The Islamic Community Center and Terrorism Symbols:
America’s Quest for Hypocritical Perfection
By: Solomon Comissiong
A substantial number of Americans seem to savor opportunities that will expose them for the barbaric hypocrites they are. As if it were simply not good enough to be mindless sheep non-critically responding to the drumbeat of the historically anti-democratic corporate media; they eagerly strive to one up their idiocy. Recently certain groups, like the white supremacist Tea-Partiers, have enthusiastically vied to parade themselves around as the biggest, most xenophobic and racist buffoons. However, the continued so-called controversy surrounding the proposed building of an Islamic Community Center, a few blocks away from Ground Zero, has enabled other mental midgets to emerge from the self-isolated rocks they dwell under. Many opportunistic Democrats, self-righteous Republicans, racist right-wingers and lemming-like liberals, have all assembled like the “ugly Americans” they are, to openly exercise their disdain with the building of the Park 51/Cordoba Initiative Islamic Community Center relatively close to Ground Zero. The assertion that because the alleged 9/11terrorist hijackers were of the Muslim faith automatically means that Islam and those who worship under its auspices must also be potential terrorists, is laughable, pathetic, and odious, all rolled into one socially limited display. It reveals the continually unchecked racist and white supremacist undertones that plague the lives of people of color, worldwide. Needless to say, any Christian American calling a Mosque or an Islamic Community Center a symbol of terrorism, without recognizing the emblematic terror that their churches represent is a damn hypocrite. Using their criteria perhaps we should say that all white males should be seen as terrorists predicated on the terrorist act of one Timothy McVeigh—-who also happened to use biblical narrative to partly justify his blowing up of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995?
Unfortunately most Americans have a purposefully limited understanding of history. They are not supposed to understand, by design—for if they did they would understand (whether they agree with the actions or not) the terrorist campaigns their country has waged on people dating back to its illegal founding. And certainly most so-called Christians are not supposed to understand the countless vile, evil and duplicitous things that have been done, all in the name of Christianity. They are supposed to obediently imbibe large doses of slanted information from their pastor, priest or reverend, without any critical thought whatsoever. At this time a simple minded pastor from Florida name Terry Jones is planning the burning of hundreds of Korans on September 11, 2010, all the while his faithful congregation endorses his repugnant actions.
Understanding the role Christianity (and religion in general) has played throughout the ages in pacifying and cognitively decapitating masses of people, is a big NO-NO. Many Christians are trained to have a very narrow comprehension of their multi-versioned bible— never to wonder why it has had so many versions in the first place. This is not to say that there have not been liberating, human rights oriented and revolutionary figures emerge from the church who have also encouraged their followers to think for themselves. Individuals like Richard Allen, James Cone and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have inspired countless black Christian-goers to emancipate themselves from a white supremacist system. Black liberation theology has been used by various justice centered pastors to liberate their audiences. Dr. King had the courage to call America the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet—how many Christians do we hear chanting that today? Not as many as we should. Simply being a Christian does not make someone innately bad, however Christianity has often been used as pretext for systematic acts of terrorism to those who are deemed “different”. This must be understood loud and clear for it is seldom discussed openly and within context inside most American mainstream outlets. Perhaps more Christians, especially black Christians, might be well served to listen to sermons from pastors like Ray Hagins.
