After a long history of being treated like crap around the world, it is nice that Jews finally feel so comfortable in America. I can even write about Yom Kippur on Twitter and get knowledgeable responses about fasting from non-Jews in Oklahoma!
Because of this, it was sad to me to read in the newspaper that Muslims don’t feel at “home” in America, even those born in this country. After all, how can you feel safe when you have idiots like that pastor in Florida wanting to burn your holy book?
A little aside: I actually lean more conservative than most of my liberal friends in matters involving the “threat of Islamic extremism.” It’s probably one of the few areas where I disagree with my progressive friends, a few who would rather blame George W. Bush for 9/11 than religious extremists. I’m sure my commitment to Israel colors my view of the Muslim world. You don’t hear much support for Israel from the Muslim world, or even much of an outcry over the blatant Antisemitism in the Arab media. Have you ever seen some of the stuff printed in Arab newspapers? While most of us were furious over the Florida pastor, I hardly saw any of my friends make a mention the Seattle cartoonist, Molly Norris, who had to go into hiding over threats to her life after a cartoon of Mohammad.
I don’t trust extremism in any religion, including my own, and it is condescending to excuse it in other religions.
However, this is America, and I’d like to consider this a special place, a giant newer country where the old country hatreds fade into the background as we all become true Americans — which means sitting around at home watching American Idol on TV and getting fat on processed foods. We don’t burn holy books in America. That’s being an asshole. And there’s no reason a group shouldn’t be able to build a house of worship wherever they deem fit.
My grandparents came to this country to escape repression and to be part of a melting pot. And for the most part, that dream has come true. I think we should all work towards helping Muslims feel at home in America. Most foreign-born Muslims came here for the same reason anyone does — to escape repression in their own countries, or to make a better life for their families.
We frequently hear the term Judaeo–Christian tradition, but the concept of “monotheism” — the belief in one God in the Abrahamic religions — is a triad of religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Islam, one of the most important and powerful religions in the world, deserves the right to be included on this podium.
That said, I want to take a step towards religious unity here in America, doing it the only way I know how to — through laughter, song, and entertainment!
For the last four years, I have been the impresario of the Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert! During this December online concert, bloggers like you present videos, audio recordings, and photographs of holiday cheer — including Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs. It has been a fun way for Christian and Jewish (and atheist!) bloggers to end the year on a festive note.
Things are going to slightly change this year. The Fifth Annual concert will see a growth in concept, because I noticed on the calendar that on December 7, 2010 it is Al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year!
The Islamic New Year is a cultural event which Muslims observe on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims use the day to remember the significance of this month, and the Hijra, or migration, Islamic prophet Muhammad made it to the city now known as Medina. Recently, in many areas of Muslim population, people have begun exchanging cards and gifts on this day.
Although it is a minor holiday in Islam, let’s be honest — so is Hanukkah in Judaism — but that never stopped American Jews from making it a bigger deal to offset the mega-holiday of Christmas. And just think how this will bring more money in to the Hallmark company with newly minted Al-Hijira cards!
So, this year, the fifth annual concert will be renamed — The 2010 Blogger Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.
I realize that there is a dearth of good Islamic Al-Hijra songs, but then again, how many good Hanukkah songs are there? All the smart Jewish songwriters wrote Christmas songs because that’s where the money is! Luckily, Faiqa is already on board and knows of at least one good Islamic song for the concert.
Now where else are you going to hear Islamic new year songs, the Driedel song, and Silent Night, Holy Night all in one place?
More information — and the sign up sheet — in November.
Note: My apologies to non-Monotheist religions. We still love you, but you will need to create your own concert.