Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Muslim Hearings

Ash Wednesday

Who does not remember the photographs of Christians surrounding Muslims with a protective human barricade as demonstrators prayed in Tahrir Square? How do we offer such a thing to our friends who are threatened by a New York congressman who has himself supported murderous terrorism in the past? Akbar Ahmed is a scholar at American University whom I have cited in the past. He has written an op-ed piece for the New York Times suggesting that the hearings should be seen as an opportunity to educate people about Islam and Muslims. Good for him, but I fear he putting lipstick on a pig, -- a pig apparently made up of members of congress with both parties planning to participate.

As we head into Lent, we have on our minds another set of ‘hearings’ that led to Jesus’ being put to death as the scapegoat for the anxieties of the righteous. In most accounts he declined to speak at his trials thus declining to bless them in any way.

Eboo Patel suggests that our view of Muslims would be akin to someone judging the citizenry of any of our cities by watching the first two minutes of our television news in just about any major market. It is, quite simply, distorted. A website called ‘Facts Not Fear’ is one example of the majority mobilizing to be heard in the face of fearful atrocity.

We can create the circle whereby we stand with and for those committed to peace as are we by prayer, but also by speaking up for fellow travelers at dinner parties, at church or wherever we gather and hear implicit fear in word or silence, the fear that allows the demonization of millions of people, the fear that sent Jesus to the cross.

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