Thursday, August 12, 2010

Religious Tolerance Takes Another Back Seat

Opposition to a mosque planned for construction near Ground Zero of the old World Trade Center towers has helped fuel anti-Muslim protests across America.
A Florida church, Dove World Outreach Centre, is planning a "burn the Qur'an" day on September 11 and has already outraged Muslims by planting a sign on its front lawn that reads: "Islam is the Devil."
The church's senior pastor, Terry Jones, has said he is "exposing Islam for what it is".
"It is a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to masquerade itself as a religion of peace, seeking to deceive our society," the church said. "Islam is a lie based upon lies and deceptions and fear. In Muslim countries, if you preach the gospel or convert to Christianity – you will be killed. That is the type of religion it is."
A leading Muslim educational institution, al-Azhar's Supreme Council in Egypt, has accused the Florida church of "stirring up hate and discrimination" and called on other American churches to condemn it.
Many religious leaders have spoken out against Muslim-bashing, including rabbis in New York who have defended the plans for the mosque two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks, which would not be visible from Ground Zero.
But John Esposito, director of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, said many Americans shared Jones's views. He said the dispute over the proposed mosque had given cover for more open hostility unleashed after the 9/11 attacks that was evident during the last presidential election when some of Barack Obama's opponents attempted to portray him as a Muslim.
Meanwhile, in a move that manages to fulfill every fearful claim against Islam, an al-Qaeda chief calls for the death of Christians in Saudi Arabia.
"Those of you who work in guarding the tyrants of princes or ministers, or the compounds inhabited by Christians, or can reach them, should seek God's help and kill them," said AQAP's number two, Said al-Shihri.
Shihri, a former inmate of the US military detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, claimed that AQAP has received correspondence from members of Saudi armed forces asking for "guidance."
He urged the Qaeda followers, however, to make sure that they avoid killing Muslims by mistake during their attacks.
"Fear God with regards to Muslims' blood... even if that was a reason to postpone your attack," he said.
And finally, everyone who prefers to keep their relationship with their chosen deity personal suffers another collective defeat.

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