Truth and Democracy

Inviting those who live in the right-wing alternate universe to join the rest of us out here in reality.

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Location: Hackensack, New Jersey, United States

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Park Place becomes Hysteria Lane

The following is my response, from the Facebook page "Zoo Politics", to a conservative woman who was scolding a young man for his opinion on the Park 51 Cultural Center, because he was "too young to understand 9/11" and should leave the conversation to "the grownups":

Paul Roth -

How about a person who was plenty old enough, saw the towers fall, lives 15 miles from ground zero, knew people who died that day, had his livelihood affected in the aftermath, and understands that the attacks were conceived, plotted, and executed by people who twisted their religious zealotry into justification for killing innocent people, rather than by all who practice the religion they falsely claimed?? Can I play?

Here's a quote for you:

If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul

Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the

Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul,

and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a

Christian, but I have always been one Mr. Pearl.

And I am here to inform you, with the full authority of the Quranic texts and the

practice of the Prophet Muhammad, that to say La ilaha illallah Muhammadun

rasulullah is no different. It expresses the same theological and ethical principles

and values.

We are here especially to seek your forgiveness and of your family for what has

been done in the name of Islam.

Who said these words? The Imam who is being vilified in the right wing press for having "ties to terrorists", at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, killed in 2003. The Bush administration sent this man on two tours of the Middle East to promote peace between Islam and America. He is currently on a third such trip, which the right wing is lying about as well. He has been helping the US government in it's war on terrorism from the beginning.

The Center (Park 51, Cordoba, whatever) was intended to promote healing. A place where all are welcome. It was supposed to be a symbol to those who twist Islam into war against the west that Islam rejects their fanaticism. It would be a very American, western, cultural center which would include a prayer area within it's two uppermost floors. It's location would be a neighborhood which has been largely Muslim for many years, the greatest irony of the 9/11 attacks.

Instead the SIOA (Stop Islamization of America), Christian and Jewish right-wing bloggers, and all those with a paranoid fear that Muslims are trying to take over this country (mainly those who want conservative Christianity to dominate us), have convinced you that the center is meant as a "symbol of victory" over America and a great beachhead for the coming Muslim invasion. It's been a glorious PR victory for religious "warriors" all across America. But at what cost?

I've had people, who are otherwise rational, spout nonsense to me about this issue from the very start. Those who say, "Why there?", are the most misguided of all. Their intentions are good but their argument begins with the most flawed of thinking. That Al Qaeda truly represented all Islam when it attacked us that day. You cannot arrive at opposition to this center, or spout the usual slogans ("no ground zero mosque", "not on hallowed ground") without first falsely conflating 19 terrorists, and those who trained them and planned, with all Muslims everywhere. The real question is, "Why not there?"

We tend to remember, with bitter rage, images of people celebrating in the streets of occupied Palestine on that day, and with good reason. But, in our bitterness, we forget all of the Muslim voices which reacted with shock, sympathy, and outrage at what had been done, allegedly in their name. I well remember hearing a statement of condemnation of the attacks and sympathy toward Americans, that day, which came from a most unexpected Middle Eastern nation. It was from Saddam Hussien's Iraq!

"We are here especially to seek your forgiveness....for what has
been done in the name of Islam". Do you people need it said any more clearly than this? When will you cease carrying a grudge against all for the actions of those who believe God wants them to kill? Shall I blame all who call themselves Christians, for the actions of those who shoot doctors, bomb gay bars and abortion clinics, savagely beat gay young people, or pipe-bomb a Mosque?? By your example, maybe I should.

Paul: Let's call this my definitive public statement about this issue. Fascism and Xenophobia are the prefered meeting place of the American right wing. There is no one who cannot earn the moniker "Enemy of America", if it serves their best interests. But when will the majority of Americans learn better than to be sucked into their hateful cauldron?

***** The photo atop this column comes from a right wing website. The caption reads "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11". No further commentary is necessary. *****


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