American Exceptionalism


Seal of the United States Department of State.

Seal of the United States Department of State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is how the term is defined according to Wikipedia

American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy.

America demonstrated that characteristic with this initiative

The US on Monday criticised France and Belgium for banning women from wearing face-covering Islamic veils in public, while warning of growing anti-Semitism and hostility towards Muslims in Europe.

The US State Department’s report on religious freedoms, researched in 2011 but released on July 30, 2012, warned that freedom of worship was being undermined across the globe — particularly in China and Pakistan.

Commenting on the report, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that more than a billion people worldwide lived “under governments that systematically repress religious freedom.”

“When it comes to this human right — this key feature of stable, secure and peaceful societies — the world is sliding backwards,” she said.

In Europe there was “growing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and intolerance toward people considered ‘the other’,” according to the report, which also complained of a “rising number of European countries, including Belgium and France, whose laws restricting dress adversely affected Muslims and others.”

There is no equivocation in the US report and its recommendations, and it spares no one even its allies, instead taking the position of America’s founding fathers of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Supposedly these are the same ideals of our allies, notably France, but in practice it’s apparent equality and fraternity do not apply when it comes to its Muslim citizens.  America justifiably called France on its hypocrisy.  Everyone should never forget Europe has been the sight of two world wars, the last one we now applaud our participation in for fighting against the political and religious tyranny of Nazi Germany.  After finding the scale of that country’s genocide against European Jewry America has proudly proclaimed its fight was a noble cause to rescue Europe and the world from religious fratricide by a government that had its start with discriminating against its religious minorities in matters of dress and appearance.  Those countries outlined in the US report are today doing the same thing.  Let’s hope America’s demonstration of real leadership and initiative can avert such a catastrophe that seems to be all too characteristic of  Europe and for now not of us, the

US.

How Low Can You Go?


When you hate people irrationally, you can go this low

Look at David Koresh. He had a religious institution until the government decided to load up their missiles and blowed it up and killed everybody.

That from Joe Brandon Jr, attorney for the plaintiff’s in the suit to stop the construction of the Murfreesboro, TN mosque from being built.  Brandon wants to deny citizens their right to religion based on what he thinks the federal government may do to them if they exercise that right.  In other words blame the victim. Perhaps he was giving a backhanded victim status to himself and all those who oppose the construction by saying Murfreesboro will become another Waco, Texas  and the good “other” citizens will be the worse for it because the presence of a mosque made the US government go Waco on it.  The devil made me do it is an even better excuse than the one Brandon was offering.

The judge ruling in the case, Judge Robert E. Corlew III who wasn’t persuaded by the absence of Brandon’s logic declared that county officials had legally approved the building of the mosque and the construction could proceed, declaring ‘Islam is still a religion’. That simple declarative statement, which Brandon and the plaintiffs he represented tried to nullify with innuendo guarantees the followers of Islam the same right to worship as  any other religious denomination in the country.   The rule of law, so preciously trumpeted by neocons for marauding, invading armies of empire was competently and successfully applied to several hundred families of Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tennesse.

A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS


We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.

We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.

We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims.  We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.

We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.

As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance,  respect, and forgiveness.

The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).

Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.

We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.

We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence.  We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.

After the above declaration there are over 80 signatories affixed with an update link to other names constantly being added. Muslim Americans it appears have as good an understanding of the US Constitution as some of their antagonists.

A Smooth Comeback!


In response to Pastor Terry Jones’ International Burn a Koran day, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has decided to post the advertisement below in Jones’ city local newspapers.  MRFF is acting because of concern members of the US military have expressed about the impact Jones’ book burning will have on the lives of military personnel posted in Muslim countries.  It wasn’t but a few short years ago that any act considered endangering the lives of US servicemen was considered treasonous, but today racist elements in American society have managed to turn that notion on its head and instead say any act which doesn’t outrage Muslim sensitivities is appeasement, no matter how provocative the act may be or how it might endanger lives.  MRFF’s response is the kind that will defeat the likes of Jones and the rest of the pilers on who’ve got on board with this xenophobic, Islamophobic notion of either denying Muslims their citizenship rights or provoking them. ‘Attaboy’ to MRFF!

