If you can tell the difference between their views and Stephen's, e-mail me and let me know what it is. Because their views sound exactly like Stephen's to me.
National Day of Prayer: Franklin Graham Deserved to Be Booted
In big cities and small rural communities, from New York to Tennessee to California, the right-wing fear machine is spinning up to take on the construction of mosques and Muslim community centers. In each case, the argument is essentially the same, when the hedging is peeled away: you don't necessarily have to exercise your freedom of religion in the privacy of your own home, but hey, you can't do it in public here either.
"This is for one simple reason," he writes. "Each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government."
Fischer, who is scheduled to speak at the Value Voters Summit in September alongside Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, and a host of other Republican politicians, writes that every mosque "is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the 'Grand Jihad.'" He adds that "because of this subversive ideology, Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment. They are currently using First Amendment freedoms to make plans to destroy the First Amendment altogether."
Steve Ayling, a 40-year-old Brooklyn plumber who took his "SHARIA" sign to a dry spot by an office building, said the people behind the mosque project are "the same people who took down the twin towers."
Opponents demand that the mosque be moved farther from the site where nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Ayling said, "They should put it in the Middle East," and added that he still vividly remembers watching television on 9/11 "and seeing people jumping from the towers, and ashes falling on my house."
The hysteria over a planned Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan is only the tip of the iceberg.
By Joshua Holland
In May, a man walked into the Jacksonville Islamic Center in Northeast Florida during evening prayers and detonated a pipebomb. ... It was the most serious of a series of incidents in which mosques far from the supposedly hallowed earth of Ground Zero have been targeted. A mosque in Miami, Florida, was sprayed with gunfire last year. Mosques have been vandalized or set aflame in Brownstown, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Arlington, Texas (where the mosque was first vandalized and then later targeted by arsonists); Taylor, South Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Eugene, Oregon; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Tempe, Arizona; and in both Northern and Southern California. A mosque in a suburb of Chicago has been vandalized four times in recent years.
Islamophobia died down a few years after 9/11. Why is it reappearing now?
More on Islamophobia
However the transition from Obama to Bush has unleashed the beast if you will. The Islamophobes no longer have anyone from up high to keep them quiet. The weak leadership of Steele, McConnell, etc. offers no resistance to the rather outrageous and flat out bigotry towards Muslims that has come forward on the last year and a half. Combine that with the paranoia, racism and xenophobia that leads to the widespread belief that Obama is himself a Muslim and the lunatics feel both unrestrained and a greater sense of desperation because their worst nightmares are supposedly coming true (keep in mind many of these folks are grossly ignorant and VERY paranoid). Whenever Obama makes a statement similar to the numerous statements W made about about Islam it is painted by the right wing (including FoxNews and talk radio) as evidence that Obama is somehow pro-Islamist, apologizing, pro-terrorist, surrendering ... whatever, take your pick. Before such rhetoric would not only be condemned by the W Administration but it would be an untenable open split with a GOP Administration.
The combination of the exit of Bush and the entrance of Obama I believe can explain the rise of the demagogues and their rhetoric. It isn't that their is necessarily a greater number of Islamophobes, but that they (the ones who already existed) are no longer being contained by political forces and realities greater than them. And because of that politicians and talking heads who see political benefit from pandering to these base instincts and ignorance are now free to do as they like.
For more on the subject, see Terrorists Oppose Foreign Occupation and Conservative Bigotry Against Islam.