The Crescent Report

March 4, 2010

Onward Christian Soldier? A Personal Response to Rep. Sue Myrick’s Public Crusade Against Islam

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 2:34 pm

Congresswoman Sue Myrick’s Strange Agenda

Below is an article from North Carolina’s Indepenent Weekly and a MAS Freedom commentary concerning North Carolina Congresswoman Sue Myrick. Of course you remember Congresswoman Myrick. She’s the one who held a press conference that referred to Muslim congressional interns as spies. She was later denounced for her un-American view by a sizable portion of her congressional colleagues. Check it out!

Quote of the Day – “You can call a horse a mule but it doesn’t make it one.”

Onward Christian Soldier? A Personal Response to Rep. Sue Myrick’s Public Crusade Against Islam

WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET) Mar. 04, 2010 – America is a nation defined, in the main, by a religious culture dominated by Christianity. And as a former Christian whose ethical and moral development was centered in the African-American church tradition, I not only acknowledge this fact, but I celebrate it.

Yet as a Muslim, I also know that faith is not a singularity. America is not only a Christian nation, and the rich plurality of faith traditions (and diversity within these traditions) is one of the things that makes social diversity a unique, and healthy, component in the social reality of America. Jews, Christians, Unitarians, Buddhists, Akans, Hindus, Zoroastrians-and people who profess no religion, or even disdain religion-are all here, living, contributing, and co-existing in relative peace and comfort with each other. I am reminded personally of this when I greet my Vietnamese Buddhist next door neighbor and my Christian friends living on my street in Northwest Washington, D.C

But I have the sinking feeling that Congresswoman Myrick, if she lived on my block, would not exactly welcome me as a neighbor. And that is because of her disdain for Muslims and her apparent feeling that Islam is coterminous with terrorism.

Representative Myrick, you see, was one of a few members of Congress who participated in a press conference last year that condemned and even excoriated the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) for the subversive and anti-American act of-get this-having student interns who worked on legislative issues on Capitol Hill. CAIR, and most national Muslim organizations, were accused by Rep. Myrick and her conservative colleagues as being virtual fronts for violent extremists. For them (and for her confederate Dave Gaubatz) CAIR, et al, are apologists for religious extremists and people who desire to attack and destroy America.

But what religious extremism is really in question here? Representative Myrick is affiliated with the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, an organization which, if I understand it correctly, promotes the adoption of an exclusively bible-centered form of instruction in public schools. Well, many biblical values (which are also evident in the Holy Qur’an) are fine, at least for me.

But what is problematic is both the lack of consensus among professed Christians about what the Bible really means-not to mention the exclusion of other sacred texts (or non-religious ethical culture) from the public school curriculum mixture. Would the fundamentalist interpretation of the New Testament compel Muslim and Jewish students to profess Jesus as a god? Would yarmulkes and hijab be banned from schools because they are “un-Christian”? I have a sinking feeling that the Holy Qur’an would not be welcome in Sue Myrick’s ideal public school system.

Of course, Muslims continue to make enormous contributions to civil society, and honorable Muslim. Or honorable anyone else, would excuse, let alone participate, in actions that promote violence against American citizens. (I’d like to feel that no honorable human being would condone U.S. military violence against Muslim civilians in Afghanistan or Iraq, either, but that opinion is the subject of another essay for another day).

Yet the Myrick agenda isn’t anti-terrorist-it is anti-Muslim, in that it relentlessly pushes the idea that Muslims, as a community, are a danger to public safety. Her belligerence may be focused on major Muslim institutional targets, but the xenophobic, fundamentalist energy behind her agenda cannot be ignored.

We do live in a society that celebrates, and protects, both the right to freely practice any religion we choose, and to think what we like about the faiths of others. Representative Myrick is certainly free to hold her own personal beliefs about Islam and Muslims. But she should not seek to infuse her own private thoughts into the realm of national security public policy.

Muslims have been in the United States since before the establishment of the Republic itself. And we will remain here, with or without the approval of others. Representative Myrick and her friends would benefit, I believe, from a modicum of understanding of this history.

Religious bigotry, from any community directed at any other community, is just plain wrong-and evil. And when last I looked, the instruction from Jesus (Peace be unto Him) for those who follow him- “love thy neighbor” applies to Muslims as well.

Ibrahim Ramey

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