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Chan Lowe: America's anti-Muslim bias


For a nation made up of immigrants and their descendents, America has a shameful record of scapegoating whole groups of its citizens and residents when the going gets tough and fear reigns throughout the land.

American Muslims ought to be saddened, but not surprised, that they are the latest group to be singled out and tarred with a broad brush. Thanks to a handful of extremist nut jobs who happened to call themselves Muslims, the majority of the nation (according to the latest polls) takes umbrage at law-abiding Muslims building a house of worship where they have every constitutional right to do so.

Mosques around the country have been firebombed and defaced with Nazi graffiti in the years since 9/11. A church here in Florida is hosting a "Quran burning" on the anniversary of the tragedy. Even the Anti-Defamation League, in an uncharacteristic move, has ignored its own “slippery slope” philosophy and weighed in against the near-Ground-Zero mosque, so intense are the emotions.

Proof that we reserve special treatment for those “not like us” exists within the span of many Americans’ lifetimes. Japanese-Americans, whether foreign- or American-born, were herded into internment camps during World War II for fear that they might act as a fifth-column if left to roam free.

Also in World War II, the conspicuous valor of the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team, composed of Japanese-Americans who swore a loyalty oath to the United States, made them the most decorated unit in American history. Even so, they fought in Europe—not being trusted to pull the trigger against their “own kind” in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, a German-American named Eisenhower (an Anglicized spelling of a word meaning, “iron mine worker”), was promoted to Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe.

No loyalty worries there. Wonder why?

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Ok, here's the thing, Timothy McViegh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, destroying many lives, disfiguring children and leaving many others without a parent.

He was Catholic.

I am willing to bet that no one would make a big deal about having a Catholic Church close to that government building.

So people, own the fact that your unwillingness to have a mosque near ground zero is more about your prejudices, than about justice for those people whose lives were lost on that terrible day.

Please. McVeigh did not bomb in the name of Catholicism. The 9/11 terrorists did not just happen to be born Catholic (like McVeigh). They took their action in the name of Islam. Muslims in Palestine (not all, but many) cheered the WTC destruction. There is simply no basis for this comparison outside of willful blindness to the actions of the terrorists.

As far as Lowe's comments, it's not that they have no right to build a mosque, but that it's inappropriate to build it at that location. Build the mosque elsewhere -- not in the site that Muslim terrorists, acting in the name of their faith -- took such horrible action.

Like the silly and illogical McVeigh example, Lowe comparing citizens that prefer the mosque be built elsewhere (not challenging their right to build a mosque in general) to those that interred the Japanese 60 years ago is completely out of proportion and unfair -- but not surprising given the nonsense presented in the forum on a regular basis.

@RWE: Build somewhere else? Like in Murfreesboro, TN, maybe? Surely nobody would object to building a mosque there! Oh, wait...

So if two blocks away is too close, then how far would be okay? There are already mosques in S. Manhattan - some were there before the WTC towers were built. Should these be torn down because that's just too close for our delicate sensibilities?

In any case, this is not even a mosque we're talking about! It's a community center, basically equivalent to a YMCA. Far from being a threat, this kind of open community involvement is probably one of best tools we have available to avoid extremism in this country.

And seriously, that punch line made me wince when I read it. Always a sign of good political commentary.

Sometimes "the net" gives me more pertinent questions than answers...
As New York City's indigenous Lanape Natives died at Ground Zero, (by the thousands) when overrun by Christian colonist, shouldn't we ban Christian Churches from from their sacred ground.?
If a cultural center,(with mosque) near Ground Zero is bad, then why not ban all Muslims from downtown N.Y.? Or- require them to wear yellow crescents.? Do some want to go that far.?
How about disguising it as a discount fashion shop: Kate Mosque.??
Or- As a Disney retail outlet: Mickey Mosque.??
This is really getting ridiculous.....With Newt,Limbaugh,Palin, Beck & crowd using fear, hate, & demagoguery to score political points...Keep the good cartoons coming.

Mr. Lowe has caught the precise meaning of the opposition to the mosque in NYC near the former towers. The only reason for opposition is if you believe that all Muslims supported the attacks and all American Muslims cannot be trusted. Fear and ignorance led this country to disgrace itself in 1942. Why is it not possible to learn from our mistakes and, at the same time, tell the world what being an American really means?

There's nothing less American (in spirit) than saying "you can't do that." The people who want to build the mosque or community center aren't violating anyone's rights. That said on a personal note it makes my stomach turn that they would do that. Aren't we as a nation and its majority race (white) always being accused of being racially or culturally "insensitive"? How sensitive or tasteful is the idea of a muslim building so close to where the towers stood? Isn't some righteous indignation permissible here?
It's important to note if you want to understand anti-muslim sentiment that you may not believe, or be aware but the "intellectual" leaders of this crusade believe that what these "nut job extremists" did wasn't out of left field. It was straight out of the muslim religious texts. There are many, many "unorthodox" muslims who want to live peacefully and quietly. However the root of the distrust of muslims by outsiders is that if they chose to, if they were moved to follow the muslim doctrines to the letter that they too could be capable of "extremist" terrorist acts.
Keep in mind that "extreme" in this context only means "fully, to the letter, without compromise". Christians also have a word that means the same thing: fundamental.

As a Christian I am ashamed at times of the barbaric history of our religion! All mayor religions have committed heineous chrimes in the name of their religion! Cristianity, tortured, maimed, raped and killed, children, women, men, yound and old during the crusades, and during the spanish conquests of the americas where whole villages of inocent people were wiped off the face of the earth. In Europe Christians persecuted, and burned JEWS, men, women and children yound and old at te stake or herded them in into their homes and set them ablaze all in the name of GOD, these crimes were led by a religious leaders and condoned by the POPEs of their time. So why should we look at Islam any different? Seek first to understand and then be understood people. Fanaticism, ignorance and hate is what is tearing the fabric of our society apart. You want to stop it, start with yourselves, but that is harder than to put the blame on others, much easier to blame an escape goat. Were is the indignation of the JEWS to see similar hatred patterns evolving that eventually led to the sistematic extermination of 6,000,000 JEWS. Why do we have yearly reminders of the holoucaust if we haven't learned anything yet. Every great book for every great religion has MERCY, UNDERSTANDING and RESPECT for all life. Practive one of these and the world will not go to the hands of the devil!

"Eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek". All religions are full of contradictions, which is what happens when logic is destroyed by the drug of believing something just because you want to so bad.

This is why people who profess love for Jesus would attend the funerals of service personnel with "GOD HATES FAGS" signs.

And why an imam of the "religion of peace" can be busy funneling money to the (equally "devout") Taliban exhorting them to "kill 50,000!" American troops (Allah willing!)

"As a Christian I am ashamed at times ..."

You should be. And so should Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. etc. Because believing fervently in bulls*t results in people committing bullsh*t acts.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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