The Crescent Report

August 27, 2010

Dr. King’s Dream versus Glenn Beck’s Scheme

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 11:30 am

Glenn Beck’s “Fox and friends Tea Party rally” on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech does little to honor the legacy and the values of this colossal civil and human rights leader. Beck is correct in stating that no one group owns the values and legacy of King. But the racist xenophobic ranting of Beck compounded by a messianic complex certainly reveals that Beck and his cohorts are way off the mark when it comes to the dream and vision that Dr. King espoused for this nation and the world. What a sham. Check out the piece below.

-Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the day: The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.

Dr. King’s Dream versus Glenn Beck’s Scheme

Saturday, August 28th, marks the 47th Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, given at a huge civil rights march at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  For many, this speech was the prophetic vision that re-ignited the national movement for African-American civil rights.   The date marks a significant milestone in the African-American freedom struggle and the social history of the 20th century.

But arch-conservative Glenn Beck has a dream, and a plan, as well.  On August 28th of this year, he will rally thousands of Tea Party activists, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, ostensibly to honor the American military and call for some sort of “national renewal” along the ideological lines of the anti-Obama movement.  Beck is quite aware of the symbolism of this date and this place, and he claims that he has no intention of using his event to detract from the legacy of Dr. King.

Others, however, have a different take on the Tea Party convergence. Nationally known activist, Rev. Al Sharpton, will lead a civil rights march through the streets of the nation’s capital, and hold a counter-rally across from the Beck group. Furthermore, members of the New Black Panther party have promised a more in-your-face challenge to Beck- one that has the potential, some say, to end in physical violence.

All of this would make for entertaining political theatre, except for the enormous mess that America faces, and the huge contradictions of what the Tea Party movement stands for.  Beck plans a gathering that will celebrate “conservative” values and a Rightist political agenda that is, essentially, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-progressive.  The Tea Party is not particularly fond of the values that are so evident in the legacy of Dr. King; and that includes the legacy of interfaith solidarity and respect for the value of religious tolerance.

The wave of extreme Islamophobia sweeping America, and the challenge to the religious liberties of Muslims who lawfully seek to establish or expand houses of worship and community centers, is a grave issue that the Muslim and civil rights communities and their interfaith allies are now bringing to the forefront of a national agenda.  Supporting religious freedom is an essential position that all “patriotic” Americans should embrace, but the American “Right” seems to believe that freedom of religion stops at the door of the mosque.

But will Mr. Beck use his platform to publicly, and unequivocally, denounce bigotry and religious intolerance?  Will he call for an end to violent attacks against Muslim individuals and communities, or condemn the planned burning of Qur’ans scheduled for September 11th in Florida?  I don’t think so.

Seven years ago, I had the honor to recite a Muslim prayer at the opening of the 40th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington.   Ten years earlier, I attended the 30th Anniversary of the same event.  The day should be a time for the renewal of a national commitment to end racism and all forms of bigotry, and not a time for rallying a political formation that is, for the most part, still part of the problem and not part of the solution.  And as a person who has been a guest of Glenn Beck’s FOX network program, I can say, with some authority, that what he stands for is not at all in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Glenn Beck has a right, like all citizens, to freely express his political opinions. Some of those expressions are, in my view, counter-progressive and reactionary. He will speak out and dream, but his dream will not be one that honors the best in the tradition of any movement for social justice.  It’s a scheme- not a dream- and it must be resisted at all costs.

-Ibrahim Ramey


1 Comment »

  1. […]   Dr. King’s dream versus Glen Beck’s scheme. Imam Mahdi Bray, 8/27/10   Non-Muslims supporting Muslims: What do Divorce, Death and Deen have in common. J. Samia Mair, […]

    Pingback by MUSLIM NEWS DIGEST « Welcome to Submission to Almighty Creator of Humanity, Earth and Sky : The Only One Worthy to be Obeyed and Worshiped — August 30, 2010 @ 7:09 am

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