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Aug
31

Debating Hannity and Jasser on mosque politics

It is interesting how Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, undermines racism and Islamophobic politics about the Muslim community center near Ground Zero.

An innocent NYC cabbie was just stabbed for being Muslim. A bomb exploded in a mosque in Jacksonville, FL, while 60 worshippers were inside. A priest in Florida will be burning the Quran on 9-11… and the list goes on and on and on. If this is not racism, then what is? When will the cycle of hate and violence stop?

I am not invested in any way in this mosque. But I deeply care about our American values and the principle of free religion for all that will be compromised if we cross the legal boundaries and remove that mosque. If we chip away at this right today for Muslims, who else will be next on the butcher block? If we do it to Muslims in NY, we are essentially setting a precedence to do the same to other Muslims in America. In this case, where should the line be drawn and how do we set it, by whose standards, feelings, politics, race, etc… I don’t want America to become another intolerant Middle East.  I believe our forefathers were wise in setting the foundation of our democracy on freedom of religion for all, without exceptions.

In a TIME poll, 61% of Americans oppose the construction of this Muslim community center, mostly in show of sensitivity to the victims of 9-11 attacks. The same survey also revealed that many Americans harbor lingering animosity toward Muslims.  This isn’t a surprise considering the insulting protests taking place around the country accusing Muslims, wanting to build a community centers or mosques, of breading home-grown terrorists. Also, this isn’t a surprise considering politicians like Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is equating Muslims with Nazis, and others like David Horowitz are accusing Imam Abdul Rauf as radical trying to impose Sharia law in America, which is a loud and pure LIE. I have debated him on this very issue.

America is at a crossroads. On the one hand, keeping the mosque could hurt the feelings of many still grieving from 9-11, but will affirm our adherence to our higher principles of freedom and justice for all. On the other hand, forcing the removal of the community center away from its current location, though illegal and unconstitutional, will be considered an official endorsement of the collective punishment of ALL Muslims and an affirmation of their new label as “terrorists,” and “Nazis.” Some of those Muslims were actually victims and first respondents who sacrificed their lives to save others in the 9-11 attack… Some of those Muslims are also soldiers who have put their lives on the line fighting Muslim enemies in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just marched on the Mall to restore America’s values… the values that Martin Luther King called for: Justice and equality for all. How can we reconcile our two dialectic realities and be the best democracy on earth?