Category Archives: Muslim

America is more than a country Pt. 2

Pt 2 of a series (see previous article)

As the GOP released their “Pledge to America”, many of its statements sounded good but go against what has been being said.

In Politico on August 18, 2010, Indiana’s Republican Rep. Mike Pence thought the Islamic Center in NYC was “not appropriate”, while John Boehner, Republican House Minority Leader called the decision to build the mosque and Obama’s support “deeply troubling,” and Cantor dubbed it “the height of insensitivity.”

Do they know there was a Muslim prayer room on the South Tower’s 17th floor of the World Trade Center? Do they realize there are over 600,000 Muslims living in NYC? Do they also realize there is a place for prayer at the Pentagon and services are held for Muslims multiple times each week? This has gone on without any issues. Why is that? This was also true after the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center which were carried out by the same type of extremist and took the lives of 6 people and injured 1,042 others. It doesn’t seem the politicians are trying to stop the building of any mosque or back up having it built for any reason other than to win voters. There are people that really do stand on one side or the other in sincerity but there are many others that are standing on the side of hate, discrimination or just standing without reason but doing so because the majority has taken a stand.

America comes first, before campaigning or popularity.

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

“America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.”

The statement is true. In America, a person can be many things if that person is willing to work hard, study hard, has ideas and some ambition. America has been built on these ingredients. This is what attracts so many people to want to come here and start a business, develop an idea or bring their family.

The question is are people able to come here, live here, be free here to raise their children and have a business, become citizens, go to school, practice their religion and truly be free as America and the Constitution says or are those words changing due to politics and fear being driven by a few and voiced over and over to more and more people? Or is that freedom only promised or offered to certain people?

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”

In November 2008, the country voted to set out on a different course. Prior to that vote, things were completely off course. At that time, the housing market and economic downturn was already being said to have been the worst since the Great Depression. It was termed as the “Panic of 2008”.

In 2008 the majority of voters cast their ballot for change because they obviously wanted something, change.

Barack Obama was not only campaigning about bettering the economy, bringing healthcare to more of the uninsured, adding consumer credit protection, building a higher standard for our country’s declining educational system and its young people’s ability to pay to attend college. He was also campaigning for America and its ability to see within itself the need to achieve greater, expect more and to once again, move forward.

Barack Obama was running for the office of the President of the United States. In November 2008, he was elected into office and in January 2009, he took his position in the White House.

From the beginning of his presidency, he has set out to meet certain goals put forth during his campaign as well as help dig a country out of a turmoil it had sunk into over years of bad management, bad choices and now he was surrounded by onlookers daily wondering why he had no quick fixes. To say President Obama has not accomplished a great deal during his Presidency so far would be completely false. However, there is still a long way the country has to go.

In an interview via telephone from the Clinton Global Initiative this past week, Clinton urged the Democrats to start coming back at the GOP’s claims with facts. Give them statistics and show them exactly what the current administration has done to avert a more severe downturn.

Clinton said, “I think the Democrats ought to stand up and say… You gave them eight years to dig this hole and double the debt of this country and not to produce any jobs, and then to have a financial collapse and all of this calamity. At least give us four to dig out of it. If we’re wrong, throw us all out. But don’t bring back the people that dug the hole.”

Homegrown Terrorism

It has become clear what goes on in one part of the world will be seen all over the world, often times in a matter of moments. Good news travels fast but it seems bad news travels even faster and is often repeated the most.

In July, the Dove World Outreach Center’s preacher, Terry Jones set the date of September 11th to burn the Holy Book of the Islamic religion, the Qur’an. What was his reason? He says Islam is of the devil.

In an interview with Rick Sanchez on CNN, July 29th he said, “We believe Islam is of the Devil. It is causing billions of people to go to hell. It is a deceptive religion. It is a violent religion. That is proven many many times.”

This pastor may feel how he wants to feel, as may anyone. However by setting this date to hold a burning of a Holy Book to the Islam religion, there are many consequences coming out of this from this one person’s choice.

Monday in Afghanistan, a protest was held in the capital. We have tens of thousands of troops fighting there and they aren’t fighting the Afghanistan people. They are helping them by fighting against their enemies, Al Qaeda.

Monday though, many of those people at the protest were getting mixed messages due to this news of what was going on at this church in the U.S. wanting to burn their Holy Book and saying their religion is of the devil? Maybe they should just give up on the American people. Why trust them?

