Yesterday I was gifted with a hateful piece by a patriotic Murican explaining shortly why Muslims were beneath contempt; it was titled: Muslims My Ass...Excellent! Despite my resolve neither to fly into rage nor to make response while raging, I wrote to my correspondent including the demand that I not receive such “neo fascist garbage in future.” My wife, an actuary with two degrees in history, is given to much more measured response as well as recognition of a need to educate.
Despite my doubts as to the educability of the baggers, draggers and trogs, I thought her brief reply informative, effective and worthy of sharing. It’s also one that I wish I’d written (tho the last time I attempted reason, I was shutdown with “I don’t want to have this conversation with you.”).
[Shagnaski's] precipitous response aside, there are some real facts to consider.
I will likely regret taking the time to respond to this but the person who wrote it is simply ignorant of history and of Islam. I do not really care what this author thinks of President Obama so will ignore those remarks entirely.
On the question, “Have you witnessed a Muslim charity?” the answer is of course. One of the five pillars of Islam is the obligation to give to the poor and the needy. Every devout Muslim I have met obeys this injunction and it has historically been an important part of life throughout the Islamic empire, the Ottoman empire, and in Islamic countries. Closer to home, when I was working with a group collecting food and clothes for the victims of Katrina, we received a donation of two truckloads of food and clothes from the local Islamic Community Center.
On the author’s denial of Islamic presence in America’s history, the easiest thing is to refer you to the Wikipedia site “Islam in the United States” http://en.wikipedia.org/... .
Briefly, there have been Muslims here since before the Revolution as an estimated 30 percent of the African Americans brought to the United States as slaves were Muslims and that began in the 1600s. The Wiki article lists a few Muslims who fought in the Revolution and that 292 Muslims fought in the Civil War on the side of the North.
On recent history even the author of this unfortunate piece should know, Malcolm X is one example of a Muslim involved in the Civil Rights movement and Muhammad Ali is another famous adopter of Islam during the similar period. But there is a more fundamental problem with this author’s question about the presence of Muslims fighting for Civil Rights in the 1960s. That question is, where was he and God’s Word Christian Ministry? There were precious few white Christian groups marching for Civil Rights in the 1960s. As far as that goes, there have been precious few white Christian groups who fought for women’s suffrage or later for women’s civil rights. So before he wastes time criticizing another religion for not being present in the Civil Rights movement, he really needs to rethink his own religion’s participation. A little contemplation on the religion of those people who were turning water hoses and loosing dogs on the protestors, bombing African American churches, and lynching African Americans would not be out of place here.
I do not defend terrorists, radical Islamists, or people dancing in the streets over 9/11. But neither do I defend dancing in the streets when we went to war in Iraq or when we killed Osama bin Laden. Death should never be a cause for euphoria. But we should examine the cause of that euphoria. When we killed bin Laden, Americans danced in the streets because we had killed a bitter enemy. Does the author not realize that people dancing in the streets in Middle Eastern countries after 9/11 says that they thought of the United States as a bitter enemy and then ask the question what had we done to make them think of us that way? An honest understanding of history requires us to recognize that our treatment of other countries, especially non-European countries, and other peoples, especially people we call “colored,” has been less than honorable. And finally, an honest assessment of those broadcasts of celebration after 9/11 must recognize that out of hundreds of millions of people of people only a small number were involved. That is not a basis for condemning them all.
To this should be added for the further benefit of those secure in the knowledge that our country included only Christians (however divisive) until recently the following sent to me by a Jewish friend:
1. The first Jews to set foot in North America arrived in New York as a group of 23 in 1654.
2. Congregation Shearith Israel, founded in New York in 1654, was the first synagogue in the colonies. It was the sole purveyor of kosher meat until 1813.