12 September 2010

America's Debate Over Membership

The terrifying anti-Muslim rhetoric surrounding the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the proposed Islamic center near the New York World Trade Center site continues. New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has written a worthwhile editorial entitled "Is This America?" Kristof writes about a disturbing blog post published in The New Republic. In that post, the author wonders "whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse."

Kristof replies:
Thus a prominent American commentator, in a magazine long associated with tolerance, ponders whether Muslims should be afforded constitutional freedoms. Is it possible to imagine the same kind of casual slur tossed off about blacks or Jews? How do America’s nearly seven million American Muslims feel when their faith is denounced as barbaric?

This is one of those times that test our values, a bit like the shameful interning of Japanese-Americans during World War II, or the disgraceful refusal to accept Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.
On the same topic, CBS Sunday Morning ran two worthwhile stories this morning. The first deals with the fears of self-described "patriotic" Muslims in middle America. The second is a heart-felt plea for an end to the "anger" that, according to 9/11 widow Nikki Stern, now pervades American society.

So continues the painful debate about who is covered by American foundation myths regarding freedom of religion and the guarantee of "liberty and justice for all."

No comments:

Post a Comment