"The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed." - Ron Parsley
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." - Ann Coulter
"I tell you right now - the largest percentage of Americans would like to see a nuclear weapon dropped on a major Arab capital. They don't even care which one... I think these people need to be forcibly converted to Christianity. It's the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings." - Michael Savage
"They're the ones who are sick... They're the ones who are perverted. They are the ones who are dangerous. They are the ones who are subhuman." - Rush Limbaugh
These are recent quotes from Republican leaders, politicans and spokespeople on Muslims and their faith. If they don't make you cringe, maybe you are "subhuman."
I understand why some are opposed to the building of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero. I understand that we have not healed from the pain and the hurt. I even understand the Islamophobia that is rampant in post-9/11 America because of it. I understand it but I do not accept it and there is no excuse for it.
I do not, however, understand why conservatives are politicizing Islamophobia, essentially encouraging, feeding it for the sole purpose of picking up a few votes on their way to the midterms. It makes my skin crawl that these same people are those who speak incessantly of "family values." Is tolerance not a value? Does the first amendment simply not apply to Muslims?
This past weekend I rear-ended a young Muslim woman wearing a veil. The accident was entirely my fault and yet the first thing she said to me when we got out of our cars was that she wanted to remain polite and calm because she was fasting for Ramadan. Although visibly shaken, she graciously accepted my profuse apologies with a smile as we exchanged information. There was no real damage to our cars and she decided that it was best for us to just put it behind us. She could not have been more pleasant. I wished her a blessed Ramadan and we parted ways.
I picked up my mom and we still had time to make it to our yoga class. Mom asked if she could run in to Panera and grab a bottle of water. On the verge of tears from the stress of the accident and anxious to be in time for my much-needed yoga class, I asked the customers if she could just quickly grab a bottle of water. A middle-aged, middle-class caucasian man not only refused but snapped at me in the nastiest, most unnecessary way imaginable... This, of course, caused me to let go of those tears I had been holding back so desperately.
This man had no reason in the world to react the way he did. And yet he chose to shove negativity into the Universe. My Muslim friend had every reason in the world to be angry and yet she chose to be forgiving.
After yoga, I decided to follow her example and forgive the gentleman who had apparently never heard of graciousness. However, I found myself frustrated that those I just quoted were referencing for all intents and purposes the same young woman I met earlier. Do they not understand that the Islam she practices is not the same as the disturbed and distorted philosphies "Muslim" terrorists adhere to? How can they make such unfair generalizations? How can they be so narrow-minded?
Here is food for thought. The hatred that oozes from the quoted words above is no less evil than the hatred in the hearts of the terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9/11.