Tribalism, still a forefront issue.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 @ 5:01 pm | Islam, Religion

That’s what the enmity towards Muslims in America today is. Tribalism. You have an Us, and a Them, and the rest is literally human history.

Except for the part where America was founded in the vision of radical Enlightenment thinkers who challenged all previous dogmas and created a new one with the highest democratic ideals. First and foremost was the ordainment of a country with freedom of speech, and thereby the freedom of religion. Any person who was born in this country or sworn in as a citizen is presumed to be an equal entity of whom innocence is first presumed.

This entire argument is an insult to all Muslim Americans, of course, but it should be an outrage to any U.S. citizen concerned about our Constitutional rights. I’ve been to too many of Ali’s huge family get-togethers, and seriously, those folks are about the good life like anybody else. Kindness and humility are the order of things. Whites, blacks and Hispanics also attend. In all the years, I’ve had one civil friendly conversation on the importance of modernizing Islam. And this was the perspective of the Muslim gentlemen whom I was mostly listening to. The rest of the time it’s, “How are you? How are your kids? What have you been doing that is fun? How’s the weather?” It’s plain bread, baby.

That’s how I see the Muslim center in NYC. It’s vanilla ice cream to me.

Don’t get me wrong. Like most organized religions, I find the fundamentalist version to be fundamentally incredulous and problematic. Yet I choose to back the Modern Muslims, who represent most of the Muslim population in America today. They’re your neighbors and co-workers, folks. You should be so lucky to know many of them.

If one pits themselves against Islam, then one will find a bundled stick. This isn’t really rocket science. If our country chooses to target individuals based on evidence of guilt, then we can break one branch at a time.

And the other branches will, in Ent-like manner, help us.

We simply must elevate our way of thinking, and understand what really is right here, and what is wrong. We must be better than our enemies. We must not seek to punish and castigate the innocent for simply being different, and there’s no cause more American than that.

-hw

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