Positive Spin and Atta Boys

iphobe

This afternoon, I saw a young man living two blocks from me who is Muslim. I know him from a previous experience in a writer’s group at the Frankfort library. His name is Farouk, he was  twenty-two year old college student when I knew him; today he is thirty.  The writer’s group organized in 2004 and lasted about two years before it dissolved. I specifically remember Farouk because of the genre of writing he chose. He was into macabre murder. Every short story he had us critique involved a college kid who killed for fun. Amazingly, no one in the group ever said a single critical word about his stories. There was a lot of positive spin and atta boys thrown at him, yet, we all feared for our lives.

Today, Farouk wears a black straight billed baseball cap and drives a BMW. He lives with his parents in a large two-story house with great landscaping. When I spotted him he sported a heavy black beard. I couldn’t help but profile him as a jihadist. He looks like one, loves murder, and is muslim. What else could I think? In my mind, I imagined that if anyone from Frankfort joins ISIS it would be him.

It is a sorry state of affairs when an American born citizen imagines his neighbor is a  terrorist. This tells me the terrorists are succeeding. Why else would I be looking at this guy with such a critical eye?

What I fear more than anything is that this guy actually does become a terrorist. Do I speak up and say, “I knew him and yes, he impressed me as jihadist material?” Or do I take pre-emptive action to avoid it from happening? If so, what action do I take? I think I’ll leave the neighborhood by another street to avoid going by this guys house, and forget I ever saw him before.

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