Florida Minister says he won’t back down-UPDATE


The minister in Florida who wants to have a burn the Quran day on September 11 says he won’t back down from doing it and I say good for him!  It is his constitutional right to burn copies of the Quran, the religious book of Muslims.  Let’s not forget we live in a country where  it is the right of any American to burn the US flag, and we all remember the turmoil  reaching that decision caused America. It is one of the “hazards” of living in a free society; protested speech against patriotic or religious symbols is not illegal. American Muslims more than any other group, should understand that,  and  should register their disagreement with the burning  of Qurans act,with thoughtful and or provocative editorials like this one ,  or planned  peaceful  protests like this,  for even though what Jones wants to do is legal it is morally reprehensible.  That’s as far as his opponents should take it, however.

It is this type of dissent  Muslims should expect from  those who oppose their building of a masjid near the site of the former WTC buildings; one may disagree with the building of the Cordoba House at Park 51, and may protest the  building going up there, however it is the right of the supporters of that project, codified by the legal authorities responsible, for the house to be built there and Cordoba House’s supporters should proceed with resolve to see it through  even during times of  intense opposition to it AND  the opponents should resign themselves to the inevitability of its completion .  What will then become a true battle of ideas a distinction between those who oppose book burning versus those who oppose a religious house of worship will be how the different groups express their opposition and accept the rule of law.  In other words, the behavior of the opposition will have more of an impact on the public debate about the presence of Islam in America than the action which spurs that opposition.   America will have to choose between those who promote racist, stereotypical, violent reaction to protected speech and religious freedom and those whose opposition is principled, respectful or thoughtful.

Given America’s past inclination to mob/racist rule the outcome is not so certain and definitely not in the near future.  One of the reasons why we must have this frank discussion about race in this country is because the racist template we’ve set for ourselves over the years  allows us to insert whatever group of the day we want to hate into  it and then hurl invective and discriminatory actions at them which we try to make into law to suppress them.  We still have not managed to steer clear of this disease because we haven’t really tried to cure it. Saddle up America, here we go again; we’re in for another  protracted campaign for the soul of this country.

UPDATE

Jones did back down and if anyone can understand the reasons why he did so, please explain them to me.  The man who claimed to have received messages from God  is unfathomable, sick, crazy in the head and one as intimately  familiar with him as his own daughter has come out and said so.  There’s even mention of  a mental disorder here as well. Why we, citizenship media as well as corporate media gave him so much of our time, bandwidth and news print is one of the mysteries of life.  A “pastor” with a minuscule congregation of about 50 managed to hold the entire world hostage with his delusions of grandeur and his fear injected venom which paralyzed a nation, diverted its attention from a more pressing national agenda than his personal dementia and left us, after his ‘never mind’ moment feeling used and abandoned from it all.  We deserve it….we put in way too much time feeding the ego of a man whose ego is as large as any other megalomaniac or larger, being called by a US Army general, the Secretary of Defense, the FBI, the NYC police chief and countless others who otherwise wouldn’t give you the time of day can be very gratifying, but what did all of that give us, the People?  It revealed for us that dark side of our collective nature that loves to be frightened and angered; it allowed the haters in our midst to feed us their daily ration of  hatred and loathing for “others” who are really “we”, “us”.  Someone wrote on their headline, ‘Florida Pastor Makes National Jackass of Himself’….and my answer would be no he didn’t.  He made jackasses out of us.

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Why Muslims, why Islam?


