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Islamophobia’s Coming-Out Party

The planned mosque near ground zero has been attacked by those who seem to think American values don’t apply to Muslim Americans.

The planned Cordoba Community Center, to be built not at ground zero but two blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood, has brought American Islamophobes out into the open, aided by a sensationalizing media which persistently refers to the community centre as the “ground zero mosque.” But the controversy has also encouraged many public figures to stand up for basic American values and demonstrate their courage in the face of both demagoguery and foolishness.

While the proximity of the planned community centre (yes, a mosque will be incorporated into this large structure) to ground zero provides a convenient handle for Islamophobes, this is hardly an isolated incident. Mosque building projects are also under attack in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Temecula, Calif., and Sheboygan, Wis. These projects have drawn fire from Republican politicians, Tea Party activists, and (probably) fundamentalist ministers. According to New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein, “In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself.”

Thus the New York conflict takes place within a much broader context, making attempts by some of the opponents of the community centre to differentiate themselves from the bigots ring somewhat false, especially when they are joined in their opposition by the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. While not every opponent of the community centre is a bigot, they have nonetheless chosen a side in a larger contest over American values.

I have been unable to find similar large-scale opposition to planned mosques in Canada. In Oakdale, Ont., Edmonton, and Halifax, mosque building has moved forward without substantial protest. This is, after all, the country in which one of our favourite TV shows is Little Mosque on the Prairie, a wholesome sitcom exhibiting the good yet quirky relations between small-town neighbours. Yet, it would be a mistake to think that Canada can ever be immune from the virulent propaganda that often flourishes to our south.

There are those in Canada who seem to get more incensed by a few hundred niquab-wearing women than they do by those who don balaclavas for hockey riots in Montreal or conflicts with G20 security. My own cursory survey of letter writers to the Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette indicates that more than a handful of them are infected with the same virus of intolerance as many of our southern neighbours. One writer argued that the New York mosque would constitute a “one finger salute” to the 9-11 dead, while a second said he would only support the mosque project “providing they build a synagogue in Saudi Arabia.” Yet, despite such expressions of Canadian intolerance, I believe we are still spared much of the vitriol of the American right.

More problematic opposition to the Cordoba Community Center has come from the centrist anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization prominently identified with the struggle for human rights. Abraham Foxman, its Executive Director, is very aware of the American constitution and its promise of the freedom of religion. Therefore, while he acknowledged the “right” of Muslims to build on their chosen site, he calls upon them to recognize the “rights” of the still grieving families of the 9-11 victims, even though he well knows that those families are divided on the project. Foxman’s line has been taken up by New York Governor David Paterson, who has offered to find an alternative piece of state land for the new building.

The “moderate” Patterson-Foxman position amounts to tolerance by city blocks. If two blocks from ground zero is deemed too close, would three, four, or 11 be enough to satisfy a constituency that somehow ties a community centre built by moderate American Muslims to al-Qaeda? I fear that such “moderation” makes Foxman and Patterson allies of some of the most intolerant forces in American life.

But there are also those who are standing up for America’s enduring values. The distinguished journalist and commentator Fareed Zakaria felt forced to return his 2005 First Amendment Award, including its $10,000 honorarium, to the ADL, following this betrayal of the organization’s dedication to constitutional rights. Perhaps the most eloquent voice raised in defence of the Cordoba Community Center and the freedom of religion, was that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said:

Let us not forget that Muslims were murdered on 9-11 and that our Muslim neighbours grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies’ hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.

We should all hope that such voices of sanity will triumph in the United States and will influence debates in this country too.

It is contrary to both Canadian and American values and interests to conflate all Muslims with Islamist radicalism and terrorism. The rights of our Muslim neighbours are equal, in every respect, to those of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others. Only Osama bin Laden and his ilk will gain from marginalizing and discriminating against our fellow citizens. Islamophobia is a danger to us all.

By: Stephen Scheinberg (Emeritus Professor of History, Concordia University; Co-chair, Canadian Friends of Peace Now.).

Originally taken from (http://www.themarknews.com/articles/2041-islamophobia-s-coming-out-party).

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Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2009 Leave a comment

A very Merry Christmas to everyone today, and happy holidays to everyone else, celebrating whatever religious freedom they have!

And to those that do not celebrate anything this month, happy holidays to you too!

I hope everyone spends quality time with their friends and family and stays safe this holiday season! See you in the new year!

The American Cyber Police Is Here

President Barack Obama and the United States government has announced that they will release a “cyber security plan” in the near future. The US military complains that over the past few years, there has been increased interference from hackers; especially from foreign parts of the world. Obama has said that this new initiative will be treated as a national asset in order to protect vital government and military secrets.

A cyber security office will be created in the White House and a “cyber tsar” will be appointed in order to handle all Internet securities. Obama also states that suicide bombers are not as great of a threat as is disruption through a computer. The cost of the creation of this new force will not be very cheap – it will cost billions of dollars in order to develop and maintain over the course of its duration (however long that may be). The Pentagon will also undergo much construction in order to create a “cyber command base” in order to uncover potential exploits in America’s networks and destroy them.

“It is now clear,” said Obama, “this cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”

So… when one hacker gets into the weak security system of the CIA, all of a sudden it is a national security threat where billions of dollars must be wasted in order to prevent such things from happening again? The Obama administration doesn’t seem to be much different than the Bush administration, I must say.

Communism – The root of all these problems?

Now, while reading a BBC article on this I glanced to the side of the article and found this written there. I feel that all these claimed hacked systems and hackers were due to… Chinese hackers?

HACKING THE US
April 2009: US government admits power grid is vulnerable after media reports that Chinese and Russian spies have planted software that could shut it down
April 2009: China denies hacking into a system containing data on a new US fighter jet
Nov 2008: Congressional panel says China has stepped up computer-based espionage and is stealing “vast amounts” of sensitive information
Sep 2007: China denies reports its military hacked into the Pentagon in June of that year

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8073654.stm

It just seems to me that this is an excuse to create a cyber police force so they can battle the so-called “evil” Chinese government and it’s “Communist regime”. As hard as it is to believe, it’s harder to believe that the American people will accept this and not even realize what they are losing – freedom itself.  If this plan succeeds and takes control, we the people may lose net-neutrality completely.