Posts Tagged ‘American Muslims’

America at our best: John McCain. America at our worst: Michele Bachmann and her four Congressional lap dogs

July 18, 2012

Americans welcome people who are different. They enrich our culture. They bring new energy to our society. They do us proud as a melting pot of cultures.

Americans shun people who are different. They debase our culture. They take our jobs. They seduce our children. They talk like foreigners.

So it was with Germans and Irish in the early 1800s. So it was with Jews and Chinese in the late 1800s. Italians in the early 1900s. Africans forever. And so it is with Muslims today.

At our best we befriend the stranger and his children, we treat them kindly, we hire them, and we defend them. At our worst we demean them, discriminate against them, exploit them, and attack them.

America at our worst is five House Republicans, led by Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who have accused countless American Muslims who work for the U.S. government of being secret agents (more…)

Hooray for Rick Warren for working to build bridges between America’s Christian and Muslim communities.

March 17, 2012

Rick Warren, one of America’s leading evangelical Christian leaders, last was large in the public eye when he gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration. That brought him a barrage of criticism from the right for consorting with Obama. Last week he came in for more criticism and hate mail when The Orange County Register reported on his years of effort to bring the Christian and Muslim communities together.

Warren’s work is especially welcome because many prominent evangelical pastors have been spreading a hateful view of Islam:

–Franklin Graham (son of legendary Billy Graham): “Islam is wicked and evil. I don’t believe Mohammad can lead anybody to God.”

–Jerry Falwell: “I think Mohammed was a terrorist.”

–Pat Robertson, “[Islam] is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy.”

–John Hagee: “Islam in general — those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.”

Warren deserves praise and respect as he takes on what should be a Christian duty, love thy neighbor, in the face of harsh opposition from the merchants of hate who broadcast their message under the banner of Christianity.

George W. Bush’s finest hours: his embrace of Islam and of American Muslims. We need that now from Republicans

August 28, 2011

Six days after the 9/11 attack on the United States, President George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center of Washington to publicly embrace Islam and, especially, American Muslims. He led Americans away from any idea of blaming Islam for the horror of 9/11.  He repeated that theme over and over, making it a part of his second inaugural address, and returning to the Islamic Center for its rededication in 2007.

Bush’s healing message stands sadly in contrast to the ugly anti-Muslim rhetoric we hear lately from so many prominent Republicans, notably Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Peter King, and Frank Gaffney. To their credit Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have not joined in, but neither have they been very vocal in rejection of Islamophobia.

Ethics Bob never thought he’d be missing George Bush’s leadership, but on this issue he surely does. Bush’s statements are worth reading:

September 17, 2001, at the Islamic Center of Washington (complete remarks):

“Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a—wide-ranging discussions on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks. And so were Muslims all across the world. Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, taxpaying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens.

“These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that. (more…)

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) defends Muslim judge Sohail Mohammed, calls opponents “crazies.” Hooray for an ethics hero

August 4, 2011

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has been criticized for appointing Sohail Mohammed, an American Muslim, to a New Jersey superior court. Yesterday he defended Mohammed, using words like ignorant, crap, baloney, and crazy to describe Mohammed’s critics. His statement was strong and inspiring for its passion and plain English.

Defending Muslims as patriotic Americans, and ridiculing the notion that Sharia law is a threat to America, is sadly rare in today’s Republican Party. Christie is an up-and-coming Republican politician, and his spirited defense of an American Muslim appointee will cost him many friends on the Republican right. America badly needs leaders who will stand up—like Christie—to the extremists in their parties.

Thanks to Jack Marshall and his Ethics Alarms blog for anointing Christie an ethics hero.

Hooray for Romney and Paul for eschewing the politics of discrimination and hatred against Muslims and gays at the GOP debate

June 15, 2011

It feels awkward to praise in an ethics column somebody for showing simple decency, but considering today’s Republican candidates, simple decency is nothing to sneeze at.

So hooray for Mitt Romney for standing up for the rights of American Muslims. Romney dismissed the idea that Sharia law could ever be applied in American courts (“We have a Constitution”), and rejected Herman Cain’s position that Muslims should be singled out and treated differently (“We treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion.”)

By contrast, Cain and Newt Gingrich made it clear that they would be very reluctant to have any Muslims serve under them. The other participants, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul didn’t comment in the debate.

