Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Controversy In The Squeak

Something from this week's issue of The Squeak (our local small town newspaper) has me all fired up, again.
Here's what's going on:
WITI-TV, MILWAUKEE - It is a hot topic in rural Sheboygan County near Oostburg. A Muslim doctor and several others are looking for a permanent place to worship. Some people in the area are not happy about having a Muslim Mosque in their community.

Manitowoc Dr. Mansoor Mirza and several others living in Sheboygan County have purchased a building off Sauk Trail Rd. near Oostburg in the Town of Wilson and want to turn it into a Muslim mosque. "The closest place to Appleton...We wanna place to teach out children for social gatherings, so it's important to us."

While Christian leaders FOX6 spoke with in Oostburg realize there is a freedom of religion in our country, they have safety concerns when it comes to the practicing Islam in rural Sheboygan County. Rev. Wayne Devrou said, "There's some people that are afraid and their afraid for a good reason, because Islamic philosophy and ideology starts in a mosque and throughout the world Islamic terrorism comes from its roots and worship in the mosque."

Muhammad Isa Sadlon is the CEO and Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Milwaukee. He says while this is a unique situation, patience and acceptance is needed. "Neighbors have questions. People in the community wanna know somethings about us. It will take a little bit of time. It will be a process, but god willing it will move forward."

FOX6 has been told small groups have been holding worship services in the building for about a month. Wilson town leaders decided to extend the conditional use permit time for another two months, a decision is expected then. The area is currently zoned highway commercial.

A former Muslim turned Christian is scheduled to speak at the First Reform Church about Islam in the coming weeks.
I figured there would be some people who don't understand and have a hard time recognizing that religions other than the many flavors of Christianity exist and are practiced right here in our community, but calling another religious group the Anti-Christ and carrying on about terrorism is completely over the top. This isn't some rogue Islamic group straight out of the Middle East looking to set up a tire and monkey bar obstacle course to carry out extremist views. No, this is a doctor trying to create a place of worship that is within a reasonable distance for his family and others in the community.

It wasn't even me that saw the ad and muttered "what the fuck?" The Gardener, a former Catholic and altar boy during High School turned agnostic in recent years was enraged to read such bigotry while scanning the pages looking for a deal on a used roto-tiller. Of course he handed me the paper and said "here's a number I think you should call." (The Squeak requires all people placing classified ads to include either their name or phone number.) I didn't call because I know I can't change the mind of someone so opposed to religious diversity. Just makes my skin crawl that in the US, a nation with religious freedom, people can be so disrespectful to their neighbors.

I know not all local Christians feel this way and I do not intend to irritate anyone by posting this. I just feel that we should be respectful to all religious beliefs as long as they aren't infringing on the rights of others.

What do you think about this?


True Blue Texan said...

Well, first off, I'd have to say the level of journalism in your local rag is about equal with a high school newspaper. I spotted three misspellings and I wasn't even looking hard.

Second, it's hard for a lot of people to wrap their head around the idea that Islam is not equivalent to terrorism. There's an awful lot of voices that tell them that's the case. For a religion that was persecuted for the first several hundred years of its institution, Christianity, in some forms, is really good at the persecution of different religions. Name just about any major religion and not a few Christian denominations and they've all been labeled the enemy at one time or another by the "mainstream" Christian.

It is hardwired in the human animal to fear what is different. The only way to subvert that hard wiring is educate yourself and open your mind. Something I've decided is notably next to impossible for Christianists. It's why I use that word instead of Christian when I talk about the bigoted and hateful brand of Christianity that gets so much exposure in our culture today.


Aliceson said...

The typos drove me nuts too! I wanted to correct them but decided to quote it directly typos and all.

As always True Blue you offer a very sound and rational response! I love hearing your opinion on these controversial issues.

Riot Kitty said...

I think "What the fuck?" is entirely appropriate. I am put off by religious extremism of any kind, by any religion. How ugly hate is. And I am just amazed that anyone who is so hateful *thinks* they're acting like a Christian. Have they never read Christ's own words? Sick.

sheila said...

We live within 5 miles of one of the largest mosques in America. And I've never seen any problems. Although, there was that one Imam controversy years ago, and I think our gov't deported him or something.

Anyhow, I agree with you. WTF. It's a shame that in a country that touts religious's on a conditional basis.

