Friday, August 27, 2010

New York City mosque and frank discussion

It seems the controversy over the New York City mosque has boiled down to those who oppose it claiming it sullies the memory of those who died because those who did the killing did it in the name of Islam and those who support it claiming that the opponents are bigots or are prejudiced. The pro forces claim that to oppose it means that you blame all Muslims for the actions of a few or you are being Islamophobic.

Apologists for Islam are constantly pointing out that Islam is not monolithic – there are different schools of thought and there are Sunnis and Shias as the two main, but quarreling, streams of Islam. The fight between Sunni and Shia, however, has to do with theological history within the faith. As far as Muslim relations with the non-Islamic world, all 4 recognized schools of Islamic doctrine do not differentiate in any meaningful way, whether you are Sunni or Shia. Jihad against the non-Islamic world is a fundamental religious obligation in either stream.

Many commentators and editorial writers have decried the politicization of the issue. I think, to the contrary, it is a good thing this matter has blown up into a national debate. It is less than 2 weeks away from the 9th anniversary of 9/11. It is about time the people of the United States had a frank and open examination of America’s relationship with the Islamic world. One wonders why it took so long.

In the 18 months since Barack Hussein Obama has been the President of the United States he has ventured into this relationship like a defeated Muslim-whipped dhimmi, constantly praising Islam for things it doesn’t deserve and trying to re-write American history in the same way the European have revised their history to make it sound like it has always been about Islam. Since about 70% of Americans in national polls indicate they oppose the building of this Islamic structure in the place proposed, it is clear that he is out of step with his citizens in a very big way. If this issue were the only thing on which he were being judged, then his approval rating would be no more than 30%.

While I am sure that there are bigots involved in opposition, to brand all opposition as simply being bigoted is itself a form of bigotry. There are many thoughtful people who have spoken out and said that for a religion that demands the utmost deference from non-Muslims (sometimes with the implied threat of violence otherwise) it has shown itself to be singularly resistant to the sensitivities of the general American public.

Secondly, there are an increasing number of people who are throwing off the shackles of political correctness and moral relativism and reminding themselves that America is not “one of the world’s largest Muslim countries” as Obama said in his Cairo speech, but is, in fact, a fundamentally Christian country, with a secular constitution. To stand in support of the beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the U.S. to counter the belief system of another religion and culture is not bigotry. To take a position that your cultural norms are better than their cultural norms may be prejudice, but that does not mean it is not warranted.

The fundamental concept underlying the pejorative notion of bigotry and prejudice are that they are without thought or reason. If the opponents have said that they have examined their own belief systems and that of Islam and prefer their own beliefs, how is that bigotry?

That is why I like the current debate. It forces the nation to re-examine its roots and its principles free from the thought-control of the political elites and media establishment.