To belittle this issue as though it's the equivalent of the media's August fixation on shark attacks or Chandra Levy -- or, worse, to want to ignore it because it's harmful to the Democrats' chances in November -- is profoundly irresponsible. The Park51 conflict is driven by, and reflective of, a pervasive animosity toward a religious minority -- one that has serious implications for how we conduct ourselves both domestically and internationally. Yesterday, ABC News' Christiane Amanpour decided to let Americans hear about this dispute from actual Muslims behind the project (compare that, as Jay Rosen suggested, to David Gregory's trite and typically homogeneous guest list of Rick Lazio and Jeffrey Goldberg and you see why there's so much upset caused by Amanpour). One of those project organizers, Daisy Kahn, said this during her ABC interview:At the end of his post, he points to some very fine examples of the few brave and principled leaders who have been willing to speak out on this issue, including this one which just makes the rest of our Democratic establishment look awful by comparison.
"This is like a metastasized anti-Semitism. That's what we feel right now. It's not even Islamophobia; it's beyond Islamophobia. It's hate of Muslims, and we are deeply concerned."
Can anyone watch the video of that disgusting hate rally and dispute that? That's exactly why I've found this conflict so significant. If Park51 ends up moving or if opponents otherwise succeed in defeating it, it will seriously bolster and validate the ugly premises at the heart of this campaign: that Muslims generally are responsible for 9/11, Terrorism justifies and even compels our restricting the equals rights and access of Americans Muslims, and more broadly, the animosity and suspicions towards Muslims generally are justified, or at least deserving of respect. As Aziz Poonawalla put it: "if the project does fail, then I think that the message that will be sent is that bigotry and fear of Muslims is not just permitted, it is effective."
Monday, August 23, 2010
"Hatemongers always become emboldened when they triumph"
Glenn Greenwald hits another one out of the ballpark: