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([personal profile] baavgai Sep. 2nd, 2010 08:56 pm)
One of the boards I haunt has an ongoing "Mosque at Ground Zero" discussion. The usual issues have been covered, with various degrees of prejudice and bigotry. It's a pretty international forum, with folks from all over the place; the Muslims generally keeping there heads down.

I commented more than a few times, generally abusing extremists on all sides with equal vigor. The unexpected conversation came in the form of a private message from a friend in the Middle East. The gist of the question was this: "if you [Americans] feel that Islam is such a threat, why don't you just outlaw it? Why are the same people saying Muslims are all terrorist saying Muslims still have the right to build the mosque? I really am confused."

It is a curiously American mind set. Most of us understand that silencing one group threatens all others with silence. It core belief in individual freedom is so fundamental to US jurisprudence and social philosophy that we rarely even give it a second thought. I've run into people from a number of places to which this thinking is completely foreign.

Surely, there are some that would perceive the US as "weak" for "tolerating" groups that are overly anti-government, anti-liberty, anti-whatever. Some who round up the insurrectionists to protect their society must think us mad. Who can't understand why citizens are allowed to be as judgmental of the government as we generally are. That some should think this makes me sad for them and honestly proud of us. No matter what else you think the powers that be are screwing up, at least we got that right.

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