I hope you all take the time to watch this video.
C-SPAN Video Player - Religious leaders Combat 'fear and intolerance' over Islamic center
With the continuing suspicious and sometimes blatant physical and vocal harassment of the Muslim community it is absolutely necessary for religious leaders all over the United States to condemn any religious intolerance, not only toward Muslim but toward any other religion.Top faith leaders will meet today in Washington to discuss the country’s reaction to the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero. The Islamic Society of North America will examine the interfaith response of the controversy and lay out a plan of action for interfaith collaboration moving forward.
Leaders from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths will discuss how their religions can work together to combat what they call “an atmosphere of fear and intolerance” toward Islam. The National Press Club meeting aims to discuss the state of interfaith solidarity and propose solutions to the anti-Muslim discrimination that has emerged in recent weeks.
These actions against Islam not only harm the image of tolerance that America tries to project around the world but also puts American's safety, both at home and abroad, at risk.
Protests, Rhetoric Feed Jihadists' Fire - WSJ.com
Though there are honest concerns against the planned Park 51 Islamic Center in Manhattan, there is growing evidence that anti-Muslim hatred and rhetoric is spreading across this nation and is tainting the core values of America.Islamic radicals are seizing on protests against a planned Islamic community center near Manhattan's Ground Zero and anti-Muslim rhetoric elsewhere as a propaganda opportunity and are stepping up anti-U.S. chatter and threats on their websites.
One jihadist site vowed to conduct suicide bombings in Florida to avenge a threatened Koran burning, while others predicted an increase in terrorist recruits as a result of such actions.
CAIR: Texas Mosque Targeted by Arson, Hate Graffiti, Slurs | Reuters
CAIR: Calif. Tea Party to Use Dogs to Harass Muslim Worshippers | ReutersCAIR-TX said a Sunday fire at the playground of Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in Arlington, Texas, followed an incident two days earlier in which obscene anti-Muslim graffiti was discovered in the mosque's parking lot. A third incident involved racial slurs being shouted at worshippers on Sunday.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/us...protest&st=cseThe Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today denounced a planned anti-mosque protest by California Tea Party supporters who are being told to bring dogs to harass Muslim worshippers during a Friday congregational prayer, or "Jummah."
Think Progress » California Mosque Targeted With Anti-Muslim Sign:
CAIR-CT Seeks Protection for Muslim Worshippers | ReutersBut in addition to acts of bodily harm against Muslims, the ugly and emotional Ground Zero debate has generated hate crimes against a mosque in California. The Fresno Bee reports that a brick was thrown through a window of the Madera Islamic center last Friday. There have been repeated instances of hate directed against this particular mosque. Signs have been left at the Islamic center carrying inflammatory messages, like this one:
CAIR: FBI Asked to Probe Arson at Georgia Mosque | ReutersThe Connecticut Post reported that right-wing protesters carrying signs and shouting "Islam is a lie" angrily confronted worshippers outside a Bridgeport mosque on Friday. Worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque were harassed by protesters shouting "Jesus hates Muslims." One protester reportedly shoved a hate sign at a group of young children leaving the mosque.
Though I firmly believe in the first amendment protecting people's rights to free speech, I also strongly believe in the first amendment protecting people's right to practice their religion freely. This anti-Muslim rhetoric needs to be quelled before it gets out of hand."Given the recent wave of incidents targeting American mosques, a possible bias motive for this apparent arson attack must be considered," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority in our society promoting anti-Muslim bigotry, and that minority is experiencing little or no pushback from mainstream religious and political leaders."
FOXNews.com - Pastor Says Church Not Deterred by Petraeus Warning on Koran Burning
"Images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and incite violence," Petraeus said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."
I am very pleased to see these religious leaders come together and say to the world that these actions against Islam do not represent American people. It is my hope that people around the world realize that these acts of hatred are not condoned by the majority of freedom loving Americans.
One quotes that stood out for me was from Reverend Richard Cizik (watch the CSPAN video from 16 minutes on):
"Watch out for so casually trampling on the religious liberty of others. You may be able to do that when you are the majority, but if you undermine liberty for other people's children today, your own children may one day see their religious liberties deprived from them. And the principles that protect Muslims today here in this country will protect Christians, Jews and others tomorrow. And that's what makes this a great, great country."