You know, I hate to think that anyone I know is ignorant enough to blame all adherents of a religion for an extremist group's actions (or all members of a race for a few individual's actions), but I know a lot of different kinds of people. Now I need to rant some.
Right now, there is a hot, huge debate over building a Mosque in New York (btw, one tower has already been rebuilt and as second should be finished in 2011, as one of the tallest towers in the world, on "ground zero" and 3 more are going to be built when the economy is recovered) in place of an old Burlington Coat Factory. I personally don't care one way or another whether a worship house of any kind--church, chapel, cathedral, synagogue, mosque, mandir, temple, kingdom hall, meeting house, hof, jinja, gurdwara, etc.--is built anywhere. But I am sad at knowing that my "friends" are hateful and ignorant.
Let's look at a few things here.
1. Al-Queda is not the pope of Islamists. Their actions are not sanctioned. In fact, they are facists that are at war with other Muslims because they are violent extremists. Not saying that Islam has a clean record by any means--they have the highest number of martyrs on record and some of the worst hate crimes. But that has nothing to do with individual American Muslims.
2. Americans can't seem to tell the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh, as evidenced by the bombing of a Hindu temple and the murder of an innocent man, a Sikh, simply because they wore turbans on September 15th and 17th. So, rather than have anything behind their hate, they focus on one symbol and attack. Wow. Fred Phelps wields a cross--should I blame anyone wearing a cross for his hate? Or the Son of Sam? Jeffery Dahmer?
"On TV a woman said she had interviewed more serial killers, just after they were caught, than any other person. She said "when you ask a serial killer questions like "Why did you murder this moral, loving married person with children?" "Didn’t you think of how terrible this would be to her husband, her children, her parents?" Almost all serial killers start quoting one verse after another from the Christian Bible. This shows most serial killers had strong religious upbringing, have been studying the bible for years and were still very Christian religious when they were murdering."
3. 'Muslim organizations in the United States were swift to condemn the attacks on 9/11 and called "upon Muslim Americans to come forward with their skills and resources to help alleviate the sufferings of the affected people and their families". Top organizations include: Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North America, and the Shari'a Scholars Association of North America. Along with massive monetary donations, many Islamic organizations launched blood drives and provided medical assistance, food, and shelter for victims.'1
4. America's hands are FAR from clean. Let's look at some numbers--The 9-11 terrorists claimed 2,995 lives. 2 million deaths were directly attributed specifically to Americans of Africans as we enslaved them. America claimed 500,000 lives through firebombs and 166,000 plus 80,000 lives through nuclear attack in Japan only 65 years ago.
How would you like to be held responsible for those lives, having had nothing to do with it?
5. Christian hands are far from clean. Let's start with the four different Inquisitions that have been held with unknown death tolls because mostly, they were kept shrouded by fear of death. The 40,000-100,000 deaths of innocent persons through witch hunts from 1480 to 1700 alone. The Crusades ring a bell? Yeah, there were at least nine of them. Ireland?
How do those lives sit on your shoulders? Do you like being held accountable for the crimes of others in your religion? Or those existing on the fringe as extremists?
6. Bigotry during and following wars is nothing new. Those claiming the side of being "against" Muslims and/or Arabs are in good company with those who hated the Japanese, Koreans, black people, British, etc. after various wars. Just in America alone, of course (not bigotry--the whole world suffers--but just talking about bigotry IN America).
7. Saying that there should be no mosque in New York is the same as saying there should be no churches, chapels or cathedrals in the United States--after all, Christians came and slaughtered the native population in the name of "civilization" and most certainly committed terrorism against the Abenaki, Algonquin, Apache, Blackfoot, Chadwickian, Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Hopi, Iroquois, Lakota Sioux, Mahicans (also Mohicans), Mohave, Mohawk, Navajo, Nipmuc, Ojibwa, Paiute, Seminole, Seneca, Sioux, Mik, Wyandottes, Zuni, and Neilorw peoples, amongst others.
Lots more could be said on this, but in the end, I don't want to read any more. It's very hard, reading about these kinds of things and hate, to believe that the dirty in the ocean of humanity is only a drop. The sheer numbers of people murdered by focusing on this kind of garbage is depressing and sickening.
This country was founded by people escaping religious persecution--how would those people feel about how their descendants have continued the tradition that they attempted to end centuries ago?
Americans--it's all about us. Don't get me wrong, I love being American (and hell, I'm part Cherokee, so I'm more American than most of the people having this debate), but sometimes I see why the rest of the world is disgusted by us. People talk about 9-11 being the worst atrocity ever and while it was a horrible crime, it doesn't even compare to real atrocities.
What could be worse? It makes me sick when people seriously ask this, but they do. Since they've forgotten history, here's just a very tiny bit:
4,000 Cherokee and 2,500–6,000 Choctaw died on the Trail of Tears (that's 6,500-10,000 innocent people who died under horrible conditions). That's a small atrocity that can compare a little.
Rwanda's death toll was an estimated 800,000 people. That's a real atrocity.
The Holocaust death toll was 6 Million. (Hitler claimed that concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much to his studies of English and United States history)
30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.
Why can't people just accept diversity? I only know one Muslim myself and he is a very nice guy who is non-violent down to his own family. Just like most American Muslims, he was horrified by 9-11 and had zero to do with it.
The point of the Mosque is NOT to worship the assholes that murdered nearly 3000 people in 2001, but to worship a religion as valid as any Christian religion and to bring a community center (a Muslim YMCA of sorts) to the area. The mosque is only a small part--the plan includes a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare services, art exhibitions, bookstore, culinary school, and a food court.
Interestingly, while the majority oppose its building, the majority also say that they have the right to do so. Many families of 9-11 victims have even said that they welcome it as "an opportunity for Muslims to demonstrate peaceful Islamic values."
Like I said, I don't really have an opinion on it being built--I see both sides of the argument. What's got me upset is the bigoted comments about Muslims in general. I hate bigotry of any kind. Blaming all Muslims for the atrocities of a few. It's tired. Can we please stop getting behind every "Let's hate these people" campaign that comes along?