Did you think me naive to support the Muslims’ prayer in Washington? Some did, I’m sure.
I can imagine a feminist shaking her head. “Do women in burkas mean nothing to you?”
I can imagine a peace-loving man shaking his head. “Do executions and beheadings mean nothing to you?”
I can imagine a military man shaking his head. “Does September 11 mean nothing to you?”
Of course they mean something to me. I’ve read quite a bit about Islam, fiction and non-fiction. Books. Not just one-page e-mails passed around from anonymous strangers or sound bites from ratings-hungry newscasters. Hundreds of pages by authors from America and the Middle East. Even the Koran. It doesn’t make me an expert on Islam. But I wouldn’t call me naive, either.
With all I know about Islam, why on earth would I support a mass Muslim prayer in Washington? Let me tell you.
I can hold up women in burkas as a symbol of Islam. Or I can hold up barely clad pop stars, pornographic magazines, or the steamy half-time show of a national sports event as a symbol of America.
I can hold up executions and beheadings as a symbol of Islam. Or I can hold up electric chairs, death row inmates exonerated by DNA testing, or prisoners wearing dog collars, hoods, or electrodes as a symbol of America.
I can hold up crumbling towers in New York City as a symbol of Islam. Or I can hold up the life savings and livelihoods of millions around the globe, decimated by the arrogance and greed of corporate and financial executives as a symbol of America.
If we, as Americans, wish the rest of the world to acknowledge and appreciate our good side — our generosity, our ingenuity, or whatever other trait you would like to ascribe to this diverse nation — then I firmly believe, that we must also acknowledge and appreciate the good side of our neighbors on this planet.