Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random: In The News

So this article is a pretty complete departure from what I usually post on the blog but I thought it was quite interesting and wanted to share it with you. Over dinner the other night Chris and I were discussing the wisdom and legality of building a mosque a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.

This article by the NYTimes is quite interesting as it focuses on how many NY Muslims perceive the proposed mosque project. 

I wasn't planning on sharing my opinion on this subject but there were two comments that I thought were especially interesting that I wanted to share with you, should you decide to read the article. 

1)
There is no question about the right to build a mosque at this site. Muslim-Americans should feel safe in knowing their rights are protected.

The wisdom of building so close to Ground Zero is another story. On this, Muslim-Americans will get an earful. Freedom to express one's views is also a right. And many are exercising that right.

As strange as this sounds, opponents of building on this site might be the first to fight for your right to build there but also be the first to tell you that you shouldn't do so.

2)

I think the essential disconnect here is that some Americans see this as "Islam" causing 9/11 and "Islam" putting a mosque near ground zero. For people who believe that, I want to ask them a question:

Is a Catholic the same as a Southern Baptist? Is a Mormon the same as a Jehovah's Witness? For the Christians who do the incredibly unChristian act of killing abortion providers in the name of Christianity... do you blame the Amish for that?

Islam is just as varied as Christianity. In fact, the kind of mosque to go up near ground zero is a Sufi mosque. Sufism is a very tolerant transcendental form of Islam. They are hated by the ultraconservative Wahabbists who are the roots of the people who perpetrated 9/11.

Last month, a Sufi mosque was blown up in Pakistan, killing 50. The claims for doing this were done by the same militant Muslims who hate the USA. In fact, they probably hate Sufi's tolerant interpretation of Islam more than they hate the USA.

So Sufis are our natural allies in the fight against the intolerant militant forms of Islam. So if you oppose their mosque near ground zero, you are giving comfort to the radical Muslims who celebrated 9/11, and you are being incredibly boneheaded for, in your ignorance of the basic facts, creating antipathy with people who should be your natural allies.

We are not war with Islam. We never were, and we never will be. We are at war with a militant fringe of Islam. In fact, moderate Islam is at war with the same militant fringe of Islam even more than the USA. Who has the greatest number of victims due to militant Islam? Attacks on nonMuslims make the headlines, but the truth is, by orders of magnitude, many many more moderate Muslims have died at the hands of radical Muslims than anyone else: endless suicide bombings, getting shot for not having a beard, getting honor killed for being raped, etc...

So America: do you want to fight all of Islam? Is that a valid fight in your mind? Including your natural allies? Or do you want to fight only the militant fringe, with the moderate Muslims on your side?

2 comments:

  1. Sonja this is great. Why isn't a link on your FB? I totally would have noticed it sooner...

    I have been shocked (and appalled by how many people use "Muslim" and "terrorist" interchangeably. I actually said something to a casual acquaintance who had posted something that was (in my opinion) totally unacceptable about it.

    No one has suffered more for the 9/11 attacks than the moderate Muslim community. They don't just have to worry about the crazy terrorists, they also have to worry about the crazy, bigoted, discriminatory, "average" American who wrongly blames them for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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  2. ah, my lame attempt at keeping the blog 'non-political', hence the removal from fb. :)

    It's amazing, sometimes I feel like we are inundated with so much news that I don't have time to stop, think about the issue, and form an opinion. I think it's really easy for the news agencies to form our opinions for us..so lazy.

    Sometimes I feel that freedom of religion seems to be a concept that is only allowed to those in the majority. Funny to believe, given that a large part of this country was founded by those seeking a safe haven from religious persecution.

    I can't imagine living in a country that is ruled by religious law. How lucky are we that we get to pick (or totally reject) our own faith?

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