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Aug. 18th, 2010 | 01:49 am
location: Home
mood: determineddetermined
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Given all the bullshit being spouted all over about race, religion, freedom and so forth, here is a brilliant article by an American friend, an Iraqi Veteran - all about the Muslim cultural centre to be built 2 blocks from where the World Trade Centre was.


On September 11th, 2001, 19 men hijacked four planes and crashed three of them into World Trader Center one, World Trade Center two, and the Pentagon. A fourth plane was delayed so long on the ground that by the time its team of hijackers attacked, the passengers found out that what would happen to them---and to many, many other people on the ground. They fought back, and the plane crashed in Shanksville, PA, far from its intended target in WAshington, DC.

Two thousand nine hundred and seventy six people died, excluding the nineteen hijackers.

Almost immediately, a wave of hatred was unleashed against Muslims across the country, when no such wave had followed the previous major terrorist attack on American soil: the Oklahoma City Bombing, in which 168 Americans died, including 19 children. The bomber in that case was Timothy McVeigh, a man who had been heavily influenced by The Turner Diaries.

No such backlash followed the subsequent arrest of the so-called "Unabomber" Ted Kaczinsky, former college professor who had for seventeen years used mail bombs, threats, and blackmail to terrorize people.

Even today, Xtians bristle when the anti-abortion campaign of terror, lies, and misogyny is mentioned, as if one can compare a privileged majority to a persecuted minority. Xtians hold such power in this country that they must be pandered to; Muslims are harassed. Who wields the power?

Whose places of worship and education are under attack?

There are extremists in every group. One has to consider, however, the positions of those groups, and which wields more power. Simple numbers tell a large part of the story, but just try pointing out to Xtians that numerically and politically they're pandered to to a degree that usually included complimentary blowjobs or things of that nature.

(Link leads to a PDF of USHLS report that came out last year, warning of increased rightwing terror activity in the wake of the election of America's first black President.) The Tea Party arose in this country after the election of President Barack Obama. Fox News Channel, a cable TV channel with a decided right wing bias, promoted the creation and formation of this party. One of its on-air personalities, Rick Santelli, led a rant on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in which he shouted about irresponsibility and the unfairness of 'paying somebody's mortgage.' Barack Obama had been President a little over a week.

No one admitted that the near economic collapse stemmed from eight years of Republican policies.

The Tea Party movement---which protests it is not racist---is just another one of many right wing groups galvanized by the election of President Obama. Its members sport signs which portray Obama as the Joker, or as Hitler, or as Lenin. (These signs were in protest on universal health care.) As proof of how little rain is needed to cast a cloud over racists' world view, the mere idea of health care going to the undeserving prompted racist signs and the open carrying of guns, along with signs that hinted coyly at more violence. "We came unarmed," read one sign. "(This time.)"

Imagine what the response would be if a black man in a black leather blazer and black leather beret had carried that sign. Better yet, ask Fred Hampton what he thinks would happen. Ask his widow.

On May 21, 2009 a man named Scott Roeder, with ties to several far right terrorist and 'sovereign citizens' groups shot and killed Dr. George Tiller in church. In his car was the phone number of a woman named Cheryl Sullenger, a woman who was convicted in 1988 of conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in California. (This was despite the presence of post-born individuals in the clinic at the doubt, thereby demonstrating the accuracy of the 'pro-life' label.)

Sullenger first lied and said there had been no contact, then admitted it, knowing that anti-abortion terrorism gets a strangely lackadaisical response from law enforcement. For example, Scott Roeder could have been and should have been arrested for at least two break ins and attempted or successful vandalizations of abortion clinics in the month before Tiller's murder. He was seen, identified and reported, and was in blatant violation of the FACE act. He was not arrested. Busts simply do not get more 'gimme' than that. He broke the law, he was identified, and yet he was free.

In May of this year, two police officers were killed and two others wounded by white supremacists in West Memphis, Arkansas. It can be very difficult to keep track of these cases, because while even the most pathetic failed alleged terror plot by brown-skinned people makes the headlines, the actual murders and terroristic acts by white Xtians are often reported on briefly, then dumped down the memory hole.

