I skimmed through this BBC article this morning, and I have since been thinking a bit about the proposals for a ‘Ground Zero’ mosque.
It seems to me that to not build the mosque would be perceived as being intolerant, and I struggle to see why this is a fair conclusion. What happened to being tolerant of the feelings of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks? Since when did being tolerant of someone necessitate doing what they want?
I also think some of the comments below the article make some excellent points.
I find it rather amusing that we Americans are preached to about being tolerant when Muslims are deemed as being as pure as the wind-driven snow and completely tolerant of all other religions. Take a Bible to Saudi Arabia and see how tolerant they are.
We feel intolerant because Islam is perceived as a 'threat' - not just because of terrorism but also because the freedom that we enjoy in 'western' countries is not found in 'Islamic' countries. We do not want to get to the point where we cannot build churches, express our opinion that Islamic teaching is not correct or walk around without a veil.
The issue of Park 51 is less one of religious tolerance and more one of respect. How would this issue have been perceived if the situation were reversed?
You can read the rest of them for yourself.
Much as I respect the right of Muslims to practise their faith, tolerance works both ways. The comment regarding tolerance of Christians in Saudi Arabia is a very fair point, and one wonders what the reaction would be if the proposals for Ground Zero included imagery of Mohammed. My gut feel is that there would be some angry reactions, and no-one would turn round and preach ‘tolerance’ to those who were upset.
The idea that Islam is perceived as a threat is an interesting one. To some degree I am very much in agreement, because I do not want to get to the point where one cannot express an opinion against Islamic teaching.
I also wonder, however, whether people feel threatened in a different way, such that it is not seen as ‘the done thing’ to support those against the mosque.
Finally, I wonder how many of those in support of “religious tolerance for Muslims” actually believe in what they preach, or whether it is an opportunity to jump on a bandwagon and look good by appearing to care for those in a minority.