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Tuesday, 09 October 2012 03:50

Museum of Tolerance Must Speak Out Against Anti-Muslim Hate Speech: An Open Letter

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Dear Museum of Tolerance,

I am an American Muslim. Lately there has been a campaign of assaults — both verbally and physically — directed at Muslims. The far right fringes of Christian and Jewish faith communities carry out these attacks.

My letter is regarding the verbal assault aspect.

In the United States, there exists a well-oiled $40 million hate machine, set up with the task of slandering and spreading bigoted views of all Muslims. The ultimate goal is to dehumanize us.

Of all peoples, the Jewish people have certainly experienced the effects of a propaganda campaign aimed at singling them out based on their religion. The Nazi regime was able to exterminate millions of Jews and other minorities without any resistance. We have all learned the consequences of not speaking up.

When 9-11 happened many in America questioned the loyalty of Muslims here in America. “Where are the moderate Muslims?” some asked. “Why don’t they speak up in condemning the perpetrators of 9-11?” others questioned.

We did and we continue to call out the radicals in our midst.

In the past few months, radicals in the Jewish community have launch an advertising campaign in bus and metro stops in San Francisco, New York City, and now Washington, D.C., calling Muslims “savages” while in the same breath urging passersby to “support Israel.” Yes, they have a right to advertise their hate under free speech laws, but it is morally abhorrent.

As a people who have been persecuted for centuries, I believe you hold the moral compass to redirect this hatred. Recently, Jewish organizations have spoken out against this blatant racism. Some of them include: The Dialogue Project, a coalition called Jews Against Islamophobia, Anti-defamation League, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and Rabbis for Human Rights.

I have been waiting to see if your institution would speak up or issue a statement against this obvious intolerance. After all this is what your mission is about.

Your silence has been painfully loud and I am deeply disappointed by your inaction.

At what point will you be morally compelled to speak up? Maybe you need to replace the word “Muslim” with “Jew” in order to remind you of our horrific outcomes that stem from such a climate of division and hate.

I would still like to believe that your fight against racism and intolerance is for all humankind. Not just one particular group. I urge you to take the opportunity to voice your opposition to this hate. I am sure that many peace-loving citizens who value the pluralistic fabric of our country and world are waiting.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom,

By Ani Zonneveld, Aslan Media Columnist
*Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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+1 # Daayiee 2012-10-10 18:40
Great commentary. Passed by one of the signs in DC Metro and I wanted so bad to tear the ad apart or spray paint over it as Mona Eltahawy did. However, there are efforts in DC to counter this hate speech. You are always asking yourself, when will it happen (the sequester of Muslims) and how long will it take to get to the next group...it never stops at one...history is proof of that.
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+1 # Aiman 2012-10-10 23:41
Excellent point. The people who were the most affected by one of the worst propaganda machines in the world should be the last to use similar tactics against minorities just like them.
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+1 # Lucia 2012-10-11 11:54
If a person develops love for all human kind, he starts feeling everyone's pain like his/her own. That is the hardest thing to do is to love your neighbor thy yourself. Organizations such as Museum of tolerance make a lot of sence only if they learn to love all others as their own . Suffering knows no religion, color, ethnicity! I am not buying that Aggression contributes to our survival , rather to our degradation. Only Common sence and attitudes affiliated with common sence are the keys to our survival! MPV makes a lot of sence, that is why I , being a Devoted Christian support them . It takes a truly wise and advanced person to self criticize her own so that others would start self monitoring as well. Ani and MPV are against aggression of Muslims or Christians or Jews ! I am against aggression of Muslims , Christians or Jews ! Are you? The Museum of Tollerance ?
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+1 # Br.Hal Weiner,OUM 2012-11-07 18:02
I am TOTALLY on the same page as this woman. Of all the institutions that should be in the forefront of anti-Islamophob ia, the Museum should be no further down the list than #1. I am surprised that she has to write the above column.

I may be a Christian but I have a Jewish heritage of which I am very proud. Please help me keep it that way. See Rabbi Hillel, " "What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it." (Talmud Shabbat 31a)
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0 # Ani Zonneveld 2012-12-11 22:48
We are all brothers and sisters. My pain is no bigger or deeper than yours.

Unfortunately, I didn't hear back from the institution. Maybe I should write them a letter and send it to them?
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