The current wave of anti-mosque protests around the country represents a new threat to the religious freedom of Muslims in America – a threat directed not at terrorists who act in the name of Islam, but at all Muslims and Islam itself.
Incidents of discrimination and bias aimed at Muslim Americans have been rising since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But anti-Muslim rhetoric has taken an ominous turn in recent months as a growing number of political and community leaders – some with tea-party affiliations – have begun warning of a "Muslim takeover" of America.
For anyone with even passing familiarity with Muslims and Muslim institutions in the United States, the notion that Islam in America is the source of a conspiracy to subvert the Constitution is a ridiculous and paranoid fantasy. Mosques have long dotted our landscape – and Muslim Americans have been loyal and engaged citizens in the U.S. for generations.
But this history doesn't stop speakers at rallies and meetings from New York to California from sounding the alarm, telling angry protesters that mosques are a danger to America because – and this is the new line of attack – Islam is not really a religious tradition, but a political movement working to impose Islamic law on the rest of us. (More)