Thanks to bigotry, Murfreesboro has probably been on the national stage more often recently than ever. It’s a shame that the publicity comes under such embarrassing circumstances.
Even though there are plenty who support the building of the Islamic Community Center, the national story is the opposition. Of course the xenophobic opposition is fueled by xenophobic politicians in the midst of a political season, but by the time the nonsense dies down, a crusted stain will be left on the dirty laundry that’s been aired for the world to see.
The issue is so transparent that you can almost feel the societal rift between the rational and the ignorant opposition. While traffic has been cited as the politically correct reason for opposing the construction, a child could tell you what the issue is really about. It’s about fear. After my last column I received several e-mails attempting to educate me in the ways of the evil “Islamacists.” I was told I didn’t know anything about Sharia Law, that Muslims were out for world domination and that if we let our guard down, these “Islamacists” will pack a nuke into a suitcase and blow us all to hell.
Traffic was never mentioned.
Let it be known that I am no expert on Islamic Sharia law, nor do I care to be. I view all superstitious beliefs the same way. Believe anything you want, just don’t harm others and do your best to observe the real laws that will get you thrown in jail. The only law that I’ve seen come into question during this entire bit of theater is the First Amendment, which the ignorant opposition is apparently more than happy to stomp on. It’s almost comical to think about the folks on the right who occasionally drum up the fantasy that Democrats want to take away their guns and kill the Second Amendment, all while they want to squash people’s rights to the First Amendment. And this is done without any sense of irony or self-reflection.
I don’t know if it’s in the water, but people are completely losing perspective. Protests like this one are happening all over the country with the one near Ground Zero drawing the most controversy. Islam is the second largest religion in the world, consisting of about 1.5 billion followers. The thought that 23 percent of the world’s population is part of some evil club whose only motivation is to infiltrate and destroy the United States is based on pure, paranoid ignorance. The issue in New York is baffling because people are so blatantly equating Islam to terrorism. If you say that they should move the mosque to an alternate location out of respect for the victims of 9/11, like former Democratic chairman Howard Dean said, then you are basically telling all the people of that faith that they are just like the terrorists.
I don’t live in New York, and it’s up to the people of New York to deal with this issue. However, I do live in Murfreesboro and I hate living in a town branded by hate. I grew up in Pulaski, and whenever I tell people where I am from, I get the same, “So, that’s the home of the Ku Klux Klan?” Even though Pulaski doesn’t really associate with the Klan, the stain is still there, and it’s difficult for a community to grow with that lingering stigma. If the town of Murfreesboro wants to remain a viable community, the ignorant opposition needs to be weeded out.