Over the past few months, New York City has been embroiled in a controversy over religious freedom with the proposed establishment of a Muslim community center about two blocks from Ground Zero. Though I am not surprised by the outrage of the people of New York over this community center, given the fact that it is near Ground Zero, I am surprised at the level that we have stooped to attempt to eliminate religious freedom in this country.
Many people claim that Islam is not the issue, and that the issue is the building of a Muslim center near a site that has such significance. Though this might be the case for some people, the New York Times shows that opposition against Islam is on the rise, and not because of where they might put a certain Mosque.
While a high-profile battle rages over a mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, heated confrontations have also broken out in communities across the country where mosques are proposed for far less hallowed locations.
This is what fundamentalism does in a country. As I have been stating over and over, fundamentalism is based upon control of thought, truth, and freedom. Dissent is not allowed in a fundamentalist state. Because fundamentalist "Christianity" sees Islam as a threat to their control over the United States, they assert that the religion should not be protected in American society...
In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off.In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself. They quote passages from the Koran and argue that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Shariah law.
“As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”
“I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion,” she said. “But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.”In American History we have seen this anger play out not only against Muslims for their supposed "violence" or "attempt to institute Shariah Law", but we have also seen it come against Catholics - who would subvert mainline protestant American culture with the will of the Pope - and Jews - who were "Jesus killers" and who would infiltrate American society with evil morals and communism. Yet the same people who were persecuted because of their beliefs in this country are now doing it to practitioners of Islam. Yet, why do we have such hatred for each other? It can be summed up in one word: Fear. People fear the other; they fear the one they do not understand.
Hopefully the Muslim community in the United States will not cave to the pressure of the fundamentalists, and will instead be a shining light in the Islamic community. This last quote, though making me sad that they have to resign themselves to this mentality, gives me hope that one day we will stop having these petty arguments over religious freedom...
“Every new group coming to this country — Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese — has gone through this,” Dr. Mirza said. “Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.”