Monday, August 23, 2010

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot with "Ground Zero Mosque" Hysteria

The Los Angeles Times reports on the worldwide surprise and disappointment regarding the United States, as people around the planet watch the bigoted demonstrations and the inflammatory rhetoric over the attempts to build an Islamic community center and mosque within a few blocks of the World Trade Center. The Jerusalem Post reports on the fundamentalist passion being aroused by the opponents of the center, mixed with (and sometimes led by) the families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

There are a lot of things on which I'm more than happy to give my political opponents the benefit of the doubt, to at least assume they mean something other than what they are saying, to recognize that – when you take away the cameras and just talk to someone with an opposing view– I sometimes come away respecting them even if I still strongly disagree with them.

Not on this topic, though. Anyone with even a fourth-grade understanding of freedom of religion, of freedom of conscience, of a Sunday-school understanding of fair play and love of your fellow man – anyone with those basics of social rules can easily think themselves out of the box in which the Fox political agitators have put this country.

This is all sound and fury, anyway. The Islamic community center & mosque project is slated to cost $100 million, and backers of it have raised – get your pitchforks and poorly spelled protest signs ready – a whopping ... well, pretty much nothing. Notes an AOL News report, the developers still have to raise about $100 million for the $100 million project. Bake sale, anyone?

Verbal bomb-throwers like Sarah Palin have been making badly spelled demands that Muslims repudiate (I assume that's what she meant with refudiate, but one can never be sure with Palin) extremist versions of their religion.

Well, then, she and her ilk should welcome this Islamic center, because it is being planned by people who want to do exactly that. They should also examine the good work countries like Jordan are doing in re-educating militants and promoting a more peaceful Islam. But even knowing about such things apparently takes the effort of reading newspapers or even Googling, so why do it? If it conflicts with your personal beliefs, then it's not worth reading, for these folks.

And that's why I don't respect the views of the people making anti-Islam and anti-Muslim (and anti-religious freedom and thereby anti-American) statements. They haven't done the slightest bit of work to educate themselves, and therefore they don't deserve to take up national air time.

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