azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
[personal profile] azurite
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

--attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller

Why is this quotation relevant today, decades after the Nazis? Because the problem highlighted by the Pastor here is still present: we keep our mouths shut about the unfair treatment of people who aren't "Us," but by the time that treatment becomes unfair to "Us," there's no one left to speak on our behalf.

So I'm speaking up. I think it's bullshit that people are saying a mosque shouldn't be built near Ground Zero (or anywhere else in the U.S., for that matter). This country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion (among other core values), and that includes the religion of Islam (any argument trying to cite that Islam is not a religion is null and void. Don't even waste your bytes).

Some people have generalized all Muslims as extremists that want to see the fall of capitalism, the destruction of America, etc. etc. and that's ridiculous. It's just as ridiculous as previous notions of Protestants or Catholics being more sinful than the other, or Jews causing entire nations to go bankrupt. It's STUPID. You really don't need to rub two brain cells together to realize this.

I get that we're at war with Muslim nations. I get that not all Muslims like the United States of America, want to be American, or share the same ideals that many Americans do. But that doesn't mean that we have to mistreat the Muslims that are here in America, those Americans who HAPPEN to be Muslim, etc. The more you oppress any party, the stronger they will get, especially if it's here in a country that prides itself on the whole "rags to riches, phoenix from the ashes" concept, where the strong survive even the toughest of scenarios.

Yes, some Muslims may be extremists, and they may be in America right now, or will be in the future. They may have some unsavory plans for us, the same way that the terrorists behind 9/11 did. But can we stop them by being racist, by being hypocritical, or by being narrow-minded? No. America's strength lies in its diversity, in its acceptance of others, and of the country's ability to make a "melting pot" of even wildly divergent cultures and ideals and somehow turn them into something stronger, more beautiful, and better than before.

We can't just take everything that we've learned from all the wars that have come before and toss it out the proverbial window just because it's convenient.

And yes, we're not always going to agree with what every culture does. Sometimes it won't be "fair" by our standards, how they treat others, but who are we to be judge, jury, and executioner? Why is it so hard to respect differences? What happened to the drive to LEARN about the unknown, to explore it, instead of just fearing it outright?

Burning Qurans is wrong (flat-out, always). Depicting the prophet Mohammed is wrong (to Muslims). You can disagree with me, and that's fine: I respect your opinion. I would hope you would do the same for me. We can agree to disagree, and I feel that no one has to "come to arms" because of that kind of a disagreement. It seems so petty to get worked up over things that seem like basic politeness to me: you don't burn a book to make a statement (any book, any statement). You don't intentionally do something offensive to prove a point, especially when you can do something less offensive that will have a more positive, lasting impact.
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