Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tolerance

For an absolutely stunning example of intolerance, ignorance, jingoism, and general hatred, please read Newt Gingrich's screed against the proposed Muslim community center in Manhattan's financial district. (Ground Zero Mosque is an inaccurate and misleading term, but that certainly won't stop Palin and Gingrich from using it.)

There's so much wrong with the piece that I don't even know where to start. The piece is classic Gingrich, layering history into his argument, trying to make right-wing bigotry sound intelligent. Why he wants us to adopt Saudi standards of religious tolerance, I don't know. Perhaps he should go back and read the first amendment. Or maybe the history of this country as a haven for religions oppressed in other countries.

Once again, conservatives are stoking fear and hatred instead of embracing what makes this country great. Our tolerance and pluralism are our greatest weapons against those forces of hate that Newt and Sarah pretend to be so worried about. And for the record, those forces of hate are extremists of all kinds, and those who perpetrate violence in the name of their perverted version of Islam. Islam itself is NOT the enemy. Even George W Bush knew that Islam was not the enemy, extremists were. From his speech to a joint session after 9/11:


I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them. 

The other day, Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) said that Bush's stock is going up since Obama came to office. He's flat wrong, but there's a grain of truth to it now. The current GOP has gone so far off the deep end that Bush would seem like a breath of fresh air.

ETA: Marc Lynch has a sobering look at the sorry state of American engagement with the Muslim world.

ETA 2: Conor Friedersdorf has a wonderful take-down of the hysterical righties who are propagating this meme.

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