So the debate over the Park51 project, which would place a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero, is purely about sensitivity — right? No bigotry here?
Well, somebody please tell that to Muslim cab drivers in New York City. One of them was stabbed, apparently for the crime of being a Muslim. New York 1 reports on the sad tale:
Investigators with the New York City Police Department say it all began Monday night when a 21-year-old man hailed a cab at 24th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan.
Police say the passenger asked the driver, “Are you Muslim?” When the driver said yes the passenger pulled a knife and slashed him in the throat, arm and lip.
The cabbie survived the attack and is being treated at an area hospital.
Alright, this happened. Now everybody take a deep breath…
Here’s the thing: believing that everybody who opposes the Park51 project is a secret racist who wants to kill Muslims is just as stupid as believing the entire Muslim community is somehow responsible for 9/11. There are violent and crazy people out there. Park 51 developer Sharif El-Gamal didn’t hijack any planes. Park51 opponent and New York Governor David Paterson didn’t stab any cab drivers.
But when the rhetoric gets ratcheted up like this, these types of things are kind of predictable. If you run around making logically fallacious arguments, eventually some crackpots will act on them. If you tell enough people that they should be afraid or offended by a house of worship, then eventually some idiot will take it to the next level.
So, now that there’s blood in the streets, can we all tamp down the rhetoric just a little bit? It’s a mosque, not a terrorist training ground. It’s a community center, not a victory monument to those who destroyed the World Trade Center.
And the cabbie was stabbed by a violent bigot. There are a lot of them out there. Undoubtedly, some of them oppose the Park51 project. But not every person who opposes the project is a violent bigot. Not every person who opposes the project hates the First Amendment. Let’s keep sight of that too.
Police: Cab Driver Stabbed By Passenger Who Asked “Are You Muslim?” [NY1]
New York Cab Driver Has His Throat Cut for Saying He’s a Muslim [Gawker]
Muslim Cab Driver Attacked In New York City [Huffington Post]