We have separation of church and state in the constitution, right? We have churches and synagogues everywhere. There already IS a mosque near the World Trade Center site, so what’s with the conservative noise machine?
Sarah Palin demanded that “peaceful Muslims” step and “refudiate” the plan; Newt Gingrich denounced the building of such a “mosque” as long as Saudi Arabia bars construction of churches and synagogues; Rick Lazio, a Republican campaigning for the governorship of New York state, asserted that the plan somehow subverted the right of New Yorkers “to feel safe and be safe.” “Mosque controversy is just the beginning,” Stephan Salisbury, Salon.com, Aug 10, 2020
So, Americans are scared of Islamic terrorists. Newt, at least, calls it “radical Islam,” making a distinction (if you can call it that) between Islam and “radical” Islam. Sarah doesn’t make such distinctions. And people are getting all fired up, protesting the proposed mosque in lower Manhattan as well as those in Tennessee, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
So, is our perception of the religion of Islam correct? And how would Christianity stand up if it was scrutinized with the same lens that we use for Islam?
Sally Steenland is Senior Policy Advisor for Faith and Progressive Policy at the Center for American Progress. She authored The Distorted Lens of Islamophibia: We Need to Assess Islam Based on Reality, Not Rants, and joins us to talk about the American perception of Islam and what Christianity would look like through the same distorted lens we use for Islam.
SOURCE: AP/Mark Lennihan This building near Ground Zero in Manhattan is the proposed site of a future 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center.