Welcome to Dearbornistan. In this suburban Detroit suburb known for the headquarters of Ford Motor Company, the largest group of Arabs outside the Middle East live. Want to see what a burka looks like, go to Dearborn. Want to know what it is like to live in the Middle East, go to Dearborn. Want to see politicians falling all over themselves to appease Muslims, go to Dearborn.
Now, as I have said previously in these blogs, Reverend Jones is not my cup of tea and I definitely do not agree with him or his tactics. However, when one looks at the reception he has received in Dearborn, it scares me. Where has our ability to accept others gone? Is this any different than Europe where Muslims are catered to and allowed to do things that others are not?
One of the strengths of this country has been the ability of people of varying religions to get along. It is sort of "you have your religion, your native country, or your political beliefs and I have mine, just leave me alone and I will do the same." In this way Protestants and Catholics could live next door even though they would have been shooting each other in Ireland. Pakistanis and Indians can live next door to each other, work together and have none of the problems that exist in their native countries. This ability to accept the others in this country, has been unique in human history. Nowhere on earth does this occur but here.
So when I see the City of Dearborn prevent Reverend Jones from speaking--as he was last month (regardless of how anti Jones the populace might be) and see him physically attacked on the street--as he was yesterday. I am wondering if we are not losing something very special, that ability to accept others.
On the other hand, one has to look at the combatants in this issue. There is Christianity (which before the Reformation was very violent) and Islam which is now violent. Now, I am sure there will be some who read this blog who will disagree with the violent issue, however, one only has to look around the world to see where violence is occurring (including 9/11) to see that Muslims have been involved in most of these actions.
Islam definitely is on the rise and its leaders are not afraid of killing, maiming, silencing, or threatening its enemies. Just look at the Muhammad cartoons and the world wide reaction to them including the newspapers in this country who refused to publish them in fear of reprisal. This my friends is scary. When our freedom of speech is diminished, we all lose.
So I support Reverend Jones and his ability to speak, to tell the world what he thinks is going on and to freely walk the streets of Dearborn. I may disagree with him, his actions, or his words, but he has every right to peacefully express his opinions. If that right goes way for him, when will you or I no longer be able to express our thoughts?