Monday, March 7, 2011

Rooting Out The Violence In Our Midst

I would say, you could say that 80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists. Those who are in control. The average Muslim, no, they are loyal, but they don't work, they don't come forward, they don't tell the police...
Congressman Peter King (R-NY)

Muslim Americans have been so concerned about extremists in their midst that they have turned in people who turned out to be undercover informants.
Triangle Center on Terrorism & Homeland Security

...multiculturalism has paralyzed too many of our citizens to make the critical judgment we need to make to prosper as a society.
Congressman Ed Royce, Joining a Tea Party "Rally" at a charity event held by the Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA on February 13, 2011

The person who makes an effort for the needs of a widow or a poor person will be rewarded like one who strives in Allah's cause, like a person who continually spends his nights worshipping Allah and his days fasting.
Bukhari, quote on the brochure for the charity event that Congressman Royce was "protesting"

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

This Thursday, Congressman Peter King, the new chairman of the House committee on Homeland Security, will be holding hearings to combat the radicalization of Muslims in America. King recently lamented:

We have to break through this politically correct nonsense which keeps us from debating and discussing what I think is one of the most vitally important issues in this country. We are under siege by Muslim terrorists and yet there are Muslim leaders in this country who do not cooperate with law enforcement.

We get it. There are violent, cult-like Islamic groups in the world who seek to kill American citizens and there are most certainly some American muslims who refuse to rat-out their violent fundamentalist brothers and sisters. But isn't the United States already doing all she can to combat this issue? Haven't we already spent trillions of taxpayer money to root out "the enemy," both foreign & domestic?

Meanwhile, very little attention is given to the well-spring of violent Christian rhetoric springing up in places like my native Orange County, CA. Take a few minutes to watch this recently released video of a February 13th protest of a charity event put on by the Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA, who is trying to raise $350,000 for a women's shelter and to fight homelessness and hunger in the OC. A group of about 100 protestors yelled and taunted men, women and children who each paid $25 for the dinner event.

One of the guest speakers was Amir Abdel Malik Ali, a Bay-area imam who has spoken at UCI the past two years. The protestors are concerned with Ali's pro-Palestinian views and his refusal to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah (I got the opportunity to attend Ali's 2009 lecture at UCI & you can read my review here on the blog site of our old house church). I challenge any reader to compare Ali's views with the Christian Rev. Martin Luther King's in the last few years of his life. There is very little difference in their utter focus on bringing real justice to our world.

Here are the top 10 things shouted by protestors who were organized by various Tea Party groups, like We Surround Them OC 912, in Southern California:

10. "U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!" (When shouted at other American citizens, as if their race makes them less American, "U.S.A." counts as racist.)

9. "Terrorists! Terrorists! Terrorists!"

8. "We don't want you here! Go home! Go home! Go home!"

7. "You beat your women and you rape your children!"

6. "Take your Sharia and go home, you terrorist lovers. Your hands are bloody! Your money is bloody! Get out!"

5. "Why don't you go beat up your wife like you do every night? Maybe you ought to go have sex with a nine-year-old, and marry her!"

4. "One nation under God, not Allah!"

3. "Muhammad was a child molester! Muhammad was a pervert! Muhammad was a fraud! Muhammad was a false prophet!"

2. "What's going on over there right now—make no bones about it—that is pure, unadulterated evil."

1. "I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise."

This is a group that Congressman Miller told before they protested: I’m proud of you, I’m proud of what you’re doing.

While the White House, last night, praised Muslims for fighting the "twisted, distorted ideology of al Qaeda," we would like to call upon all conservative Evangelical Christians to denounce the rhetoric of this Tea Party protest (and plenty of others), in addition to calling congressmen Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) to account for joining the early stages of the protest on February 13. Why conservative Evangelical Christians? In a Pew Research Poll conducted last summer, 69% of those who agree with the conservative Christian movement approved of the Tea Party while only 4% disagreed. Surely, this is a multi-dimensional movement, but time and again, these protests, condoned by a supermajority of conservative Christians, have used rhetoric that falls far short of the loving words and deeds of Jesus.

As Congressman Peter King of New York goes on his McCarthyite witch hunt this week, we implore all Christians to examine the hatred, paranoia and demonizing in our midst. This, in no way, passes the Christian test of love, humility and service towards oppressed people groups like Muslims who make up 1% of the US population and are consistently scapegoated as "terrorists" and "anti-American." Our Muslim brothers and sisters have been vigilant in exposing strands of Islam that threaten us all. Will Christians do the same?
Epilogue: Let us remember that the combination of ignorance and conservative Christian faith produced this in America a half century ago--the church did not do enough to speak out against the racism and hatred then:

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