I simply cannot imagine the amount of buzz surrounding this simple community center housing a prayer hall for Muslims. To collect all my thoughts regarding this issue and make one simple blog post would not be possible so I’d like to touch upon one and only one issue and that is the discrimination that has resulted from this event.
Here in NYC many ethnic and religious groups have struggled to earn respect and recognition. These include: Irish, Catholics, and others. Muslims have of course been residing in NYC for nearly half a century now (and quite peaceably I must add). So what has changed all of a sudden? What has caused this huge eruption of emotion. Certainly the media is playing a huge role in the backlash. Most definitely politics is at the base of this debate, being that elections are coming up this Fall. However, The Park 51 site has certainly highlighted the fact that there is much much ignorance to be dispelled in the coming years about Islam and Muslims. I pray we as Americans can come to understand each other better and ease the tensions in our country. We can’t afford to have this tension when we are suffering economically and most important spiritually.
For one to begin to formulate an individual opinion and not merely adopt rhetoric they hear on the radio, television, or internet they must first deconstruct this entire issue. This demands a period of reflection for every American to consider what their relationship is with Muslims as well as what relationship Muslims themselves have with Americans. This is not to say the two are mutually exclusive, we do after-all, share same soil together as well as aspirations of living comfortable, healthy lives.
What is it that gets in the way of us seeing each other as equals? I must be brutally honest and say that Muslims are just as confused about what the goals of their religion is in the same manner that Americans are suspicious about what the average Muslim in America’s goal is. Is it a Muslims “goal” to establish Shariah here in the USA? Is it there duty to sneak their way into politics and morph the American law into Islamic law? Certainly not!
This is the reason I’ve started this blog. I hope to share more of what Muslim scholars have to say about this topic from the past to present day. I also hope to offer a response each time someone starts screaming Shariah in the news, regardless of their particular religion or political viewpoint.
Perhaps if we expel this notion of Shariah being a threat, then we can live more peaceably and cooperatively to foster a better future for all of our children.
I’ll start from the basics of what Shariah means in a later post, God-willing. This I believe is fundamental to moving forward in a healthy manner.