Posts Tagged ‘hate’

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.

 

Tolerance and hate in New York: update on the mosque “at” Ground Zero

July 15, 2010

The long-running saga of a Muslim-American group’s effort to build a community center and mosque two and a half blocks from Ground Zero ended another chapter Wednesday night. New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on whether to declare the group’s 150-year old building to be a historic landmark, and thus require its preservation as is.

The hearing drew a robust crowd, hardly any of whom cared a bit about the building. The real issue was whether to allow a Muslim center near Ground Zero. Most of the arguments made in favor of landmark designation were anti-Muslim rants, like that of an unidentified woman who said “It would be a terrible mistake to destroy a 150-year old building in order to build a monument to terrorism.”

Dania Darwish, a new graduate of New York’s Fort Hamilton High School, argued for the mosque:

“My family died that day…You’re yelling at me and you don’t know. If a mosque was built maybe you would know what Islam is about.”

The community isn’t particularly bigoted—New Yorkers pride themselves on their diversity, and a Manhattan community board recently voted 29-1 with ten abstentions to approve the mosque.. If you expected New York Jews to be opposed, guess again: New York’s Jewish Week reported that Jewish leaders haven’t made a big deal about the center, and the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan even offered some advice. Jewish elected officials (more…)

Anti-Muslim rants on Facebook: “1,000,000+ people who disapprove of building a mosque at Ground Zero!”

May 30, 2010

There’s a Facebook group called “1,000,000+ people who disapprove of building a mosque at Ground Zero!” It has 109,000 members so far, and the postings are mostly rabid anti-Muslim rants and slurs. Most of the members—even those not apparently driven by hate of Muslims—refer to all Muslims as “they”—as in they are terrorists, or they attacked us on 9/11.

There’s some background on the mosque here. Just last week a Manhattan community board struck a blow for New York-style tolerance and diversity by voting 29-1 with ten abstentions to approve the mosque. There are more hurdles ahead, but the community sentiment is in a good place.

I’ve joined the group to join the conversation. Wouldn’t it be nice if 109,000 more people joined who believed in religious freedom, and in NOT attributing to an entire people the acts of the worst of them. Go ahead and join up. You could join the conversation and perhaps inject a note of love-your-neighbor to the group. Who knows, it might be catching.

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Palin was the best part of the Tea Party convention, the audience the worst

February 14, 2010

Sarah Palin gave a rousing speech at the Tea Party convention, raking and mocking President Obama with zingers like “How’s that hope-y, change-y stuff workin’ out for ya?” The crowd enthused, having paid $350 to hear the speech live, and the left’s commentators tut-tutted over Palin’s writing notes on her hand to help her remember her key points. All in good fun.

But there was a truly ugly side of the convention. Tea Partiers can no longer pass off the birthers as a tiny group of nuts that aren’t representative of true Tea Partiers. Not after the crowd’s wild enthusiasm for Tom Tancredo’s keynote speech. Ex-congressman Tancredo (R-CO) explained that “Barack Hussein Obama” was only elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote.” [Wild cheers]

“People who could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.” [More wild cheers]

I’m not sure who he was referring to. Perhaps it was Latinos and African-Americans who couldn’t have voted had there been a literacy test—like in the good old days when blacks were turned away from polls all over the South, no matter how literate they were, because the point of the tests was to turn them away.

I’m pretty sure, however, what the crowd was cheering. It was that Obama voters were others, a different species, not even entitled to be part of the American system. The crowd responded to hate speech with cheers.

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