Does America have a Muslim problem? (Yes, we do. But we have a bigger problem with liberal IslamoFascist apologists like Time Magazine)
TIME You don’t have to be prejudiced against Islam to believe, as many Americans do, that the area around Ground Zero is a sacred place. But sadly, in an election season, such sentiments have been stoked into a political issue. As the debate has grown more heated, Park51, as the proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero is called, has become a litmus test for everything from private-property rights to religious tolerance. But it is plain that many of Park51’s opponents are motivated by deep-seated Islamophobia.
The proposed site is close not just to Ground Zero; it’s also a stone’s throw from strip clubs, liquor stores and other establishments typical of lower Manhattan. (What’s your point? Strip club owners didn’t bomb the Twin Towers, MUSLIMS did) Muslims have been praying in the building for nearly a year, a fact that has got lost in the noise of the protests. (No, it just proves that this indeed WILL be a mega mosque, and not the health club the mosque’s proponents want you to think it is) But since early August, it has been the scene of frequent demonstrations, with signs saying things such as “All I Need to Know About Islam, I Learned on 9/11.” The husband-and-wife team behind Park51, Imam Feisal Rauf and Daisy Khan, seem stunned into paralysis: while opponents cast them as extremists sympathetic to al-Qaeda, they have given very few interviews themselves. Pressure is mounting on the couple to move their center to a less polarizing location.
The controversy has also brought new scrutiny to other examples of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim protests, raising much larger questions: Does America have a problem with Islam? Have the terrorist attacks of 9/11 — and other attempts since — permanently excluded Muslims from full assimilation into American life? (No, most Muslims never try to assimilate)
Although the American strain of Islamophobia lacks some of the traditional elements of religious persecution — there’s no sign that violence against Muslims is on the rise, for instance — there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that hate speech against Muslims and Islam is growing both more widespread and more heated. (Duh, I wonder why?)
Meanwhile, a new TIME–Abt SRBI poll found that 46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers. Only 37% know a Muslim American. Overall, 61% oppose the Park51 project, while just 26% are in favor of it. Just 23% say it would be a symbol of religious tolerance, while 44% say it would be an insult to those who died on 9/11.
Islamophobia in the U.S. doesn’t approach levels seen in other countries where Muslims are in a minority. But to be a Muslim in America now is to endure slings and arrows against your faith — not just in the schoolyard and the office but also outside your place of worship and in the public square, where some of the country’s most powerful mainstream religious and political leaders unthinkingly (or worse, deliberately) conflate Islam with terrorism and savagery. In France and Britain, politicians from fringe parties say appalling things about Muslims, but there’s no one in Europe of the stature of a former House Speaker who would, as Newt Gingrich did, equate Islam with Nazism.