This famous quote from "The Wizard of Oz" was what I kept thinking as I watched the CNN special "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" this past Sunday evening.
Soledad O'Brien, clearly biased against the Murfreesboro residents opposed to the construction of the mosque, attempted to argue with mosque opponents like Kevin Fisher and Sally Wall. Much to her frustration, I'm sure, both responded with self-assurance and conviction. On the other hand, however, she treated the local imam and other Muslims she spoke to with kid gloves, never questioning possible motives like the need for such a large facility (53, 000 square feet!!!).
Am I saying that the Muslims in that area don't need a place to worship? Of course not! I'm not one to infringe on how or what someone worships, no matter if it goes against my beliefs. However, one can't help but wonder why 53,000 square feet is necessary to accommodate about a couple of hundred Muslim families at the most when about 15,000 square feet would do, even taking into account future births and move-ins. But then there's the "a-ha" moment; more Muslims could be immigrating to Murfreesboro from the Middle East and elsewhere, and so the extra space is necessary for the anticipation of the new arrivals.
Now some of you might be saying "So what? They have every right to come here to live and worship as they please." Well, of course they do. As long as they intend to live here peacefully and observe our laws, I have no problem with that.
So what is the problem? Am I just being paranoid? Racist? Islamophobic?
Yes, the latter two questions like to be tossed about freely as if anyone who has the slightest problem with Islam is any of these things. First of all, Islam is NOT a race! It's not exclusive to dark-skinned Middle Easterners, so that argument is dead on arrival. As for Islamophobia, it's a word created by the media (don't you just love how they create words by adding the suffix "-phobia" to it?). But what is a phobia exactly? It implies an irrational fear of something! But we're not talking about spiders, snakes, heights, clowns, the number 13, etc.; we're instead referring to not just another "Abrahamic" religion but an oppressive ideology that strikes down freedom of any kind, treats women like chattel, insists that man-made laws be replaced with their sharia law, encourages violence against anyone who speaks out against said ideology or its murdering, warmongering, pedophile founder, and demands the death penalty for anyone who renounces this cult! Nothing irrational about that, wouldn't you say?
I got off on a bit of a tangent there. But it illustrates my point of what really bothered me about this CNN piece; a window dressing of sorts was placed on Islam while the opponents in Murfreesboro were portrayed as a bunch of uneducated hicks and rednecks. Sorry, Soledad, but some of us aren't buying what you have to sell. You can throw a pretty, American-born, articulate Muslim girl sans hijab on screen or portray an Islamic imam as cute and cuddly in an attempt to shut down our defenses, but the fact remains that the good citizens of Murfreesboro do not want their town to end up the same as Dearborn, Michigan, which is now virtually a "no-go area" for non-Muslims.
I'll end this here with the first part of the special someone uploaded on Youtube. Embedding has been disabled, so you'll have to click on the link below. There's more parts if you care to see it in its entirety:
Till next time, peace!