Ani-mosque-ity

or: The Church is as much the building as the Mosque is the minaret

or: Crumble the house of God and you do nothing to deter his people from his love

All over the country in states like California, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and even New York, protestors of all stripes are rallying against proposed blights on their communities applying for permits and trying to build expansive buildings. People are coming out of the woodwork to fight the construction of these facilities. Brandishing signs denouncing the international entity they bring dogs, shouting, calling for town hall meetings and signing petitions to stop these people from coming in and settling near schools, subdivisions, and in vacant lots. With a heartfelt love for their cities, towns, and the welfare of the children, they are fighting tooth and nail anything they don’t want to come in to their lives.

What are you thinking right now? Who do you think it is that is infiltrating and ruining our way of life from small towns to big cities? No, it’s not proposed Wal-Mart Superstores set to ruin local businesses bringing the mullet laden from the outskirts to hunt for bargains on lawn flamingoes and wholesale tires…it’s Muslims wanting to build Mosques.

All over this country people and groups are unifying to fight sites set for construction of Mosques. In the past the protestors might have fought them based on noise violations, traffic jams, and parking issues; today they are pulling out the big guns of outright racism and bald-faced religious persecution claiming a Mosque is a breeding ground for terrorists; one that these people don’t want anywhere near their backyard. Never mind that there are already nearly 2,000 Mosques in the country.

It is the argument of the opposition that Islamic law and belief runs contradictory to the US Constitution and rights. They assert that Muslims only want to take over the country and install Shariah Law where our Bill of Rights and Constitution once stood. In the eyes of one protestor, “…in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.” “Overtaken” seems a bit harsh. I would think this country is currently overtaken by Christian values miring our ability to live freely and openly, but it just doesn’t garner the same support at my weekly bridge club and rotary meetings. Does this person honestly think that at any point this nation is going to let the Constitution be thrown aside or that we would sit idly by as prayer, Islamic prayer, is implemented in schools? We as a people would take up arms like in the revolution before the whispers of such an idea left the lips of anyone able to make that happen, which I am pretty sure the President can’t even do; at least I hope. I see myself as an intelligent person and I have no idea how to speak to a person who feels this same fear that Hitler once preached about the “Negroes” and Jews of the world ruining the great race’s ability to live.

Jewish anti-defamation groups, Christians, Catholics, and even former Muslims have come out fighting these proposed sites. The most heated battle of course is the Mosque trying to clear all the permits for building in close proximity to Ground Zero. Coming out against this location are great political powerhouses that are the “prominent Republican” Sarah Palin and “former house speaker” Newt Gingrich. Sure, when a former 2/3 term Governor and a has been punchline like Newt jump on board you know you’ve got some traction and some clearly open-minded and tolerant people speaking on the behalf of clear headed Americans everywhere.

In these incidents of protest I love the signs I am seeing and pictures of priests in collars speaking to the dangers of Islam. I feel like I should be watching Deliverance or some other film on the tragedy that is “redneckery.” I know these battles are raging all over the country, but all I hear is banjo music in the back of my head. I imagine a frothy-mouthed German Shepherd leaping at the tension of its leash as a soccer mom in a hand-knitted Christmas sweater shouts and brandishes a sign saying “Mosques are a monument to terrorism.” With Catholics speaking out against the evils of Islam and the dangers to our way of life, Christians screaming messages of intolerance, and Jews railing against the inhumanity in Islam (the same Jews that brought us the gem that is circumcision, thank you for that), I wonder if any of them see the hypocrisy of it all?

What gets me is that people are speaking in such broad strokes about such a diverse and world reaching religion that is Islam. With approx. 1.57 billion Muslims spread across the world I think we can safely say that they comprise a fairly diverse portion of the population. I don’t think opposing these sites for the building of a Mosque is going to make this religion go away. Christians were persecuted and on the outskirts of society with no houses of worship on a grand scale until Constantine converted the empire to the religion; didn’t stop Christianity from growing. Opponents are saying that Islam is inherently violent, a militarized religion bent on world control and conversion looking to oppress other religions and people with their beliefs. Sure, and the over 2.2 billion Christians of the world don’t want anyone to listen to them and their message. Boy, it is so hard to throw a rock and hit a Christian church with more audio and video equipment than a Skid Row concert for the purpose of “worship” and yet still want your 10% tithe every week. No, Christians are hiding that little light of theirs in a bush and playing the divinity of Christ close to the chest.

