Monday, August 16, 2010

Arab Street: Opposition to Ground Zero Mosque means Americans are islamophobic racists, or something

From Ground Zero Mosque Controversy, As Viewed From the Muslim World:

Editorial, Arab News, Saudi Arabia, August 16, 2010:
Unfortunately there are people who think mosques are breeding grounds for terrorism. No matter what Muslims do or say and how much they condemn terrorism, they are still all guilty in the eyes of many. The anti-mosque people were probably anti-Muslim before 9/11.

M.J. Akbar, columnist, Khaleej Times of Dubai, August 16, 2010:
Ignorance is too generous an alibi for [former U.S. House speaker Newt] Gingrich and [former Alaska Gov. Sarah] Palin. They have been candidates for the most powerful job in the world. It is foolish to dismiss them as fools.
A mosque at Ground Zero will interfere with their politics, in which the Muslim must be etched as an irredeemable zealot with manic eyes and foaming mouth; the mosque must be distorted into a fountainhead of hatred; and every Muslim be blamed for the sins of the few bigots and terrorists who perpetrated 9/11. A range of political forces has a vested interest in the myth of the mad Muslim as the last evil standing between civilization and chaos.

Editorial, Dawn News, Karachi, Pakistan, August 16, 2010:
Unfortunately, some American politicians appear to have calculated that Islamophobia is a potent vote-getter. But that is as dangerous as it is self-defeating. Al Qaeda and militant Islamists could probably not dream of a better propaganda opportunity: see, they will say, America really is against Islam. The furor over the mosque isn’t winning hearts and minds for America, it is poisoning them.

Editorial, The Peninsula, Qatar, August 16, 2010:
Opponents of the Islamic Center are opponents of religious harmony and wanted to perpetuate a harmful stereotype against Islam.

Aijaz Zaka Syed, opinion editor of the UAE daily Khaleej Times, writing in Egypt’s Al Ahram Weekly:
The entire U.S. media and rightwing brigade are acting as if Muslims have invaded America and are building a monument to Osama Bin Laden at the site where the World Trade Center once stood.

Doesn’t this have an eerily familiar ring to it?  When the Tea Party movement really gained its momentum last summer, its targets accused the ordinary Americans behind the movement racists, extremists, fringe groups, etc. 

None of those opposed to the mosque at Ground Zero deny that the developers have the right to pursue the project.  The opposition is not based on the what, it’s based on the where.  Opposing the location where the mosque is going to be built has nothing to do with religious discrimination.  This is a tolerant society.  Some say far too tolerant, but the majority of Americans would actually oppose trying to use governmental power to block the project.

Americans may not always agree with each other, and we do not all worship the same or practice the same religion. But with our lives and sacred honor, we will defend Americans’ right to express themselves and worship freely.  So, the “Arab Street” has it wrong.

Another eerie parallel:  How the Arab media and the American media so quickly ascribe ulterior motives to those with ideas and positions they disagree with.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.


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