And he cites the vicious opposition in the 1840s to Olde St. Augustine Church in Philadelphia and "its dangerous Irish congregation and their Catholic Bible."
So we've been down this road before. I'm surprised and disappointed at this ugly spirit spread by some Mercedians. I sensed we were better people than to line up with the likes of Martin Peretz, editor of the New Republic. He blogged that "Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims" and added that Muslims haven't "raised a fuss about the torture and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood." (He later issued the ritual apology after he'd made his toxic point.)
Jews would call that a "blood libel," and they'd be right.
The Sun-Star will continue to cover Muslims in our community, just as we cover Sikhs, Hmong, Lao and others. Just as we cover Christmas, the Jewish High Holy Days (two weeks ago) and other religious holidays. It's part of our journalistic mission to inform our readers about parts of our communities they may not know much about.
I like what one of my Muslim friends, an Iranian-American, wrote for us in an op-ed earlier this week: "The ability to be civil about disagreements, and accept people regardless of their faith and political beliefs, may be the main requirement for moderation. Moderation should not equal naïveté. What the world needs today are some pragmatic and gutsy moderates who stand for what they know is right."
I also like what Monir Ahmed at UC Merced wrote to us: "There is a small Muslim community in Merced. It is also true that most of the members of the community are immigrants. As such they lack the acumen and are unable to articulate the proper way to communicate their opportunities and challenges, likes and dislikes, agreements or lack thereof."
Sounds like most Americans at one time or another in our history, right?
We've been down this road before. We've seen what happens to us when we take that wrong path. And we've seen what happens throughout history when other societies surrender their good sense and their open hearts to the darker devils of our nature.
We're better than that.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Mike Tharp is the Executive Editor of the Merced Sun-Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.