This pastor is talking about burning another religion’s Holy Book while he lives in a country that is based on FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Does he choose what religions are free? Does he choose WHO has those freedoms?

This pastor believes he is a “patriot” but the highest ranking military officials are watching the reactions from overseas and saying it’s not good for America. Is that not enough of an alert? He’s not being a patriot. He is stirring up a conflict both here and abroad. He is doing this by choice and with full knowledge of the consequences arising and with numerous warnings from different government agencies, local officials and many around the world.

In a statement from one of the top American Generals in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, he said, “We’re over here to defend the rights of the American citizens and we’re not debating the first amendment rights that people have, but what I will tell you is that their very actions will jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish. I would hope they would understand that there are second and third order effects that would occur that will affect the young men and women who’s out there on point for America serving their nation today because of their actions in the United States.”

These people serving our country and fighting the war on terror, are pointing out not only is this harmful for our troop’s safety and mission but also goes against the safety for America and many around the world.

Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan released a statement to the Wallstreet Journal saying, “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic Community.”

The safety of America and American troops has always been the priority but since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the heightened security has been more focused and more attention has been on Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.

For many people the focus has shifted to the Muslim people and more recently causing a great deal of debates over the building of or even the expansions of existing mosque.

Often times, people fear what they don’t understand or what they are told is bad or evil.

This “pastor”, Terry Jones is causing a greater amount of conflict and danger on this nation, our troops who have been risking their lives and he is doing this all for a selfish reason, because he is trying to make a point.

Although he may fully believe everything he is saying and his estimated 50 church followers may believe him as well, is America’s safety or the safety of our troops, Americans abroad or other nations that have also fought the war on terror ready to face this added terror his actions may provoke, most likely will provoke?

Someone willing to put that great of a risk on other people’s lives for their own cause is as much of a terrorist as those he claims to be fighting against.

It doesn’t matter where he is born, what religion he claims to follow or what color his skin is.

He has been told to stop. He has been told of the dangers. He has been told of the risk he is putting America, its people and its troops in and yet he is refusing to stop.

Terry Jones does not care. He has a higher calling.

Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like the behavior words of a terrorist?

Intolerance vs. Terrorism

For years now, immigration has been an issue requiring attention. The U.S. borders as well as international airports have been an access point for drugs and weapons and on September 11, 2001, America was attacked in a way many Americans never expected could happen on U.S. soil.

On that day, 2,996 people died including the 19 terrorist, Al Qaeda hijackers. The majority of deaths were civilians, including nationals from over 90 countries.

Very soon after the attacks, the luggage of one of the terrorist, Mohamed Atta, was found which not only identified all 19 male hijackers but also had detailed plans, motives and backgrounds on the men and the attacks. On September 27, 2001, the photos of these 19 terrorists were released on the news and for the first time, people could put faces to the horrible anger and blame they had been feeling about the innocent lives that had suddenly been taken away on that clear and sunny Tuesday morning in New York City.

Many people still had not located loved ones, did not know if they were missing or dead and at the same time, there was still an unimaginable grief and anger throughout the U.S. for this horrible crime. What could have caused someone to do this? What did anyone in these towers, in the Pentagon, on those planes do to anybody? Why were they suddenly gone? Why did New York City look like a war zone? Why did it feel like a war zone?

The answer to those questions would come from Osama Bin Laden. He provided the leadership and funding for this group. Initially Bin Laden denied his involvement but later admitted involvement via video tape talking to Khaled al-Harbi. The tape was broadcast on several news networks in December 2001. He stated, “Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people.”

Right after the attack, the U.S. responded with the War on Terror, a war that is continuing today in its fight to overthrow al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here in the U.S. however, right after the attacks, hate crimes began happening against Muslim-Americans, Middle Easterners or other “Middle Eastern-looking” people. There were reports of attacks on Mosque and other religious buildings including a Hindu Temple.

Different people were assaulted and Balbir Singh Sodhi was fatally shot on September 15, 2001 when he was mistaken as a Muslim but was actually Sikh, a follower of Sikhism. Like others, he has been mistaken due to the fact both religions wear head turbans. According to studies done by Ball State University, following the attacks, people perceived to be of Middle Eastern, Arab or Muslim were more likely to be the victims of hate crimes.

Although 19 terrorists hijacked the planes on September 11, 2001 and Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for leading and funding the group as well as the knowledge that al Qaeda (a militant Islamist terrorist organization) is the force behind these attacks, many people still focus the attacks on an ethnic group or a religion. What is the reasoning for the lack of tolerance or the outright hate towards Muslims or those practicing Islam? The main reason given is the attacks on 9/11.

