Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Harvest of Ignorance

By Thomas Kochman - 09.10.2010

Roger Cohen’s, “Harvest of Anger “ Op Ed piece does an excellent job of cataloging the anger of many in the U.S. and Europe towards Muslims –not only terrorists but also immigrants—but comes to the misplaced conclusion that because of that anger the decision to build a mosque near the world trade center bombing is wrong. By way of comparison he cites the field of crosses displayed around Auschwitz when he visited there 12 years ago as an affront to Jews, based on the numbers of Jews who died there compared to non-Jews.

Why I think Cohen’s reasoning and conclusion are wrong principally has to do with who or what was blamed for the Holocaust.

In the West, Christianity as a religion was not under fire, or directly held responsible, because of the Holocaust or the concentration camps.

Islam as a religion, because of Al Qaeda backed terrorism and 9/11 is.

Despite the long standing history of anti-Semitism around the world and its roots in Christian thinking and attitudes towards Jews and Judaism people in the West saw the camps as the concoction of madmen, and a deviant moral aberration, and not what Christianity was truly about.

Because of our familiarity with Christianity we in the West were able to separate Christianity from the murderous actions and behavior of people who also happened to be Christian, holding the latter, but not the former, accountable for what happened.

This has not as yet happened in the West with Islam and Muslims.

For that reason when I heard that a Mosque was going to be built near the World Trade Center bombing –quite apart from thinking about First Amendment Rights — I thought, “Great!” What better way for Muslims to make the distinction between the practice of Islam as a religion and those who would hijack it for political ends, despite what the Quran itself says about righteous struggle (Jihad) and suicide.

In that regard, I think it is significant that the Al Qaeda recruitment manual aims to target those who are essentially non-religious and “not to trust potential recruits who know the Quran by heart.”

So what is the thing to be really afraid of here:  irrational and politically motivated anger?

Try Ignorance!

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