Thursday, August 19, 2010

O Povo...Quer o Que Não Sabe


I tend to steer clear of politics/news stories in this blog...I guess since I'm most obviously talking about the other impolite thing to bring up during dinner, religion. Not really.

I guess it's because, for the last three years of medical school, I have been so ill-informed on current events and the latest issues, I have not felt the need to weigh in with my relatively unfounded opinions. I know everyone else does, the biggest culprit being the media, but I didn't want to add that as my contribution to the blogosphere.

But...I must comment on this "Ground Zero" mosque. And no, I haven't watched the Olbermann thing yet, mostly because I have a feeling what he's going to say and the issue is easy and straight forward for me.

It's straight forward for me because there should be no questions about it. This is freedom of religion vs. ignorance. People who are protesting the mosque near (because it's not actually on top of) Ground Zero are people who equate Islam with terrorism, full stop. They may say they don't, but they do. I feel sorry for these people, because they, then, actually fear Muslims. I feel sorry for them because more people are Muslim than they probably aware of, and if they were aware of all of us roaming among them, oh my gosh, they'd crap a brick!

Man, if all Muslims were terrorists or violent, this world would be in trouble, because there are at least 1.4 billion of us on this planet, and millions of us in the US. You would seriously need to hide your kids, hide your wife...

...and hide your husband. (Sorry, I couldn't resist it.)

Honestly, though, I'm not as concerned about a mosque going up near Ground Zero. Freedom of religion should reign, but seriously...when I first heard about it, I actually was among the ones who was like, "Is that necessary?" mainly because I thought it was actually planned to be in Ground Zero, like many people probably do right now. It may be because, like many Muslim Americans, 9/11 put me into the defensive, and I like to follow a path of least resistance, and maybe I'm a chicken but I'd sooner relinquish plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero than I'd defend my first amendment right if I were the developer...

But I think that's just my personality. I like to avoid conflict inasmuch as possible...not necessarily to be liked, but because I hate conflict and controversy.

But the simple fact of the matter is, people are protesting all over the country...not about the "Ground Zero Mosque," but the mosques coming up in their neighborhoods. Admittedly, Jon Stewart has been helping me keep up with all of these developments. If people knew what Islam was really about, I doubt they'd be protesting.

Similarly, if that one church that's burning the Qur'ans ever cracked opened a Qur'an and read it, I think they'd hesitate to burn it as they plan to do on 9/11. But then again, any time a group of Christians would burn copies of the bible that weren't King James, you'd bet there'd be a group to burn the Qur'an, so it doesn't surprise or hurt me at all.

None of this, as a matter of fact, surprises or hurts me. People who comment on this blog who leave expletives, insult me and my faith and try to show me pictures of Muhammad (saw), doesn't surprise or hurt me. I marvel at the height of ignorance such that people are protesting mosques, but it doesn't surprise me. As long as people are trying to argue that the 14th Amendment of the Constitution is unconstitutional (which is one of the single dumbest statements I heard on the news recently), I can see how they would want to deny one's first amendment rights.

For those people who are upset about the mosques going up in their community...awesome! They have the right to exercise their First Amendment Right just as those building the mosques have the right to exercise theirs...just as Dr. Laura had the right to exercise her First Amendment right while being totally inappropriate and unprofessional on her radio show. Yay!

Gilberto Gil sang, "O povo sabe o que quer, mas o povo também quer o que não sabe." The people know what they want, but the people also want what they don't know.

These people...want what they don't know.

But I'm not surprised, hurt, saddened or frightened. Because as a Muslim, I know what is oft repeated in my Qur'an, a Qur'an that people can burn all they want but with a message that none can destroy. God, the God of us all, is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Can any of those of the Abrahamic religions deny these attributes? Does anyone who believes in God by any name deny these attributes?

These are the attributes, the names of God that is repeated the most in the Qur'an, that Muslims repeat the most during the day. It's on our lips, in our minds, in our hearts. With that grace and mercy, I have no need to be frightened of ignorance and hatred in my own backyard toward me.

So God have mercy on us all.

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