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Land of (in)tolerance

Danielle Draper

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DanielleDraperOn September 11, a small nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida planned to burn Qur’ans in protest of the Islam religion.   Thankfully it was cancelled due to the Department of Defense and its urging the church not to go forward with the event due to security; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even called the minister to ask him not to go through with the event.  This was a close call to what could have been a horrible show of intolerance

In addition to the planned event, there has been – and still is – a big controversy over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”.  This is a misleading name in the first place, considering the fact that the building in question will be a cultural center and is planned to be built a full six blocks away from Ground Zero. People are ignoring basic facts and succumbing to their prejudices and fears.

Many people believe, such as former mayor Giuliani as he explained in an interview with NY1, that the “debate isn’t about Islamaphobia or constitutional rights,” but about being sensitive to what he calls “sacred ground” at the World Trade Center.

However, the “sensitivity argument” ignores the fact that it was Muslim extremists that caused the tragedy on September 11, 2001, not normal run-of-the-mill Muslims. That kind of statement is analogous to saying that the KKK is racist; therefore all Caucasian people are racist. Other religions have had acts of terror declared in their name and they do not suffer under the same prejudices as Islam.

If any other religion wanted to build a place of worship where the planned Islamic cultural center is to be built (in an old Burlington Coat Factory), there would be no outcry, no controversy.

According to a poll on CNN around 68% of survey takers opposed the cultural center.  A clear majority opposed the Cultural Center; these Americans apparently do not believe in the First Amendment.

In 2009 there was an article in the Economist published discussing how anti-Muslim feeling had gone down. In 2007, 45% of Americans polled believed that Islam is “more likely than other faiths to encourage violence” but that number had gone done to 38% in 2009. However, in 2010 -September 7 to be specific – the FBI put out a warning for possible hate crimes against Muslims, a clear reversal of the trend of earlier years.

However even if the number has dropped, 38% is still pretty high, and there is no reason to think that Islam is any more violent than say Christianity which says verbatim in the bible (Deut 21:21) “And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear,” which sounds fairly violent to me.

Why are Americans so “sensitive”?  Do we even have a reason to be more paranoid?  There have been no serious attacks against since 9/11, we have all sorts of security that is designed to protect us from terrorists attacks.  Also, there is the fact that normal Muslims have nothing to do with terrorist attacks.

Does this emotion stem fact that we have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq? That people we know and love are over there and sometimes die? People hold more prejudices against their war-time enemies for obvious reasons directly during and after a war.

However, again, we are taking out our emotions on the wrong people. If people are angry at the war, they should be angry at those whose actions caused it, the terrorists. Americans need to learn how to separate Muslim from terrorist, understand that anyone can be an extreme terrorist, and that the religion itself is not to blame.

What do you think?
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