Catholics have not a leg to stand on. I am sorry, but your religion’s personal Mecca that is Vatican City is a sovereign nation with it’s own military force. On a whim the Pope could take and occupy Cuba without breaking a papal sweat. I really don’t think that Catholicism can speak to the militarization of Islam, and not to mention the breeding ground of terrorists has long since been Catholicism. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the fall of Jerusalem, The Troubles in Ireland…Have we forgotten about these little incidents that have burned holes in your authority as a force for good? Sure you may feed the hungry but there are a whole lot fewer mouths thanks to the “my way or the highway” hardline position your God takes. I find it hard to believe that anyone of this faith can honestly hold their head up and begin to point fingers at a religion that references Catholicism and the respect with which the misguided Christians and Catholics should be held in. Catholicism, if it’s a choice between you or Islam I’d rather be blown up than molested, so I’m hedging my bets.

Christianity, how have you been? Busy? I bet. So, you think Islam is here to take over and replace our laws with theirs? I forgot, what is it you wanted inside every state house and court house in the country? Wasn’t it the Ten Commandments, which is your religious laws you live by? You wanted that in every government facility dolling out justice, and you say Muslims want to take over? Right. Oh, while we are on the subject, how ‘bout them Salem Witch Trials? I know you meant well but that has got to be embarrassing. I do have to commend you on your ability to send “mission trips” all over the world trying to convert people in foreign countries to your way of thinking. Bravo because when someone is drowning they will grab any rope you throw them even if it is attached to religious law and the fear of eternal damnation for deviation from “the path and the light.” Christianity, you should just sit out the next few plays when it comes to the effects of a religion trying to impose it’s beliefs and way of life on anyone and everyone on the planet; you started this whole damn recruiting mission and now you’re pissed that other groups picked up the scent.

The audacity of these people of religious groups to oppose these sites of peaceful worship based in nothing but fear and religious persecution is rife for comedy. These protests are nothing but irony and zero hindsight that are one double-time chase scene away from a Benny Hill sketch. They argue that Islam is dangerous, that they want to take over, and that these mosques will be nothing but centers for hate speech. Well guess what, so is every other religion if it is misconstrued and twisted in the minds of extremists. If I called every Catholic a pedophile and crusader-in-training that likes to torture non-believers I am betting I might offend someone. Any Catholic will tell you that those were misguided people and embarrassing mistakes of the past we regret…you might get that same reaction out of the average Muslim if I called them all towel-headed terrorists with a hard on for killing the innocent just for shits and giggles so they can pop them cherries in the afterlife.

Now I can see the public outcry over the building of a Mosque near Ground Zero. You will get no argument from me that the townsfolk in New York might still be nursing a sensitive, open wound over the whole “9/11 thing.” The protests are understandable, though I don’t agree with them, and it seems almost justifiable in a totally unconstitutional and immoral sense. But you’re fighting this hard in Temecula, Calif.; Sheboygan, Wis.; and Murfreesboro, Tenn.? Who gives a damn if they build there? I’m sure Murfreesboro is just inundated with high value terrorist targets; I mean they’ve got a Dippin’ Dots at the Stones River Mall. It is simple fear and socially acceptable hate in what should be a less tense American climate. It has been nearly a decade since we were attacked and yet it seems that our population of Tea Partiers and Republicans still have yet to learn enough to not fear these groups. It has been in the news every single day since the towers came down and I am betting that 85% of people surveyed in these cities would not know the Mujahideen from the Taliban or the difference between Suunis and Shiites. You hate them, yet you cannot define them? You embarrass yourselves.

We are just playing right in to the hands of terrorist training camps if we are openly persecuting Muslims for their beliefs. Jihad is defined as dozens of different things depending on which group in which country you ask. It can be an internal struggle, a fight to follow and worship Allah, a fight for a moral society, and yes even a military offensive. But the last part after military offensive is important; it is an offensive against those they interrupt or hinder a Muslim’s ability to worship and serve Allah. If we stop these Mosques from being built in any way then we are riding the party lines for those people dead set, literally, against America and it’s interests domestic and foreign.

My argument is not less Mosques, but more. Embrace them. Hell, the biggest “Fuck You” we could ever give the terrorists out there is to not only build Mosques, but lets build the biggest minaret in the world right on Ground Zero. Yeah, build the biggest Mosque with the tallest Minaret in the entire world to call the five boroughs to prayer five times a day. How pissed would the likes of Osama be when we cut the ribbon on morning prayer right in downtown Manhattan? How else can we as a people shake the very foundation for anti-American sentiment then by running completely contradictory to our international image? It would be doubly hard to turn young Muslims to extremism if we pull the soapbox right out from under them.

