It takes a peculiar mixture of ignorance and prejudice to fight against the practice of one particular religion in a country founded on the notion of freedom of worship.
We have all heard Sarah Palin and the rest of the American Taliban complaining about the building of a mosque within two blocks of Ground Zero, but now Republicans all over the US are complaining about the building of mosques wherever they seem to be.
So, the pretence is over. They are against Islam itself.
In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.
In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.
In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.
At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off.In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself.
This is simply hate speech. Substitute any other religion instead of Islam and most Americans would see very clearly what this is and understand the historical analogies which would make any sensible person recoil from such sentiments.
“What’s different is the heat, the volume, the level of hostility,” said Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the . “It’s one thing to oppose a mosque because traffic might increase, but it’s different when you say these mosques are going to be nurturing terrorist bombers, that Islam is invading, that civilization is being undermined by Muslims.”
Feeding the resistance is a growing cottage industry of authors and bloggers — some of them former Muslims — who are invited to speak at rallies, sell their books and testify in churches. Their message is that Islam is inherently violent and incompatible with America.
But this also implies that Palin, Limbaugh and the others who loudly complain about the "Ground Zero mosque" are simply engaging in dog whistle politics. They know fine well what their audience are hearing.
This is also why Giuliani and Palin and others now proclaim that "decent" and "peaceful" Muslims won't object to their insistence that the New York mosque be moved. Apparently, "decent" and "peaceful" Muslims are ones who are willing to give up their religious freedoms in a country built around that very concept.
And, inbuilt into their foul argument is the notion that anyone who disagrees with them can't be "decent" or "peaceful".
Diana Serafin, a grandmother who lost her job in tech support this year, said she reached out to others she knew from attending Tea Party events and anti-immigration rallies. She said they read books by critics of Islam, including former Muslims like Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan and Manoucher Bakh. She also attended a meeting of the local chapter of ACT! for America, a Florida-based group that says its purpose is to defend Western civilization against Islam.The people loudly stating that they are defending the constitution, appear not have even read it. And that does say a lot about the people currently supporting the Republicans and the Tea Party protesters. Ignoramuses espousing religious intolerance.
“As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”
“I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion,” she said. “But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.”
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