“Religious pluralism, one of the foundations of American democracy”

For some reason last night I was reminded of this August 2010 post my co-founder Nate wrote about the Islamic community center proposed for Lower Manhattan and all the hysteria surrounding it. I re-read it and kept thinking about it in the context of the widespread fear in the past year.
It still holds true:

I definitely understand that 9/11 was a traumatic experience for all Americans and New Yorkers especially. And because the terrorists attacks were carried out in the name of Islam, it is not at all surprising that some Americans would feel uneasy about other members of that religion. But the pain of that day should not blind us to the fact that Islam is the second largest religion in the world and the vast majority of its followers are not terrorists and do not wish to kill innocent Americans. Our prejudices, not matter how understandable they may be, should not allow us to deny fundamental rights to other Americans.

In this case, having the government prevent the mosque would violate both the religious rights and property rights of the Cordoba Initiative (they own the building and are mostly free to do whatever they choose with it). Maybe the Cordoba Initiative could choose to stir less controversy and outrage by building the mosque somewhere else. But if they want to build the mosque there, they have the right to. Don’t like it? Too bad, we live in a free country.

This all brings me back to another point I have touched on several times before: every time we compromise our fundamental rights in the name of fighting “terrorism,” we are in fact advancing the terrorist cause. Religious pluralism, one of the foundations of American democracy, is antithetical to the jihadist ideology and when we compromise our ideals we create an America less free and more like the nation Al Qaeda would like to create.

Read the rest…

 

Liberty and inclusion for all

In the face of a fresh round of disturbing attacks against Muslims and Muslim immigrants (or people perceived to be) across our nation, we need to re-affirm some core principles.

First, non-citizens and people of all faiths have constitutionally guaranteed rights and civil liberties in the United States, and these rights and liberties must be upheld and protected.

Second, all immigrants, whether permanent residents, asylum-seekers, refugees, or undocumented immigrants are all deserving of the same dignity as everyone else in our society. They play a vital role in all aspects of our communities and our economies, and they have made this nation great. No one should be discriminated against by the state, by employers, by public accommodations, or by their fellow residents because of their lack of citizenship. No one should be physically attacked or threatened because of their religion (or for any other reason, of course).

Third, we should strive to promote full integration, socially and legally, for all non-citizens in our nation at every opportunity, rather than seeking to exclude or partition people because of their origins. This mission we undertake for the stability of our communities, as well as to meet our moral obligation to our fellow men, women, and children – wherever they were born and whatever brought them to our shores.

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No moment for bystanders

Seeing grave injustices mounting publicly, abetted openly by some in our political system and many in our society, we are all called upon to stand up, step up, and speak out.

Since August 2014, I have been working to find ways to contribute to turning back this tide of bigotry and indifference toward rampant injustice. I have devoted many hours of my radio show and countless articles to exposing racial injustice and Islamophobia in our country. I have sought to amplify the voices of the unheard via the platform that I have.

I refuse to be a helpless bystander or hopelessly apathetic in the face of what is going on in this country. I would rather try to do something and fail, than to have done nothing at all. My values are meaningless if they remain inert and unvoiced.

I hope you will join me in this fight.

Troubling

I know we’re not supposed to compare people to Hitler.

But like…
when a big populist candidate says “we’re going to be looking into that”
in response to a voter asking when we can “get rid of”
a religious minority of 2.75 million people (80% of whom are citizens)
that the voter believes “want to kill us”…

it’s pretty hard not to think about how 2.96 million Jewish people in Poland in 1933 weren’t there anymore in 1950.

AFD Micron #19

Curt Schilling’s tweet: “It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” wouldn’t make his point even if the numbers were accurate. Unless Curt Schilling is suggesting discrimination against Muslims is the only way to be effective against Muslim terrorists because discriminating against Germans is such an effective way of dealing with Nazis…. which would be a little weird for a guy named Curt Schilling.

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