If you are reading this blog, you are aware of the made up controversy surrounding the construction of a Muslim cultural and community center, which includes a mosque, about 2 blocks north of the World Trade Center site, called Park51. This past weekend there was an anti-"mosque" protest and a counter rally in support of the cultural center.
Looking at some of the signs by those anti-mosque protesters filled me with a terrible resolve and yet great sadness. Allow me to disgust you:
"A Mosque at Ground Zero Spits on the Graves of 9/11 Victims Stand Up America""Sharia Sharia Sharia""Building a Mosque at Ground Zero is Like Building a Memorial to Hitler at Auschwitz""Stop Islam""No Mosque at a War Memorial"
I'll stop there, because I am nauseated this happened in my city.
This is a fake controversy, created by racial and religious bigots, picked up by Fox News, and now pushed to this point. I hate to remind such hatemongers like Pamela Geller, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the knuckle draggers so secure in their own self evident superiority in the eyes of some amorphous creator: this is the United States of America; if you hate the central creed of this great nation, then leave.
As for all those overly sensitive persons who think "it's too close," I have to ask: "Too close to what? Why?" I say to them: "Stop conflating one group of Muslims for another. Muslims are not fungible. There are many sects, just like in Christianity, and it is simpleminded to lump them altogether."
Islam, like Christianity, runs the gamut, from right to left, and high minded to low. A Catholic or Presbyterian would not want to be lumped together with the Westboro Baptist Church or the Christian Identity Movement. Yet that's what everyone against the Park51 project is doing to them, who are members of the peaceful, mystical Sufist sect. If you don't know what Sufism is, or why this is relevant, then look it up and learn something.
Now, to salute a truly great American, Elaine Brower, one of the founders of a group called the New York City Coalition to Stop Islamophobia. She was inspired by her thrice deployed Marine son to action when he said to her:
"Mommy, I thought we lived in America. I thought I fought for freedom. What's going on with these people?"
Ms. Brower is not Muslim. But she answers the clarion call of the central freedom of our nation, and is not cowed by the doomsayers or the inflamed emotions of event he truly righteously angry. But she sees through the fog of emotion and hatred to that which is the prize: the inexorable march forward of this nation toward freedom for all citizens.
It is always easier to go with the herd and pick on the unpopular kid. It is always more difficult to defend the downtrodden against the unthinking masses. These days it is American Muslims that are the class peon, and Elaine Brower is standing up to the bullies.
And make no mistake: those ignorant, dour faced, flag waving, angry sign holding, hate filled crowds are the bullies. Even if they think they are right.
The Park51 project has become, unwittingly, the front line in the fight for religious freedom and cultural acceptance in the United States. There is no compromise with hatred and ignorance. I implore Ms. Brower and the principals of the Park51 project to not back down. Don't let the bigotry of the masses frighten you. You have the power of the Constitution and the righteousness of the promise of this greatest of nations behind you.