Anti-Muslim Bigotry Explodes Across the Nation
The idea that the opposition to the Park51 Islamic community center in lower Manhattan is based on its proximity to the “sacred” Ground Zero is nothing more than a blatant lie.
The proof is right in front of everyone, because the Bigot Brigade, empowered by their success in spreading populist hatred against the Park51 project, are now demonstrating against mosques in many other locations in the United States. And since they don’t have the “hallowed ground” excuse in places like Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, they’re just letting their paranoia and prejudice hang out in front of the world: Battles Around Nation Over Proposed Mosques.
At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off.
In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself. They quote passages from the Koran and argue that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Shariah law.
These local skirmishes make clear that there is now widespread debate about whether the best way to uphold America’s democratic values is to allow Muslims the same religious freedom enjoyed by other Americans, or to pull away the welcome mat from a faith seen as a singular threat.
“What’s different is the heat, the volume, the level of hostility,” said Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. “It’s one thing to oppose a mosque because traffic might increase, but it’s different when you say these mosques are going to be nurturing terrorist bombers, that Islam is invading, that civilization is being undermined by Muslims.”
Feeding the resistance is a growing cottage industry of authors and bloggers — some of them former Muslims — who are invited to speak at rallies, sell their books and testify in churches. Their message is that Islam is inherently violent and incompatible with America.
That last paragraph is very interesting, because the two most visible representatives of this “cottage industry” are none other than Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer — and both of these people were quoted uncritically by the New York Times when they needed some negative quotes about me for their profile piece last year, without any context on who they are or what they believe.