Monday, August 30, 2010

SCOURGE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

The Ground Zero Mosque controversy raging in the US has to all intents and purposes exposed the myth of American secularism. The American public could be just as petty, intolerant and even fundamentalist as others around the world.

A recent poll survey indicating a majority of the New York state voters opposing the mosque is a slap in the face of their notions of free speech and the freedom to practice one’s religion. The Muslim community, which wanted to build a mosque near the site of Sep 11 attacks was just trying to express itself peacefully and quietly and by constructing a mosque they actually intended to convey to the hardline Christian public in the USA that Islam symbolised peace and love, contrary to what the average American has been misled into believing.

Islamophobic tendencies are also reflected in President Obama’s contradictory stand in which he first declared support for the Ground Zero mosque, but the very next day showed his true colours and went back on his word, greatly embarrassing all those who had thought he was different from the veno
m-spitting Bush. He has been rightly called by a writer as United States ‘Islamophile-in-chief’, because rather than living up to his expectations, his government has outrun even the previous regime in terms of hatred and persecution of the Muslims. Owing to a smear campaign spanning decades, the common mindset in the US unfortunately, is prone to mistaking Islam with terrorism.
The US mainstream politicians especially the Neo-Cons feel no qualms in indulging in vitriolic attacks against Islam, targeting not just th
e world of Islam but also the Muslim Diaspora living in the US. Most damaging to the credibility of the American empire is the fierce brazenness on the part of an extremist Church in Florida to indulge in blasphemous activities on September 11 and, despite the warning by the authorities not to take such a step, the Church remains adamant. This of course would create a storm of protests all over the world.

Intellectuals and politically conscious people are already pointing out that the US imperial hubris is now rocking the foundations of the American empire. Will Durant’s comment that a great civilisation is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within is an apt description of the USA today and its descent into moral and political degeneration. This time again, a golden opportunity of building bridges aimed at creating interfaith harmony has been missed solely because of the vicious anti-Islam propaganda that has literally brainwashed a considerable section of the American public.
THE NATION, Aug 28

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