Muslims become scapegoats of a nativist surge

UPDATE:

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says an American church’s plan to burn Korans on September 11 could endanger U.S. troops and damage the overall war effort in that country.

General David Petraeus warned Tuesday that the planned burning of the Muslim holy book “is precisely the kind of action the Taliban would exploit for propaganda purposes.” He said it could stoke anti-U.S. sentiment not only in Afghanistan, but across the Muslim world.

The Dove World Outreach Center, a small evangelical church in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida, says it plans to burn copies of the Koran to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The church has been denied a government permit to conduct the burning, but has vowed to go ahead with it anyway.

This country’s founding principles express the most benevolent and hopeful aspirations for a civil society. As examples, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” are declarations that separate the United States from even other Western democracies. They are also principles of which most of us are justly proud.

As Americans, we like to think that our country is exceptional partly because of those ideals. But, at the moment, we’re having a hard time living up to them. Indeed, some of the people most enamored of the notion of American exceptionalism are among those least committed to the principles of individual freedoms — at least for those who are somehow a bit different in worship or accent.
(During the Bush years, many conservatives liked to say that jihadists attacked us on 9/11 because they “hate our freedoms.” Sometimes, we don’t like them much, either.)
Take the current plight of American Muslims, who are bearing the blunt of ugly prejudices and nativism. From the NYT:

For nine years after the attacks of Sept. 11, many American Muslims made concerted efforts to build relationships with non-Muslims, to make it clear they abhor terrorism, to educate people about Islam and to participate in interfaith service projects. They took satisfaction in the observations by many scholars that Muslims in America were more successful and assimilated than Muslims in Europe.

Now, many of those same Muslims say that all of those years of work are being rapidly undone by the fierce opposition to a Muslim cultural center near ground zero that has unleashed a torrent of anti-Muslim sentiments and a spate of vandalism. The knifing of a Muslim cab driver in New York City has also alarmed many American Muslims.

“We worry: Will we ever be really completely accepted in American society?” said Dr. Ferhan Asghar, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Cincinnati and the father of two young girls. “In no other country could we have such freedoms — that’s why so many Muslims choose to make this country their own. But we do wonder whether it will get to the point where people don’t want Muslims here anymore.”

Eboo Patel, a founder and director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based community service program that tries to reduce religious conflict, said, “I am more scared than I’ve ever been — more scared than I was after Sept. 11.”

That was a refrain echoed by many American Muslims in interviews last week. They said they were scared not as much for their safety as to learn that the suspicion, ignorance and even hatred of Muslims is so widespread. This is not the trajectory toward integration and acceptance that Muslims thought they were on.

Some American Muslims said they were especially on edge as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches. The pastor of a small church in Florida has promised to burn a pile of Korans that day. Muslim leaders are telling their followers that the stunt has been widely condemned by Christian and other religious groups and should be ignored. But they said some young American Muslims were questioning how they could simply sit by and watch the promised desecration.

They liken their situation to that of other scapegoats in American history: Irish Roman Catholics before the nativist riots in the 1800s, the Japanese before they were put in internment camps during World War II.

I used to think that Americans had learned the lessons of history well enough that we would not repeat those ugly periods of prejudice and resentment. I was wrong.

635 comments Add your comment

granny godzilla

September 7th, 2010
7:30 am

Ah yes…consider the case of the Dove World Outreach Church in Florida.

They plan to burn Korans on 9/11.

Disgusting.

barking frog

September 7th, 2010
7:32 am

Religious freedom can be difficult to tolerate.

barking frog

September 7th, 2010
7:41 am

It would appear that this ‘christian’ nation appears to
almost condone the stoning of adulteresses as few
voices are raised in opposition to the planned execution
in Iran. General David Petraeus is evidently not in
opposition either as he protests the burning of a
few books in Florida but not one word about the
Iran execution. The European nations seem to be
more concerned than we are.

mystified

September 7th, 2010
7:49 am

The passage you quote from our Declaration of Independence was written during a time of war. We weren’t talking about how equal the Brits were. We did not like their system of governing us so we were at war with them. Recognizing equality and liking the other guy are two different things. Disagreeing with a point of view to the point of protest and war does not necessarily have anything to do with the concept of equality. When we daily see the ravages of “Islam” in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan on women and people who think differently, it’s hard to look at Islam in America and come to the conclusion that it is different. The constitution recognizes religion and makes a place for it in America. The Christian Bible as well as other religions makes provision for a non-Christian government. The Koran does not.

