Stop, stop, stop hurting the world! Part 1

For some dumb reason I’ve been sitting on a bunch of half-formed thoughts on recent events. Waiting for them to grow up all by themselves maybe? Whatever. I’m done. No more sitting on the sidelines. People are getting hurt, people are dying! These are still merely half-formed, but as a follower of God in the way of Jesus I cannot and will not be silent. I can and will and must say to all those who insist on hating and persecuting and bullying others: enough!

The news cycle seems to have left this one behind, but I’m gonna weigh in on the whole Lower Manhattan Islamic Cultural Center debate anyway. You know, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque which, as has been widely repeated, is neither at Ground Zero nor a Mosque.

Of course they should be able to build it!

Heather Hahn of the United Methodist News Service wrote an excellent article about the reactions of some area United Methodists. Read the whole thing here: United Methodists address mosque conflicts – UMC.org.

Money quotes:

The United Methodist Book of Resolutions calls for “better relationships between Christians and Muslims on the basis of informed understanding, critical appreciation and balanced perspective of one another’s basic beliefs.”

Another resolution calls for United Methodists to denounce discrimination against Muslims and “counter stereotypical and bigoted statements made against Muslims and Islam, Arabs and Arabic culture.”

Then there is this angle, which I for one, was not expecting:

Welcoming local mosques also may help national security. A two-year Duke University study on American Muslims and terrorism concluded that mosques might actually be a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam.

“Our findings are that healthy, robust Muslim communities can be a bulwark against radicalization,” said David Schanzer, an associate professor at Duke and one of the study’s authors. “We don’t know exactly why individuals radicalize. But most terrorism studies show that individuals who go down that path feel alienated. They don’t feel that they fit into (the) wider society in which they live.”

A strong Muslim community that is part of the mainstream can offer young Muslims the support they need without them turning to radical clerics online, he said.

I’ve been saying for a while now that being anti-gay is the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice. (About which, more soon.) But it sure seems as though being anti-Muslim is suddenly a close second! That’s gotta stop too. I’m proud to say that a Muslim group uses our church for prayer meetings and social gatherings. This group, called Irshad Learning Group, has been without a place of their own because the spineless county board voted to disallow them from building on property the group already owned!

And right across the street and just down the street two huge new Christian church buildings were allowed to build.

So to all the Muslim-haters in our country, I say: Stop, stop, stop hurting American and the world!!

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2 thoughts on “Stop, stop, stop hurting the world! Part 1

  1. Chris

    Why don’t you say what you really feel!

    It’s so easy for me to throw out the “hater” tag when you disagree with me. First it makes me feel better about myself because I now have the high road, I’m the good guy. Second it places the other guy on the defensive by marginalizing him and having to continually justify not being a hater. Does this really encourage discourse? Does this really engender understanding and an opportunity to get past preconceived notions or suspicions. Maybe that’s not what you want after all. Maybe you figure that the best way to win is to silence others by using pejorative language and labels. If the “other side” is doing that too, oh well. I’ll just use the same tactics. Turn about is fair play. Does this sound mature or even logical?

    President Obama has said that we need a national conversation about these things. Calling people haters and bigots will never get them to the table of conversation. All people have their own hidden or suppressed prejudices. Everyone. Even you. If people get called names and are purposefully embarrassed they will hold on to those prejudices in silence, but they won’t be eradicated. There will never be true healing.

    People have suspicions. I have mine so let me be open about them.

    First off, I love all people. I really do. I have never met an ethnic group that I have any kind of knee-jerk revulsion towards. I love other cultures and am the product of a culture that is not white anglo-saxon or American. But an objective look around the world will tell you that people can be misled and become irrational. It isn’t only true that “individuals who go down that path (of radicalization) feel alienated. They don’t feel that they fit into (the) wider society in which they live.” Read “My Year Inside Radical Islam” by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross for some insight into the process of radicalization. His was a story of a healthy upbringing with loving parents.

    There is a lingering suspicion that when Islamic fundamentalists have conquered a given territory they erect a mosque. Historically this is true. It may not be the case that this is what’s happening here but then again not much has been done to assuage those suspicions. No one is saying that Muslims don’t have the right to build in a certain place, but rather people are questioning it’s wisdom at this particular time. In England there are enormous mega-mosques being erected with funding coming from the Saudis. The same Saudis who will not permit open preaching of other religions in their own countries. The level of radicalization in England coming out of these mosques is disturbing. They are creating their own enclaves in cities and neighborhoods and becoming extremely aggressive. I don’t want that here. In all the interviews I’ve seen with representatives of the New York mosque I’ve heard virtually nothing about where it’s funding is coming from. This is a pretty major, sleek, modern building they are proposing. Can all the money really be coming from the local muslims in the community?

    I’ve been open and honest and put myself on the line, as it were, about my concerns regarding the mosque issue. You now have an opportunity. You can call me names, tell me I’m stupid, call me bigoted, or you can take into consideration that at least some of my concerns have some basis in fact and are warranted, and here is why you should reconsider your position, or at least perhaps here’s how we can now move forward.
    I am a person who is trying very hard to get past all the yelling and name-calling and to inch his way closer to a clearer understanding of what is true. I’m also trying very hard to get past any personal prejudices I may hold. I hope you are doing the same. Conversation with others helps to facilitate that understanding. Name calling doesn’t.

    1. Chris, thanks for taking the time to read my silly little blog here and for commenting. You bring up some interesting points, which I hope to address soon.

      For now, let me say this: you’re right, of course, that I too have prejudices. And you might well be right that my approach here may not be the best for creating conversation. I’ll keep that in mind. I guess I’m pretty mad at the bigotry displayed in this story (and the one involving the Muslim group at my church and the anti-gay bullying and…), so a little cyber-yelling felt pretty good.

      More later… Thanks again for engaging. -Dave

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