Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mommy, will you look under the bed? I think there’s a Muslim hiding.

Q: What's your reaction to Sunday's decision by voters in Switzerland to ban construction of minarets, the slender towers from which Muslims are called to daily prayers?

As a religious woman, this ban on the construction of minarets is absolutely terrifying. I am terrified because this comes on the wake of the shooting at Ft. Hood, and I feel that we as a country, in fact, as a world, are at the crux of something very dangerous. We are dangerously close to limiting the religious freedoms of our neighbor, and that never turns out well.

I’m not saying that we’re on the brink of internment camps, but maybe I am. Maybe that’s the next step.

I fear that the next issue of violence that can be attributed to anyone with even a miniscule relation to the Islamic faith will be the tipping point, and we will make it clear to our Islamic brothers and sisters that they are not welcome and that they in fact are in need of restrictions, control, and repression.

We live in a time where we are all afraid, and unfortunately, the scapegoat at the present moment is the religion of Islam. We are desiring so much to point our quivering fingers at the culprit, and in doing so have deemed a few crazy zealots as the models of the religion.

When George Tiller was killed by a religious zealot who was most likely Christian (although most news reports failed to mention this), the issue of the murderer’s religion was never in the forefront. Had the murderer been Islamic, the tables would have been turned dramatically.

Sure, Sweden might have different rules and regulations when it comes to religious freedom, but this decision to ban the construction of Islamic minarets symbolized the global fear of Islam.

What are we afraid of? Do these minarets remind us of our dwindling churches? Does the call to prayer remind us of our failing and disturbingly quiet prayer life? Or are we most afraid of the fact that people who are different from us are religious in a way that we refuse to come into conversation with?

I’m terrified. I fear that the worst is still to come. The more we oppress this religious group, the more reaction we will see. Could you expect anything less if you were in the same situation? May God and Allah help us all.


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