Posts Tagged ‘intolerance’

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24 Hour News Cycle to Blame for Fringe Radicals Getting National Spotlight

09.17.10

It’s quite a stunning statement about the state of the American press when the activities and fringe interests of the very few — we’re talking fewer people than you’ll find cars in your average supermarket parking lot — gain such natural interest as to make the military leader of our forces in Afghanistan personally state his disapproval of said activity.

Take a look at this diagram I found courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:

MuslimVennDiagram

Image via Mark Shea:

It’s easy as pie to generalize to millions of people the crimes of a few. We Catholics have had it done to us. And we can have it done to us again. So we should be bloody cautious about insane schemes to do it to 18 million fellow citizens.

The grotesque excuse “But the the first amendment is dead, and Islam killed it. There is no ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘freedom of religion’ with the threat of Muslim violence hanging over your head” is rubbish. Cancelling the rights of 307 million people because you are, by your own admission, afraid is neither patriotism, nor courage, nor Christian fortitude. It is cowardice. And it is extra-special cowardice when you are ready to cancel your most precious national heritage because you are afraid of a speck.

I couldn’t say this any better myself even if I tried.

Some could argue that it is newsworthy — sure, burning the Quran will get you noticed.  But, this is the kind of thing for Hard Copy (if it were still around) or the local Gainesville six o’clock news.  It went from a blip on the radar – where it should’ve remained – to garnishing worldwide attention because our 24-hour news cycle needs to fill their shows with content, regardless of how newsworthy the item may be.

And if it’s not quite newsworthy enough, well, rest assured that the weeks and weeks of talking heads commenting on the rightness or wrongness of Rev. Terry Jones and his Quran-burning plans will make it so.  (Note that they must include the rightness AND wrongness because they mistake their role of reporting the truth with being balanced on every topic, no matter how lunatic.)

And to what end?

All that’s happened is that these radicals have been legitimized.  Now Rev. Jones is planning to go to New York City to talk to Imam Rauf regarding the “Ground Zero” mosque.  Since when does a Gainesville reverend with a congregation of 50 followers have any authority whatsoever to involve himself in the building plans in a neighborhood 1,000 miles away from where he calls home?

Oh right.  Because he was on the news TV.

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Ground Zero Mosque Opposition Confuses Sensitivity with Intolerance

08.04.10

Much has already been said surrounding the heated controversy over the planned Islamic community center and mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York City.

Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and others have conflated all of Islam with the small sub-sect of terrorists, suggesting asserting that they are one and the same, that all Muslims share the same beliefs as those apocalyptic, murderous fundamentalists that attacked our country nearly 9 years ago.

Their arguments are so egregious and blasphemous as to speak for themselves, but I have to address them briefly.  Extreme religious generalization and demonization is not cured by more extreme religious generalization and demonization.  The same groups that use the argument that, under Sharia Law, all Muslims consider all Americans”infidels,” that all Muslims follow the same exact doctrine and make the same leaps to violence and intolerance are themselves labeling an entire group of people as “the other” and are themselves makes leaps toward bigotry and intolerance.  Their arguments are as flimsy as basing all of Christianity on the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Anti-Defamation League has come out initially opposing the building of the mosque near Ground Zero — a move that seems to go against the very name of the nations’ self-described “premier civil rights/human relations agency.” Although, the stance makes more sense knowing that the ADL is also predominantly a Jewish organization, a group of people with a serious history of conflict with the Islamic world.

It gets more complicated than that, as one would expect.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep spoke with ADL Director Abraham Foxman, who helped explain their stance.  Foxman has a relationship with proposed NYC mosque’s imam Faisel Abdul Rauf, and has stood up for Rauf against character attacks that he has endured from those opposed to the Islamic center.  At the same time, however, Foxman then says:

“If he [Rauf] would say: ‘I do want to show the American public that there is an American Muslim Tradition.’  That would be a wonderful, dramatic beginning.  Rather than insisting: ‘This is where we want to heal. This is where we want to reconcile.  In your cemetery.'”

Foxman promotes the counter-productive and inflammatory “us vs. them” rhetoric by saying “your” cemetery.  As if no American Muslims died in the 9/11 tragedy.  (They did.)  As if only Americans died in the WTC attacks.  (Wrong again.)

The fact is that Ground Zero is the tragic site where thousands of people from many different nations, races, and with many different beliefs perished.  It doesn’t belong to any one person or any one group.  The healing is shared by any and all involved or affected, and yes, that includes people in the Islamic community.

Image courtesy of roberthuffstutter’s Flickr photostream