Thursday, September 9, 2010
The Call of Freedom?
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.
Posted by Ashwani Jain