Thursday, September 23, 2010

Delicious irony

It's been close to two weeks and I haven't mentioned religion once, so today I thought I'd break that silence.

As I was driving to work the other day, I noticed this incongruous image. A Korean Baptist church on one side of Washington Blvd. And across the street, a mosque. But not just any mosque mind you. This is the King Fahad Mosque, the largest in Southern California.

I did a little digging and found out the mosque was literally built by the Saudi government in the continuing efforts (dawa) to promote their particular brand of Wahhabism or Salafism--a staunchly fundamentalist sect of Islam that subscribes to the belief that women should NOT be given equal rights, that adherents not co-mingle with non-muslims, or even non-Wahhabis for that matter, and that innovation is a terrible thing ("Indeed the most detestable thing to Allah are the innovations.")

I mention all this in the midst of the ongoing discussions about the Ground Zero Mosque. One of the arguments by proponents is that, "if we don't allow them to build the mosque we will be providing the terrorists/militants with a recruitment tool." Of course the flipside of that is true as well. If we do allow them to build the mosque, the militants will use that as a recruitment tool.

Personally, I don't believe we have to "prove" our tolerance to anybody (it's not like the Taliban, Al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah have any capacity for rational thought.) The fact that mosques like the King Fahad, and hundreds like it, thrive throughout America speaks volumes.

I've already stated that as a strict Constitutionalist, I believe Imam Rauf has the right to build the mosque, I just find it insensitive of him to continue his plans. Even the idiot in Florida who proposed burning Qurans and then backed away, has shown better judgment.

But what I find most interesting are the impassioned pleas for tolerance, particularly for a culture that has at its core, such institutionalized intolerance -- for women, gays, apostates, people who eat pork, people who drink alcohol, and in the most ironic twist, people who are tolerant of other people.

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