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The tip of the mosque-berg?

Firstly, let me apologise for the dreadful pun. Secondly, I apologise for being yet another person bringing up That Building. It's fairly obvious that the ominously-named Ground Zero Mosque has created enough furore to keep pundits on all sides happily distracted from such real-world tragedies as the flooding in Pakistan, possible further ramifications of the Gulf Oil Spill and anything else short of the fact that lots of people still think Obama's a Muslim, mostly (it seems) because the TV told them so.

But what started off (when given the benefit of doubt) as a campaign with good intentions, if no grounding in legal/constitutional rights, seems to have spilled over into all-out Islam-bashing. Now, this doesn't apply to all, or even most, of those 'Against The Mosque'. However, there are plenty of arguments being aired which could apply to the building of any new mosque, regardless of it's position; and there are those who are fairly strongly trying to apply those arguments. The GZ mosque has become a focal point for what seems to be an increasingly vocal minority who oppose Islam altogether; to my mind, that's racism, it seems to be spreading worryingly fast, and it does not sit well with me.

This (blanket opposition of Islam) is a textbook example of a stereotype. It is taking the actions of an extremist minority, and using those actions to label the entirety of a population who share something in common with that minority. In this case, the 'uniting factor' is Islam - however, comparing the 9/11 bombers to most practising Muslims is like trying to compare the Westborough Baptist Church to my local parish; the very word 'extremist' indicates that most Muslims aren't the same as that minority. Finding a 'true Christian' (or a 'true Scotsmen') is impossible - and finding a 'true Muslim' just as much so. Ironically enough, the tactics of the anti-Islam folk is to agree with the extremists about what 'True Islam' is - so by their arguments all Muslims are either suicide bombers in waiting or (much more likely) MINOs (to steal an acronym from the RINOs) who don't really know what they're talking about. But aren't Muslims just as good as the rest of us at making up our own minds about particular interpretations of religion? As for 'atrocities committed in the name of Islam', many Big Ideas have had their names attached to atrocities. We've got Stalin and Communism, Hitler and Darwinism - and as for Christianity; I could make a list.

If someone tries to force their religion upon you, you're free to try and stop them. If someone commits a terrorist act to further their cause, please do cut off their support. And hells - if you think that it would be diplomatically unwise to build a mosque in a certain place, make your voice heard, no matter how irrelevant some may find your opinion. But don't alienate a massive group of people who just want to live their life by their faith, without fuss or conflict; they're no different than the rest of us. Don't get so disproportionately scared about Muslims who 'think the world would be better if it was all Muslim'; wouldn't many Christians believe the same about Christianity? And whatever you do, don't tell all Muslims 'This is what you believe, and you're violent because of it'; quite apart from the fact that they're better qualified than you are to know what they personally believe, imagine what would happen if they all suddenly decided you were right!
 

iangb

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