Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The United States of Islam?.......................

Laugh all you want but here's a story that the blogosphere has been furiously debating for the last few weeks-

Hamtramck mosques to air calls to prayer

Council rejects drive to stop broadcasts; now, voters to decide

By Ron French / The Detroit News

Brandy Baker / The Detroit News

Council President Karen Majewski and colleagues will place the issue before voters in an election.

Islamic calls to prayer will be broadcast over loudspeakers onto the streets of Hamtramck beginning Friday.

A petition drive intended to stop the broadcast of the religious messages, which has become controversial in this city, appears to have backfired for the moment.

The petition drive was intended to stop a noise ordinance amendment regulating the religious messages. The City Council voted unanimously to reject the petitions and place the issue before city voters in the next election.

“I am appalled by the level of racism I have seen,” Councilman Scott Klein said. “The people opposing this amendment (that allows the calls to prayer) have nothing on the boys from Birmingham (Ala.).”

But Robert Zwolak of Hamtramck, who led the petition drive, was just as upset by the council's actions.

“The damage has been done. This is Chernobyl,” Zwolak said, referring to the nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine in 1986. “The fallout will last for many years.”

As a result of the council's decision Tuesday night, the city has no power to regulate the volume or the time of day the calls to prayer may be broadcast.

Masud Kahn, secretary of the Al-Islah Islamic Center, said after the meeting that the mosque would go ahead with plans to begin broadcasting the calls to prayer, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

The call to prayer is an integral part of the Muslim faith. It is made five times a day, and lasts between one and two minutes.

Here's the likely argument that the Islamic faith will use when defending it's desire to annoy the living shit out of those of us who don't want to hear "Allahu Ahkbar!" blaring through our windows at 4:30 in the morning: Christian churches ring bells to call to prayer, why can't we?

And they would have a point.

Now do I think for a second that the two sounds are comparable? Of course not- a church bell has a few rings, end of story. Go back to bed. No big deal. A huge loudspeaker blaring arabic at ungodly hours would be exponentially more annoying. But that's not the point that will be made.

The point will be that Christians are given special privileges to ring their call to prayer, which clearly would violate any standard noise ordinance. Some may argue that it isn't a call to prayer anymore, it's just a bell letting everyone know what time it is. This may be true in some cases, but if its true that any churches are still ringing it as a call to prayer, it is what it is. And it clearly is an example of religion getting special privileges that other groups or individuals don't get. I'm not allowed to blare Jimi Hendrix at 4:30 in the morning as loud as I want to, as it would disturb my neighbors. Therefore the law should be applied equally- no one should be allowed to blare noise at ungodly hours when it disturbs the peace, even if it is just a church bell.

The only way for this to clear the SCOTUS is for all religious groups to agree not to blare their call to prayer at all. It's the only way for the government to abide by the establishment clause in our constitution- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

By not allowing ANY religious groups to blare their call to prayer, congress would a.) not be making any laws that establish a state religion, in fact they would be making the law to specifically remain neutral, which is what they should be, and b.)would not be prohibiting the free exercise of said religion.

Freedom to exercise one's religion does not include allowing said religion to disturb the peace of a community. You can pretty much gauruntee that the Muslim argument will be that no one has stopped the churches, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

Answer: We are going to have to stop the churches. To do otherwise would clearly be hypocritical, and now is a time where we must abide as strictly as possible by the laws of our constitution if we want to defeat religious fundamentalism.

If we don't, we are playing right in to the hands of those who wish to see the US become a Caliphate state.

No comments: