Tolerance, not submission

Published 1:06 pm Saturday, July 14, 2007

By Staff
A recent situation in Valdosta, Ga., sheds light on the difference between the United States of America, a mostly Christian nation, and nations that are dominated by Muslims.
Earlier this week, members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is based in Washington, D.C., met with Valdosta officials to discuss a city policy that, according to CAIR, prohibited a Muslim woman from wearing a traditional head scarf in a municipal courtroom. No resolution was reached in the case of Aniisa Karim, a 20-year-old who said she was banned from entering the Valdosta municipal court building on June 26 unless she took off the scarf, according to a report by The Associated Press.
CAIR and members of a Muslim attorneys group contend the city violated the Muslim woman’s civil rights to freedom of religion, free speech and equal protection under the law.
Therein lies the heart of the situation.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech, freedom of religion and equal protection under the law. In many Muslim countries, those rights are not afforded to people of other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and the like.
In places such as Saudi Arabia, often described as a moderate, peace-seeking nation, Christians are forbidden from wearing crosses and Jews are banned from wearing the Star of David. If a Muslim woman demands the right to wear a traditional head scarf as required by her religion and expects that demand to be met, why shouldn’t a Christian be allowed to wear a cross in a Muslim nation?
If Muslims want people to respect their religion and allow them to practice their faith, they should reciprocate. But many Muslim nations don’t.
U.S. troops stationed in Arabic/Muslim nations face religious apartheid. To appease the religious intolerance of other nations, U.S. military forces are being forced to leave their religions at home as they go to those nations to help protect them and fight for our liberties at the same time, wrote John W. Whitehead, founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, in the Connellsville (Pa.) Daily Courier in 2003.
Whitehead quoted an American military chaplain as saying: “We have all these fine young American men and women over here. They’re great Americans. They’re great soldiers. Yet they’re expected to surrender their religious practices when they arrive.”
American military personnel in Saudi Arabia have been banned from openly celebrating Christmas for fear of offending their Saudi hosts. Christmas services have been low-key and almost hidden.
Enough’s enough. If Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, which is a dictatorship and where women are treated as second-class citizens, want the aid and protection the United States can provide, then those nations and the religion of Islam must allow those American men and women who are providing that aid and protection the same rights and privileges they want their citizens to enjoy while in America.
It’s time to renew our efforts to protect our freedoms that many Americans fought and died to preserve. That battle must continue. If Americans don’t continue that battle, Americans have handed conquest and triumph to those who despise those very freedoms we cherish.
Tolerance of others’ beliefs is one thing. Submission to a different way of life is another thing.
As the saying goes, the price of freedom is vigilance.