Most Christians are systematically taught to conform within an already conformist society. It is common to hear TV pundits and snake-oil politicians bellowing on television that they want to see more prominent members of the Muslim community denouncing terrorism. However why don’t we ever hear these disingenuous cretins pleading for prominent members of the Christian community to denounce the systematic murder, by way of illegal unjust wars, of 1.5 million Iraqi and over 23,000 Afghani civilians. These actions have all been committed and endorsed by a country that is prominently referred to as a Christian nation and who’s Pledge of Allegiance says “One Nation Under God”. Make no bones about it— that pledge is referring to a so-called Christian God. The hoi polloi don’t hear these appeals from so-called Christian “leaders” because they, and certainly most Christians, are not supposed to even think such thoughts. That kind of honest and critical thought process would be political and “patriotic” blasphemy. However, since many right wing and liberal Christians wish to erroneously generalize and equate an Islamic Community Center with terrorism, predicated on their limited understanding of the tragic events of 9/11, I feel that it is only fair that the same shoe is worn on the other foot— in regards to the defining of terrorist imagery. As Malcolm X said in his historic The Ballot or the Bullet speech, “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”
Often the definition of certain terms all depends on who is, or is not, doing the defining. For tens of millions of slain black Africans and Native Americans, Christianity was a symbol of terrorism. It was white so-called Christians who used their interpretation of the bible, as well as their religion, to justify the continued enslavement of Africans and Indigenous Americans, and plunder of their land and resources. White Americans in the 1800s even created a term for it, Manifest Destiny. For blacks throughout the south the image of the cross could justifiably be seen as a symbol of terror—after all it was the predominately Protestant Christian Ku Klux Klan that would symbolically burn a cross at their rallies, after they terrorized an innocent black family, or burned a black man at the stake. The Christian bible was always close at hand.
For hundreds of millions of blacks and Latinos whose ancestors were terrorized by whites in the name of Christianity, and the often misinterpreted bible, a symbol of horror could easily a church. The religion of Christianity was forced upon millions of black and brown people. It was either the “Christian way” or death! However, because many of us (black, white and brown) have no historical perspective; we seldom recognize these aspects of Christian history. Many continually allow themselves to be force fed a steady diet of one person’s perspective and interpretation of the bible, every Sunday, without asking critical and necessary questions or better yet—-doing their own research. However, as stated earlier, critical thought is not a virtue promoted widely throughout the US and especially not in most churches. If it was promoted in most churches we would possibly see tens of thousands of Christian Americans protesting their government’s actions that are contradictory to the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately the words, “Thou Shall Not Kill” are simply trendy words that scores of sheep-like Christians blindly cling to. They have willing become walking, talking and breathing paradoxes. This is why so many Christians can oppose abortion while at the same time supporting indiscriminate and imperialistic wars which claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and babies by way of so-called “smart bombs” and drone attacks. Despite what the US Constitution says America has never had a separation of church and state. They are only shallow words and ideals, merely used to sell the outdated and dysfunctional US Constitution to those who the government knows will never carefully examine it nor will they juxtapose it to a blatantly unjust society. If the people did they just might demand justice for all and issue a referendum to rewrite large segments of the constitution. This action (rewriting the constitution) has been democratically done in places like Bolivia, Venezuela, and most recently Kenya.
Littered throughout America are symbols of terror that rain trepidation upon masses of black and brown skinned people. Police uniforms are symbols of terror to scores of young black and brown men. Just ask the families of black men who were unwarrantedly murdered by police, such as Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Adolf Grimes, and Trey Joyner. Police terror in America knows no limits when it comes to dishing out hell to black and brown communities. Police terror has even found its way into the homes of seven year old black girls like Aiyana Stanley-Jones. She was needlessly murdered by Detroit police in an unwarranted raid.
What has historically been done to black people in America, by the Police, has been nothing short of state sponsored terror. But why do so many of us seldom see these actions as blatant examples of terror? The answer is simple—many of us have been conditioned to passively accept these actions as acceptable aspects of society. We have been socially conditioned to even cast doubt on the victims and not those doing the terrorizing. We have been conditioned believe the lie that America is a beacon for freedom, justice and equality. These are myths promoted by mainstream American outlets (school, media, and government) to keep the masses in a state passivity and disillusionment. Until many of us mobilize, organize, and demand justice—-we will continue to unwittingly ignore the numerous symbols of terror that continue to wreck havoc on so many communities of color. Silence in the face of terror only legitimizes it.
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org