I continue to get (unwanted,) (forwarded,) (ridiculous,) emails from people.
The ones from my immediate family have slowed down. Either I've helped to educate a little bit, or they just quit sending the stuff to me. Either way....
I got one just a few minutes ago from an old high school friend who routinely sends this junk my way. This one was about a fellow who went to a religious panel discussion, where he confronted an imam, and asked the imam if all muslims were supposed to kill infidels, and the imam said yes! OH NOES!
For starters, this isn't true - in two parts. Muslims are not tasked with killing anyone, as far as I'm aware. Also, this even never really happened, at least, not in the way described.
But its more than just being incorrect. That's annoying. If she's sent me an email that claimed that there's a new study indicating that sheep can do complicated algebra, I'd let it go. But its not, it is spreading and stoking intolerance.
I bet that none of the people that received this email from her know a single Muslim. So - what's the harm? They aren't going to go commit hate crimes, right? I'm not really protecting anyone by refuting the email, publicly, to her and to all of the people that she forwarded this thing to, right?
No, I feel like I have a moral imperative to refute and disagree with her. Ideas are powerful. Hate is powerful. It doesn't matter that these people are unlikely to go and commit violence on someone else, based on this junk. They'll tell their friends and family and their children, and it spreads and spreads. These people don't know any better. They don't read about Islam or know any Muslims. So there is nothing that differentiates Muslims from baby-eating blood cultists.
So, I hit "reply-all", and gently noted the snopes link, and commented on how we misunderstood and mistrusted people of other faiths, and that most are just simple folks, concerned about eating and sleeping and working and raising kids, and that religious fanaticism is unfortunately found all over the place, not just amongst Muslims.
So we'll see what kinds of replies I get.