“…as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.” So began President Obama’s remarks at the “iftar” dinner breaking the daylight fast during the month of Ramadan. The remarks were directed at the controversy surrounding the building of a Mosque/Community Center 2 blocks from ground zero.
The message coming from Fox News and some of the more determined attention-seekers on the right is that we’re in a battle for white America’s Jesus-worshiping soul, beset as it is by immigrants and black USDA officials and, perhaps most threateningly, Muslims. Anything to scare unsuspecting folk. The birthers are breathlessly using the White House “iftar” dinner to further their “Muslim conspiracy” as another example of Obama’s foreignness. (I think I remember from U.S. history that Thomas Jefferson hosted an “iftar.” but that’s beside the point…it involves reading)
As Obama went on to say, “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.” We call it hallowed ground where so many Americans, Catholic, Protestant, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists died on 9/11. What do you think would be more sacrilegious in your mind, building a Muslim Community Center that contains a Mosque and swimming pool and a library for understanding this ancient Religion 2 blocks away or building an office building and all what that involves directly on the hallowed ground of the WTC? You make the call.
This is going to be demagogued to death in the next few days. The important part is going forward. To President Obama, hang tough. Stand by the position. Don’t trim sails or add asterisks after Mitch McConnell or Dick Cheney or whomever says whatever hideous thing they’re going to say. Say that McConnell or Cheney or whomever is the one being un-American, and there is absolutely no doubt that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would agree with me. Throw it back at them.
and so it goes…