Following the attacks on 9/11, a joint statement was released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Medical Association of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Alliance, Muslim Public Affairs Council and others which stated;

“American Muslims utterly condemn the vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”

The acts of these 19 terrorists did not represent their religion, their culture or their people as a whole.

April 19, 1995 was a regular Wednesday morning for those working in the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City until 9:02 a.m.

Timothy McVeigh, an American Militia movement sympathizer detonated an explosive-filled truck parked in front of the building. His co-conspirator, Terry Nichols had helped in the bomb making process which became the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the attacks of 9/11/01. That day, 168 people lost their lives, including 19 children. 680 people were injured.

Who was Timothy McVeigh? Where was he from? Timothy McVeigh was a U.S. Army Veteran. He had left the military in 1992. He’d written the local papers complaining about taxes and the government’s mismanagement. He was motivated by his hate for the federal government. In 1993, he drove to Waco, Texas to show support for those at Waco and distributed pro-gun rights literature. After the Oklahoma attacks, he said he was angered by the way the Waco siege was handled. He arranged his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deaths at Waco.

On February 18, 2010 employees at an Austin, Texas IRS office say “it felt like a bomb blew off” and that “the ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran.”

Joseph stack, a 53 year old software engineer launched a suicide attack by flying a small plane into the IRS building containing 200 employees. Employees in surrounding offices were suddenly looking at images that appeared to be a repeat of 9/11.

Stack had previous issues with the IRS and left a note. “I have had all I can stand,” he wrote. “I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at ‘big brother’ while he strips my carcass.”

Just in these three cases, to try to have prevented these acts of terrorism would have meant to have been looking for anyone that was of Middle Eastern decent, Muslim-American, American militia affiliated, anti-government and anyone that had really had it with the IRS?

The fact is in every group, in every race, in every religion, there are those that are bad or extreme and those people don’t represent the entire group.

This country would have never moved forward without that understanding. Wars would never truly have ended. Slavery would have never ended. Civil rights and freedoms would not exist. Equal rights cannot truly be something that the U.S. says it gives unless they are there for everyone.

True equal rights cannot be given by picking and choosing or not be given and then not honored.

The danger doesn’t come to America by those who appear to be different or come from a different culture or background. Danger comes when America fails to recognize humanity for each individual or when Americans are withholding opportunities from a select group that many are just taking for granted.

One religion can’t condemn another religion in a country that is based on “Freedom of Religion”.

There are those using the argument that the Islamic religion is based on extremism and saying that those wanting to build a mosque are doing so to convert others to their belief and lifestyle. There are two points that need to be pointed out here. First, when any church, synagogue or temple is built, it is done so to bring in new followers and also to give their present church goers a new and better place to worship. Second, in most recent news the violence happening is being done toward the Muslims and their proposed Mosque and toward their religion in the U.S., not by them.

There is a planned burning of the Qur’an on 9/11 at the Dove World Outreach Center and whether or not you agree with a person’s belief or not, to burn their religious book is just unacceptable. How would anyone feel if someone was burning Bibles? How would anyone feel if any group was holding a burning of any kind of books?

What if anytime a crime was done by a member of a family, the entire family was held accountable?

What if anytime a catholic priest was caught doing anything questionable, all priest were suddenly seen as suspicious?

What if one employee was caught stealing and suddenly everybody was being searched each day coming to work?

What if one person at a workplace says you made them feel uncomfortable and suddenly you are transferred, cut back on hours or let go of. Not because you did anything but just because someone said something, thought something or judged you.

What if another religion was suddenly the target of intolerance or hate crimes? Mormonism? Catholicism? Christianity? Would people turn their backs on the followers of this religion, join in the fight against the religion, just not do anything and remain silent or stand up for freedom of religion? What is the right thing to do in America? What is really behind the intolerance toward the Muslims, their faith and their desire to build new places to worship?

Who is dividing our Nation?

Just this past weekend, Glenn Beck was holding a “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. which according to most counts drew just under 100,000 attendees. Why a rally? What was the purpose behind the rally? What were people supposed to walk away with or walk away feeling? Is Glenn Beck’s radio show going to take on a new “image” now?

