Friday, September 10, 2010

International Burn a Mosque At Ground Zero Day

I am no fan of Islam, radical or otherwise. But that's not really what's on my mind. It's 9/11, the on-again-off-again "International Burn A Koran Day" at the tiny church in Florida was originally set for today. Protests against the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" still rage in NYC. President Obama is wringing his hands, worried about how these storms of controversy will cause us Americans to be perceived abroad. Meanwhile, Pastor Terry Jones somehow appointed himself -- probably not entirely by accident -- the voice of American Christianity. These are exciting, scary, and even bizarre times.

With that as a backdrop, a few things have been nagging at me.
  1. At the risk of being judgmental, I don't understand why Pastor Jones and his church members fail to see that they would be forsaking Jesus's commands to love your neighbor as yourself and to do unto to others as you would have them do unto you just to prove that they have the right to burn some books. Just because you have the right to offend someone doesn't mean you should.
  2. I must confess that I have been impressed (at least somewhat) by the willingness of at least one Imam to talk to Pastor Jones and make a promise to approach Imam Rauf about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. It's nice to see that Muslim leaders -- at least a few -- are willing to at least consider that things done in the name of their faith might possibly be the cause of all this backlash, what the media is calling "Islamaphobia."
  3. That our President, General in Afghanistan and Secretary of State are concerned that the burning of a few so-called "holy books" would put "Americans in harm's way" or "endanger the lives of our troops" in Afghanistan or Iraq proves precisely what many "Islamaphobes" have been trying to say: Islam is not a religion of peace, but a religion of war, terror and death. That we have to be concerned that Muslims would kill human beings over the burning of a few hundred copies of their "holy book" is a pretty good indicator that something is aschew in that religion. Bibles are destroyed in other countries, but Christians don't murder people in retaliation.
  4. I appreciate, as indicated, that Muslims are now forced to start considering why there is a backlash in this country. But rather than go on the defensive, why not spend time, energy and resources to de-radicalize elements within their own faith? If all the terror committed in the name of Islam is really the work of "a few extremists," the de-radicalization process shouldn't be terribly difficult. Instead of trying to convince me your faith is a "religion of peace," why don't you show me that you do not tolerate murder in the name of allah? In other words, do some housecleaning and then get back with me on your sales pitch.

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