Where Will the Line Be Drawn on Anti-Muslim Remarks?
by Chuckie Corra, Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 08:02:55 PM EDT
(Crossposted on FDL Seminal)
Take Note: This post is inspired by the September 17th episode of Real Time With Bill Maher. In the show, Maher broaches the question "Do you think people like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell do or don’t want a war with the Muslims? Because I think they do."
The question itself seems like it should be more of a joke than a serious question, especially coming from a comedian like Bill Maher. However, stop and think for a second what this actually means.
The religiously motivated right (i.e. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, etc. The list is numerous) aren’t afraid to show their feelings about where God stands in relation to governance in this country. The bible thumpers and Evangelical Christians are quick to label this a "Christian Nation" because of our founding fathers. Those who claim this, however, generally tend to neglect the fact that not all of the founding fathers were Christian. Oh yeah…and then there’s that thing in the Bill of Rights about Freedom of Religion. This, of course, also means freedom from religion if one so chooses.
In the recent years, and especially since Barack Obama came into the mainstream picture, Muslims have been falsely branded as an enemy to Christianity (among other things). In this day and age, when a Islamic mosque/community center can’t be built near ground zero without a horrendous national uproar by people like Palin, is it really that outrageous to pose the question mentioned by Maher? . . .
My answer to that is no. Need a more physical example? Have a look at this campaign advertisement for Renee Ellmers, Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina (It’s important to mention that she is endorsed by holy crusader Sarah Palin herself).
(via Huffington Post)
Candidates like Ellmers are using the age-old GOP tactic of fear-based campaigning and putting a new spin to it. Post 9/11 has seen an increase in anti-Arab sentiment, and specifically targeted to the Muslim religion in general. This has opened the door for candidates to exploit the irrational fears of a gullible population in order to get more votes. Not only is Ellmers’ campaign ad an embarrassment, it’s riddled with assumptions. Playing on the token term "victory-mosques" Ellmers has falsely characterized the entire Park 51 Cordoba mosque situation. This effectively sways voters and leads them to believe these falsehoods, and thinking that a vote for the other candidate is a vote for terrorist victory.
Ellmers uses terminology suggesting that she characterizes all Muslims as terrorists. "The terrorists haven’t won, and we should tell THEM in plain English No, there will never be a mosque at Ground Zero."
This makes me think that Ellmers views the people wanting to build the Park 51 center as terrorists. To go to such great lengths to get a vote, this shows a clear lack of rationality as well as intelligence regarding the entire situation she is describing. Not only does this alienate an entire population, but it grossly misleads a whole other population.
The part of this entire controversy that is the most heartbreaking to me are the Muslims who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families. Due to such a blown up controversy, the near 60 Muslim Americans that perished that day are being overshadowed by Anti-Islamic sentiment from people like Renee Ellmers and Newt Gingrich. These people are Americans too, just like the Christians, Jews, Atheists, etc. that also lost their lives on that day.
The New York Times did a story of a woman widowed on 9/11 that happened to be a Muslim. Hadidjatou Karamoko Traoré’s husband was a cook at the Windows of the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. In this excerpt she describes praying to Allah at Ground Zero.
When she prays, she calls God Allah. Mrs. Traoré, 40, says praying in the pit feels entirely natural, even if some of those standing with her — widows and widowers, parents and children — blame her religion for the destruction of that day.
“That’s not fair,” she said. “It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell.”
Mrs. Traoré is the widow of one of roughly 60 Muslim victims — cooks, businessmen, emergency responders and airline passengers — believed to have died on 9/11. It is a group that has been little examined, and no precisely reliable count of their ranks exists. But their stories, when told, have frequently been offered as counterweights in the latest public argument over terrorism and Islam.
"It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell."
A statement so simple, yet so powerful. A statement that many refuse to believe. It’s time to stop this blatant hatred towards the Islamic culture and the Arab world as a whole. Generalizing an entire population because of a few radical extremists goes against what this nation was founded upon, the principles of freedom and equality for all regardless of who/what you pray to…if you do at all.