Feeding on Hate

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:

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!” The writers at “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.”

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.

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!” The writers at “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.”

10 thoughts on “Feeding on Hate

  1. “We are called to storm the gates of hell — to defeat the false god of Islam…”

    How sad that this learned Reverend is so uninformed as to the teachings in his own bible. The God of Abraham is the God is Islam. Did he call his God a False God?

  2. I have mixed feelings about this. Cytocop probably does too.

    Islam is not my favorite religion for a variety of reasons. The 9/11 event was pretty hard on me, and the news stories today on CNN make it quite clear that some Islamic folks among us right here in the United States were planning another “biggie” for you and me.

    On the other hand, I will be the first to admit that you cannot judge a whole barrel by a few rotten apples. I may not agree with the tenets of Islam, but Islamic Americans are a generally peaceful and upstanding group of people who have a right to their religious beliefs as much as I do under our wonderful constitution. That includes the right to peacefully assemble in Washington, D.C. and send whatever message they might like to send. In a way, it might even have a positive side. If 70,000 muslims show up to demonstrate, people with a liberal turn of mind can say that the TEA parties could only muster enough people to match the Islamic demonstration. Ha-ha-ha. I guess that shows you what kind of minority those partiers really are. Smallsville daddy-O!!!

    However, given the current terrorist news, radical right agitation to a fever pitch against health care reform, Kenya birther crazies, and Barack “Hussein” Obama hate, the Islamic gathering is bound to be a magnet for every right wing nut and fruitcake from Diamond Head to Bangor and Anchorage to Fort Myers. Many of them will probably show up with their guns strapped on, as they did at the health care rallies, and their carry permits in their back pockets. It’s like bringing gasoline and a lit match together at a single location. In the current political climate, I think a gathering like this is ill advised just as a matter of public safety for the many nice and peaceful folks who will show up. Last summer would have been better for an event like this, and George W. Bush could have made a nice, calming speech to his fruitcake/nut followers about how Islam is a peaceful religion for the most part—so don’t give these nice people any trouble. It would probably be politically impossible for Obama to deliver a speech like that right now.

    If Obama shows up at the gathering to give a speech—find me 1-inch lead plating and a fallout shelter.

  3. And if Muslim Americans capitulate and stay silent for fear of right wing retaliation, we are no further along than Selma.

    I hope the gathering shows Americans that Islam is, like any belief system, neither good nor bad in and of itself, and an important part of public life.

  4. ProgressiveInTexas:

    I think the Christian Neo-Fundamentalists look at Islam in a way that is quite different from your way and the Muslim way. You are, of course, referring to the Koran, which indicates that the Arab peoples are descended from Abraham—the same Abraham that the Israelis are decended from in the Bible, which also indicates that the Arabs were descended from Abraham. It is my understanding that the books in our Bible are considered to be important to Islam, and Jesus is considerd to be an important prophet and teacher by Islam.

    However, because Islam officially denies the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Christian Neo-Fundamentalists (and actually most Christians) believe that Islam is a false religion that is part of the larger body of things that one might sum up as being “Anti-Christ in nature” or the “sphere of the Anti-Christ.”

    However, from listening to Ann Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter who I consider to now be a Christian Neo-Fundamentalist—unlike her dad) one night, it is clear to me that the Christian Neo-Fundamentalists believe that something supernatural was indeed going on with Mohammed concerning the gift of the Koran, his being led by something spiritual, and later ascending visibly into heaven from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. In other words, they believe that Mohammed was actually interacting with some supernatural spirit or force to create and spread Islam. Mohammed no doubt thought that this spirit was something beautiful from God. However, as the Bible says, Satan or a demon can visit human beings and interact with them in the disguise of a benevolent creature of great beauty and light. Put quite simply, the Christian Neo-Fundamentalists believe that this spiritual force that gifted the Koran and Islam to Mohammed was SATAN HIMSELF clothed as an angel of light. Thus, they believe that the Koran, Mohammed, and anyone who follows them are by nature evil to the core—even the peaceful ones who are coming to Washington, D.C.

    Does that help some?

  5. I am having a hard time looking at this situation, and not pointing and laughing at both sides of this ridiculous pageantry. Yes, all those of the Islamic faith, be my guest and stick your collective fingers in that light socket. Meanwhile, where’s all this organizing when it comes to denouncing not the suicide bombers, but the millions of adherents who march in solidarity with the murderous radicals?

    And you fully-armed Christian soldiers, feel free to prove how hypocritical you all are, that you would threaten others merely because they believe differently than you. Wasn’t freedom to believe something that made the US so great? Why not have all the lgbt community there too so you can kill them as well?

    My glee must end here however, as I truly do not want one more person to be attacked for their beliefs. That’s too high a price to pay for my smug attitude.

  6. The Christian Right wants you to have freedom of religion as long as they can tell you what religion and beliefs you can have.

  7. It’s a funny thing about the Religious Right. Even when they are wrong, they are still right. However, it has more to do with handedness that correctness.

  8. I’m totally ignorant of Islam, and I wan’t at the event. I don’t know what exactly was said but I understand the purpose was to pray ‘for the soul of America.’ Hmmm….I remember that phrase used by a certain Republican several years ago. I wonder if there’s an intersection between what the participating Muslims are praying for and what Pat Buchanan said. Now THAT would be interesting.

  9. Let the bastards storm the Gates of Hell, I say. The Devil will be only too happy to fling those gates wide and welcome them home.

    What a pity that Hell is a fictional place created by the Church out of sadism and mistranslations!

  10. C’mon Cytocop; you know as well as I that those who are denouncing this are not interested at all in how hypocritical they might seem to us, as long as the faithful continue donating and foaming at the mouth on cue. Just as they wouldn’t listen to our complaints as they forced us to worship God as they do. Since it’s obvious that we’re filled with demons, it’d be a sin to listen to our devil-worship.

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