Thursday, September 9, 2010

Standing Up for the Wrong Reasons

While surfing the news this morning I came across two stories dominating the American news scene which were focused on the ‘radical’ perspective.

First, BBC’s headline ‘Obama condemns Koran burning plan’ and in the subsequent two lines that follow the headline to draw the reader in ‘US President Barack Obama says a small church's plans to burn the Koran are a "recruitment bonanza" for al-Qaeda.’ Now while I applaud President Obama’s stance to condemn such an awful, disgusting act the take away point here is not the ‘recruitment bonanza’ the Al-Qaeda is going to have. The planned burning of the Quran is a slap in the face of every Muslim not only in America but everywhere around the world. It is wrong to do because it is insensitive, disrespectful and quite honestly appalling to even be thought of. It is also furthers the growing misconception in America of equating Islam and Muslims with terrorism.

Now to be fair, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda members do claim to be Muslims but as far I or any other Muslim with half a brain are concerned, they are the farthest thing from it, and we must make a concentrated effort for people to realize that. By burning the Quran to denounce terrorism, one automatically equates the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims as terrorists. That is wrong, and that is why this pastor should be stopped, by persuasion and legal methods of course. What the international media and in particular the American media seems to be focusing on is that the pastor should be stopped so as not to add further fuel to fire that is Al-Qaeda. The impression that one gets is that the main and perhaps only reason to not burn the Qurans is so that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have more incentive to carry out attacks. The fact that American lives are at risk more because of this is an unfortunate truth, and it is not just American lives, Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis suffer the most casualties as far as terrorism is concerned.

But that is not a reason to do anything, one point I do agree with this deranged Florida pastor on is that we cannot bend to the terrorists will. So don’t take their feelings into consideration. Don’t burn the Quran because it is wrong, not because it will cause Al-Qaeda and others to have more incentive carry out more attacks, but because you offend an entire population of 1.2 billion people. In fairness to President Obama, I do believe that was his main point, and he added the ‘recruitment bonanza’ point as a side note, but that is the point the press seemed to latch upon.

The second piece of news that I came across was in relation to the ongoing saga ‘Park 51’ or the ‘Ground Zero mosque’. Now enough has been said and written about this already but this latest piece in the New York times describes how again the Imam of the mosque says that changing of location could ‘spur radicals’. Refer to all arguments above for why the focus of any policy decision should not take the Al-Qaeda perspective into consideration. Park 51 should not be moved because the developers have every constitutional right to build a community center. It is further away from ground zero than a prayer center that already exists, and about the same proximity to ground zero as some fast food joints amongst other things.

But you all have heard these arguments before, the point here is that why is the Imam talking about how Al-Qaeda will react to changing the location. If we start to thinking about what the radicals want in every step of our lives, might as well move to Mecca for the rest of our lives. Just a sidenote about the imam, described as at one point radical by various American news channel, he closed his Larry King Live interview from which the New York Times article was based on by wishing all Jews a happy Rosh Hashana. Wow, real radical stuff there Imam.

The purpose of the article is not to undermine the threat that radicals pose. President Obama and Imam Rauf are probably spot on in their thinking of how the Al-Qaeda and similar organizations will react to the burning of the Quran or moving of Park 51, but we cannot let that dictate how a policy decision should be made, one way or the other.


  1. Brilliant Article....only thing I would like to add would be with the Obama thing is..... I think Obama said it would kill and harm the soldiers in Afghanistan and that is why he should not do it....I believe that is a way to make a person as stupid as the pastor understand that he should not do it....I am pretty sure that pastor would think twice now rather than if you said this would hurt 1.2 billion Muslims....So in a way I think Obama did the right thing he is using the best weapon he could use to stop this from happening.....I was really impressed but by the Pope coming out and condemning it....Another thing with the press is if they would have wanted to do good journalism this kind of news would have never come out....A pastor with 30 followers is holding the world at ransom by making these absurd claims why should the press even care about such idiots there is sooo much happening in the world right now....If they want to do real journalism 24 hours would be less
    I would suggest the same with the Park 51 thingy the press has just gone to dogs....if they would not have made it such a big issue...exactly these people who are arguing about it would have been passing by it without even noticing it....

  2. Agree with the sentiment. It applies more to the Burn a Quran Day than the Park51 mosque, though. With the latter, there has been significant discourse about how it affects America's values. Haven't seen/heard enough of the same with the former.

  3. Fear rules. It is fear being induced in the pastor when petreaus and Obama both come out and say that american lives will be at risk.
    It is then fear when the Imam cites Al Qaeda in his argument.
    Fear is the easiest way to manipulate thought, especially of the masses. That is why the tactics being used are wrong, because they are those of fear, but sadly such is that nature of the world we live in. Fear dictates all

  4. "the Taliban and Al-Qaeda members do claim to be Muslims but as far I or any other Muslim with half a brain are concerned, they are the farthest thing from it".

    What makes you say that?

  5. "It is wrong to do because it is insensitive, disrespectful and quite honestly appalling to even be thought of."

    You know what else would be insensitive, disrespectful and quite honestly appalling to even be thought of? Western countries expelling all Muslims from within their borders and putting a ban on their coming back. What matters more in your opinion, being sensitive to all ethhnic groups or making sure you survive as a nation in the long run?

  6. haha, it does make sense, only the devil would attempt to justify terrorism :D

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