A few days ago, we took the time to reflect upon the events of 11 years ago. Then, the actions of that anniversary have shocked us all over again. Is this deja vu all over again as the famous Yogi Berra would put it? The Muslim world in the Middle East is in an uproar ostensibly over a movie that may or may not even exist which allegedly is critical of the prophet Mohammed. Demands are made from abroad to curtail the First Amendment rights of Americans to prohibit criticism of Mohammed or the Muslim faith.
Well, these new attacks and protests which appear to be led by Al Qaeda leaders to avenge the death of Osama Bin Ladin again put strains on the Western World and the relations between non-Muslims and Muslims. Our Bishop, Felipe Estevez, properly asserted in his recent 9-11 message that we, Catholics, reject extreme ideologies while embracing all people of all faiths. How should we view and deal with Muslims when they seem to embrace terrorism against us?
A couple of days ago, an American of Egyptian birth who immigrated here over a quarter century before, called the Neal Boortz radio show to apologize, on behalf of all mainstream Muslims, for the attacks of 9-11-01 and the attacks of this week. He explained with great clarity, as did another Muslim caller, that the majority of mainstream Muslims reject terrorism and such extreme actions. He pointed out that these extremist are not correctly taught Islam and do not know it well at all. But, they are duped by their leaders into emotional anti-Israeli and anti-American frenzies to further the agenda of their leaders.
The problem we have had in being more loving towards our Muslim brothers and sisters may lie in our media. Our media loves to show conflict in order to get readers and listeners. So, they, apparently, do not consider it important to report on how the vast majority of Muslims do not support extreme terrorist activities. It is vitally important to the cause of truth and for us to have the correct view of Muslims to know this.
The second danger we have is to give into demands that we change our American way of life, especially, our First Amendment rights to free speech, to shut down any criticisms of Mohammed the prophet or Islam. All religions from Judaism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism and many others have all been subject to media criticisms and inaccurate accounts. But, it is a small price to pay for the greater good to protect our rights to protest the government openly when it infringes on our other First Amendment rights to the free exercise of our religious beliefs.
We must have fortitude to get through these times and we must, as our Bishop directs, to embrace all peoples of all faiths. Again, pray for those who suffered and died and for their families and friends, and assess your own reaction and your own faith.
Let me know what you think.
Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!
REM (Ray Makowski) Co-Founder, Director and Secretary-Treasurer