Islamophobia under the guise of :
8 things churches can do to fight religious intolerance and bigotry
While “Burn a Koran day” was canceled, waves of Islamophobia are building to slowly create a tsunami of hate. Consider American public opinion about Islam and Muslims, which has continued to worsen since the 9/11 terror attacks.
In November 2001, the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of Americans held positive opinions about Islam and Muslims because they knew that American Muslims had nothing to do with a group of terrorists. By August 2010, this number fell to 30 percent.
After the 9/11 attacks, at the request of churches, Sound Vision issued a guide on how they could help their Muslim neighbors during that difficult time. Since then, we have not felt the need to do that again – until now.
The Park 51 community center controversy has unleashed a fury of Islamophobia. While many of our Christian, Jewish, and other interfaith partners have stood by us, for which we are very grateful, more needs to be done.
Churches, in particular, have been targets for Islamophobes. They have been and continue to be sent free, anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim “information”. These books and films are often sent by “non-profit” hate organizations that profit by sowing seeds of fear, mistrust and prejudice against Islam and Muslims in our nation.
One example is how millions of copies of the hateful film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” has been distributed to countless churches and synagogues across the United States along with 28 million homes in swing states during the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
The issue is not about free speech or fear of criticism of Islam and Muslims. Sound Vision, for example, has been critical of Muslims on issues ranging from suicide bombing to racism. Since the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, countless speeches, books, films, websites, and blogs have been critical of various aspects Islam. But the difference between these and the kind of hate speech and literature I’m talking about is that the former use knowledge of Islam’s texts and history, along with dispassionate discourse, to formulate an argument. The latter, on the other hand, base their critique on the kind bigotry and prejudice that no reasoned American would tolerate about any other group of people, be it African-Americans, Jews or Catholics, for example.