Muslims & Islam; Under Siege, Pressures In America, Still!
Written by Paul I. Adujie
Muslims in America, and particularly in New York City, are under sustained barrages of attacks. The latest in the salvo, is the palpable fear . Some in America seem to be subscribing to the silliness, that those who are not Christians and not of our ethnic group, are not entirely human.
But, actually, when we devalue others, we devalue ourselves and all humanity.
American Muslims are afraid to celebrate the Ramadan at the end of this fasting season. Thousands of Muslims in America are now operating under fear of physical attacks. Thousands of Muslims have publicly express fears of attacks as reprisal for the September 11, 2001 acts 19 hijackers, which has been tied around the necks of the Islam and Muslims, and as such, the fasting season this year ends coincidentally on or about September 11, 2010.
American Muslims have expressed the fear that they may be accused of celebrating the anniversary of September 11, attacks. Some bigots have already accused Muslims of celebrating and gloating by planning to build this much talked about Islamic Cultural Center in the general neighborhood of Ground Zero
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Fareed Zakaria a renowned journalist, and now, President Barack Obama has joined the many voices confronting the upsurge of Islamophobia in America, very courageously!
Museum of tolerance just opened up a museum of irony, because it is against Mosque near ground zero. It is quite an irony that an entity which styles itself as an Anti Defamation League, has joined the bandwagon of bigots, fear-mongers and campaigners of calumny against efforts to build an Islamic Center, Mosque and religious-cultural center.
It is exceedingly clear that a huge chunk or large segment of the American public are stridently opposed to Islam. Too many Americans now exhibit overall hostility to Islam, in many states, the construction of new mosques, Islamic centers, renovations, and expansions are receiving vehement resistance, Jewish group the so-called Anti Defamation League, Religious Liberty Commission of the Baptist Convention are opposing mosques, how do you defend religious freedom and freedom of worship, but oppose mosques?
Would American be having this conversation if a synagogue or a Catholic church was being contemplated for a few blocs from Ground Zero?. It is clear that some think Islam is not an American religion and as such, does not deserve same or identical protection as other so-called mainstream American religions
The now controversial mosque in New York is not across, adjacent or close to Ground Zero as is being alleged. It is actually a considerable distance from the swath of city neighborhood which was labeled and dubbed the so-called Ground Zero. The emotions surrounding this swath of land, has delayed rebuilding and rebirth in the aftermath of September 11. Wouldn’t rebuilding and rebounding with even more extraordinary edifices and monuments, larger, taller and grander, be a better way to prove a point? But emotions have since stalled, stymied and stunted pace of rebuilding on Ground Zero. Does this all mean that if I owned a private property on 51 Park Place, I could not sell to whomever I want? Or that I could not use my piece of land in the general neighborhood for any purpose, so long as it is not illegal? The truth of the matter is that, there is a church directly opposite Ground Zero! All Christians are saints?
President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, Fareed Zakaria and many others are right to take respectful offense at the suggestion, and these selectively invoked outrage, by some, that, of one group, ignore the feelings of other groups. Why is it okay to pick on Muslims in connection with building this mosque? The truth is that there has always been a mosque in this same exact neighborhood now being claimed as mosque and Islam free zone in this very religious, culturally diverse plural and multicultural New York City
Why do some want to generalize about Muslims and Islam, merely because of the acts of a few? If this prejudice and bigotry being demonstrated against Islam and its adherents is not hypocritical and illogical, why don’t we apply the same logic and rules to Timothy McVeigh Christianity and its adherents subsequent to the Oklahoma City bombing? Why haven’t American generalize against Christians and Christianity after the dastardly acts of the Reverend Jim Jones or David Koresh? Americans of Japanese descent should not be allowed to live near Pearl Harbor, Sinto Shrine 3 miles away from Pearl Harbor.
Shall we ostracize members of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski or Joseph Stack who flew a plane into an Internal Revenue Service building in Texas this year. What shall we do to all Catholics? In view of the fact that pedophile Catholic priests raped and defiled and sexually molested hundreds of thousands of innocent children worldwide! We must we show selective righteous indignation and outrage against the behavior of some Muslim extreme, and then, wage a worldwide crusade against Islam and Muslims, but, we are splendidly uninterested and unwilling to apply the same illogical generalizations against Christians? The truth is, the fact is, the evidence is, all things considered, history reflects Christians or persons who profess Christianity, have caused and inflicted more horrors and brutalities on the human race, and yet, I am not quite willing to generalize against ALL those who profess or claim to be devout Christian. Not all those who claim to be Christians are good Christians, similarly, of course, so it goes, that not all those who claim to be Muslims are good Muslims. Additionally, it has to be said that there are virtues and vices in all humans and in all religions worldwide. Those Christians who claim otherwise, should quit their hypocrisy and holier than thou sanctimony!
We cannot and should not, must not, set a different standard or rules for American Muslims, to which American Jews, American Christians are not similarly subjected. Those who perpetuated slavery, colonialism and apartheid are “devout” Christians and so are those brought about the First and Second World Wars. And the sexed up lies and deceits and canards which led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the consequent deaths, maiming of hundreds of thousands, and the displacement of millions by the ongoing conflicts and conflagration in Iraq. Christians are the ones causing “collateral damage” with predator drones in civilian populated zones in Afghanistan, so, why must we selectively target and generalize against Islam and Muslims? Why must anyone pretend that it is right to punish a billion Muslims for the sins of a few extremists? Why must anyone pretend that is good policy to ignore the root causes of anger in the Muslim world anyway? Is it blood lust or there are root causes for animosity and chasms?
