Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

Today is 9/11. Our lives have been so shaped by it that I have no need to explain to anyone who will read this what I mean by “9/11″.

We left for the Middle East in January, 2002, only 4 months after 9/11. I remember being with friends right after 9/11 had happened and listening them to tell me why we surely couldn’t go to “those Muslims” now. There was a lot of fear among Americans then. There still is. Unfortunately, this has caused some non-Muslims to say and even do things that shame us all. The result is that Muslims today feel more fearful than before.

Sumbul Ali-Karamali wrote an enlightening piece on CNN, “American Muslims Live in Fear 11 Years after 9/11″. There has been an increase in anti-Islalmic rhetoric and crimes. This is tragic. It has certainly changed the landscape for our Muslim neighbors.

The Islamophobia that seems to continue to gain steam is unhealthy and destructive to our nation and ultimately our own souls.

For American Muslims, the past decade has been tumultuous. We have emerged from private life to public life, into the public sphere in an effort to aid understanding between the communities of our multicultural country.

We do it not only for ourselves, but because irrational fear of Islam and Muslims is bad for all Americans: it frays the social fabric of our society; it creates divisions between Americans; it affects the health of our democracy; and it affects the wisdom of our policy choices.

It’s not too late to invite your Muslim neighbors over for dinner in order to love them by hearing from them what Islam is about. Such hospitality and pursuit of understanding seems like a fitting tribute to those who died on 9/11.

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Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things is a very creative (and humorous) site that seeks to break down stereotypes of Muslims and what many think of as “Muslim garb”.

Here is an example:

Nadia Firozvi. Muslim, friend, lawyer, snuggie lover.

HT: Muslimah Media Watch

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In this short video Hussein Rashid and Joseph Cumming share their thoughts on the Ground Zero mosque controversy. I found Joseph’s comments to be very helpful in thinking about how Christians should respond. How does loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39) impact our view on this? How does Jesus’ command to do unto others as would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12) impact our view on this?

HT: Become Like Children

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A Little Perspective

Image viaMark Shea:

It’s easy as pie to generalize to millions of people the crimes of a few. We Catholics have had it done to us. And we can have it done to us again. So we should be bloody cautious about insane schemes to do it to 18 million fellow citizens.

The grotesque excuse “But the the first amendment is dead, and Islam killed it. There is no ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘freedom of religion’ with the threat of Muslim violence hanging over your head” is rubbish. Cancelling the rights of 307 million people because you are, by your own admission,afraid is neither patriotism, nor courage, nor Christian fortitude. It is cowardice. And it is extra-special cowardice when you are ready to cancel your most precious national heritage because you are afraid of a speck.

[From Chart Of The Day via Islamicate]

Note: Even though the population of American Muslims is probably quite high and there are other Islamist terrorist groups, the point of the diagram remains.

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From ABC News:

A New York City cab driver was attacked Tuesday evening just after 6 p.m. by a passenger who asked him if he was Muslim, says the NYPD. A spokesman for a New York City cabbie group blamed the attack on the proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack, but police said they were not aware of any link.

Read the whole thing.

HT: E-baad-e News

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Is America Islamophobic?

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It is Ramadan. Muslims all over the world are fasting from sunrise to sunset. At the end of the month they will celebrate with one of the two most important holidays in Islam: Eid Al Fitr. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar it is possible that this holiday will land on September 11. No one reading this needs to be reminded of the significance of that day.

Unfortunately, Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11 have had to contend with lots of backlash from that day and no doubt it will be even louder if the holiday lands on 9/11.

I was moved with compassion as I read Haroon Moghul’s thoughtful article about this convergence. I encourage you to read it and see that American Muslims endured loss on 9/11 as well.

It was worrying enough to think about how some people might misinterpret such a convergence, and that was before the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric. Every other day, I’m greeted with someone arguing that Muslims are all evil, that we shouldn’t have any more mosques in America, that we are a dastardly fifth column. The assumption here is always that Muslims are foreigners and intruders, that we are strangers in our own lands, unwelcome in our own homes.

It is easy for us to forget that there were also Muslim victims on 9/11. Moghul lives in New York and was there when the towers came down. Two fears came over him, “How do I explain that I was scared because my city was attacked, but I was also scared because people might blame me?” Not sure of what to do he went to the Muslim prayer room they had on campus and found a Jewish student. When Haroon asked him what he was doing he replied:

“I figured that some Muslims might feel uncomfortable walking home”—people had already begun to blame any number of extremist Muslim groups, and of course the subways had been shut down—“and that, if I walked home with them, maybe people would think twice before trying anything.” (He wore a yarmulke).

This reminds me of when America invaded Iraq in 2003. We were living in Syria at the time and the day of the invasion a Syrian friend called to check on us. She wanted to go to the store and get some groceries so that we wouldn’t have to go out in case we were afraid of any backlash.

The Ground Zero Mosque
I have sought to stay away from politics on this blog. I am stunned to see that what one thinks about whether there should be a mosque built near Ground Zero (not on it) has become political. It shouldn’t be. It seems appropriate at the end of this post to say that I support the building of the mosque and I am saddened to think that Americans who enjoy the greatest religious freedom in the world would be opposed.

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