Kelly said...

Grrr, boo, hiss...

I can't think of anything more eloquent than what the other folks have written, so I will stick with animal noises.

Wild Child said...

So, I decided to get out my Bible (the one my parents gave me when I was eight, it is one version that I like better than so many others, even today) and look up the verses. First, I take anything written by Jesus' FOLLOWERS with a grain of salt. They are making up their own minds and giving THEIR opinions of what they think Christianity should be. For that matter, we should take the Gospels with a grain of salt as many were written hundreds of years after the fact.

As it is, while flipping through pages, I came across a highlighted section that my 11 year old self highlighted with bright fluorescent marker. The Gospel of John 15:12 in a statement supposedly made by Jesus: "My comandment is this: love one another, just as I love you."
One of my favorite statements and it still rings true.

Another favorite of mine is: "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." (Matthew 7:1-2)

Then there is the golden rule: "Do for others what you want them to do for you." (Matthew 7:12)

Why is it for some Christians that only some verses apply and others do not? All the verses I quoted are directly attributed to Jesus. The verses quoted in the newspaper are from some follower. I think what comes from Jesus trumps what comes from some follower.

Aliceson, how much does an ad in the Squeak cost? I would love to put those verses in there for you. Bet there would be some red faces around town.

Aliceson said...

RK, right?

Sheila, Exactly!

Kelly, Animal noises are totally appropriate here.

Wild Child, Those verses you quoted are the ones I think of when I think of Jesus and never heard of the one that was in the Squeak. I figured it was something obscure and was shocked that it was quoted at all. Your suggestion to take out an ad with the more Christian-like verses is intriguing... I'll consider it. These negative quotes and actions are what makes me and my husband choose to distance ourselves from the church. Sad really considering that Jesus' words of peace and love are often overpowered by hate.

Jenni said...

Ridiculous, just ridiculous.

Out in Them Sticks said...

Wow, that's terrible Ali!

Shady Lady said...

Oh for crying out loud! Don't even get me started. Grrrrr.....

True Blue Texan said...

Ok Anonymous, I'm going to respond. Even though I probably shouldn't. I apologize in advance, Aliceson, for the coming repercussions.

So much of what you said can be applied in reverse to Christianity.

Is Christianity above politics? If you think so, I should direct you to the stories coming out of Texas and the State Board of Education; perhaps the clearest example of a political and religious agenda being forced down the throats of the citizens of Texas and the schoolchildren of our nation.

How about the Mormon church and its funding of the opposition to California's Proposition 8? Was that not a clear violation of the separation between church and state? Don't like the Mormons? There are plenty of other christian churches that did the same.

How about those christian groups who are sending money to the Ugandan churches? The same churches that are central to that country's pending legislation that would outlaw homosexuality and institute prison terms for those failing to report to the state when they know someone who is gay?

I could go on. If you want to claim that Islam is tainted by its political viewpoints then I suggest you take a closer look at Christianity.

"He who is without sin, cast the first stone." John 8:7-9

Aliceson said...

Let the conversation continue as long as we can all be civil. Both Anonymous (a friend in real life) and True Blue make some good points. I think we can all at least agree that when religion and politics (and let's face it, money) mix the combination can be quite disastrous. At least no one has quoted Sarah Palin yet, now THAT would be controversial.

Bonnie said...

Hi all. First let me point something out to Anonymous. We are not at war with Islam. Our government may have declared a war on terrorism, but not on Islam itself. As a citizen of the US, I respect your right to state your beliefs and opinions and I applaud Ali for opening this forum for all to excercise that right.

In my opinion, people don't need the excuse of religion to be World Class Asses. Every day people-including the shining examples of us Americans-beat, kill, torture, and bomb each other. We go to other countries and try to force them to adopt our "highly developed" system of democracy to those societies that have been around hundreds and thousands of years longer than us.

I realize that these examples don't apply to all of us. But the Islamic excuse doesn't apply to all of them either.

I haven't been in this area for a very long time, but in the couple of years I've been here, I've had the local religious people knocking on my door on holidays trying to convert me and I've been bad-mouthed by religious neighbors for no apparent reason.

I have such a bitter taste from all the Bible-thumping that I don't see how that is so much better than the Islams.

Anyhow, that's my two cents.