Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Islam and the emerging religious threat to our Constitution.

William Saletan - Slate Magazine


Islamophobia is on the march. In New York, opponents of a Muslim community center and mosque are trying to stop its construction near the site of the 9/11 attacks. Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, is leading a jihad tonationalize the mosque fight and turn it into a culture war over "Islamism." Meanwhile, uprisings against mosque construction have broken out inTennessee, California, and Wisconsin. "I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented," a Tea Party activist tells the New York Times. "I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion. But Islam is not about a religion. It's a political government, and it's 100 percent against our Constitution."
It's true that our Constitution is under threat. But that threat isn't coming from Muslims. They're less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, according to a report issued last year by thePew Forum on Religion and Public Life. To mess with the Constitution, you'd need a majority. The sort of majority you'd find, say, in the backlash against the New York mosque. And you'd need a charismatic ideologue, or at least a shrewd opportunist, to galvanize that majority into a political force. In this case, Gingrich.
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