I have a rant today and I have to warn that I have a lot of emotions about this and I do not intend to hold back. That said, if you are angry about the mosque being built in New York, please stop reading this blog and go straight to Hell.
I really thought that as a country we had gotten over the misconception that the tragedy of 9/11 was perpetrated by Muslims. I thought people had gotten over the conclusions they had jumped to and realized how little sense they made.
I have to admit that I have heard of this story through friends and I don't watch the news. This isn't a complicated issue so I feel comfortable writing about it. What I'm hearing: A mosque is being built near the site where the twin towers fell. People are outrageously angry about this. Who are these people? A co-worker told me yesterday that she almost had to walk out of church because during the sermon the preacher was going off about this and basically saying that this was an evil action and surely implying that all Muslim people are evil as well. What a kind and compassionate Christian perspective. I'm sure if Jesus had been there, he would have agreed completely. (You can't hear the sarcasm but it's thick!)
I have a few Muslim friends and they are among the kindest, most compassionate, gentle people I have ever met. I have studied (admittedly not thoroughly) the Islamic faith and it is a very gentle path. The only thing that has ever bothered me about it is that it is a very patriarchal faith. This is NOT unique to Islam. Have you ever met a female priest? How long has it been that women could sit with men in Temple? At it's core, Islam teaches the same loving message as any other positive faith. Blaming all Muslim people for a tragic act committed by people who were clearly not following the tenants of that faith is ridiculous!
Muslim people died in those buildings. Can you imagine that? So there were family members, friends who lost loved ones in this crazy act and then felt not only that loss, but a loss of freedom as everywhere they went, people began to look at them as if they were terrorists. Then in the guise of protection, our government used this tragedy to systematically siphon off our rights. We lost so much more to this tragedy that what was lost on that day. We willingly gave up so much of our freedom and privacy. We lost the cohesion some of us had worked towards. We looked at anyone with dark skin and hair with suspicion. We lost touch with what this country is supposed to be about.
The people who did this came from a very different place. It is my firm belief that these types of actions only take place because of the unbalanced distribution of resources. So people outside of the U.S. hate us? I don't think they hate us personally. I think they live in a place where day to day life is so difficult that it's easy to create hate towards a nation that seems to have everything dangled before them on a silver spoon. I don't even think these people were intrinsically hateful. I think they were taken advantage of and used. They were fed anti-American propaganda and with the way we behave sometimes, we certainly give fuel for that. I'm not saying that I am anti-American or that I condone terrorism by any stretch of the imagination. What I will say is that we don't take responsibility for anything, as citizens. I never hear people talk about what it must be like to live in the Middle East. Why would we ponder that? We have a tennis match to go to and then the kid's baseball game and a cook-out this weekend and the car payment and mortgage to attend to. We'll think of other people another day. Maybe next week, I think I have some spare time on Tuesday afternoon. This is what makes me sick about the culture I've been fortunate enough to have been born into.
I don't wish I was somewhere else. (Well, maybe Canada but they're not perfect either.) I am so grateful to have been born here and I see the gift in it. I know that it was luck, chance, that I could have come into being anywhere on this great round planet. But knowing that, I think I have a responsibility to dwell in gratitude, to carry some compassion for those who were born into less favorable circumstances.
As a good Witch and a loving person I simply cannot abide the ignorance and hate I hear seething around me. Anyone who holds these opinions should be ashamed of themselves. To me, building a mosque in that area is a great way to bring healing. This is a place of worship and of peace. These people want to come here to pray and express gratitude. Would anyone have complained if someone had opened a gun store nearby?
What really bothers me about this is the anger it causes in me. This is not helpful. I have shame over the way my country-mates are acting. I am so pissed off that these hateful, ignorant opinions are being sent around the world in the name of the country I live in! I don't want to feel this anger. I want to be able to forgive people for being such assholes. Maybe tomorrow.