Every house of worship can be a breeding ground for hate and close-mindedness; we are seeing this theory in practice on the front lines of this very social conflict; theoretical shepherds unto the Lord preaching intolerance and persecution. I would point first to Christianity and Catholicism as the most dangerous religions in the world before I would take an accusatory tone with Islam. These protestors might be able to argue that the Muslims are, in twenty years, going to outnumber us and are going to take over, but maybe if we did not now occupy the position and act in the same manner of those that persecuted us in the past then we might not need fear being “overtaken.” Dr. Mansoor Mirza, the man who owns the proposed Mosque location in Sheboygan said it best: “Every new group coming to this country — Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese — has gone through this. Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.” It is not the Mosque that is the problem that creates terrorism, it is the object of the hate, and that is we Americans doing the very thing we are doing here, which is persecuting these people. Until we can mend the bridge spanning the gaps between our different beliefs then the fiery ideals that drive this prostituted idea of Jihad will continue to burn; I say the Anglo-religions need to put down those stones before we need to clean up too much glass.

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3 thoughts on “Ani-mosque-ity

  1. ” ” = You
    # = Me

    “If I called every Catholic a pedophile and crusader-in-training that likes to torture non-believers I am betting I might offend someone. Any Catholic will tell you that those were misguided people and embarrassing mistakes of the past we regret…you might get that same reaction out of the average Muslim if I called them all towel-headed terrorists with a hard on for killing the innocent just for shits and giggles so they can pop them cherries in the afterlife.”

    # Nice address to the ignorant stereotypes, I like it. OH! Not so fast, wait a minute and look two paragraphs up^ Not only did you offend them both with these same generalizations, you did it in one single sentence:

    “Catholicism, if it’s a choice between you or Islam I’d rather be blown up than molested, so I’m hedging my bets.”

    # Dude c’mon, make your concessions and acknowledgements to the stereo types BEFORE you use them, this way people will understand that you understand the difference between wit and intolerance.

    “My argument is not less Mosques, but more. Embrace them. Hell, the biggest “Fuck You” we could ever give the terrorists out there is to not only build Mosques, but lets build the biggest minaret in the world right on Ground Zero. Yeah, build the biggest Mosque with the tallest Minaret in the entire world to call the five boroughs to prayer five times a day. How pissed would the likes of Osama be when we cut the ribbon on morning prayer right in downtown Manhattan? How else can we as a people shake the very foundation for anti-American sentiment then by running completely contradictory to our international image? It would be doubly hard to turn young Muslims to extremism if we pull the soapbox right out from under them.”

    # That is fucking brilliant, poignant, and I dig this whole train of thought that sometimes we should consider moving counter to our instinctive societal norms. I laughed my ass off at this paragraph and marveled at what a clever strategist you are.

    # I think it would be a step in the right direction if there were more individuals that worked together at constructing this type of national self awareness. To explore the reasons why we’re a target for terrorism, beyond the rational that Osama and all muslims are crazy america killers. Yes Osama is just that, and we should definitely kill his dumb ass. I mean we have to show that resolve and fight back. But in conjunction shouldn’t we also be willing to examine the aspects of our own culture that lead to confrontations like 9/11 in the first place? It takes two to tango after all. Wouldn’t it be twice as effective in dissolving this mutual antagonism to both eradicate those that have irrationally scorned us, while eradicating our own irrationality? I think so. Good thought provoking stuff Wes.

  2. You are totally right, concession first. You know what is funny, I had thought of emailing this to you before I posted it, but I thought against it; I figured you wouldn’t have much to say. haha. Look, the original had those two entire paragraphs reversed in order in the first draft (yeah, I’m actually writing drafts now) so that got lost in the switch. Thanks for pointing it out, I hope it doesn’t take away from the message of the overall piece. With this piece and those to follow I am going to try and be a bit more thoughtful and less negative overall after our talks over the tone of some of the pieces in my book. As always I appreciate the feedback and open debate. I appreciate the honesty my friend. And thanks for the little facebook shout out. Laters.

    1. I also like the route of just no concession at all. I mean if you say something offensive and then write your following material in a thoughtful way it just grabs attention by being abrasive but then comes off as a joke the more you read. The only reason I noticed it at all was because of the contradiction the two paragraphs made, with only one paragraph to buffer them. Don’t think I’ve been telling you to censor yourself man, you should fly off the handle as much as you’d like, its entertaining. My criticisms like this are aimed at aiding you in seeing the different perspective of how the reader navigates your words. When I make a real website one day I will probably think its totally intuitive because I created it, but when a user comes through they may find it to be completely confusing and I’d expect testers to tell me this. Also, I didn’t mean for that part of my response to be the focus, I was more all about the second half on your ground zero “freedom” minaret theory.

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