With the recent visit of President of the United States of America Joe Biden to Ireland, new questions were proposed as to the treatment and growing antisemitism of Jews and Muslims within the United States akin to how Irish immigrants just decades back were treated under racial slurs, stereotypes and bigotry.
Terry McGinnis, who is an accomplished entrepreneur and producer, has seen sides of hatred targeted at parts of his ancestry. Coming from a mixed Jewish, Irish, American, and Lithuanian heritage he had to battle extreme levels of bullying and bigotry whilst growing up.
"I feel it always starts with the parents," Terry says, "I mean even back when I was like what, 14 or 15, I was smart enough to realize the impact parenting has on kids. When a group of people think the same, and congregate, hateful rhetoric spreads fast. I'd always try to hide my Jewish ancestry, it was hard for many years, even into adulthood, even now, it's not something I am particularly promoting, or want to.
"I learned that you'll just receive hate, no matter how intelligent a person may be, it's better to not talk about your ancestry or religion. I don't even want to repeat such vile and bigoted rhetoric I had to experience - and I don't believe there is ever any silver lining. You just learn to cope with it, in extremely adverse conditions and hope that tomorrow will be a better day."
In schools all across the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe, antisemitism is at an all-time rise, with hate-filled artists such as Kanye West promoting hate to young and impressionable generations as 'fashionable.' Many who are Jewish find themselves bullied, and in some instances where there is no adult supervision, committing suicide.
"Moving to Britain at age of 12 and attending school was a shock to the system, especially to someone who has an American accent too - throw in my Lithuanian lineage and you become prime target for the most vile, xenophobic, bigoted, and racist bullying known to man.
"But I feel that also made me become a very big empath, allowing me to really understand and empathise with others. And it's one of the biggest reasons why we even started our company, Online Shop, with my co-founder Siraaj Ahmed.
"I had many devout Muslim friends growing up, and have many I consider brothers to this day. At the end of the day, we're all people - we share the same blood, yet hateful rhetoric and bigotry separate us.
"Both myself and Siraaj believe that good ideas have no borders. It also prevents innovation by segregating people. I know many good friends who have to protect their kids going to the Mosque or Synagogue as not to be heckled, harassed, or even attacked for their beliefs. It's absolutely outrageous and vile, that such things still happen in this day and age," Terry added.
Both Terry and Siraaj had met years prior and had worked on numerous projects across the tech and entertainment sector in Hollywood, with both having a close personal relationship with the Biden family.
Siraaj, who is a devout and well-respected Muslim, had also suffered extreme bullying during his school years for his ethnicity and religious belief.
"As Terry had mentioned, it all starts with the parents. It is saddening, and such patterns are quite easy to detect nowadays to see success rate of children in schools, from the perspective of a data scientist and technologist. Children who partake in vile, hateful rhetoric against anyone, will repeat the cycle as their parents have done so. It takes very loving, caring, attentive, and dedicated parents to provide a good life for a child, which is why my parents are my heroes. They had worked tirelessly after immigrating to Britain to provide and to foster. This is why people like me and Terry succeed at anything we put our minds to; as we're open-minded, accepting and even understanding of bigotry.
"Instead of shutting down anyone with racist, islamophobic or antisemitic views, we listen and try to understand where it comes from; to debate and to show that this is not the way of God, or a good human being.
"Sadly, the same courtesy is never extended back to us. It is rather isolating, and why so many intellectuals decide to congregate in private groups and events, which then spawns conspiracy theories and so forth."
Siraaj continues: "I believe this is why Ireland is such a hub of innovation also, especially for tech firms. A country which had experienced extreme hatred and bigotry for hundreds of years, is now the European hub for all innovation and technology - people are friendly, and accepting. Open to new ideas which foster innovation and economic stimuli.
"I feel the recent visit from President Biden really shows how strong and driven the current administration is to push out hateful rhetoric, and battle rising antisemitism and islamophobia, and personally feel that Ireland is the shining example of what a no-hate filled society can accomplish in such a short amount of time."
Both founders are now aiming to bring this empath and altruistic vision on a global scale with their hyper-growth company Online Shop, which is seeing an exceptional rise in users in Ireland, as more and more businesses are signing up with the company looking to expand with a physical location in Ireland to employ the brightest minds Europe has to offer and to continue fostering innovation.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.