Maybe Americans have grown tired of seeing protest signs in Muslim countries saying “Death to America” every time the weather changes. How can you be so hated by a group of people and maintain indifference when they want their way here? Personal dislike of Islam has nothing to do with equality. The personal assault on anyone because they are Muslim in America is criminal and should be dealt with. The same constitution that guarantees equality also guarantees our right to protest and state our opinions on matters.

Why are you so threatened by that?

Tommy Maddox

September 7th, 2010
7:52 am

Don’t forget – our President announced in Turkey that America is not a Christian nation.

Come on November.

O'Really

September 7th, 2010
7:57 am

to barking frog:
Petraeus expressed concern over the impact on the safety of our troops of the anti-Muslim book burning. Whatever his position on the stoning is (and I seriously doubt he is in favor of it), it is not an issue that affects the safety of our troops. As a soldier he speaks appropriately on the first issue.

Bubba Bob

September 7th, 2010
7:58 am

The brown people….they’re closing in…..I don’t know what to do…..They’re everywhere!

Sorry, I thought this was the last blog post.

[...] Muslims become scapegoats of a nativist surgeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)said Dr. Ferhan Asghar, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Cincinnati and the father of two young girls. ?In no other country could we have such freedoms …and more » [...]

Joel

September 7th, 2010
8:04 am

you may not agree with the koran burning, but they have the right. dont be ignorant to that.

O'Really

September 7th, 2010
8:07 am

to mystified:
One way of defining bigotry is the condemnation of an entire race/religion because of the actions of some members of that race/religion. The forthcoming burning of the Koran is just that kind of bigoted action. While I recognize the right of any group in this country to express its views, I also recognize that a country which is supposed to abhor bigotry (YOU do, don’t you?) should be appalled when a group of our citizens use that freedom in a bigoted fashion. What would you think if a group of Americans burned bibles because of the actions of the Dove World Outreach Church. We’d have the right, but it would be just as wrong as burning the Koran.

Jimmy62

September 7th, 2010
8:11 am

Granny:
I wonder if you were offended when lefties burned Bibles or when pissing on a Bible was called art and displayed in a museum as such in this country?

I agree about burning Korans being a bad thing. What amazes me is the hypocrisy of some of the people complaining.

Joel

September 7th, 2010
8:14 am

I have an idea, all people offended can counter protest for equality and burn 1 bible per burned koran, that way its all fair!

granny godzilla

September 7th, 2010
8:18 am

Jimmy62

Equally as disgusting. AND I would suggest the vast majority of Americans both right and left think it’s disgusting.

But as Joel reminds us, they have that right.

Joel

September 7th, 2010
8:20 am

Really, if you ignore these people they tend to go away

WAR

September 7th, 2010
8:23 am

ok folks… here we go again… i have no idea why so many of you refuse to acknowledge that the founding fathers were not “christian.” many were constitutionalists, deists, quakers… stop saying they are christians because they are not. their ability to directly institute a separation of church and state reflects the want for Americans not to be controlled by people with crucifixes. thank you and good morning.

Boner sez

September 7th, 2010
8:26 am

We all know the founding fathers was Southern Babdist.

Remmington

September 7th, 2010
8:27 am

Muslims have done nothing to convince the world that they are peaceful and flexible in their religion. They prefer to practice a religion with standards of the 6th century and have a track record of violence and poor assimilation. We are out of patience with these unruly people and we condemn their uncivilized practices. Unless you have been living on the far side of the moon, don’t insult us with quotes from an anti-American newspaper to support your naive liberal viewpoint.

