Islamic Center Proposed in Tennessee

Anti-Islamic protestors

Anti-Islamic protestors raise signs

Here’s another amusing video from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, this one on the topic of an Islamic Center proposed in Tennessee and the growing hatred and paranoia of all things Muslim.

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Protestor holds a sign against proposed Islamic center

Protestor holds a sign against proposed Islamic center

Remember folks, religious tolerance applies to all religions. It doesn’t mean endorsing their creeds, liking what they do, or -gods forbid- agreeing with others’ beliefs. It means allowing them to practice their faiths. Ideally, it means trying to understand why others believe what they believe; but at the very least, not being a jackass about it by persecuting believers of other faiths.

This applies not only to Christians with respect to Islam and to us, as polytheists. It also applies to us and our behavior towards monotheists like Christians and Muslims.

What do you think of (and feel about) the building of Islamic Cultural Centers?  Should we be tolerant if and when we are not tolerated?


11 comments on “Islamic Center Proposed in Tennessee

  1. Kullervo says:

    How does a pluralist society accomodate a culture that explicitly opposes pluralism?

    • It’s not about accommodating, it’s about co-existing and not undermining what we are supposed to be standing for (i.e.: religious freedom).

      We can do this by taking the moral high-ground. It is critical to maintain tolerance lest we become too narrow-minded and hypocritical. How else can we maintain our integrity than by following through with our claims to be a culture founded on free thinking?

    • Alex says:

      Some Evangelical Christians and right-wing Republicans explicitly oppose pluralism too, should we not accommodate them either? Why should we be more tolerant of xenophobes than of people fleeing totalitarian regimes and looking for solace here?

      Besides, American Muslims (who are trying to build this center for religious tolerance and understanding) are pluralistic. They overwhelmingly oppose suicide bombings for any reason (80%) and oppose al-Quaeda (74%). They just don’t like the hostile atmosphere created by controversies like this and being made into suspects based on religion.

  2. Filhote de Lua says:

    And more – the intolerance is much more a cultural thing than a religious one. The sufism is much more tolerant than the sharia is, and historically in some moments the islam was much more tolerant with the religion freedon matter than the christians.

    Tolerance is the correct way. Sometimes you need to do what is correct, just because is the right thing.

  3. Labrys says:

    If America decides to let her policies be shaped by fear, or by our perceptions of how intolerant Islamic lands are to non-Moslems, then the roughly 6800 American and Coalition dead have died for nothing in the much-vaunted “War on Terror”. Because if America lets her Constitutional protections be uprooted by hate and intolerance, the “terrorists” have won, and also set in motion a continual spiral of hatred and destruction.

    • Exactly. It’s a never ending cycle.

      Hey, Labrys – what do you think of what veterans say who claim that tolerance makes America weak? I know there are opinions on both side of the community of veterans, but what would you say to one who claimed that?

      I ask because I’ve actually been told this by a vet who had come back from Iraq.

      • Labrys says:

        Sorry so slow getting back here…been very busy. I think that vet was angry, and still dealing with fears from a war zone. Tolerance should not be mistaken for weakness.

        I find troops who actually TALK to Islamics in the war theaters—the translators, most often, actually do not say things like this, to judge from stuff I have read. It is the ones who never really get to know the folks in Iraq or Afghanistan, who see only “threatening” faces that speak unintelligible languages who think tolerance is a weakness.

        Tolerance leads to understanding. Understanding leads to real negotiation and peace.

  4. birdonwing says:

    We have the same sort of problems here ( I mean, Geert Wilders. The fact that we still, after months of attempted formation don’t have a ruling gov due this very problem should say enough). I think fear is a silly reaction – they’re just other humans after all, and trying to live a good life ( in their eyes). I do think tolerance should end where the UDHR starts. Female circumcision etc are mainly cultural things ( and not islamic as some people think) and it does bug me when they try to apply cultural relativism to that.

    The situation is slightly different here though. The Netherlands have immigrants, but are not truly a melting pot ( like many other European countries). There is a very definite native culture already, in our case a strongly secularised mainly originally protestant one. Though most people aren’t that religious at all, there are many medieval churches still, obviously part of the landscape and heritage. I think in our case it’s more of a ” that isn’t supposed to be here” thing than fear, though Wilders has definitely stimulated the fear a lot. There’s the fact that they produce a lot of sound, and funnily enough I think that contributes most to peoples’ fear here. There’s a sense of people being afraid of them “taking over”. It’s all rather stupid really.

  5. fatima says:

    you should respect ISLAM……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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