Muslims: Years Of Hard Work Undone By “Swift Boating” Moderate Leaders
Americans have spent nine years working to show that what happened on 9/11 does not represent them. Recent events have undermined those efforts.
Now, many of those same Muslims say that all of those years of work are being rapidly undone by the fierce opposition to a Muslim cultural center near ground zero that has unleashed a torrent of anti-Muslim sentiments and a spate of vandalism. The knifing of a Muslim cab driver in New York City has also alarmed many American Muslims.
“We worry: Will we ever be really completely accepted in American society?” said Dr. Ferhan Asghar, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Cincinnati and the father of two young girls. “In no other country could we have such freedoms — that’s why so many Muslims choose to make this country their own. But we do wonder whether it will get to the point where people don’t want Muslims here anymore.”
Eboo Patel, a founder and director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based community service program that tries to reduce religious conflict, said, “I am more scared than I’ve ever been — more scared than I was after Sept. 11.”
With a Florida pastor stunting with a Koran-burning exhibition on 9/11, many Muslims are likening their position to those suffered by Japanese, Irish, and other groups deemed unacceptable in America in years past.
“There is simply the desire to paint an entire religion as the enemy,” [Patel] said. Referring to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder of the proposed Muslim center near ground zero, “What they did to Imam Feisal was highly strategic. The signal was, we can Swift Boat your most moderate leaders.”Click here for reuse options!
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