Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Call of Freedom?

Photo by Thomas E. Franklin
After much heated debate, the pastor of a small Florida church has finally agreed to cancel his plans to burn copies of the Koran later this week. It seems that religious freedom and religious tolerance have triumphed once again.

As many from both sides of the political spectrum have noted, not only would burning of the holy book of Islam, one the largest religions in the world, be an act of cruelty and racism, but it would have also endangered our American troops stationed in Muslim countries. The event would have proven what extremists have been saying all along, and would undermine U.S. policies in the Arab world, making it even more dangerous for Americans and our brave soldiers.

But time and time again, Americans prove their ability to unite and stand steadfast against oppressive radicalism. Americans stood up for the values that our Founding Fathers envisioned for us, and that many across the world live without. I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to honor those values of America: equality and freedom.

As this weekend marks the 9th year after we were brutally attacked on American soil, it also marks the great strength and resilience of Americans. I have never seen more unity and love for our great nation than the months following September 11, 2001. Although tragic, 9/11 taught us that when we, as a society, truly come together, we become the most powerful nation in the world. This is what America is all about.

However, in the years following, we have seemed to lose sight of that America. Whether it is the racial propaganda against our president, the discriminatory laws against our immigrants or the growing hateful sentiment of our American-Muslim community, Americans are becoming distant from our founding values. This is why I continue to support the Islamic center 12 blocks from Ground Zero.

The same hateful emotions that caused the Florida pastor to plan the burning of the Koran have also fueled the debate for the building of this center. But having this type of disrespect for any religion is inappropriate anywhere in America. It is not only highly offensive to many Muslims across the world, but it should be offensive for people who value the ideals of America.

Also, just as the Koran burning would have endangered our American troops overseas, cancelling the construction of the center would give in to radicalism and increase anti-American feelings abroad. It would show the world that America is fighting a war against the entire religion of Islam, not just the extremists. This would, without a doubt, increase the terrorists’ ability to recruit, and ultimately increase aggression and violence against our great nation.

Americans answered the call of minorities wanting the right to sit at the front of the bus; Americans answered the call of women wanting the right to vote; Americans answered the call when a pastor of a small church wanted to burn holy texts. But when will Americans answer the call of American-Muslims wanting the right to practice their religion? When will Americans stand united once more to show the world that we are still the most powerful nation in the world?

America, please pick up.

14 comments:

  1. The book burning seems like an overall counterproductive action.

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  2. I agree with how you've brought this to the bigger issue here, it's not about whose faith is better, it's about all religions triumphing together. That sight of America you are calling on will return, it's only a matter of re-recognizing the true morals of this nation. Finally, to leave you with a thought, they say 9/11 reunited America against those who promote terror. Have you thought that it may have done just the opposite, creating a larger gaps not only between politicians, but also every Americans interacting with everyday minorities? It seems evident in the examples you have written about.

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  3. If that pastor had gone through with it, he could have caused massive detrimental consequences against both American troops and civilians. Thank god he did not.

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  4. Ashwani, I couldn't have said it better myself. Your insightful comments and passion for the true values of America is inspiring. I only hope more people will realize that we are slowly on the road to disaster.

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  5. Okay, so I agree with the whole American value thing. And I do support freedom of religion and tolerance for all.

    But to compare the burning of the Koran and the building of a mosque is immature. One is a hate crime and the other(because of its location) is a symbol of Muslim extremism. Its insensitive!

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  6. Yes,I do think America needs to wake up and reocgnize the homogeneity of safeguarding everyone's rights to religion.To still have people in this country with racist attitudes stifles its progress and does proliferate the idea of what the Islamic extremists have been saying all along about American attitudes towards their religion. How can anyone think of burning a religious book of a faith in these times? What will they gain?

    Having said that,I do not agree with the comment made by "Glenn Beck Is God". How can the building of a mosque be a hate crime? Please explain.

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  7. Sorry "Glenn Beck Is God".I misread. What I meant to ask is how is the mosque a symbol of Muslim extremism? I can understand people getting mad about its location, but that does not categorize it as extremism.Please elaborate your point of view.Thanks.

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  8. I completely agree Ashwani. The extremists and their actions completely contradict the message of the Koran. Burning the Koran is does not accomplish anything other that put our troops in more danger. That pastor is not only ignorant, stupid, and foolish; I would go so far as to say that he himself is an extremist that the majority of Christians would not approve of.

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  9. To Anonymous, let me explain why I think the mosque is a symbol of Muslim extremism.

    Ground Zero serves as a location where Muslim extremists attacked Americans on American soil. Hence, building a shrine to worship that very same religion whose followers committed such an act will look like a victory stamp. Just as we wouldn't put a Nazi sign in front of a Jewish temple; or a Japanese flag near Pearl Harbor, we should not dare to put a Muslim mosque at Ground Zero.

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  10. to "Ankit", you make a very interesting point. Has 9/11 actually made us more divided as a nation, rather than unite us? After all, ever since the brutal attacks, there has been an increase in hate crimes and racial slander against Muslims and even those who look it.

    However, I still believe in the real promise of America. As a nation of immigrants, I feel we are simply acting like children, and not truly as divisive as it may appear. We are just taking longer than usual to grow up and mature.

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  11. I agree that this kind of intolerance is unacceptable. I do, however, contest that this is "not the same America as what we saw post-9/11". I argue that it is the product of that very same America. The love shown for this country in the months following 9/11 was not merely patriotism. It was an extreme form of patriotism deriving from a deep sense of fear. That combination was disastrous and, in my opinion, makes "this" America exactly the same as the one we saw right after the horrible attacks on our nation. There was confusion, finger-pointing, fear and ignorance from the start. We were, however, only really shown the bravery, patriotism and love through the media. While these feelings were certainly present, they were masking the problems they brought along. When there is a high level of fear, combined with a high level of government trust (often a side-effect of patriotism) the result is often less than pleasant.

    Otherwise, I agree with everything you said and feel like you made a really good point about the problem with this entire situation!

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  12. Great post, Ashwani. As a Christian, it's really frustating to see pastors like this get attention for hateful beliefs because it's really not representative of all Christians.

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  13. I think we can all agree that what this Qur'an burning pastor is preaching and doing is wrong. We all know that, and strongly disapprove of it.
    But an often overlooked point in this whole discussion ("ground zero mosque", "Qur'an burning", etc) is the role of the media. The media has a responsibility to report facts objectively, and time and again they've failed to do so. I can go on and on about this, but it's probably better if I just post a link to an interesting article I read on huffington post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/10/this-is-how-the-media-wor_n_712229.html

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  14. what a fucking retard...people get so much shit about burning the american flag, its so hypocritical for him to burn the quran. this kind of shit only leads to:
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/09/12/afghanistan.quran.protests/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

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