Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Islam is a religion, not a terror ideology

by Jocelyne Cesari

August 24, 2010

Opponents of an Islamic community center and mosque planned to be built near ground zero say it would desecrate hallowed ground. But suspicion has greeted proposed mosque projects in places less hallowed than ground zero -- in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Temecula, California; and elsewhere.

This suggests that opposition to mosques is not driven only by sensitivity to the memory of terrorism victims, but also by a growing unease toward Islam, fueled by security fears.

Opposition to Islamic centers and mosques in the United States shows remarkable similarities to anti-Islamic movements in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, where people also have sought to prohibit new mosques. Last December in Switzerland, citizens voted in a referendum to prohibit new minarets.

Another trait shared by anti-Islamic movements on both sides of the Atlantic is that they increasingly justify their opposition by arguing that Islam is not a religion.