There are some things in history that should never be forgotten. What happened on 9.11.2001 is one of those occurrences that should remain indelibly etched in our memories, lest we forget. However, there are many who already seem to have forgotten what happened that horrifying morning, when radical Islamists changed our world forever. They don't seem to realize that when we forget, we become less vigilant, and that's when our enemies take advantage of us. Those with evil intent will capitalize on our inherent goodness, and the supreme stupidity that comes with thinking that everyone should be trusted. They know that when we become polarized as a country, we become weakened, and that's when they will strike. Not necessarily in the form of a terrorist attack, but through dividing and conquering us as a people. They will start by separating us through issues that we all hold near and dear. Like freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.
The whole debate surrounding the proposed mosque near Ground Zero (conveniently changed from the Cordoba Initiative to Park51), demonstrates just how this tactic can work. I have been debating many of my colleagues and friends on Facebook, who in their admirable yet naive efforts to think the best of people, fail to realize that evil does exist in this world. They refuse to see that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and his so-called attempts to heal the rifts created post 9/11 between Muslims and other religions. In spite of the fact that most of the over 70% of Americans opposed to the mosque being built near Ground Zero have no problems with it being built elsewhere, my friends insist that it should be allowed to be built as planned, and vilify those of us who disagree. We are called Islamophobes, racists, bigots, xenophobes, and no matter what you say, or what arguments you present them, or what articles you forward to them, they are incapable or unwilling to see the truth.
They couldn't care less that Rauf promotes Shariah law and, in fact, has written a book about it.
They couldn't care less that Rauf essentially blamed the U.S. for the 9/11 attacks by claiming we were an accessory to the crime.
They couldn't care less that the financing behind the project is questionable.
They couldn't care less that it was initially called "The Cordoba Initiative", and that the multi-faith prayer room was only included after people balked about both these issues.
They couldn't care less that even Muslims have criticized the decision to build a mosque in that particular space. Here, here and here.
With Islam the fastest growing religion in the world, and the surging trend towards fundamentalism, our freedoms are slowly being eroded in the West. Freedom of religion (which I will defend to my death) is not reciprocated in Muslim majority countries, and yet is demanded of Western nations. In fact, Muslim minority sects ( the Ahmadis and Ismailis, about the only ones you can truly consider moderates) are as persecuted as non-Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere. Forget freedom of speech. It doesn't exist over there, so they are trying to take it away from us in the West. Muslim organizations worldwide are trying to turn criticism of Islam into a 'hate crime'. Bloggers in Canada have been sued for being critical of the religion, and one Austrian woman has been charged with a hate crime , as has Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is still awaiting the verdict.
In our over zealous attempts to accommodate everyone, to be the good hosts not wanting to offend, we are losing the battle to what is coined as 'creeping shariah'. I realize there are Muslims in this country willing to adapt, and who love freedom as much as we do, they are the ones opposing Park51; but there are just as many who don't, and who want to turn this into a Shariah compliant nation. Shariah has no place in a modern, democratic, free society, and my good-hearted but very foolish friends can't seem to see that we're headed in that direction.
How can people not see what Islam turns into when faced with criticism, most notably the violence that ensues. I do not condone the burning of Qu'rans, as the Gainesville publicity-whore Pastor Jones had planned on doing (and still might do), in spite of the fact that Bibles have been burned by Muslims in the past. But the monumental global overreaction to this lunatic Pastor of no more than 50 congregants is beyond the pale. And as we all know, this isn't the first time there has been a major, violent reaction to something Muslims take offense to, and it seems that they take offense to pretty much everything these days.
I refuse to tiptoe around anyone, and will continue to criticize anything I feel is worthy of criticism. If we give in, they win. Though it seems they've already won, since all they have to do now is threaten violence and we back down. In fact, Rauf's interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" with Soledad O'Brien says as much, insinuating that if the mosque is not built in the planned location, it will inflame the radical Muslim world. It's obvious that most Muslim clerics exacerbate the problem by either fueling the flames or saying nothing at all; and those that do bother to condemn the violence and extremism are in danger themselves of retaliation.
It might just take another terrorist attack on our soil to open our sleeping eyes and say enough is enough. I just hope we pull our heads out of the proverbial sand before it's too late.