barking frog

September 7th, 2010
8:27 am

O’Really 7:57 Petraeus is going to be busy if he intends to
censor any speech or activity in the US that may inflame
the taliban, al-quaeda, or Islam in general. He has no
business commenting on the execution or the book burning.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 7th, 2010
8:27 am

this situation is layered with so many examples of what is wrong with homo sapiens; especially the use of “religion” as a political tool, it makes my head spin. as I have noted several times on this and other blogs, there are some Americans who would seem to be taking a page from the Nazi playbook (see: Goehring Nuremburg quote). the Nazi’s identified Jews as scapegoats. Hitler and the Nazis were not a theological orgianization, but they certainly understood the political value of “preaching” hate as something of a nationalist (nativist) dogma. of course, scapegoating only works when ingnorance and fear (see: nativists) are also part of the mix. and that’s not to say Americans should not remain vigilant in the post 9/11 world, but out vigilance needs to be defined or applied with an eye toward preserving the Republic, not re-writing the Constitution. this is why paleo-neo-Carlinists eschew religion. ALL religions are “cultural” in origin, and as such SCREAM nativism. the very fact there are any number of faiths, deities, good books, and rituals; suggests to this agnostic wag, “religion” is nativism in theism’s clothing. if we truly do seek “separation of church and state” we need to find terrorists and kill them (”teminate with extreme prejudice” in the vernacular of Apocalypse Now). to specifically target or scapegoat Muslims in nothing short of poor police work in my book. remember the outrage proferred by the “right” last year when it was leaked that “right wing militia groups” were receiving the attention of DHS? how is this different than looking as all Muslims as threats? oh, and I am not issuing a hall pass to peace-loving Muslims, either. you’re here because you want to be here. the Constitution makes no mention of infidels, 72 virigins, or jihad; so leave that stuff at the door. there are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation (heck – ask a Cherokee, Lakota Souix, or Dine family about life in America?). if you can’t handle a little nativist discrimination, bigotry and religious intollerance; you’re probably in the wrong place.

Dennis D

September 7th, 2010
8:31 am

Miss Tucker obviously knows nothing about Islam. Its clear that she despises White America and will side with our enemies at any chance. Its the angry black female syndrome.

barking frog

September 7th, 2010
8:31 am

O’Really 8:07 The Koran burning IS the condemnation of
an entire religion, not the condemnation of the actions of
a few of it’s members.

granny godzilla

September 7th, 2010
8:33 am

Dennis D

Project Much?

North Georgia

September 7th, 2010
8:40 am

Ms. Tucker is a racist plain and simple. Without racism, her existence is pale at best. Atlanta should ignore her but her ignorant, handout driven fans don’t know a better way and will continue to support her. It is sad.

John

September 7th, 2010
8:41 am

CT – when are you going to write about the plight of white Jews in this country? We are discrimnated against by blacks and we need attention, money and handouts.

Sugarhilldawg

September 7th, 2010
8:42 am

Hey Granny Godzilla, consider this, if you are caught with a bible in Saudi Arabia, you go to jail (or worse) and you can forget about trying to build a church or heaven forbid a synagogue their too.I’m tired of the double standards and walking on egg shells to not offend those barbaric neanderthals–light it up I say!!

Sugarhilldawg

September 7th, 2010
8:44 am

Hey Barking Frog, you think us christians would get that animated about someone burning a bible? The muslims need to grow up.

quod erat demonstrandum

September 7th, 2010
8:44 am

To say that the founders were not a majority of Christians is pure ignorance at the highest level. It has bee rebutted and re-proven too many times. Just as an example, the last few lines of the Declaration of Independence.

“And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Try and Google the concept of “Divine Providence”. Geez, you would think those in midtown would at least read something beside the AJC.

Regarding Islam. The Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

However the state of New York can, unless it is forbidden by their State’s Constitution.

History is a cruel mistress at times. Ignore her and you will get bitten.

Look back on the history of the Islamic invasions of Europe and the middle east. Look at their history and the way they compassionately treated non-believers.

With practices like “Taqiya”, “Ketman” and other what we would call oddities.

Tilli

September 7th, 2010
8:44 am

Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion are two things that set the US apart from most other nations. Some burn US flags to protest. Now a group is going to burn Korans in protest. Do we have to like it, no. We have to respect their right to do so.

