Friday, September 10, 2010

Recommended Reading

Playwright Wajahat Ali discusses the seeming spike in Islamophobia recently as part of a broader interview on "the power of storytelling" with Sally Steenland of the Center for American Progress:
What’s happening now is sadly something that’s had a pattern in American history. Right now, it seems like “Tag, you’re it.” And it’s Muslims, Pakistanis, or Middle Easterners who are “it.” Japanese Americans who were born and raised here were put in relocation centers and camps. Jewish Americans were forced to change their names. An Irish Catholic, John Kennedy, had to prove when he ran for the presidency that he wasn’t loyal to the papacy over America.
It might seem bleak and ugly, but there is an opportunity for healing and bridging the divide. It is up to us to work as a community. Americans need to know that Muslims have always been here. We are your neighbors and doctors. We are your cab drivers and dentists. We are your students. We are your teachers. I am hopeful that out of this ugliness with Park51 [the proposed mosque near ground zero] we will see a moment of healing.
Regarding his last point, while it's well stated (and right, of course) I do find it bitterly amusing that "x" number of people, rather than being comforted by it, would probably convulse in a mass panic from hearing that Muslims are their neighbors, doctors, etc.

There's more at the link, including thoughts on the role of American Muslims in shaping their narrative going forward.  Also, Wajahat's play "The Domestic Crusaders" is due to be published in McSweeney's this December, so definitely support him (and this site) by checking it out.

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