Most Americans support religious freedom; it’s one of the founding principles of our country.
But, not state sponsored religions. One of America’s deep suspicions is that America sees religion, for the most part, as personal and separate from the government.. Muslims see their government AS religion, part and parcel, fully integrated, and have little or no problem with Islamic law governing the actions of government. Unless those positions are reconciled, there is little hope of real tolerance.
In Muslim countries, those who hear of American customs and secular traditions wonder how it could be possible for religion to NOT control the state.
Fundamentalist radicals predict that one fact-tolerance to the point of submission- will be the downfall of Western and Christian societies.
Mosques have as much American Constitutional right as churches, temples, and other places of worship to exist and practice their religion.
When radical Islamic fundamentalist Imams take over mosques however, or plan mosques as recruitment centers for purposes other than secular integration, Americans look at the empirical evidence and wonder how far our tolerance is supposed to stretch.
The Ground Zero mosque ( not really, it’s two blocks away, and you can’t even see Ground Zero from the building as of now.) has the potential for good, or for bad in the sense that it used for other than reasonable religious purposes.
And do today’s commitments to secularism in politics and moderation in religious practice mean much in the future, particularly at some perceived offense against Islam? At the natural tendency to
“react strongly” which Islamics seem to do at the slightest perception of self-defined “disrespect?”
And, why are we surprised?
The Muslim Crusades have been under way for a generation or more, and Western society still doesn’t perceive the threat. Islam has the same dedication to immersion and conversion of non-Muslims to Islam as the Crusaders devotion to Catholicism in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries (approx. 1096AD/CE-1270AD/CE) was well-publicized, actively recruited and continuous. And, while we have quiet declarations of intent, overt and publicized militaristic-type recruitment drives are not in evidence to Western observers, though they appear to be active and obviously, based on the growth of Islamic communities in every western country, in Africa and recently in South America, they are ongoing.
So, does the opportunity inherent in Western and American society outweigh the demands of Islamic-ally-driven populations, or is the polite expression of support for secular society a mask for future machinations?
Time will tell, but some might urge caution on programs and infrastructure that are unaccompanied by declarative and public stands that are demonstrably sincere regarding the willingness to accept the “melting pot” of moral and religious values that has allowed America to become the beacon of hope and opportunity that it is for many.