If Islamic extremists in the Middle East and right-wing extremists in the United States aren’t working on each other’s behalf, they sure act like it.  Whether burning Korans or killing Christians, the behavior of intentionally enraging the other side provides a potent recruiting tool.

It’s the kind of antagonism that perfectly fits the worst stereotypes. For Islamic extremists, the stereotype depicts all Americans as Christians hell-bent on the desecration and destruction of Islam. For right-wing extremists, the stereotype depicts all Muslims as terrorists, hell-bent on infiltrating our boarders and killing every one of us.

Nothing epitomized that more than the “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas on Sunday where both groups displayed their ugliest stereotype: American extremists desecrated Islam and Muslim extremists showed up for a massacre.

In the end, both groups inadvertently help each other recruit more people. For Muslim extremists, the “contest” was a ready-to-serve example of the West’s disdain for Islam. For American extremists, the attempted attack signaled that Muslim terrorists are here, waiting to kill us all.

The behavior of both of these groups creates a cycle of distrust and anger. Someday it could also lead to a large-scale war in the Middle East.

But closer to home, the consequences of this antagonism has its victims. In Idaho, those victims are children.

More on that in Part 2.