Tag Archive for Muslims

I stand with Muslims

From Huffington Post

From Huffington Post

A friend suggested today that some of us who are against all the fascist, anti-Muslim rhetoric being spewed by Donald Trump and his supporters offer to stand vigil outside the Islamic Center during prayers.

I would jump at the chance, so I messaged the center to see if they would appreciate our help.

There will be no guns, just us standing in solidarity with people who only seek to practice the freedom of worship that this country supposedly offers.

We are not needed yet, a representative of the center told me, but our outreach and our words of peace are appreciated.

To some, that Constitutional right to freedom of religion seems only to be a freedom for Christians to worship. To me, though, that freedom extends to all religions.

Islam is not a religion of war any more than Christianity is. However, like some Christians, a minority of Muslims have perverted their religion to a violent, misogynistic purpose.

I grew up in a church that taught everything is OK if it’s done for Jesus — even murder. I rejected that as a teenager and I reject it today. Hatred is never OK.

Republican presidential candidate Trump has spewed increasingly dangerous rhetoric in the last few weeks, and it’s that kind of hatred that incites violence against innocent people.

Even former vice president Dick Cheney has condemned Trump, but the candidate keeps spewing his hatred, and he’s being rewarded with big leads in the polls. People who don’t know anything about Islam are leaping at the chance to condemn an entire faith for the violence of a few.

Yes, the two people who shot 30-plus people in San Bernadino were radicalized Muslims. But the man who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs the previous week was a radicalized Christian and no one talked about trying to stop all Evangelical Christians from worshiping or voting.

The Oklahoma City bomber killed more than 160 people and there was no reaction from the right to his terrorism.

Millions of Muslims around the world are condemning ISIS and other radical groups who commit violence in the name of Allah, but you won’t see that on Fox News. You won’t hear Trump or any of his minions praising these devout, peaceful people. You won’t even hear them admit that there are peaceful Muslims any more than leaders of ISIS praising peaceful Christians who wish to bring about peace in the Middle East.

Is this what we as a nation have come to? Are we headed down the same path as Nazi Germany in the 1930s? Substitute the word “Jews” for “Muslims” in your sentences and ask whether you sound like a Nazi. If you’re talking about denying every Muslim entry into the United States, shutting down Islamic Centers, denying anyone any of their Constitutional rights based on religious beliefs or ethnicity, you are wading in fascist waters.

So, here’s my pledge of support for my Muslim brothers and sisters: I stand with you against the violence and hatred. If you are forced to wear anything identifying you as Muslim, I will wear it too. If you are threatened, I will stand between you and those who hate you. I will defend you with my life. I am a person of faith who believes we all worship a God of Love and I promise to live out that faith.

 

 

A class in genocide

Muslim women break the fast of Ramadan. US soldiers have been taught by the military that civilian populations of Muslims are fair game for attack.

Future leaders in the United States armed services have been taught by the military that Muslims must be wiped out through “total war” before the terrorist threat to America is erased. In classes, they were told that the US needs to use “Hiroshima tactics,” killing not just soldiers, but entire cities and that civilian populations were fair game. It’s true that there are Muslims who hate us; it’s also true that there are Christians who hate all Muslims. Neither religion can boast the love for humanity that both faiths call for, but neither should be condemned as being all evil, either. The Pentagon has cancelled the classes, which were held at held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, but hundreds of young officers have been told that the official position of the US military is that Muslims are all terrorists, and that does real damage to our position in the world. If you want to turn more Muslims into terrorists, then treat all of them as terrorists. The problem here is that millions and millions of Muslims are peace-loving people who have no interest in killing Americans. The ones who hate us are led by hate-filled people, not by God. The same is true of Christians. If you are a Muslim child in a predominately Muslim country with no Christians among your circle of friends and family, you’re not likely to understand that most Christians don’t want to make war on you. We can be painted as villains because we are the unknown. Here in the United States, Muslims are in the minority. After 9/11, we tended to blame all Muslims for the actions of a violent minority and we punished those we knew to be followers of the teachings of the Prophet, Muhammad. But how many of us have spent time with people of the Islam faith? Until I covered religion for a newspaper in New York, I knew little about the faith, just what I could recall from a course in world religions I took many years ago. In 1993, I spent a day of Ramadan with the people of a small mosque in Chestnut Ridge, NY, and it turned out to be one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences of my life. I rose before dawn to eat breakfast and fasted all day, then broke the fast with my new friends at the mosque. The food was fabulous and the company even more so. After dinner, I spent the evening with the women, talking about faith and family, and it was there I learned the real meaning of sisterhood. The experience shattered my feminist delusion that women and men are really the same. We are different, but equal. Our two faiths are more alike than I had ever dreamed. We talked about God’s mercy and grace; we talked about our children and our hopes and dreams. We had much in common. As I rose to leave, one of the women called out to me. “I just want to tell you something,” she said. “The word Muslim means lover of God, and you, my sister, are Muslim.” I have never been paid a higher compliment. A few days later, as the story was about to go to press, a group of fanatic Muslims tried to blow up the World Trade Center. My editor asked me to call my Muslim friends and ask them about the truck bomb. “OK,” I said. “As long as someone calls a Christian and asks about David Koresh and the mayhem in Waco for the Easter story.” He didn’t think the two were the same. After all, Muslims are known to be violent. I pointed out the Crusades, the Inquisition and other well known examples of Christian violence, and he agreed to talk about how we might cover this without offending people. “We need to educate our readers that most Muslims are appalled by this,” he said. The solution was for me to call the Imam and talk to him about the violence in the city and allow him to condemn it, apart from the story on Ramadan. “These are not people who are inspired by Allah,” he said. “These are people who are inspired by earthly power.” The military officers who gave this class in genocide need to meet some of the Muslims I know, and the Christians who condone this hatred need to look into their own hearts to see the reflection of what they’re saying about their Muslim brothers and sisters.

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