Whatever becomes of the truly pathetic “Pastor” Terry Jones and his plans to appear later this month at the largest Mosque in Michigan to condemn Islam and to generate some media attention while provoking all decent Americans and people of good will everywhere with his hate speech will not be of much lasting import to Muslim and American relations.
Even as Jones prepares to act as grand inquisitor and plans to prosecute the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) for various imagined crimes, it reminds us that when it comes to intolerance, nothing in new under the sun in our land that beckons with its Statue of Liberty near Ellis Island in New York harbor:
“Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse from your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless tempest-tossed to me/ I lift my lamp before the Golden Door.”
Muslims and Arabs who began arriving in America in the middle of the 19th century have in many ways embodied the intended fulfillment of the American dream promised in the above words of Emma Lazarus. The reasons that Muslims are often described as being “As American as apple pie” includes exactly their qualities that every Westerner observes and often comments on if they are fortunate enough to live among Muslims abroad or have Muslims as neighbors in their communities in the USA.