Thursday, January 04, 2007

One step back, one step forward

First the step back: California Senator Barbara Boxer has succumbed to right wing and (let's tell the truth) Israel Lobby pressure by rescinding a certificate honoring a Sacramento Muslim leader -- and groveling to appease her critics.

"My organization created this problem. I caused people grief, and I feel terrible. Yet I need to set the record straight, and I'm setting the record straight."

Our Senator didn't want to be associated with the Muslim civil rights organization Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of which Basim Elkarra is a local leader.

CAIR has tens of thousands of members nationally. It has repeatedly, almost obsessively, declared its condemnation of terrorism. Considering that close to 40 percent of U.S. citizens think that all Muslims are potential terrorists who should have to carry special identity cards, it is not surprising that two of its members have been charged and even convicted, not of violent crimes, but of supporting foreign groups that our government labels terrorists.
If you worship God in the wrong way, it is all too easy to commit thought crimes in the contemporary United States. Boxer should be well aware of this, as the Senator for Lodi, California where the U.S. government has conducted an unprofessional, preposterous witch hunt in the Muslim community.

If Barbara Boxer's cowardly "rescinding" of a meaningless certificate annoys you as much as it annoys me, you can contact her here.

And one step forward: Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) was sworn in today while laying his hand on a Quran. Not just any Quran; this one belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson sold the book to the Library of Congress as part of a larger collection.

"It demonstrates that from the very beginning of our country, we had people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Quran," Ellison said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

"A visionary like Thomas Jefferson was not afraid of a different belief system," Ellison said. "This just shows that religious tolerance is the bedrock of our country, and religious differences are nothing to be afraid of."

Take that all you haters who have been making an issue out of Ellison's religion.

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