Yesterday, September 10, was the Aid al-Fitr, or the feast day after the Muslim month of fasting and prayer, Ramadan. The RFI correspondent in Tangier gave a nice image of the place on this festive day, which, according to one interviewee, consisted of "eating all day." Sounds like American Thanksgiving day.
Cut to September 11 in the US, where apparently all the world's media have camped out in front of a 50-person church in Florida, waiting to see if the Bible Koran burner will carry out his act, or not, as he has said of late. Keep us in suspense, Terry, while you've already done your damage.
You see, there's been enough coverage worldwide - especially in the Muslim world, on its special feast day - to have done more damage to the American image. The country founded on religious freedom, unable to come to grips with the establishment of a Muslim center in downtown New York. Tolerance for the Terry Joneses, who already burned his bridges in Germany before he thought about burning holy books, but not for the "Imans" (as he calls imams). Maybe he was going to see Iman.
So here's the point of this post. Should the "Reverend" Jones renege on his latest promise and in fact carry out his act, I want to put it in print that I will resent being immolated in return by a mob looking for an easy American target. It's no secret: the American Legation in Tangier is in the middle of the medina, a labyrinth of alleys that the police rarely frequent. We are on our own.
And I thought our days of fear-inducing September 11 memorials were over. Where for years, it would be a chance to ramp the "fear up" campaign to further war plans. This time, the fear is not emanating from the White House or from Cheney's bunker, but from a small church in Florida.
So Terry, stay away from those matches. Go back to running your business-cum-"church," in the time honored tradition of American hucksters. And let the press cover something important, like how it is that the country that has room for the Dove World Outreach Center cannot accomodate the Cordoba Faith Initiative, named after a Spanish city whose reputation under centuries of Muslim rule was as a light of religious tolerance.
As my mother used to say, a souvenir from her old Ireland, "Saints preserve us." From this man of "religion."
Image: Morocco Board News Service