This casual bigotry is way too prevalent in the US at the moment.
But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.A respected columnist is now openly calling for one group of citizens to be denied their First Amendment rights. That's simply unforgivable.
Imagine he wasn't talking about American Muslims and substitute any other group in there - Jews, Blacks, Catholics - and one can well see how outrageous his words are.
The upsurge in expressed hostility toward Muslims -- not toward extremists or terrorists but toward adherents of a religion as a group -- creates an American moment that isn't going to look good in historical retrospect.This is the same mindset which demands that American Muslims deny themselves the right to build mosques wherever they want, that insists that - were they "peaceful" and "decent" Muslims - they should take into account the feelings of their prejudiced persecutors and build elsewhere.
I have given Bush credit for always being careful to make that distinction in the past, but the current Republican leadership are playing to their bases worst fears. Openly encouraging people to be suspicious of Muslims in their midst.
This is one of those times that test our values, a bit like the shameful interning of Japanese-Americans during World War II, or the disgraceful refusal to accept Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.
It would have been natural for this test to have come right after 9/11, but it was forestalled because President George W. Bush pushed back at his conservative ranks and repeatedly warned Americans not to confuse Al Qaeda with Islam.Now that Mr. Bush is no longer in the White House, nativists are back on the warpath.
Thankfully, some are speaking out:
The current Republican party, deprived of George Bush to make the distinction between al Qaeda and Islam in general, is a complete bloody disgrace. As Fallows brilliantly understates, this, "isn't going to look good in historical retrospect".
Above all, bravo to those Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders who jointly denounced what they called “the anti-Muslim frenzy.”
“We know what it is like when people have attacked us physically, have attacked us verbally, and others have remained silent,” said Rabbi David Saperstein. “It cannot happen here in America in 2010.”
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick put it this way: “This is not America. America was not built on hate.”
“Shame on you,” the Rev. Richard Cizik, a leading evangelical Christian, said to those castigating Islam. “You bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ. You directly disobey his commandment to love your neighbor.”
Indeed, it looks like an act of collective madness on the part of the Republicans.