Monday, August 30, 2010

Are Muslims not part of America?

A question for those who oppose the establishment of a Muslim center two blocks from Ground Zero in New York: Do you oppose the construction of *any* mosque or Muslim center at this particular location, or only this one?

What bothers me about this protest is the implication that Muslims in general should be blamed for the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, even though the actions were those of a handful of terrorists and were condemned by most major Muslim organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Consider the following statement for example, from the American Center for Law and Justice:

"When it comes to an Islamic mosque on the sacred site of Ground Zero, President Obama is out of step with the American people. He has voiced his support for the misguided project — ignoring the views of the majority of the American people and failing to understand the heart of the issue at stake: Building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero is offensive to thousands of Americans who lost family and loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Notice also the claim that most Americans oppose the mosque. Is not our country based on majority rule and minority rights? A part of minority rights involves the right to freely express one's views and practice one's religion, regardless of how unpopular their beliefs might be. Otherwise, we would become just another dictatorship, where the rulers suppress dissent movements in the name of the people.

Muslims are just as much a part of this country as you or me. Many were among the victims of this terrorist attack, and many have fought in battle for our country. It isn't just a question of their legal rights, but also whether they should be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else in this country.

I believe the protest also sends a message to the Islamic world that we as Americans are the enemy of their religious faith. This may well doom any hopes of succeeding in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Finally there is the matter of anti-Muslim violence such as that which took place against the New York cabbie recently, and which seems to have been stirred up by the overheated rhetoric around this issue. Have any of the vocal opponents of the Muslim center spoke out against such anti-Muslim violence?

web counter
free web counters