Construction had just begun on a worship center for Muslims in Murfreesboro, near Nashville, when arsonists decided to play vigilante and draw the nation’s attention. The arsonists soaked several pieces of construction equipment with gasoline and lit them, destroying one of the pieces of construction equipment and damaging others.
There are a few points that strike me as alternately ridiculous and hopeful.
Spike in Hostility
The center had operated for years out of a small business suite. Planning members said the new building, which was being constructed next to a church, would help accommodate the area’s growing Muslim community.
“We unfortunately did not experience hostilities for the 30 years we’ve been here and have only seen the hostility since approval of the site plan for the new center,” said Sbenaty.
The Muslims here are not newcomers to the community. They’ve been there for thirty years, working and serving and living amongst everyone else. A generation has been raised there.
And who committed the terrorist act? Who burned stuff? It wasn’t the evil Islamic, it was the Christians.
Muslims Support Sharia Like Catholics Support Contraception
“They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group,” Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the area, told The Associated Press.
Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators who recently wore “Vote for Jesus” T-shirts and carried signs that said “No Sharia law for USA!,” referring to the Islamic code of law.
Sharia ((I’m not sure what a good source about Sharia would be, so I can’t refer you anywhere to learn more about it. Normally I’d point to Wikipedia, but their article has several warnings up top that it might not be balanced, so I suspect people have been vandalizing it to project their fears and incorrect assumptions into the article. Read it with reservation, and feel free to comment below if you have any questions–I’ll be happy to answer as in-depth as I am able.)) is the Islamic law that supersedes a nation’s law. Iran is founded on Sharia law, making it a theocracy, and many worry that Muslims want to quietly and subtly establish Sharia in non-Muslim countries so they can take over those countries.
Switzerland banned minarets because they were symbols of Sharia to the Swiss, but mosques, worship centers, and Muslims in general are still allowed within the country. What’s more, not all Muslims view Sharia the same way. For some, it is a law for the individual, much like a Christian might hold themselves to the laws of the Bible. And where the Sharia contradicts the United States law, many ignore Sharia.
It’s the inconvenient part of the scriptures that no longer matches our day-to-day life, so just like Christians ignore laws against wearing cloth made from multiple types of fabric or some Catholics still use contraception despite the Pope’s edicts, many Muslims ignore the parts of Sharia that would make life untenable in the USA.
We don’t assume Christians are murderous, cotton-blend hating psychopaths. We didn’t blame the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on a conspiracy hatched by Jews and Christians to kill all shellfish. So why do we assume, with absolutely no proof, that all Muslims want to overthrow our government and institute a theocracy?
This Country Wasn’t Based On Our Christianity
“No mosque in Murfreesboro. I don’t want it. I don’t want them here,” Evy Summers said to WTVF. “Go start their own country overseas somewhere. This is a Christian country. It was based on Christianity.”
If the pilgrims were to see us, they wouldn’t claim us as Christians. We would be heretics to them in every sense of the word.
People go on and on about the founding fathers, who had complex and varied approaches to faith, but we don’t seem to look back any further these days. Yeah, our country was founded (in many ways) by Christians. But they also built in a protection of other religions–without that protection, the Quakers would have had no place in New York, and the Catholics would have never been let in the country.
People aren’t setting fire to Jewish synagogues, so why are they setting fire to Islamic mosques? I could advance some theories, but I’ll keep quiet on that point for now. ((Here at the end, let me share my own frustration-filled assumptions. There are always insecure, ignorant, hateful people in this world. Quakers, Catholics, Irish, Jews, Blacks, etc. have all been targeted by these type of people. Muslims are just the latest and currently easiest target for their hate, and their hate is based on insecurity with their own beliefs and superiority.
It’s a conflict of religious theory. The Christian stance is that their religion is Right, but Islam came along after Jesus and said Christians got it wrong. And if Muslims are living comfortably in our neighbourhoods, working and raising families and worshiping as they wish, what does that say about their religion? Perhaps there’s something worthwhile there after all…
But that thought is anathema. Easier to spew hate and burn stuff than answer for your own faith or lack thereof.))
So what’s hopeful about all this?
The ATF, FBI and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a joint investigation into the fire, Anderson said.
Our national authorities take this stuff seriously. During the Civil Rights Movement, there was state and federal sanction, or at least looking-the-other-wayness, about hate crimes and such. While we may have some vitriolic senators and representatives who parrot the ignorance of their constituents, we have institutionalized protections for people who have been targeted in these ways.
I am confident we will come through this period of gross stupidity and the people trying to oppress others will move on. They’ll die out, get over it, or forget why they ever cared.
But that’s little comfort for those who are suffering now. For them we should pray that they be kept safe, protected, and free.
Pray for our neighbors, both the hate-mongers (that love would fill them and change their actions) and for the oppressed.