This rally had been in the news and drawing quite a bit of attention as the day approached mainly due to the fact this rally was on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Glenn Beck said he did not know this when setting the date and location but when he found out, he did not make any changes which upset quite a large number of people and caused a lot of media attention.

A Fox colleague, Greta Van Susteren, said he should move his event for sensitivity reasons. Just because a person can do something doesn’t mean they should do something.

A similar argument is going on in New York and around the world about the building of an Islamic Center in New York City near the World Trade Center site, and whether by doing that would be insensitive. Although it may be legal to do this, it may not be sensitive to the families and others involved in the 9/11 tragedies.

Although these two situations are quite different, they both require taking other people’s feelings into consideration and looking at the overall end result. Is it really necessary to go through with the initial plans or would a simple change and some compromise bring the same end result with a better overall showing of tolerance and respect?

At the “Restoring Honor” rally, an organizer said it wouldn’t be about politics but to pay tribute to military personnel and others “who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.” There were funds raised for a group in Tampa, Florida – Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Nearly 5 million dollars was raised and more can be donated online for this Foundation by visiting their website.

The rally attendees appeared to enjoy the speakers and the overall event. There were people waving flags, wearing patriotic shirts and there were different times of applause including the playing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Glenn Beck talked about the fact that even though people have different political views, for the sake of the Nation, Americans should focus on their principles and values. He urged Americans to turn to God and reminded people that change begins with each individual.

That is what Glenn Beck was saying at the “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday.

In an interview with Fox on Sunday following the rally, Beck decided to go after Obama’s religion once again to claim that Obama “is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor and victim.”

“People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity,” Beck added.

Beck said that liberation theology is at the core of Obama’s “belief structure”.

“You see, it’s all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don’t know what it is, other than it’s not Muslim, it’s not Christian. It’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it,” Beck said.

As the Nation once again approaches another anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the U.S. seems to be more divided than ever.

As much as people talk about the need for the leaders in Washington to work together and children and teens getting along, it seems the average, everyday citizen is not passing along that message in their actions.

The problems of intolerance, hate and violence against those of different racial, ethnic and religious groups shows how this is not only a reoccurring problem but a growing trend. And, the fact a younger generation is showing these signs of intolerance as well, is a signal this will continue yet again into the following generations if nothing is done.

If a voter wants their leaders in Washington to be bipartisan, then demand that of them or don’t re-elect them. If they continue to get re-elected, then it shows them their constituents are okay with their behavior. It also shows the world that the Americans are okay with this behavior from their leaders.

If a person is showing unacceptable behavior such as bullying, racism, sexism or abuse of any kind, this is not okay and should be dealt with immediately. If it isn’t, then it appears to be okay.

If a child is seeing this from their parents, teachers, adults or those around them, then they are going to pick this up. If this is being seen through the television, then turn it off. Children have to know this is unacceptable behavior and it’s not tolerated.

When people in the media are daily insulting the President, the leader of our Country or saying demeaning things about people of different races or religions, belittling people in our society and it appears Americans are okay with this because they are tuning into their shows on a daily basis, they will continue the same behavior and sponsors will continue to pay for their programs.

Yes, there is a First Amendment Right for freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean people have to listen.

This is a country built on freedoms and rights for everyone and a lot of people have fought and died for those freedoms.

There is also the Second Amendment for the right to bear arms. The fact of a person having the right to have a gun is taken differently by different people. Some people want the right to have a gun in their house to protect their family. Others want the right to have a gun on them when they are out in public. The fact of a person having a gun in a public place makes people very uncomfortable and yet, this is something that the Second Amendment is looked to for a person to argue this case.

If everyone only worried about their freedoms and rights and not about what that did to another person’s freedoms and rights, then this country would not be free at all. People would be living in fear and afraid to say anything to anybody. Just because people have freedoms and rights shouldn’t mean they hinder or threaten another person or make another person feel demeaned or belittled.

To come together as a country, it isn’t about judging the other person and tearing down another person’s rights to make sure our own rights aren’t touched. There always has to be people looking out for the freedoms and rights of others.

It is about putting our Nation first which means looking out for one another. It means making sure the freedoms and rights that so many people fought for and died for are honored.

It means the Christian community needs to stop judging whether our President who has publicly said he is a Christian, really is a Christian. Do they judge each other in the same way or is that judgment reserved specifically for President Obama? As a Christian community, there are a great number of things that could be done with the time and effort they have put into trying to tear down the President’s faith. There are many people in need during these hard economic times. There are a great number of struggling families.

