Why Can't Muslims Tolerate Us For a Change?

As outrage over the proposed “Muslim community center” (mosque) near Ground Zero continues to grow, and spineless men like President Obama, Roger Ebert, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg snuggle up close to Muslims via calls for Americans to be more tolerant toward “the religion of peace,” I can’t help but wonder when it’s going to be our turn?

When do we finally get to be the ones who are tolerated instead of the ones asked to sit quietly and smile at Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam of the proposed Ground Zero mosque who took to the airwaves just 19 days after the 9/11 attacks and described the “policies” of the United States as “an accessory to the crime that happened” and said that Osama bin Laden was “made in the USA.”

Why should we tolerate a man who dared to place the blame for those dastardly attacks on the United States? In so doing, would we not being trying to tolerate the intolerable?

The world becomes a strange place indeed when men like Rauf grow accustomed to spewing their venom and only receiving reverence in return. They get so used to their every word going unchecked that they, and their supporters, take offense at rational opposition to a mosque built at Ground Zero and run by a man who shielded Islam from criticism by placing blame for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. 

Just consider the way Daisy Kahn, Rauf’s wife, has described the opposition to the mosque: “It’s beyond Islamophobia. It’s hatred of Muslims.”

Don’t flatter yourself Ms. Kahn, it’s not Islamophobia. Rather, it’s an honest recognition that Islam has set its crosshairs on the West and that this places the United States squarely in its sights.

I’m reminded of the lyrics of a song by Cross Canadian Ragweed, where they sing: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Applied to this situation, those words sum up my feelings perfectly. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of tolerating every Muslim who complains that he or she is being unfairly judged or prejudiced against in this country.

It’s high time the demands for tolerance fell on Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia where, to my knowledge, it is still illegal to build a Christian church and where women are not allowed to drive cars. Or nations like Iran, where the Islamic laws beneath which they live mandate the stoning of women for crimes like adultery and the whipping and beating of women for wearing dresses that are cut too short.

It’s not Islamophobia. It’s the simple fact that a clear majority of Americans, and particularly families of 9/11 victims, are sick and tired of being portrayed as narrow-minded bigots for being unwilling to tolerate Islam’s intolerance of Christianity and the ongoing human rights violations against women. In short, we Westerners did not build a society in order to hand the reigns over to people who want to return to the Stone Age. 
Kudos here to the Rev. Franklin Graham, one of the few the evangelical leaders with the gall to stand up and decry the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. Perhaps he put it best when he said: “It wasn’t Islam that built America; it was the people of the Christian-Judeo faith that built [the U.S.]. We’ve given freedom to other religions to come, and now you have other religions coming that want to bring America down.”

It’s high time we stop cowering to religions intent on bringing “America down” and take a principled stand whereby we inform them that we’d like to be tolerated for a change. We can do this by supporting men like Rev. Graham and supporting those brave Americans who are lining the streets in Manhattan to protest the mosque at Ground Zero.

And in time, if Islam really is “the religion peace,” men like Rauf will agree that a person who lives in a glass mosque ought not be the first one to throw stones.