Religion

Religious Right in Full Froth as Muslims Gather in D.C.

| by Texas Freedom Network

The religious right is in full froth this week as some American
Muslims prepare to gather in prayer in the nation’s capital on Friday.
The stated objective of the “Our Time Has Come”
gathering, according to organizers who hope 50,000 Muslims will take
part, “is to invite the Muslim Communities and friends of Islam to
express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam.”

The event isn’t universally welcome among American Muslims. Some, such as blogger Aziz Poonawalla at Beliefnet.com, worry that the event hasn’t been well thought out, particularly regarding how it will be perceived by non-Muslims in America:

“I certainly understand and appreciate the sentiments
and intentions of this, but it just strikes me as the wrong way to go
about it. It’s unwise to ignore the “optics” of such an event upon the paranoid segment of the American public
– who were out in force at the Tea Party last week on the National Mall
– who will certainly see the event as a threatening gesture which only
validates their racism and Islamophobia.”

Sadly, such fears about reaction from the extremist right in America appear to be well-founded. David Gibson at PoliticsDaily notes some of this:

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Indeed, the online publication from David Horowitz, FrontPageMag.com, sounded the alarm in an article Monday titled “Taking Islamism to the Streets,” and the title of the “9/12 Project” post is simply, “OUTRAGED!”“Bare Naked Islam”
are calling the event “disgusting” and “treasonous” and warn that
“50,000 Muslims, terrorists, and terrorist sympathizers” will turn the
Capitol into “a giant outdoor mosque.” And Charisma magazine, a
mainstream Pentecostal publication, quoted Christians in its account saying things like, “It is warfare time.”

The writers at Talk of “warfare” and other violent imagery has become standard fare
for the religious right in America. That has been especially true when
the rhetorical focus is on Islam. An e-mail today about the Washington
event from the extremist group Operation Rescue/Operation Save America
provides another example:

Abortion is Murder
Homosexuality is Sin
Islam is a Lie

The e-mail goes on to quote the group’s director, the Rev. Flip
Benham, a former Garland pastor who ran Operation Rescue chapters in
Dallas and Fort Worth before becoming head of the national
organization. His rhetoric was especially incendiary:

“What do these three [abortion, homosexuality, Islam]
have in common? They are, all three, physical manifestations of the
battle between two seeds — the seed of the serpent and the seed of the
woman. Genesis 3:15. Islam is a visible manifestation of this battle
and has been at war with Christianity for fourteen centuries. There is
no dialogue, no common ground, no reaching across the aisle in this
battle. We are not called to build bridges to Islam. We are called to
storm the gates of hell — to defeat the false god of Islam with the
unsheathed Word of God and to set people free from the monstrous
tyranny and bondage of this religion birthed in the deepest pits of
hell.”

Sadly, this kind of viciousness will only feed the hatred and fear among extremists both in America and in the Islamic world.