Lots of h8’n these days on Islam in general and Muslims in particular. One weblog post I read today cited some truly sickening Facebook comments about changing an epithet describing Muslims from “towel heads” to “sheet heads,” har de har har. Lots of the controversy stems from plans for Cordoba House, a community center (NOT a mosque) in lower Manhattan. As Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the initiative, explains, “Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.”
So why the controversy? Because lots of folks don’t get that the jihadists in Islam are akin to fundamentalist backwoods splinter groups in Christianity, only less mainstream. Fortunately, some sane voices cry amid the cacophony of astonishing bigotry:
A wonderful post at BYU’s 100 Hour Board explains differences between denominations of Islam, and mentions Timothy McVeigh and the memorials at the Murrah building. It also relates Mormons in Christianity with Sufis in Islam, as far as their acceptance by the mainstream group.
The 100 Hour Board references a blog post at ButNowYouKnow entitled “It’s Not Even an Effing Mosque.” The post describes the planned community center, which will include “a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare area, bookstore, culinary school, art studio, food court, September 11th memorial, and a prayer area.” The writer concludes the description with “Sounds more like a YMCA, to me.” Ja, me too.
And finally, a NYTimes op-ed by Nicholas Kristof lists groups that Americans once distrusted or reviled – including Catholics, Chinese, Irish, Mormons, Japanese (internment camps, anyone?), and Germans. Did you know that nineteenth-century presidents were in cahoots with the Pope, who wanted to claim parts of America for himself? Me neither. Because they weren’t.
H8rs, go ‘way. Or at least find something sensible to h8, like black olives.