American Muslims Under Fire

evergreen-park-cemeteryF*ck u rag head.”

Mohamad is a liar & a fagit.”

This graffiti is scrawled across the tomb of a Palestinian-American’s father’s grave in Chicago’s Evergreen Park cemetery.

It’s one of many such Islamophobic acts being carried out by groups of Americans – including attacks on seven mosques across the U.S. in the past two weeks alone.

 

As reported by CNN, Muslims are being forced to celebrate their holiest month, the month of Ramadan, away from their places of worship.

I think there are a few people who don’t like anybody,” says Iftikhar Ali, president of a Joplin, Missouri mosque which was attacked and burned to the ground last week. “They don’t like a different color than their color, or different religions.”

Ali, along with countless American Muslims, are being pushed by violent hate crimes to steer clear of mosques, worshipping instead in convention centers guarded by law enforcement officers.

So, what?” a portion of Americans may think. “Small price to pay, compared to 9-11!

But, what if American Indians / Africans / Vietnamese / Iraqis / Latin Americans / et. al foreigners whom we’ve invaded and attacked feel the same way about us?

Should we accommodate their justifiable resentment? Roll over and play bad guy to erroneous persecution of us all, based on the actions of our government and rogue elements?

IIbrahim Hooper, Spokesman for the civil rights and advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CNN this week that the escalation in attacks on Muslims in the U.S. “is unprecedented in its scale and scope. Anti-Muslim rhetoric has been building for years, especially from groups formed specifically to fight against Islam in the United States.”

And, adds Hooper, “There’s an Islamophobia machine working out there.” He cites an example in the recent comment Republican Representative Joe Walsh made to to a packed town hall event in Chicago.

I’m not sure of a lot of things,” said Walsh. “But one thing I am sure of is that there are people in this country, there is a radical strain of Islam in this country…trying to kill Americans every week.

Ahmed Rehab, of Chicago’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Al Jazeera that “while politicians such as Walsh and others weren’t telling people to go out and wage attacks against Muslims, the things they’re saying are clearly having an effect…we are seeing a correlation between the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric and the violent crime on houses of worship, schools and other Muslim targets.”

As reported by CBS, representatives from several religious groups gathered to denounce Congressman Walsh’s comments. Says Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, “There is no place for hatred, intolerance, divisive  rhetoric, nor Islamophobia in our community.”

And Michael Mann, of the United Methodist Church, pleads with Americans to “Stop the fear. Stop the hate. Stop it.”

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What do you think about Republican Representative Joe Walsh’s statement?

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World News Wednesday

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14 thoughts on “American Muslims Under Fire

  1. Pingback: Commentary: Time for Obama to say something about mosque attacks across U.S. «

  2. Sorry to be so late getting back to comment. I voted in the poll, confidently expecting that my selection, “Islamophobia is a destructive expression of fear & ignorance that is a danger to democracy,” was going to be the run away favorite (not that that’s why I voted as I did). I was shocked that “Muslims should not be allowed to live in America,” got the most votes. I wonder if any of these voters, who obviously are concerned about America, ever heard of the Freedom of Religion clause in the Constitution. That was eye opening – and exactly the reason that people like Rep. Walsh get elected.

    • I knew you would vote that way. 🙂 I made an anonymous poll on this post because I recognize this as a highly controversial topic that many Westerners would not feel comfortable stating their views about openly. So, I’m not shocked by the most popular choice here. Unfortunately, the way it appears in our country now – as evidenced by this news story & research stats concerning the increasing number of attacks on Muslims, and non-Muslim Arabs, Indians, etc. whom Americans perceive to be Arab or Muslim, is that our Freedom of Religion clause does not apply to Muslims.

  3. It is a wonder to me why we make it to lunch each day without killing each other off—seriously.

    How is each day supposed to go: wake, run to the bathroom, dress, eat, then hate and kill somebody different than you? Is that our purpose in life?

    In regard to scary “differences,” where does one draw the line: religion, race, politics/philosophy, sexual preference, age, looks, bad teeth, sex? What? Perhaps waffling on the decision of who to shoot first is the only thing that keeps us alive.

    Sad . . .

  4. There are good and bad Muslims, just like there are good and bad everything else. You ignore the bad ones at your peril, but we shouldn’t punish to good ones. Like everything else though, identifying good and bad is rather dicey.

      • My comment was not about the amount of effort being applied, but the difficulty of discernment no matter how hard you try. At the very best, it can only be subjective and at the very worst prejudiced. I think the Muslims who murdered my husband’s cousin were bad, but some Muslim somewhere might think they were good Muslims for wiping out an influential infidel who’d gotten rich off the backs of other good Muslims. From my point of view the cousin’s primary sin was owning a car and a laptop. Am I qualified to make that judgement? Are you?

  5. Religion is a leader in hate when, it is suppose to be a purification of one’s soul., a leader of love of all humankind. It is not so much that each religious path is failing, it is instead, the individuals proclaiming to follow, and distorting those paths.

    Sadly we are left with a distortion of humankind’s relationship with one another in the name of religion.

    The entire specie hates, and is hated.

    Sick specie.

    • Thank you, Dave, for this enlightening comment. I think it is so important what you point out about it not being religion itself which fails, but instead humans who distort it. Much is being distorted about Islam, I believe, and Muslims in this country are suffering because of it. Very sad…

  6. great post to begin my day with. I think every community has people that resist inclusion of outsiders into the community. Within Islam itself, Shiaites do not like to live with Sunnis. Would Mormons and Catholics be happy neighbors? This is a natural instinct to safeguard one’s interests which is even displayed in animals.
    So why does it become such a big problem when Islam is involved? Acceptance into a community becomes easier when there is cultural likeness. It is easier for a Christian and Hindu to get along if they have the same American Culture. Cultural similarity outranks religious differences in creating communal harmony. And this is where Islam fails. Islam teaches its followers to live their lives in a way closest to the way Prophet Muhammad lived. This means to rid oneself of the culture one is brought up in and adopt an appearance that closely resembles medieval Arab. This creates friction between Muslims and others in a community because a real, “in your face” cultural difference gets created.
    e.g. In Islam, God never said that women must cover themselves up in veils etc. It is a medieval Arab custom that spread across the world with Islam. Another example is the growing of beard in a particular manner which is prevalent across the Muslim world. This too was an Arab custom and not a religious diktat that spread all over.
    People need to clearly distinguish religion from culture. Religion is a personal belief and must not be interfered with. Culture is a social parameter and must be respected by all citizens of the community.

    • Thank you for this very thought-provoking comment, Raunak. There’s much here to consider: the resistance to ‘outsiders’ in a culture…the belief that cultural similarity outranks religious difference…your point about the need to distinguish culture from religion – and I would say this is a vital point. For, I believe, it’s important to respect one’s religion regardless of cultural difference – which, as you point out, is much easier said than done. But when that religion is being distorted, then erroneously applied to an entire people and used to persecute, well, something is very wrong with this. I think education is key, here. Painting an entire people with one brushstroke of ignorance will never lead to understanding or peace.

      Another point you make is also key, and I really appreciate your insight on this: a person’s religion AND culture must be respected. Because oftentimes the two are intertwined.

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