If Glenn Beck really wants to help “restore honor”, he can do it daily via his radio show and his show on Fox News instead of daily attacking the President of the Country he calls home. If a person wants to restore something, build on it. Don’t attack it and try to tear it down.

Life is not always about politics and politics is not always about Republicans and Democrats.

The focus needs to be put back on the individuals that make up this Nation, this great Nation, the UNITED States of America.

Is Obama’s faith really the issue?

During the 2008 campaign, even earlier, Obama was questioned multiple times about his religion. Now it is all over the news again as the November 2010 elections near. Is it because it is truly a concern or because it is a campaign tool?

It is true, President Obama’s father was born in Kenya, raised as a Muslim but Obama’s father had lost his faith and become a “confirmed atheist”. Later, his mother married an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro, a “non-practicing” Muslim. None of this makes President Obama a Muslim.

For over 20 years, Obama has professed to being a Christian and has spoken publicly of his “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”


Video – Obama’s Christian Faith (unedited)




Anyone who comes out and makes a public statement on their religious belief and faith and then has numerous people turn around and say otherwise has just been called a liar. This is what has continuously happened time and time again, not only by individuals but by different journalist, religious leaders, radio commentators, talk show hosts and news organizations.

Also during the campaign, one of the churches Obama had attended, Trinity United Church of Christ, was the center of much controversy due to Reverend Wright and some of his sermons and statements made to the press. The issue came up whether his radicalized views would have had any effect on Obama during his time of attending Wright’s church. There were mixed reactions but the more Wright spoke out, the more negative the reactions became. After multiple statements of Wright’s were released, Obama stated,” I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit.” He went on to say “Let me repeat what I’ve said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.”

On May 31, 2008 Obama resigned his membership from the church.

U.S. presidents throughout history have chosen to attend churches in the D.C. area and during the time prior to the Obama’s arrival, churches in the area and even outsiders were eager to learn where the Obama Family might pick to choose as their place of worship.

Although Ronald Reagan did not attend church during his presidency, he had different spiritual advisors, one of which was Billy Graham. Reagan said it was a hassle for the church to set up security screening for all of its parishioners. The Clintons drove down the street every Sunday to Foundry United Methodist and Chelsea sang in the youth choir.

George W. Bush was never a regular member of any local church. He preferred to mostly worship in the chapel at Camp David, Evergreen Chapel.

At this time, President Obama has been following George W. Bush and worshiping at Evergreen Chapel as the primary place of worship with his family. After a 5 month search by Obama, White House aides, family and friends, this seems to be the best place. Due to security issues and the fact even longtime members were not able to get into their own churches because of long lines and feeling as though a person was worshiping on display was all part of the decision.

Although, it has been said, the search for a D.C. church continues.

When it comes to a person’s faith, it is a personal choice that is made by that person at a time when that person feels lead to make the decision. When asked what their religion of choice is and an answer is given, calling them a liar or questioning them seems senseless and Christianity is faith-based. For a Christian to question another person’s Christianity shows a lack of their own faith and for the Christian Community to continue to stand up and question the presidents walk with God after he has publicly said he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” shows a lack of faith within the Christian community. Does one Christian typically question another Christian?

To become a Christian, it doesn’t matter who your Mom is or who your Dad is. It doesn’t matter where you were born or where you were raised. It doesn’t matter what your past is or what your job is. But by faith, you can ask Christ into your heart to live within you and forgive you of your sins. It is having a personal relationship with Christ.

You see it doesn’t matter if you were Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Islamic, Atheist or whatever. A person can always become a Christian. A Christian doesn’t have to be someone that is wearing a sign saying they are a Christian or out yelling at others that they are a Christian and someone else isn’t a Christian. That doesn’t make someone more of a Christian or a better Christian. Going to church every Sunday doesn’t make someone a better Christian. What matters is the person you are and how you are treating others and living as Christ would want you to. Being full of hate and causing others to be the same way doesn’t seem to be a very Christian thing to do.

If someone says they are a Christian, who is someone else to say they aren’t or say they are lying?

God?


Video (34 minutes unedited)



This video is very worth viewing, especially with the way things have been recently.

In 2008 Obama spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He spoke about Unity, deficit of morality, empathy deficit and about the problems with people looking too much at the differences of others and not their likenesses. He spoke about politicians and media exploiting these issues. He goes on to say in this 34 minute video to say we each carry the challenge to change this. “We can’t build ourselves up by tearing each other down.”

