Last week, one of our daughters forwarded an email entitled, “A German’s View on Islam.” The relatively short email has gone viral.

It is credited to a Dr. Emanuel Tanay — the email we received had his last name spelled Tanya — “as a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist.”

He is not German. He was born in Vilna, now a part of Lithuania, in 1928, and moved with his family to a small community just south of Kraków, Poland. His mother was both a physician and a dentist, and his father was a dentist.

They were Jewish, and Emanuel and his mother survived the Holocaust by being hidden in a Catholic monastery. His father was arrested and ultimately executed by the Germans.

Emanuel and his mother fled occupied Poland, escaping through Hungary and finally into Germany in 1945.

Growing up near Munich, he ultimately received an M.D. degree in Germany.

They moved to the United States, and Dr.Tanay became a psychiatrist and taught for many years at Wayne State University.

Why is it important to clarify the fact that “A German’s view on Islam” was first written by a Paul E. Marek, a second-generation Canadian, in 2006 for a right-wing Israeli newspaper Arutz Shiva, Israel National News? It’s original title was, “Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant.”

It is important because the piece has reportedly had 100 million hits since its reincarnation in 2013. It is important because it is a tissue of lies beginning with, “I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War II. They owned a large number of industries and estates.” It is important because it is full of thinly veiled attacks on Islam, feeding the fear and hatred of the unknown.

Islam makes up approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population.

The point that resonates with so many people is the fact that fanatics of any stripe, if unchallenged, will take over a society to the detriment of everyone. This includes bloggers who play fast and loose with the facts. If you check his blogs, you’ll find the very first one listed states that “Climate change is entirely made up by crazy environmentalists attacking the coal and oil industry,” making huge sums of money by promoting green energy, supported by big government.

Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world, while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And, “it is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

The Rev. Chuck Arnold is pastor of Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village. He can be reached at 733-3333.

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