For the land of the free, this nation tends to get quite a bit restrictive, but fear can make anyone do crazy things. This is the effect of terrorism.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the nation changed drastically. America has never viewed Islam the same way since and most likely never will. Frankly, that’s a real shame on the part of the United States.

We are a nation that prides itself on the freedoms of its citizens, and yet we are condoning an atmosphere of hate and distrust based on a very small minority of a religion. This is essentially the same as basing all of Christianity off of the Westboro Baptist Church.

So why do we have have this hypocrisy? Fear. There are few human emotions as powerful as fear. This is thoroughly evident all throughout human history. Look back to the Red Scare for another example in American history. Fear changes opinions and thoughts more rapidly than anything else can. The Russians were our allies right before the Cold War, and Islam was just another religion before Sept. 11.

The time for this fear needs to end. Largely because for it to continue would be playing straight into the hand of our enemies. Consider this, terrorism has that name for a reason. Islamic terrorists and others want us to be afraid. They want us to go back on our way of life and turn against each other. Their main goal is for all of us to live in a perpetual state of fear, having a constant inability to trust anyone anymore. Islam is not the enemy, fear is.

By allowing our politicians to opress Americans who happen to share small similarities with extremists, we are corrupting the American way of life. Muslims are no different from any of us; there are violent extremists from nearly every major group in the world. It’s time for all of us to understand that.