A Tale of Two Americas


We are all familiar with the alphabet language, DUI, DWI and one of the latest acronyms  DWB (driving while black).  They all have to do with the transportation industry and the perils of being on the wrong side of the law while going from one place to the other.  In the case of the first two, DUI or DWI the physical condition of the person in question is what puts them in the legal spotlight.  DWB however is different because no matter how physically fit or in shape one is, how sober or mentally competent one may be or no matter how physically attractive to any law enforcement official if they fit a racial profile they are fair game to have the full force of the law applied against them designed to intimidate, threaten, or harass them not for any specific goal other than the pleasure of the law official on hand to administer such harassment.

DWB is an offense that has nothing to do with any violation of the law. Rather it is a response to society’s stereotypes towards a certain race of people and given the innocuous name racial profiling to make the practice more socially acceptable.  The intent however is to make the victim and by extension all others like him/her aware of their place in society and society’s perception of them; that even if they are not violators of the law at the moment, they are viewed as having a propensity to break the law and thus should fear the full weight of the state could be brought to bear against them at any given moment.

FWM, Flying While Muslim, is the latest anachronism to be inflicted on a group of people, obviously this time Muslims, with the added twist that it can strip a person of his citizenship depending on the time of its imposition. For those Muslims who are outside the US, and you’ve got to wonder how  were they able to “leave” by a plane, but not be allowed to return the same way, being put on a ‘no fly list’ or ‘terrorist watch list’ means not being able to return to your country and if necessary  to defend oneself under the legal system of your citizenship; the State’s way of killing two birds with one stone.  Being able to claim the guilt or innocence of someone without the necessity of that being proven in court and simultaneously perpetuating the canard that ‘all terrorists are Muslims’ is the modus operandi of a racist policy that predates even DWB. So when the government, who is solely responsible for placing people on a list that prohibts them from flying, is called out on this what do  they say?

the government has argued in court that placing somebody on the no-fly list does not deprive them of any constitutional rights. Just because a person can’t fly doesn’t mean they can’t travel, the government lawyers argue. They can always take a boat, for example. “Neither Plaintiff nor any other American citizen has either a right to international travel or a right to travel by airplane,” government lawyers wrote

but the government’s response doesn’t address the reasons why the person was put on the list in the first place nor does it say whether a plaintiff will be allowed back into the country no matter how he/she arrives at its borders.  Indeed, there are allegations that US authorities have argued or persuaded neighboring countries like Canada and Mexico not to let people on an American no fly list into their country and into forced exile

we have other plaintiffs in this lawsuit who tried to travel to the U.S. through Mexico but were turned back, who tried to travel to the U.S. through Canada, but were turned back…… plaintiffs who have tried to fly through Canada or Mexico have not been allowed to board those planes either.

Pastor Steve Stone of HeartSong Church is a breath of fresh air on an otherwise stale public inundated with hatred and fear towards Muslims.  Instead of giving in to all the hysteria about Islam, Stone and members of his congregation have decided to conduct themselves as Christians in answer to the question What Would Jesus Do

Two years ago, the pastor of Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee, on the outskirts of Memphis, learned that a local mosque had bought property right across the street from the church. So he decided some Southern hospitality was in order.

A few days later, a sign appeared in front of the church. “Heartsong Church welcomes Memphis Islamic Center to the neighborhood,” it read.

The friendship between Heartsong and the Memphis Islamic Center comes at a time when Muslim-Christian relations have been testy. In communities from New York to California, from Wisconsin to Tennessee, proposed mosques have run into angry, organized opposition.

In Cordova, things have been peaceful.

There have been no marches against the mosque or other public opposition. Aside from some angry emails, the two congregations have gotten mostly positive feedback about their relationship.

Pastor Jones is to be congratulated for being a leader, turning swords into plow shares and sowing peace and harmony with his neighbors and fellow citizens of both faith communities. He deserves an attaboy from his country for doing the right thing when it hasn’t been popular to do so.  Perhaps he should run for President in ’12.

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