Which brings me back to September 11th and the men who hijacked those planes. A Muslim American group is attempting to open a community center two blocks from the site of the World Trader Center, and people are up in arms about it.

This is appalling. It is unAmerican. It is unworthy of everything we stand for, everything we should hold dear, every hope we have for what we want for our country.

People of all faiths and 87 different nationalities died that bright September day, and yet they are often not included in the trappings which surround commemorations of that day. Their citizenship, their loyalty, their patriotism, their gratitude to this country are not mentioned. The fact that uncounted dozens of Muslims died on September 11th-- and whose families were subjected to the added torment of having their losses dismissed as 'more terrorists'---remains a stain on this country's honor.

Quoted: "Imagine being the family of Salman Hamdani. The 23-year-old New York City police cadet was a part-time ambulance driver, incoming medical student, and devout Muslim. When he disappeared on September 11, law enforcement officials came to his family, seeking him for questioning in relation to the terrorist attacks. They allegedly believed he was somehow involved. His whereabouts were undetermined for over six months, until his remains were finally identified. He was found near the North Tower, with his EMT medical bag beside him, presumably doing everything he could to help those in need. His family could finally rest, knowing that he died the hero they always knew him to be.

Or imagine being Baraheen Ashrafi, nine months pregnant with her second child. Her husband, Mohammad Chowdhury, was a waiter at Windows of the World restaurant, on the top floors of Tower One. The morning of September 11, they prayed salaat-l-fajr (the pre-dawn prayer) together, and he went off to work. She never saw him again. Their son, Farqad, was born 48 hours after the attacks -- one of the first 9/11 orphans to be born. In an interview with CTV Canada, she relates that in the months to follow, she mourned for her husband and endured the hostility of some ignorant people around her. "When they saw me ... I'm wearing a scarf. There is a hate look."

Capt. Humayan Khan was killed when he deliberately led a bomber away from the men in his charge. That's an amazing act of self sacrifice and love. Why did it take until now for this to come out?

A simple Google search for "U.S. Soldier Muslim" turned up pages of American Muslims served and sacrificing for their country in the two wars we're currently fighting. What do you tell the families of these soldiers, who have to mourn their lost relative and do so in a hostile culture?

Some of those photographs....be careful if you're at work. If you can look at the photo of the mother of Kareem Sultan Khan and not be moved, I'm more afraid of you than I am of Osama bin Laden. And ponder, if you will, the photo further down, of the graves of our honored dead defaced by Nazi symbols. Even in death, they're being attacked.

The thing is, there's a really good chance that if a Muslim comes here, they're fleeing exactly the kind of terrorism and arch-conservative thinking they're being accused of. There is no word for that kind of injustice. There is no word for that kind of betrayal of everything we should be, everything we should aim for, everything that our greatest leaders and idealists have dreamed we were capable of.

Thomas Jefferson, the pre-eminent thinker of the Revolution, the open-minded and seriously flawed man who wrote the Declaration of Independence while owning slaves---he owned a Koran. He went through the Bible, edited it for flaws, and kept the 'good parts'---I guess you could say.

He owned a similarly-notated Koran. How sad it is to me that it's notable that Jefferson read the whole thing, which so many of the bigots I'm writing about haven't even done with their own Bible.

In 2008, Keith Ellison, a Muslim man from Minneapolis, announced his intention to take the oath of office on a Koran. Masterfully, he let the bigots and the ill-read illiterates dig their own graves, then he got out the backhoe, so to speak: It was Thomas Jefferson's own Koran, on loan from the rare books facility at the Library of Congress.

Men and women like Ellison, with his moxy and guts---these are people I'm proud to call American. The people who pitched a fit over this and Cordoba House, which they persist in calling a mosque? They are not American. There should be higher standards for that.

Cordoba House is not a threat to America; in a very real way, it is a celebration of it. Through its doors, all religions and ages and colors can seek counsel or aid or amusement, within sight of a terrible terrorist act. Life is the best revenge. In welcoming the building of Cordoba House and its non-denominational chapel, we are rejecting what the terrorists did on 9/11, and on the wrong-headed direction the country took afterward.

We have a choice. Let's work toward making it the right one.

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