As for Muslims feeling nervous on 9/11; Go to any synagogue during Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur and you will likely see a few police officers on patrol. Jews have been “nervous” around these times for decades.

Red Hill Rebel

September 7th, 2010
8:49 am

CT said it best at the end of her article “I was wrong”.
Nothing new there !

Lil' Barry Bailout

September 7th, 2010
8:50 am

Perhaps Cynthia could write a column about the riots in the streets whenever the U.S. flag is burned in the Middle East, or when some Democrat dunks a crucifix in a jar of urine.

Oh, wait, those riots never happen.

Mystified

September 7th, 2010
8:51 am

O’Reilly…. The burning of the Koran is nothing but an in your face act of idiocy. What good can possibly come of that? Legal or not; as Christians, how can they possibly hope to have any credibility in reaching anyone after that.

One of the hardest things to do is obtaining the balance of compassion and the need for doctrinal correctness (or in this case legal correctness). Too much compassion and we are wishy-washy at best and appear to embrace things that are not right. Too much legalism and we end up burning the Koran and addressing the group as a whole and lose sight of the individual.

It’s far too easy to address the things we don’t like in sound bites when the issue is anything but simple. My overall point is regardless of what we think of their methods, the right to protest should be equally protected. Liberalism needs a thicker skin. Every disagreement is not a civil rights issue.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 7th, 2010
8:51 am

joel, agreed and here’s a better idea; when did not being offended become a Constitutional guarantee? “being offende” is part of the culture of victimization which is a key tactic in the political process (used deftly by both the left and the right). otherwise, how could Newt and Sarah (or Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse) “protect” their base from Muslims and discrimination, respectively. heck, I get “offended” when I see drunk college student paint their faces and chant “offensove” cheers at the other team, so you know what I do? I ignore it. I also get offende everytime I hear that faux patriot Toby Keith sing about “putting a boot” in somebody’s a**. talk about a shallow, shameless, profiteer? Pat Tilman enlisted and died, Toby Keith wrote a song and went on tour? now that’s offensive.

barking frog

September 7th, 2010
8:51 am

Sugarhilldawg 8:44 What exactly do you do with a Bible
when you’ve worn itout with study?

granny godzilla

September 7th, 2010
8:53 am

Sugarhill Dawg

So it is your goal for Americans to behave like Saudis and for The United States of America to follow the same rules as Saudi Arabia?

All because YOU are tired?

That’s not very patriotic at all dude.

BUT, if it is to hard for you to be a good American, Delta is ready when you are.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

September 7th, 2010
8:54 am

My religion teaches me to love and forgive my enemies. Islam teaches that all non Islamists must be killed. It really isn’t hard to figure out why people distrust Muslims.

CJ

September 7th, 2010
8:55 am

Benjamin Rush-Signer of the Declaration of Independence:
“My only hope of salvation is in the infinite, transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!”;
Richard Stockton-Signer of the Declaration of Independence:
“I think it proper here not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian religion, such as the Being of God, the universal defection and depravity of human nature, the divinity of the person and the completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Savior, the necessity of the operations of the Divine Spirit, of Divine Faith, accompanied with an habitual virtuous life, and the universality of the divine Providence, but also . . . that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; that the way of life held up in the Christian system is calculated for the most complete happiness that can be enjoyed in this mortal state; that all occasions of vice and immorality is injurious either immediately or consequentially, even in this life; that as Almighty God hath not been pleased in the Holy Scriptures to prescribe any precise mode in which He is to be publicly worshiped, all contention about it generally arises from want of knowledge or want of virtue.”
John Witherspoon-Signer of the Declaration of Independence:
“I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other [Acts 4:12]. . . . [I]f you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness, you must forever perish.”
Roger Sherman-Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Constitution:
I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. . . . that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God. . . . that God did send His own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners, and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the Gospel offer.”
John Dickinson-Signer of the Constitution:
“Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity.”
Samuel Adams-Father of the American Revolution, Signer of the Declaration of Independence:
“I . . . recommend my Soul to that Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.”
Charles Carroll-Signer of the Declaration of Independence:
“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.”
“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

granny godzilla

September 7th, 2010
8:55 am

Jason T

September 7th, 2010
8:55 am

The peaceful, serene, caring, tolerant, compassionate, ever so loving and understanding religion of Islam….they just get so misunderstood with their never ending bombings, suicide attacks on innocent men, women, and children…and the stonings…they are so loving.

hellbent

September 7th, 2010
8:55 am

@Tommy Maddox; “Don’t forget – our President announced in Turkey that America is not a Christian nation.”

