he Ground Zero Mosque isn't the only battleground over Islam in post-9/11 America. Political and religious leaders are opposing plans to build Muslim houses of worship and community centers in California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and other states, reports The New York Times. And the protesters aren't just worried about traffic and noise — many of them say Islam is an inherently violent religion that is incompatible with the American way of life. What explains this apparent uptick in local resistance to Muslim places of worship? (Watch a Russia Today discussion about Islam in America)
Sept. 11 launched a perfect storm of hate: There's no denying this is the cresting of an anti-Islam wave that began with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, says Dave Lefcourt in OpEdNews. "Throw in our two wars in Muslim countries and the insurgencies they spawned exacerbating radical jihadists to fight against us," and add Iran's ongoing quest to go nuclear, and "you get the picture." Americans need "bogey men" so we can focus our anger and fear in one place — once it was communists, now it's Muslims.
"Hysteria and intolerance in America"
The protesters aren't paranoid — Islamic clerics really do preach hate: The New York Times and other apologists insist that "Islam is just another religion," says Michael Walsh at Big Journalism, and that anyone opposed to these mosques is an "un-American" bigot. But Americans have good reason to fear that mosques, at least some of them, nurture would-be terrorists — just look at the "big hole in the ground in lower Manhattan."
"The hidden hand of media bias, courtesy of The New York Times"
This isn't about religion; it's about the economy: After 9/11, our leaders made clear the enemy was a small group of "fanatics," not Islam in general, says Matthew Yglesias in The Washington Post. But any time the economy sours and personal income drops, people become "less broad-minded" and more suspicious of foreigners and members of other ethnic groups. So now many politicians have reversed course in an attempt to "make hay" from the new atmosphere, "reflecting, as well as stoking," this new hostility.
"Anchor babies, the Ground Zero Mosque and other scapegoats"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Why ABC threw its Bachelor under the bus
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- 4 easy ways to resolve life's toughest questions
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
Subscribe to the Week