The author of the article below asks some of the same questions posed on the pages of Miscellany101 concerning the vitriol that appears so openly in almost all circles of American life.  It’s a fair question to ask about this surge in attacks against Muslims physically, as detailed in the previous post below, as well as rhetorically as we have mentioned in countless articles on this blog.  I assert these attacks point to the schizophrenic nature of America; on the one hand we call ourselves a nation of freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, but on the other hand we demonize those who exercise their free will to do just those things.  Not all of us do, however which adds to the “sickness” of our Nation or more euphemistically, the duality of the country, for there are those like the interfaith groups made of Christians, Muslim and Jews who supported the right of the Cordoba House to be built near the site of the former WTC buildings destroyed in 2001 who claim such curtailment of rights and freedoms for all have no place in our democracy.

However, the article below is from an American Muslim, and it would be advantageous for you to read it carefully, for it is full of the spirit we claim is necessary in order for this country to succeed; the spirit of cooperation, freedom and tolerance.  I hope we take heed

Jesus, God’s Word that He cast into Mary, the Messiah of Israel who delivered the Good News of the Millennial Kingdom and saved the faithful remnant of Israel from the treason and apostasy of the Pharisees and
scribes, the only man ever to walk the earth without sin or error, would be saddened by (what many say today).

Where in the English-speaking media do we see wholesale falsification of Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, or even Christianity? Yet that is almost all we see about Islam, incessantly, in movies, “news,” commentary, and virtually every mass-media information source from compulsory public education through old age.

It wasn’t like this when I was a child, sixty years ago. Then, we learned that “Islam” was a few dusty desert-dwellers milking camels and living in tents, and of no historical significance whatever. We certainly weren’t informed that pharmacy and medicine in Europe for a thousand years was based on Arabic writings, or that private enterprise free market capitalism was perfected in Fatimid Egypt long before our ancestors developed the European version from its Arabic roots. We didn’t know that the lost works of Aristotle were preserved in Arabic translations and restored to Europe through Muslim Spain. No one mentioned that algebra, surveying, astral navigation, refrigeration, and federalism all had Arabic origins.

But the Muslim empire persisted, in increasingly corrupted forms, for a thousand years, and then vanished into dust, as expected. And in America, when I was a child, sixty years ago, there were all of three Muslim neighborhoods in America ~ in Dearborn, Michigan, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Sacramento, California. Now there are over two thousand mosques, and over nineteen million Muslims in America, the vast majority born and raised in America, and a large plurality with no ancestral or historical heritage related to Islam.

In my lifetime, the population of Muslim America has grown at a rate not seen in the Muslim world in over ten centuries. This, despite an institutionalized demonization of Muslims hard at work since the development of mass media. And a lot of people commenting have believed the lie, even posting links to websites devoted to the demonization. It is not America’s Christians who are behind this falsification, people, and it is not without a very old motive.

A muslim “YMCA” two blocks from City Hall and two blocks from the World Trade Center? Why not? So what? Churches in downtown areas are being threatened with displacement because the cities want more tax revenue from the commercial zones of the cities. Religious organizations providing shelter for the homeless are under attack nation-wide by means of zoning regulations, building codes, and other regulatory “permit” requirements. Religion in America has been under attack ~ see  “The New First Amendment” for the legal history ~ for almost a century now. Of course, it’s not politically correct to malign a religion or a religious group.

Except muslims. Hmmm.

Try this and the other three articles linked at the top of the welcome page for a little “straight” information about those people so many love to hate. America is the closest thing in the world to a Muslim state. Our country was built on the premise of religious liberty, and it’s ingrained in our culture. Some abuse it, some capitalize on it, and some of the Arab states certainly have been trying to colonize American Islam for decades ~ and failing. But the American people live in religious congregations to a greater extent than any other people, we are a religious people despite what appears in the mainstream media

And one in twenty are Muslim. They don’t come knocking at your door, they don’t tell you how to live, they don’t seek government grants to finance social service programs or building projects, and you hardly know they exist unless they live on your street. So who’s stirring up all this controversy about a community center facility available to everyone? And why is it being made a national issue as the mid-term elections draw near?

See “Guide To Events”.

Nothing makes the headlines unless there’s an agenda behind it. Whose agenda is this hate-fest brouhaha?

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