Friday, December 02, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood

Ok, the title is a bite of a mislead. I'm not talking about a religious CIA, Glenn Beck's secret caliphate, or men who give each other a high five after mutilating female genitalia. In fact, neither am I making an inter-religious pantheistic call to uniformity.

Rather, I just want to evoke the image of Dr. King's Brotherhood of Man language. For me, being raised in a fundamentalist Christian church, the BoM thought is nothing short of revolutionary - and somewhat heretical. I had normally reserved the title of brother/sister only to fellow Christians. Or, how I would define "Christians", which was an extremely narrow scope and excluded most of the Church. Martin Luther King, Jr. was referencing the fact that we are all connected and that when one is affected, we all are. Jesus called this being neighbors, and he himself extended this intricate connection to everybody - including both the Enemy and the Other. But seeing all the hubballoo that Christias make over the Other/Enemy, I'm not sure the revolutionary message has sunk in.

A recent example of this contradiction between what American Christians profess to believe and what they actually support can be termed the Terror Turkey episode.

Turkeys_7
This turkey is ready to attack!

When outraged and hysterical blogger Pam Geller mentioned that Butterball brand makes some turkeys halal-friendly, a small but vocal group of concerned anti-Muslim citizens became very, very alarmed. Watching it unfold was like a hysterical, sad, and daunting replay over the Cordoba House once again. Maybe it'd be progress for the American people to recognize just how awful the Islamaphobes are. Maybe it's progress that only a few people and outlets - the ironically-named American Thinker, worst person in the world Bryan Fischer - gave ANY credence to this story. Maybe it's progress that the Boycott Butterball Facebook page only had a few hundred fans, even though it was set-up by the main accuser, Gilly-Geller, herself.

But more likely, the story itself was just too outrageous and stupid to spread beyond the most virulent Muslimaphobes - the people who hate Muslims and Arabs so much that they've lost all sense of grounding in reality. You would think that was true of the story of the Cordoba House a bit over a year ago, though.

In case you' ve forgotten about the story of the Cordoba House initiative or, more likely, you recognize it according to the name that it got popularized by thanks to sensationalistic and garbage media outlets, here is a refresher:

The Cordoba Islamic community in Manhattan has been around for a hundred years. American Muslims, they were seeing that, unlike many other religious and ethnic groups in the city, there were no options for their kids to hang around and learn about their culture and religious background. They wanted to give them a community center, not unlike Christian-based ones in my neighborhood. A place to play sports and receive tutoring and just feel safe from the streets and unreceptive bullies and bigots. Additionally the comunity center would be open for all in order to spur religious/cultural dialog between members of the area. Additionally, the initiative was spurred by a Muslim who worked as a translator and aid for the CIA following the 9/11 attacks. This man was comended by none other than President Bush and even Glenn Beck.

But then the rabid Muslimophobes struck, starting with Gilly. They called the community center a Mosque (a house of worship that is somehow scary largely because it's a house of worship for Muslims. And all Muslims, we are told, hate Americans and most are terrorists. Amirite?? no, of course not) and the Muslimophobes called the center a 9/11 memorial, supposedly built on the land that Muslims conquered - even though it was several blocks from the actual site of the World Trade Center. Which, in Manhattan, constitutes as miles and miles away.*

And the rabid Muslimophobia went viral. Hate became the flavor du jour and buildings were burned and painted with the efficacy of bigotry. Meanwhile, the "good" Christians of the community washed their hands when they didn't blame the Muslims for provoking their own attacks.

The problem was hardly that a sensationalistic 24 hours news channel and its related blow-hards decided to focus on this. It's that any Americans, let alone Christian Americans, listened to them and gave them credence.

I'd like to think that we've evolved past that bigotry. That maybe the lack of approval for Pam's latest round of repressed kinkiness was due to the fact that most Americans don't know what a halal is. And that quite a few who bother to research it would find that it's largely indistinguishable from the kosher process.

But then there's the glowing, inescapable fact that churches in Michigan have tried to excuse themselves from anti-bullying laws in the state. On the grounds, of course, that it's okay to intimidate a non-straight if god says it's okay.

In other words, it is okay to not follow Jesus' primary commands when we can justify it on grounds that completely contradict the commandment of Jesus. It's okay to lie about, intimidate, harass, scare, and publicly humiliate Muslims and transvestites and pre-teen lesbians and Wiccan teens as long as we can pretend that we love them.

In Jesus' name!

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It's all effing silly and doesn't make a lick of sense. But that's what hatred is. -

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