Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Freedom of religion...questionable in America

Here are two quotes that I came across while skimming through the ongoing controversy in the U.S, over the proposed  mosque near Ground Zero -

Mr. McNeil’s opinion of where the new mosque in New York should be built is quite absurd and very disrespectful. He believes that the proposed mosque near Ground Zero should be built “nine stories underground, so we can walk above it as citizens as Christians.”  

and a poster carried in a protest against the proposed mosque  -

Building a mosque at ground zero is like building a memorial to Hitler at Auschwitz 

It shows weak support for freedom of religion in the U.S - when Muslims are involved.

Ron McNeil is an American Republican Congressional candidate who has been going around telling school children that Islam is against American ideals. 

 This story reminds me of the movie "My name is Khan" and its depiction of a Muslim in America, post 9/11. It had seemed an exaggeration to me before, but seems too true now. Not every Khan is a terrorist. Yet, there is a sense of fear and prejudice associated with a Muslim name, a Muslim worship place or anything to do with Islam among a certain section in present America. Not everything can be blamed on American intolerance though.

The terrorists have misused the word "Islam" and phrases such as "a fight to save Islam" or "to die for Allah", that an average ignorant person may end up associating the two, which is not to say that the two are associated. In fact, like any other religion, Islam is based on peace, love and harmony.

I say an ignorant person because holding a whole religion responsible for the acts of a few who think they do what they do for saving/promoting their religion amounts to nothing more than ignorance. Since Muslims have been equated with Hitler in the above poster, we can safely say that as Hitler and the Nazis went about 'purging' Germany by getting rid of the Jews because they believed them to be an inferior people, all Christians in Germany are terrorists or were terrorists at the time. So let's not build a church near Auschwitz. 

We need to open our minds and be more tolerant and accepting of others. Because otherwise, an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.


  1. First: Bravo! I love the fact that you are so regular with blogging. Also, some of your stuff made me raise my eyebrow.
    Second: What aesthetics! Your profile picture and background is stunning! Tell stories!

    And now, my comments on your post:
    Ira, to be blatantly honest with you, I believe that questioning 'freedom' of any kind in America is like thinking of Mother Teresa dancing on the tune of some Bollywood number with Salman Khan. Let's be a little more 'real' and objective about it.
    Question 1)
    Why Muslims. Always? Elaborate.
    Question 2)
    In fact, LIKE ANY OTHER RELIGION, Islam is based on peace, love and harmony.
    You know what I mean.
    What's the point?
    Question 3)
    We need to OPEN OUR MINDS and be more TOLERANT and accepting of others. Really?

    Imagine losing someone close, very close, for some text, intentionally misinterpreted text to defeat everything great a man could be(in the name of morality and inability), for the sake of some text, a mere text written ages ago. And imagine celebrating and glorifying that very text at the same place where you lost someone.

    Tolerance ? Morality? Opened Minds? What?

    Mukul Bhatia.

  2. aah! the debator in you has finally cropped up. was waiting for the post that urges you to comment ;)
    First: Thanks for the good thoughts. The profile pic was clicked by a certain professional who's pretty good at the job :) Should try him sometime.
    Second: Spoken like a true Rand fan when you say questioning any kind freedom in America is absurd or unthinkable. But freedom for who?

    Coming to your questions...
    Answer 1) Have answered it in the post titled "Misinterpretation - text or texter.

    Answer 2) What's the point of what? The different religions, if they say the same thing? What's the point of Islam? What's the point of saying love, peace and harmony when you go and do that? Just like you said, misinterpreted text. (the 'intentionally' is debatable though)

    Answer 3) Yes. Really. We should open our minds to people who are different than us. That does not mean that we should accept the ideology of a bomber, because it is different than what we think or tolerate terrorism for that matter, thinking it is okay by someone else's point of view. You have to make a judgement call here, based on morals and ethics. Generally speaking, if your views conflict with another's, doesn't mean you go forcing yours on them, or crushing them down.

    I think the issue here is more complex than just black and white


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