In a survey that underlined the complex views people have about Muslims, 51 percent agreed that a Muslim center should not be built near the former site of New York's World Trade Center, compared to 34 percent who said it should be permitted.But having an unfavorable view of someone is not the same thing as racism.
Yet at the same time, a majority - 62 percent - said Muslims should have equal rights to build houses of worship. Just 25 percent said communities should be allowed to block the construction of mosques. The poll was conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
The poll found that by 42 percent to 35 percent, most think Islam does not incite violence more than other religions, about the same as said so last year.
But more people have unfavorable than favorable views of Islam by 38 percent to 30 percent. In 2005, it was reversed: 41 percent had favorable views, 36 percent unfavorable.
The 'racism' label has long been thrown around indiscriminately, and the current debate has only furnished another opportunity to blow things out of proportion.
Jonah Goldberg gives some perspective:
In 2001, there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as there were anti-Muslim, again according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim ones by at least 6 to 1. Why aren't we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America?For proof that the US is not filled with ant-Muslim racists, you need just take a look not at the words, but the deeds:
Because there isn't one. And there isn't an anti-Muslim climate either. Yes, there's a lot of heated rhetoric on the Internet. Absolutely, some Americans don't like Muslims. But if you watch TV or movies or read, say, the op-ed page of the New York Times — never mind left-wing blogs — you'll hear much more open bigotry toward evangelical Christians (in blogspeak, the "Taliban wing of the Republican Party") than you will toward Muslims.
No doubt some American Muslims — particularly young Muslim men with ties to the Middle East and South Asia — have been scrutinized at airports more than elderly women of Norwegian extraction, but does that really amount to Islamophobia, given the dangers and complexities of the war on terror?
It's an odd argument given that Americans have shed a lot of blood for Muslims over the last three decades: to end the slaughter of Muslims in the Balkans, to feed Somalis and to liberate Kuwaitis, Iraqis and Afghans. Millions of Muslims around the world would desperately like to move to the U.S., this supposed land of intolerance.But in the meantime, we will continue to be bombarded by accusations of racism, while the real issues are ignored.
Technorati Tag: Islamophobia and Ground Zero Mosque.