An American Muslim going by the name of Saladin left a very brief (and the only) comment on my post comparing Right-Wing Islamaphobic blogs to Mein Kampf: ” So few people remember that is past is prologue.” I am glad for the comment because I ended up visiting his blog, “Reflections on the Straight Path”, where I read an excellent piece about New York mayor Michael Bloomburg’s profound speech on the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. With Saladin’s permission, the article is reprinted here:
Yesterday, in a moment of statesmanship that would shame many presidents, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the commission that designated landmarks voted against extending that status to the building located where the Park 51 community center would go. He gave an incredible speech. He stood up for the US constitution, a piece of paper that is our truest national treasure. Many people were overjoyed, many others were outraged. Bloomberg was simultaneously hailed as a hero, a champion for civil rights and all that is good in the United States and condemned as a spineless politician bought off by special interests, if not an actual traitor. None of these reactions are unexpected when dealing with an issue this complex and close to peoples’ hearts and passions.
For those who support the Park 51 Islamic Center, now is the time to speak up, now is the time to reach out. Those who are in pain over the choice, who are righteously indignant–they are the ones we must connect with. They demand to know that “these Muslims” won’t support terrorism, DO condemn the attacks on 9/11. So tell them. Nearly a hundred Muslims died on 9/11–their deaths are equally tragic, equally outrageous. More Muslims have gone off to serve their country, died in wars they may not have fully agreed with but they served their country loyally. American Muslims are not a separate nation nor a fifth column.
For those who oppose Park 51, now is the time to remember what is under attack. It is our nation, it is our strength, and our freedom to choose that the terrorists resent. They think us immoral and corrupt. Some of us are. Most of us aren’t. As long as you do what they say, when they say, how they say, Al-Qaeda really doesn’t have a problem with you. The minute that changes, you change from ally to enemy. The issues that drive that organization are both simple and Byzantine, all at once. What you must remember is that whenever we turn against each other, whenever we choose to marginalize one group or try to curtail their constitutional rights, the terrorists wet their pants with glee. They want us divided, they want us willing to sacrifice our most basic principles. I’ve seen it. I know.
All of us, regardless of our religion, nationality, or any other distinguishing characteristic, are sisters and brothers of this world. We all love, we all bleed, and we’ll all die. The only thing we can change is how we treat each other.
“ We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ”
—United States Constitution, Preamble
“Repel (evil) with what is better. Then will he, between whom and thee was hatred, become as it were thy friend and intimate. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint.” The Qur’an – Surah 41, Verse 34 and 35