Since September 11, 2001, 140 Muslims have been accused and or tried for terrorism or activities related to terrorism. The American government as such has played a dominant role in stereotyping Muslims as terrorists, This is identical to the Red Scare during the Cold War era and McCarthyism in which anyone with liberal views were regarded as socialist communists and were hounded, among them, German Americans, Italian Americans and of course, the much maligned African Americans
When a hospital has a prayer room is it a church? Or why the fear-mongering about the fact that the planned Islamic Cultural Center will be huge and have a mosque within?
There are Jewish Centers in New York City which have prayer space such as 92nd Street Y, and the so-called Ground Zero Mosque is actually an Islamic Cultural and Community Center with prayer space
The fact is that many Muslims died during the World Trade Center. And there were Muslims who were part of the rescuers and firs responders after the attack at the World Trade Center. There should be churches, synagogue built in lower Manhattan, but, the area should be mosque free zone, this is Islamophobia to single out mosque and Islam. Quite ironically, Rich Lazio and members of his Republican Party are the underbelly vested in promoting anti Islam unreasoned emotionalism. This is particularly shameful, given the fact that the Republican Party and its Siamese religious conservatives are usually predictably pro-God, but, all of a sudden, religion, is the enemy, when it comes to Islam and Muslims? There are so many Republican Party members who are fanning the embers of hatred and bigotry, as they seek to make political hays out of this debate about a mosque, Islam and Muslims. These Republican Party members are seeking to exploit the debate for purely political benefits, and so, they have made very inflammatory comments to exacerbate the emotions on all sides of the debate!
Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City and Fareed Zakaria, a world renown journalist are men of courage. In the face of anti Islam and anti Muslims protests in New York City in opposition to the proposed Mosque and Islamic Center in Manhattan, these two public figure have tackled bigots and hecklers who are deploying inappropriate language and attitudes to oppose and prevent the building of a Mosque and in Islamic Center. The flimsy and fuzzy arguments are hinged on the fact that the proposed monument is too close to World Trade Center or Ground Zero the epicenter of the specter of attacks on September 11, 2001
Mayor Bloomberg in a straight forward manner, condemned and denounced those who have exhibited so much prejudices and bigotries in their opposition against the Islamic Center and Mosque project. Mayor Bloomberg told these acerbic opponents where to shove their unconstitutional attacks on other peoples right to worship. He gave wise counsel as to why no one should impinge and burden the rights of others to worship their holies and whatever each of us consider sacred
Fareed Zakaria, that international journalist of Newsweek Magazine and Cable News Network fame, in a similar vein, return an award which he previous received from Anti Defamation League, a Jewish organization. As he could not reconcile their avowed posture of Anti Discrimination with the very fact that their opposition to the Islamic Center Mosque project is the epitome of hypocrisy and the height of discrimination in the most egregious forms!
As it turns out, the US government, through the state department has used and continues to use the Imam behind the Cordoba Mosque and Islamic Center. Mosque project predates September 11, 2001 which is now seen as monument to terrorism. But the truth of the matter is, the imam behind this project is actually known as bridge builders. As if Muslims are not Americans or were not among the victims of September 11, 2001
America’s self avowed and self professed ideals are being put to the severest of tests. This shrill shouting against Islam and Muslims’ freedom of worship and choice, the stridency and vehemence, betrays the hypocrisy of much advertised tolerance, equality, freedom and liberty etc. Only today, The New York Times reported that the government of the United States plans to ease up on, decades old travel restrictions against Americans with wishes to travel to Cuba. Many eye opening comments followed the news reports among which are two excerpts reproduced in quotes here; 1.“Granting Americans the freedom to travel anywhere they want should sound paradoxical in a country inebriated with the words liberty and freedom. This would sound familiar to Southern Blacks who until recently - in the land of the free - could not choose which bathroom to go to, which part of the bus to sit in, or which fountain to drink from.”
2. “It's about time the travel restrictions were lifted. Maybe the reason for preventing our free citizens from traveling to Cuba is that we might find that what we have been told about that country has all been nonsense.”
“But even if all of it has been true, so what. We were allowed to travel to South Africa during Apartheid. We're allowed to go to China today, and even now their human rights record is atrocious. We can go to Saudi Arabia, just ask any woman how they're treated there. We can go to Israel, and there's oppression every day every way there. It seems to me that whatever the regime in Cuba may be guilty of, it pales in comparison with what we tolerate elsewhere.”
“To allow their alleged injustices as rationale to prevent my travel there to be credible, the same criteria should be applied around the world, but it isn't. As a free citizen of the United States I should be free to travel where I wish. Right now I wish to travel to Cuba but I am not free to do so, and that means I am not really free. Fidel and Raul are not the ones restricting my freedom in this case, and they are not the ones restricting yours either”
Similarly, Muslims in America, particularly in New York, are under sustained barrages of attacks. The latest in the salvo, is the palpable fear, hypocrisy motivated and engineered by bigotry and prejudice
Some in America seem to be subscribing to the silliness, that those who are not Christians and not of our ethnic group, are not entirely human! In America, we are so inebriated with words such as freedom, liberty, equality. We are so quick to claim to be mother and grandmother of constitutional equality and due process etc, and yet, a New York City Zoning Board has determined that this planned Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque does not infringe upon any zoning rules, no infractions whatsoever! So what exactly seem to be the problem? Bigotry? Prejudice? Discrimination?
We should stop demonizing Islam and Muslims