Bachmann has in the past shown suspicion toward American Muslims, while Santorum has stated that he considers Muslims to be as good American citizens as anybody. Paul has been downright heroic on this issue, blasting those in the conservative movement who use “hatred against Muslims to rally support.”

On another subject Paul earned praise from Ethics Alarms for his ethical and libertarian position on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He was the only candidate to reject the policy.

Open Letter to President Obama from a Muslim Family

May 20, 2011

Here is an “Open Letter to President Obama from a Muslim Family.” It contrasts his message to the Muslim world of dignity and civil rights with the treatment many American Muslims face in the United States. If you believe in the Bill of Rights and in American values this letter will alarm you. It’s a call for Presidential leadership. I hope the President heeds it.

Worth watching: the CNN documentary, Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door– Soledad O’Brien

April 1, 2011

 

CNN last week ran an excellent documentary about the controversy over a planned new mosque/community center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It’s called Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door– Soledad O’Brien. The video runs 42 minutes. An excellent summary of it is here.

It’s upsetting to contrast how ordinary American are the Muslims of Murfreesboro with how fearful and suspicious are the mosque’s opponents. The idea that the American Muslims are “other” is reminiscent of similar arguments made about African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Jewish Americans, and, much earlier, Irish-Americans.

We Americans take pride in our diversity, and in America as a melting pot, but we still have the capacity to summon up a layer of hate and suspicion from just under the surface.

 

Listening to American Muslims talk about Ramadan on “Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet”

August 13, 2010

Keeping in shape has gotten easier for me since I got an iPhone and discovered a PBS program, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet. I listen to this on a podcast on my iPhone, and it makes the hour at the gym go by much faster.

This week’s program is called Revealing Ramadan, and Krista describes it this way:

“14 Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam’s holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one’s family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.”

I found this a fascinating window into Islam, American style. It’s a little foreign to a non-observant Jew like me, but what was so striking to me was not its foreignness but its sameness—nothing about the people speaking seemed any different from the family next door—to any one. I wish the people railing about mosques at Ground Zero, in Murfreesboro, or Temecula, could listen to the stories these Americans—and one Brit—tell.

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More about the mosque: Hatred spewing from the National Republican Trust PAC

July 17, 2010

The hate message is undisguised: “Where we Americans weep, they rejoice and intend to erect a shrine to the 9/11 terrorists they hail as martyrs. “

The “they” in the message can only refer to the moderate and patriotic American Muslims who support building a mosque and community center 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero. It’s not too big a stretch to think it also refers to Mayor Bloomberg, the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan, and everyone else who supports it.

The message is courtesy of Scott Wheeler, whose web site, www.goptrust.com, explains, “The National Republican Trust Political Action Committee (NRT PAC) was formed as an independent organization to help promote American values and support federal candidates for Congress, Senate and the Presidency who share those values. The NRT is committed to continuing the legacy of Ronald Reagan.”

Watch the vile ad to see what hate is being spread under the mantle of conservatism and Ronald Reagan. NBC and CBS have refused to air it, but it’s viral on the internet. Shades of the anti-Semitism of the 1930s.

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The mosque at Ground Zero is friendly, unobtrusive, and as American as the 92nd Street Y

June 12, 2010

I went to see for myself what the mosque at Ground Zero is like. Considering the fuss made over the mosque by the New York Post and by the thousands of people who post rabid anti-mosque messages every three minutes on a Facebook group, I thought it would be easy to find; just go to Ground Zero and look around.

Nope, you can’t see it from Ground Zero, and none of the half-dozen locals I asked had any idea what I was talking about. I finally remembered that it was in a former Burlington Coat Factory store. I googled “Burlington Coat Factory Ground Zero New York,” and there it was: 45 Park Place (closed). Two blocks up Church Street from Ground Zero and a half-block into Park Place.

You can’t see the mosque from Ground Zero, and you can’t see Ground Zero from the mosque. We walked in and were greeted by Kemal, the caretaker, who was busy scrubbing the floor. He invited us to take off our shoes and look around. There wasn’t much to see—old drab retail space, completely empty except for the indoor/outdoor carpet that serves as a prayer rug.

The Imam is Feisal Abdul Rauf, a graduate of Columbia University who has worked for twenty years to build bridges between American Muslims and the broad public, and between America and the Muslim world. (more…)


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