out fear, but we have to get over the fear in order to get close enough to love them.”

Recent articles brought this passage to mind.

Myth of Muslim Support for Terror

A poll in various countries sponsored by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Public Attitudes found that “Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.” ( Christian Science Monitor , February 23, 2007). The polling included countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, as well as the United States. Kenneth Ballen, noted that while Americans and other Westerners seem willing to draw the conclusion that all Muslims are “closet terrorist sympathizers,” these stereotypes are not supported by the facts. He asserts that “When the West wrongly attributes radical views to all of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalizing critical allies in the war on terror.” This researcher also found that when the United States initiates projects to help the people in Muslim countries, attitudes change.

His conclusion: “For most people, their professed support of terrorism/bin Laden can be more accurately characterized as a kind of “protest vote” against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti- American or anti-Western view.”

“Immigrants Raise Wages; Are More Law-Abiding”

At the end of February the Los Angeles Times published the results of two new studies by researchers at the University of California which counter “nega-tive perceptions that immigrants increase crime and job compe-tition,” showing that they are incarcerated at far lower rates than native-born citizens and actually help boost their wages.

A study by an economist from the University of California at Davis published by the Public Policy Institute of California found that immigrants who arrived in the state between 1990 and 2004 increased wages for native workers by an average of 4%. “As immigrants filled lower-skilled jobs, they pushed natives up the economic ladder into employment that required more English or know-how of the U. S. system,” said researcher Giovanni Peri.

UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut reported that immigrant men ages 18 to 39 had an incarceration rate five times lower than native-born citizens in every ethnic group examined. This study was published by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center.

The truth is different than myths generated by fear of the “enemy.”

Who Will Find The Terrorists?

There has been a massive increase in raids and deportations in the past year. Immigration agents are going house to house to find immigrants who may have overstayed their visas or not reported for deportation hearings. The great question is, with all the manpower deployed in tracking down families, women and children, who will have time to find the actual terrorists?

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXVII, No. 7, March-April 2007.