America suffers from a very sickening condition, one reminiscent of its past — Islamophobia — an unfounded fear that leads to the discrimination and slandering of Muslims and Islam.
This unfortunate societal diagnosis came to light this summer as politicians, commentators and commoners debated the “Ground Zero mosque.”
According to a CNN opinion poll conducted last month, 68 percent of Americans disapproved of the proposed construction of the Cordoba House, a Muslim community center, two blocks away from Ground Zero.
Those against this proposed building cited location as a primal reason for their disapproval, as they feel it would be an act of emotional insensitivity to build a mosque a few blocks away from the site of the 9/11 attacks.
But it would be naïve to think sentimental reasons are the only qualms people have against the mosque.
Every piece of land within the borders of the Star-Spangled Banner has become an unacceptable site for the construction of mosques. All over the country, there have been protests against proposed mosque constructions.
From Sheboygan, Wis. to Murfreesboro, Tenn., it has become apparent that the American populace has adopted a new unholy fascination with the restriction of religious freedom.
In fact, some of these ignorant people have gone as far as committing hate crimes against Muslims.
In Jacksonville, Fla., remnants of a pipe bomb were found at a mosque, while there was an arson attack at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Education Center in South Arlington, Texas.
And two weeks ago, a passenger assaulted a 43-year-old cab driver at knife point after he admitted to being Muslim.
Has America gone mad? One would think that a country whose past is riddled with the ugliness of bigotry and racism would have learned its lesson.
At this stage, it is obvious America has given up on the ideological battle against extremism and has succumbed to the despicable and futile game of scapegoating. The victims? Millions of moderate American-Muslims.
The events of 9/11 were indeed horrific and a trying period for the country, but that should not provide a justification to abandon the effectiveness of common sense and settle for the vileness of rash sentimentality.
To castigate millions of Muslims and restrict their human rights due to the actions of a few insane individuals amounts to outright injustice — America’s great hypocrisy.
Those who have fallen ill to Islamophobia and oppose the construction of mosques around the country are myopic and weakening the very foundation of the country they claim to love and want to protect.
They are affirming Osama bin Laden’s rhetoric of a West that is intolerant of Islam, strengthening the base of extremists around the world and, most severely, widening the schism of understanding between Americans and Muslims in diaspora.
An interesting part of the irony lies in the fact that as Americans castigate their own (American-Muslims), they expect the Afghan people to leap for their hands of co-operation with trust.
So while America continues to fight the war against terrorism abroad with big guns and billions of dollars, some of its civilians continually push victory even further away with hateful rhetoric toward Muslims at home.
Americans have cocked their guns and are about to shoot themselves in the legs, but the high of hurt and ill rationale prevents them from seeing clearly.