Recovery for America Pt. 4 – Intolerance, inequality and discrimination

Everyday there are more stories, news coverage, talk between friends and families about issues that are not only dividing the nation but are also dividing people, even causing arguments between complete strangers. The discussion is over the building of the mosque (Islamic Center) at Ground Zero.

The online social media website such as Facebook and Twitter show these divisions as well. On Facebook, soon after a ”hot topic” news story runs, the headlines or video clips will post and the comments themselves become a place for open arguments going back and forth, lines drawn down the middle. On Twitter, “hashtags” which typically are names to form groups, can often be used to make a clear point or in 140 characters or less, a clear confrontation can take place back and forth for all to see or jump in and join.

What are the issues? The arguments are more often about things that have nothing to do with things that a person can change or have control over and more about things that fall into a person’s constitutional rights, religion, race and a person’s national origin. What’s different about these arguments is the social media and the internet’s ability for things to swell up much quicker into larger groups of both support and hate, so both sides seem to grow much larger overnight. Both good and bad information gets passed around much quicker and what is said on the news, on a website or in an interview makes its way around the world in a moment. However, most often good things don’t go “viral”. Bad news travels fast.

As each new generation begins, it has been a new opportunity to bring up a more open-minded generation. That does not mean a generation of people that “give in” or a generation that does not understand its culture. It means a generation that does not carry with them the burdens of intolerance but a generation that has the ability to see each other as who they are and not what they are. A generation that sees people for what they bring to society and not what a group of them has done or what has been done to them. It is okay to understand history but not let history control the future but to learn from history and not allow it to repeat itself.

With the U.S. having such a diverse people within its borders, there is only more to gain, more to grow and more to learn. By having so many adverse feelings against each other, it is only hurting the nation as a whole and many opportunities are being lost for everyone.

In NYC, many people are upset about the idea of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero. This has been an extremely sensitive subject for so many.

President Obama released a statement on a person’s right to practice religion this past Friday.

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has risen in New York City and the nation.

“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

The plan now is to turn the property into a 13-story, $100 million Islamic Center. This is being developed by a group call the Cordoba Initiative. The Cordoba Initiative says on its website that its goal is to foster a better relationship between the Muslim World and the West, “steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.”

The Center’s board will include members from other religions and will explore including an interfaith chapel at the center.

The Center will include a basketball court, swimming pool, auditorium and culinary school as well as a mosque and mediation rooms.

We believe it will be a place where the counter momentum against extremism will begin, “the Imam’s wife, Daisy Khan to the Associated Press. “We are committed to peace.

Across the U.S., different towns have rallied against mosque being built as well. This isn’t just in NYC near Ground Zero. In Temecula, California, opponents brought dogs to protest a 25,000 sq. ft. mosque that would sit on 4 acres. Opponents say it would turn the town into a haven for Islamic extremist, but mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.

A proposed mosque in July is raising concerns in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Proponents allege the opponents are displaying religious intolerance while people fighting the mosque say zoning issues and worries about Islamic radicalism are their chief concerns.

Several hundred opponents faced off to counter protesters. The rhetoric was heated. Protestors bore signs with slogans such as “MOSQUE LEADERS SUPPORT KILLING CONVERTS.”

Mosque leader Essam Fathy, who helped plan the new building in Murfreesboro, has lived there for 30 years. “I didn’t think people would try that hard to oppose something that’s in the Constitution,” he said. “The Islamic center has been here since the early 80’s, 12 years at this location. There’s nothing new except it’s going to be a little bigger.”

Zuhdi Jasser, president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit that advocates for reform and modernization of Islam, said opposing mosque is no way to prevent terrorism.

A study by professors at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina back up Jasser’s statement. The study found that mosque, religious bookstores, and other communal associations that bring Muslim-Americans together, prevent radicalization.

By taking the time to learn and understand a person, their religion and culture, it gives more of a chance to grow and develop in one’s own life as well as allowing one to accept a person more for their character and who they are and not judging them by who one thinks they are by their appearance, misunderstandings or what may have been heard by someone else.

Today it may be someone else being unfairly judged, someone else’s religion, race or culture. The hateful words may be directed at someone else. Those tables can be turned. Intolerance is never okay. Hate is never okay. Discrimination is never okay. Sitting by while a hate crime happens is never okay. Embrace our diverse Nation and learn about others, their culture and religions. Practice tolerance and pass it down to the younger generations.