America is NOT a Christian nation….the authors of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the rest of our most sacred documents were Deists NOT CHRISTIANS!!!! If you knew your history, rather than just have it fed to you off Fox News, you would understand this. Maybe this will help… http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=Deism

barking frog

September 7th, 2010
8:57 am

Boner sez 8:26 ‘We all know the founding fathers was Southern Babdist’

Even Jesus was a Baptist as he was baptized by the original
Baptist preacher, John, but then he started his own church.

Pope UGA XXIII

September 7th, 2010
8:58 am

Cynthia: Actions towards these Muslims make me sad.
Readers: You know what makes us sad, Cynthia ? YOU DO !!!
Why don’t we chug on over to Namby Pamby Land so we
can find you some journalistic objectivity !!
Tissue ?? …………………. Crybaby

ctucker

September 7th, 2010
8:59 am

Starring Kam Fong @8:45, Many imams would vigorously disagree with your interpretations of Islam.

Lil' Barry Bailout

September 7th, 2010
9:00 am

Remember when building a mosque near Ground Zero was OK because it was within the rights of the group who wants to build it?

And now somehow exercising free speech rights by burning a book is not OK?

Who is it that doesn’t respect our Constitution now?

Ommyta

September 7th, 2010
9:00 am

Some people (a minority) react with hatred and bigotry when they are scared. Most of us control our fear. What is scaring Americans right now is radical Islam. There is a risk that as Islam spreads in America (and it will if the history of Islam is any indication), so will the spread of radical Islam in America. Our Constitution forces us to face this possibility, but it is still scary for a lot of people. They see images of suicide bombers in our malls. Paranoia? I hope so.

Tychus Findlay

September 7th, 2010
9:01 am

I wonder how long it’ll be until Dr. Ashgar murders one of his daughters in an “honor” killing?

CJ

September 7th, 2010
9:01 am

quod erat demonstrandum –stop rewriting history. You are wrong. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, just as Glenn Beck is a Mormon. Both men recognized the Gospel/the God of the Bible is what gave them their freedoms in the first place. Read the document that Jefferson himself penned: “we hold these truths to be self-evident…all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 7th, 2010
9:01 am

QED, your position is weak. wordds and phrases such as “endowed by the Creator” or “Divine Providence” are theologically neutral phrases. they suggest some supreme being or deity, but they do not specifically refer to “Christ” or “Christianity” (or the God of Abraham, Allah, or any other golden idols). Many American indian tribes refer to a “Great Spirit” or viewed the “Earth” as the “Creator” of life. the very fact that many of the Founding Father WERE Christians, but specifically omitted ANY reference to Christianity should be a clue they were well aware of the evils of theocratic thinking. and despite the wonderful “religious freedom” narrative about the pilgrims and Plymouth Rock, the commercial interests of the Crown (in England and other European empires) had established a beachhead in the “new world” long before a handful of Purtains sought refuge in Massachusetts. the United States is a “corporate nation” not a “Christian nation”.

ctucker

September 7th, 2010
9:03 am

hellbent@8:55, you are so right. The following is from a treaty with Libya, read aloud on the floor of the us senate in 1797 and approved unanimously. John Adams, president, signed the treaty.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religionn (emphasis added); as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Kamchak

September 7th, 2010
9:04 am

…don’t insult us with quotes from an anti-American newspaper to support your naive liberal viewpoint.

There’s your sign.

PearlJam

September 7th, 2010
9:04 am

Everyone agrees they have a constitutional right to build the “Muslim cultural center ” in NY.
People are just asking them not to, show some respect because the people who killed 1000’s in NY did it in the name of their Muslim faith, we supported by Muslim organization, millions of Muslim’s around the world were in the streets cheering.