(Originally published on Aug 8, 2010; updated since then.)
There is a growing spirit manifesting amongst the American people, one with a voice resounding with trepidation, fear and anger of and towards the Muslim population in this country—drowning out their prayers for peace.
Ignorant crescendo has become raucous uproar: the proposed mosque at the 9/11 Memorial site has all walks of life and political backgrounds sharing their opinions, the loudest being rejection. Of all things i’ve learned about my country, i’ve learned that the American people are prone to react … sensationally … and without knowing all the facts. This is no different.
In actuality, it is not a mosque, but a community center with a dedicated upper level floor for prayer.
It is not, in actuality, on the former WTC grounds, but several blocks away, hidden.
And, most importantly, it is not, in actuality, going to be a breeding ground for terrorists. Why?
Because not all Muslims are terrorists. Microcosms are not always clarified, accurate—complete!—sample sets of a given group or model—of people, of ideas, of religions, of what have you—but are instead only small aspects of the whole, attempting to be fully representative.
They are a facsimile of the original.
As human beings, we all hold our own opinions and beliefs, which are often heavily influenced by personal experiences. I’m no different. I have personal connection to the Muslim community: Islamic seeds were sowed in my young mind when my mother adopted Islam as her religion.
Although short-lived, remnant petals of Islam remain in my mind’s garden: continuing to this day, every time I bless my food before each meal, i begin my pray with Alhamdulilah (“All Praise due to Allah” or “Praise to God”).
Growing up i spent countless days hanging out at my Egyptian friend’s house. From the food to cultural artwork hanging upon the walls or statues and figurines, to overhearing conversations in Arabic between his parents and his siblings, i was introduced to and immersed in non-Western culture. I was afforded the opportunity to live and not experience any trepidation over Muslims or Islam. I loved the Arabic language—i still do—believing it was one of the most beautiful in the world.
During the first week week of the “9/11 Mosque” controversy, i succinctly shared my opinion with a friend on Twitter, and I was elated when the film’s director, Qasim Bakir, also used the word “appalled” to describe his distaste for the situation. From his essay at Huffington Post:
I am appalled by this association and disappointed that so many fellow Americans have taken that stance instead of believing in what this country has represented since its birth. If this freedom is defeated, i fear what’s to come.
With the uproar over the mosque and the recent Mid-term elections, where individuals’ rights and liberty were topics of contention, i believe this film is apropos, and should benefit from the Nation’s current climate. The perpetual reactionary ignorance of the masses—in this country, since i cannot accurately speak on the pulse of the world outside of the US—is bothersome, is a poison to our society, and should be expunged. And the swifter the better; although, that is asking for a bit much, I’m aware. Religious tolerance and acceptance are tantamount to this country’s ideals and foundation, so hopefully we as a collective can return to that base.
I’m ecstatic and proud that the trailer has been viewed over 200,000 times since its release (53k in the first week!). It’s a testament to the ability of not just tomfoolery and stupidity to spread virally across the ‘net.
As of the beginning of November, it looks like MOOZ-Lum will soon be released in theaters. There is no set date, but fans can demand the movie via Eventful.
Update: The film will see a 2.11.11 nationwide release. The Top 10 cities demanded here will house the first showings.