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Saturday, September 11, 2010

In the Interests of Fairness...

Not all Muslims celebrate the 9/11 attacks. This is from the Uighur-American Association. It's cut and pasted in full:

UAA stands with the victims of terrorism on September 11
Yesterday | Press Releases

For immediate release
September 10, 2010, 10:20 am EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 478-1920

Nine years ago, terrorists attacked America and the freedoms America stands for. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) mourns the loss of those killed in the attack, and stands with the victims of terrorism around the globe.

"Today, the United States is rebuilding in the wake of the September 11 attacks, even as it remembers the loss of so many innocent people, and the deep wound this caused to the entire nation," said Uyghur human rights leader Rebiya Kadeer. "America continues to stand as a beacon of hope and freedom to people throughout the world."

Thousands of Americans from all walks of life perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. Citizens of dozens of other countries were also killed in the attacks, and we must remember that terrorism threatens all civilized nations in the world and remains a constant threat to all free societies.

"The Uyghur people support the global struggle against terrorism, and we know that democracy and human rights can only be achieved and sustained through dialogue and peaceful means," said Ms. Kadeer. "The desire of the Uyghur people, and people throughout the world, to live in a peaceful and free society is threatened by acts of terrorism."

In the past nine years, the Chinese government has used the threat of terrorism and the sad occasion of September 11 as a justification for its repressive treatment of Uyghurs in East Turkestan and has re-branded its repressive actions against peaceful Uyghurs as "anti-terror" efforts. The Chinese regime continues to attempt to portray the Uyghur people's struggle for the recognition and protection of their fundamental human rights as being motivated by violent and 'terrorist' intent.

This campaign against the Uyghur people has resulted in a deteriorating human rights situation in East Turkestan. A series of crackdowns has led to detentions, arrests, torture, and executions, as the PRC government has attempted to silence all forms of Uyghur protest, no matter how peaceful, by labeling them as "terrorism". Internationally, the PRC has used its influence within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to pressure neighboring countries to return Uyghur activists to China, where they are subjected to the country's arbitrary and non-transparent legal system. In addition, the government has attempted to influence overseas Uyghur activists by harassing family members who remain in East Turkestan.

Since July 5, 2009, when security forces brutally repressed a peaceful demonstration of Uyghurs in the regional capital of Urumchi, and ethnic violence broke out in the city, the Chinese government has not moved to heal the ethnic divide between Uyghurs and Chinese or recognize the legitimate grievances raised by Uyghur demonstrators. Chinese officials have instead actively worked to further heighten ethnic tensions, and to silence Uyghurs whose voices may have provided a bridge between the two ethnic groups. Chinese authorities have categorized the July 5 protests as an incident orchestrated by "outside hostile forces", including terrorist groups, and among the many Uyghurs arbitrarily detained in the wake of the July 5, 2009 unrest have been a number of Uyghur journalists and website staff.

"For the Chinese government to become a truly responsible member of the international community, it must promote human rights and democracy for all of its citizens, and stop misusing the "war on terror" to persecute Uyghurs," said Ms. Kadeer. "Only in this way will it be able to ensure peace and stability in East Turkestan and throughout the People's Republic of China."

A Lost Teaching Opportunity

Now, on Spetember 11, a day that will live in infamy (as a famous recorded voice once said), the media are abuzz with reports about the proposed Ground Zero Mosque (aka Cordoba House) and a Florida pastor's plans to burn the Qu'ran. I'm against both, and feel grateful that Pastor jones of Gainesville has decided to back off the burning. But I remain greatly bothered by the plans of a sleazy slumlord to build a mega-mosque so near Ground Zero. It smacks of Islamic triumphalism. I am further bothered by our national leadership's gutless reaction to not-so-thinly veiled jihadist threats. It was a lost opportunity to teach something important.

Perhaps Pastor Jones backed off because he noticed that in spite of jihadist bravado and bullying, there is a noticeable movement away from Islam going on in the world today. Not too long ago, the teenaged daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants named Rifqa Bary made headlines by fleeing home claiming that she feared becoming an "honor killing" victim over her conversion to Christianity. Missions organizations have been both pleased and taken by surprised at unprecedented numbers of Muslims elswhere inquiring into Christianity. In the little Teherans of America, Christians of Muslim heritage are beginning to catch up with ethnic Armenians and Assyrians of Iranian national origin. A quiet flow of previously Muslim West African immigrants into Christian churches is also happening in some of the major urban areas of the USA.

Hence, the right thing for any Christian leader to do in times such as these is to make it clear to Muslims that the Gospel is not a club held over their heads, but the doorway through which they are invited to pass in order to know God. This is why I salute Pastor Jones' decision to back off an action more at home in the streets of Karachi, Cairo, or even Jakarta than in America.

But in the past week, why did our leadership ignore a marvelous teaching moment? While its concerns were understandable, Obama, Petraeus, and Clinton all failed to remind the world that America has such a thing as the First Amendment. The portion of the US Constitution that would have protected the burning of the Qu'ran also protects many things dear to our Commander-in-Chief.

Saul Alinsky used to urge the have-nots of America to pitch their demands so high that they would bring down "the system". The would-be Green Jobs Czar Van Jones' right to be a "Troofer" and claim that George Bush engineered the destruction of the Twin Towers is also protected by the First Amendment. Safe Schools' Czar Kevin Jenning's right to advocate teaching children the glories of sodomy also is protected by the First Amendment. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright's twenty years of preaching to the Obama family that God should d__n the USA is also covered by the free exercise and free speech clauses. Michelle's shame in the country that made her a rich woman prior to her husband's winning the Democratic nomination, disgusting as it was and remains, is also protected.

The Fist Amendment also protects the right of many a Muslim imam's right to call the Jews the kin of apes and pigs, accuse Christians of polytheism, and deny that the Shoah took place; and do it in the heart of America.

Our leaders should have told the entire Muslim world that while they did not condone Jones' earlier proposal--a statement with which I am in complete agreement, by the way--the actions of a pastor leading a 50-member congregation was not something in which the US Government was obligated to interfere. Indeed, had the major media not been so desperate for a Christian "equivalent" of Muslims' burning Christians alive in northern Nigeria or kidnapping Christian girls, forcibly converting them to Islam, and marrying them to Muslims (usually following rape) in places like Pakistan and Egypt, nobody would have noticed Jones' earlier plan.

Let's only hope they don't miss the opportunity next time.