I talked about the Fourteenth Amendment last week, but today I turn my eyes towards the First Amendment. There's been a lot of noise from right wing pundits about the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque" (which is neither a Mosque nor would it be at Ground Zero), and frankly I just find myself getting angrier and angrier everyday.
I remember where I was September 11th 2001 when the planes hit. In fact I remember that whole day quite clearly. What I remember most of all though is my thinking "This is a criminal act." Nineteen people committed a horrific crime against humanity.
They were Radical Muslims, but the key word here is Radical. This wasn't a crime committed by Muslims so much as a crime committed by Radicals. Extremist forces exist in every religion. As a non-Christian, I don't blame Christianity as a whole for every abortion clinic bombing or the actions and atrocities committed in the name of Jesus (of which there are quite a few).
So why are people blaming Islam for the crimes committed by a group of Radicals?
The answer is simple: prejudice. There is a fundamental force of bigotry at the center of this outrage, and it's dangerous as hell. These are people who would blame over a billion Muslims for the actions of 19 crazy people.
And that's just insane.
Freedom of Religion is a founding principle of the United States of America. It's why many came here, and while writing the Bill of Rights it was important enough to put right at the beginning. We exist in a pluralist society, willing to accept more than one idea. Islam did not commit any crimes that day, and as a religion should not be blamed for the actions of 19 crazy jackasses. To supress those rights is a violation of our Constitutional principles, and I question the patriotism of those who would do so while still wrapping themselves in the flag.
This is a bit of an aside, but is it just me or does this and the 14th Amendment bashing make it seem like the 2010 midterm election plan for the Republican Party really feel centered on Xenophobia? Did they let the Klan start dictating their agenda or something? When you add in the fringe "birther" movement it seems like they've really gone round the bend lately.
Well I can tell you right now that Muslims are much like Christians in many ways. I should know because I used to live with them in Izmir Turkey while my Dad was in the Army.
They are much like us(the Christians as I'm referring myself too) and they too wish for peace. They believe the Terrorists and Osama Bin Laden are too extreme and going too far. In fact the original Mohammad lived much like Jesus and sought out for peace.
It's also terrible when I point this out, the radicals from the Christians side begin to argue with me instead of being tolerant like Jesus Christ, whom we believe is our lord, has told us to do in his teachings.
But enough with the Religion talk. I respect people of all faiths, I may not agree with them and see everything eye to eye but I am willing to respect who they are.
The thing that bothers me most is the inference in right-wing media that Al-Queda represents Islam as a whole. Let's face it, there are radicals in any religion, including Christianity. Such Christian radicals have performed acts of domestic terrorism that have taken lives, but where is the outrage at that?
All that is being shown to the rest of the world is just how ignorant a large portion of America is. I even saw a poll on BBC that said 1 in 5 Americans think Obama himself is Muslim. It makes me real sad.