Anti-mosque mania has spread across America thanks to the far Right’s habitual distortion of facts in order to provoke fear and/or anger in their base.
First of all, the proposed building is not a mosque but an Islamic commuity center, complete with a swimming pool, basketball court, classrooms, auditorium, spa, community meeting area and a prayer room. Second, the building is not at “Ground Zero” but around a corner, more than two blocks away in an old Burlington Coat Factory building. And third, people and businesses in that particular area of New York City spana multitude of world creeds and cultures.
This is the United States of America, a country founded on religious freedom and yet we find political operatives inciting Americans to be hateful, biased and intolerant of those who are not Christians. We are seeing a steady rise in xenophobic behavior all across the country at exactly the wrong time. It doesn’t take much to push people over the edge who are already feeling victimized by an economy that is costing them their jobs, their security and their homes. Civil unrest is fertile soil for the seeds of intolerance and hatred being sown daily by the Radical Right’s talking heads.
While it is human nature to look for someone to blame for our troubles, it is both UNChristian and just plain wrong to talk about and treat all Muslims as though they are terrorists. They are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, employees and employers, students and teachers just like other Americans. Unless we are Native American, we are all from immigrant families, families whose differences strengthened the fabric of this country.
It is time for Christians to address their own when they hear un-Christlike words escaping the lips of other Christians, or see emails that villify all Muslims as a threat to America. And it is time for the politicians of both parties to do the same – to chastize those within their own party who label and lump all people of one religion, culture or country together or who participate in the Muslim-bashing and gossiping that is so prevalent today.
As the saying goes, “All it takes for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing.” It is up to each of us to do something, to stand up for those who are being bullied, slandered, and demonized wherever we encounter it. To do less is to be unworthy of calling ourselves Christians or Americans in these unstable times.