SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Last week dictionary.com announced that its Word of the Year for 2016 is Xenophobia.
The website defines the word as fear or hatred of foreigners. They chose this word because of the spike in definition searches after both the Brexit vote, as well as our presidential election.
Not so coincidently, also last week, a Muslim went on a car and knife rampage on the campus of The Ohio State University, sending nine people to the hospital. He was previously quoted in a newspaper claiming he feared practicing his religion because of all of the anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Rhetoric and downright threats that are happening everywhere, even in our hometown.
You see as those two stories were making national headlines, locally the Islamic Center of Savannah was getting a firsthand look at real Xenophobia. The center received an anonymous letter saying that all Muslims were filthy, vile people and that President-elect Donald Trump will do to them what Hitler did to the Jews.
A copy of that same letter was sent to three other Islamic Centers in California.
Consider this: it is hard to believe that more than 80 years after Franklin Roosevelt told us we have nothing to fear but fear itself, there are still segments of our society that feel threating, intimidating or bullying people who look, think or act differently from them is their right.
Fortunately for us, our community responded in a way that more should. After word of the letter got out, many people from all walks of life sent the center messages as well. But these were notes of support and encouragement left on the gates of their center.
In a time when our Freedom of Religion, a founding principle of this country, is under attack by fearmongers, it is nice to see that tolerance and love are words we don't need to Google.