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Confronting Hatred and Ignorance August 15, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in politics.
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President Obama is being justly praised for his political courage in standing up for religious liberty in the face of the ugly and shameful anti-mosque campaign waged by conservatives. (It is really an Islamic community center, not a mosque)

“I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground,” the president said in remarks prepared for the annual White House iftar, the sunset meal breaking the day’s fast.

But, he continued: “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are” . . . .

There was no political upside to his stand and a good deal of political risk since polls show overwhelming nationwide opposition to the mosque.

This is just another example of conservatives lining up with majorities in the American public to treat an unpopular minority as an enemy. This is not only Anti-American; it is stupid given the fact that we need the cooperation of Muslims in the fight against terrorism. Obama stood by American principles and articulated what is best about us in contrast to the bigotry and ignorance we usually hear from the right (and from the public).

The issue has implications outside of New York. In Tennessee:    

Residents demand construction on Mosque be halted

  Several county residents spoke at Thursday night’s monthly Rutherford County Commission meeting in opposition to a proposed Islamic Center on Veals Road.

   Most demanded construction be halted and stopped short of demanding the buried body of a Muslim on their property be exhumed.

   The 52,000-square foot Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was approved earlier this year by the Regional Planning Commission under a new state law that allows religious institutions to build whatever they want in residential neighborhoods as a “use of right.”

   Residents who spoke want the county commission to reconsider their approval claiming Islam is not a religion and expressing fear that Islamic Sharia law will be imposed on Murfreesboro citizens.

Islam is not a religion? Building a mosque is equivalent to imposing Sharia law? It not hard to detect the ignorance and bigotry here.

Unfortunately, many Democrats have not been so willing to step up. Via the NY Times:

Few national Democrats rushed to Mr. Obama’s defense; party leaders, who would much prefer Mr. Obama to talk about jobs, were mostly silent. Two New York Democrats, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and Representative Jerrold Nadler, however, did back Mr. Obama. But Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for governor here, distanced herself, while Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent, defended the president.

“I think he’s right,” Mr. Crist told reporters during an appearance with the president at a Coast Guard station here.

This is just another example of Democratic politicians lacking the stomach to defend American values. They should do the right thing and support their leader.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com