One thing I learned is that old prejudices die hard, and that it is both futile and frustrating to try to convince someone who is ideologically inclined not to believe.
I'm not going to burn myself out asserting to a certain demographic that milk is white, the sky is blue, and peaceful practicing Muslims not only exist, but they are a vast majority.
I know you mean well, but we have nothing to apologize for and nothing to prove. We are double, even triple victims. We suffer under tyrants, we suffer when extremists fight the tyrants, we suffer when Americans bomb & occupy us to get rid of the extremists or the tyrants, and we suffer when the extremists turn their guns and bombs on us. And yet somehow we come out blame-worthy.
So I'm sorry if I'm not going to explain, defend, or justify myself, my culture, or my religion. It takes away from one's humanity to have to explain that one is indeed human. It's very humiliating to have to assert to someone that you do, indeed, think that murder, hatred, and intolerance are bad. Especially so when you're more a victim of murder, hatred, and intolerance than the person smugly demanding that assertion.
Understand: I've never set foot on a Western country. I've been born a stateless refugee and never had, not even "on paper", any political rights. And yet I'm talking about political rights and liberties virtually daily in both English and Arabic to whoever would listen.
And when I say that I shall not hate, and that I shall seek to understand first and then be understood, I'm not saying it to please any Western observer. I'm saying it because this is how I choose to live and if necessary, die.
During the next few decades it's far more likely that I'll have to sacrifice for liberty, justice, and truth than the average American. This isn't just a slogan - I've pretty much built my life, career, and personal relations around this choice and this possibility.
I know you want to convince a "hater". But please realize that I don't bother with the haters. Hatred is its own punishment. They only win if they make you hate them back. I don't have to explain myself, go on the defensive, or go out of my way to make them like me. This is me, so take it or leave it.
So please get over yourselves. Our struggle isn't about you. We'd appreciate the help and the warm thoughts, but this isn't about you. I don't wake up thinking, "How do I make Americans less scared of me today." This is about us and our children and their children.
I am who I am, we are who we are, and even if we're maimed by extremist's bombs, shackled by tyrants, and occasionally bombed, blockaded, or just ignored by foreign powers, we'll continue to limp along towards our Spring.