Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Profiles in cowardice and hate

Express Staff Writer

Of course, the fuss over the Islamic center near—not "at" Ground Zero—is all politics.

Republicans have run out of other ways to denounce Barack Obama or scare voters. And the few Democrats that've fled rather than fight customarily lack spine to stand on principle in any controversy, e.g. Sen. Harry Reid.

Mawkish claims that the Islamic center would be a sacrilege because of its proximity—two blocks from the 9/11 site—is offensively hypocritical. The Islamic building can't be seen from Ground Zero, while within the same proximity are several sleazy strip joints that seem to be immune from the litmus test of violating "hallowed ground."

Mosques have been going up around the country for decades. Yet, only now is the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer demanding a government ban on any more mosques (the organization is also boycotting Home Deport for being too "gay friendly").

As they reflect on the outrageous, irrelevant hokum that the critics of the mosque are peddling, thinking Americans will see the absurdity at the center of the fuss—holding the entire Muslim religion accountable for the crazed acts of the 19 Muslims who commandeered four airliners on 9/11.

In the 9/11 catastrophe, Muslims also died in the Trade Center towers and Muslims were among fist responders to aid the dying and injured.

Holding the Muslim world guilty collectively is as ludicrous as holding all Catholics guilty for the predatory sexual molestation of young people by priests.

Or blaming all Iraqis for the massacre of Kurds by Saddam Hussein.

Or indicting all Jews for the 1982 massacre of 800 civilians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila, for which Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was found to be "indirectly responsible" by an Israeli investigation.

Or holding all fundamentalist Christians at fault for the killings and bombings by Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph.

Virtually all U.S. Muslims, as well as Muslims throughout Islam, denounced 9/11. And as author William Dalrymple notes in a New York Times article, the imam behind the new mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf, "is one of America's leading thinkers of Sufism ... [which] couldn't be farther from the violent Wahhabism of the jihadists."

The poison of racism and rabid ethnic intolerance is being injected into the American cultural nervous system by hateful "nativists" who talk acidly about "our civilization" being destroyed by Muslims and illegal Hispanic aliens.

Sadly, these dark warnings have the flavor of hysteria in another time when Germans were obsessed with creating and preserving a pure Aryan race.

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