If Americans are incensed, what about us?

If you are a reader of any American newspaper, magazine, blog or any type of media outlet you’ll quickly notice that one story overshadows all others. The biggest story isn’t the ongoing Congressional election nor is it the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, which is the worse ecological disaster in American history.

If you are a reader of any American newspaper, magazine, blog or any type of media outlet you’ll quickly notice that one story overshadows all others.

The biggest story isn’t the ongoing Congressional election nor is it the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, which is the worse ecological disaster in American history.

The topic that is driving the good people at the Huffington Post, a left wing blog and Glenn Beck, the right wing pundit, to distraction is the proposed building of an Islamic Centre two blocks from the site of ‘Ground Zero’, the site of the 9-11 attacks which destroyed the iconic World Trade Centre.

There is a huge debate going on right now in the United States on whether the planned Cordoba House, which will be the home of a mosque and community centre, should be built and to call it heated would be an understatement.

This is an Editorial in the Washington Times; “The area around the former World Trade Center is a sacred space. It is a place where thousands of Americans’ lives were taken by the purveyors of a hostile ideology based on Islam.

The Cordoba House, a 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center planned for a site near Ground Zero, is at best inappropriate, and at worst an attempt to hijack the memory of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.”

Supporters of the mosques construction quote the US Bill of Rights. The First Amendment of the US Constitution states that Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”.The proponents of the mosques ‘right to be built’ say that its refusal would be an attack on the religious freedoms of American Muslims.

Well, according to polls taken a few days ago, seventy-two percent of Americans think that building a mosque and an Islamic cultural centre close to the World Trade Centre site is inappropriate, while only twenty-two think its okay to. So, that’s what Americans think about the whole thing. I’m personally ‘for’ the mosques construction because I think it would be unfair for an entire religion to be punished for the acts of some crazed lunatics.

However, some of those who oppose the building do so because they can’t understand where the funding for the mosque’s construction comes from. They worry that the money is coming from the same people who bankrolled the 9-11 attacks. I can understand their jitters.

When you’ve seen your people die because of extremism your antennae are awfully sensitive to anything that sounds like the same ‘hate’ that caused peoples deaths in the first place.

Rwanda is suffering from its own success. Foreign observers see the clean roads, smiling faces and positive World Bank assessments and think that this country has moved on from 1994. Rwandans know that this isn’t true; however, we’ve chosen to look forward instead of stay in the past. However, that doesn’t mean that the dark past isn’t at the backs of our minds.

New Yorkers lost 2,998 precious lives when the two jumbo jets slammed into the North and South Towers in 2001 and the idea of their memory being desecrated by a symbol of ‘Islamic triumphialism’ a.k.a the Cordoba House is extremely  unpalatable to them.

We lost more than a million lives in the fastest genocide in modern history and to be wary of people spouting ideology that sounds curiously like Hassan Ngeze’s (editor of Kangura, the epitome of hate media and publisher of the infamous ‘Hutu Ten Commandments’) is normal. Well, I am wary of Mrs. Victoire Ingabire, her words give me the jitters.

When she came back to Rwanda after years living in Europe she uttered statements that could only be called inflammatory. She is quoted telling the BBC, after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi that “looking at this memorial, it only stops at the Genocide committed to Tutsis”! Maybe she wanted the Genocide memorial to also commemorate Rwandan refugees that died of cholera in the camps of Congo. She’ll have to answer charges of genocide ideology in our courts, but in my opinion she is guilty of, if not criminal charges, then she’s guilty of heartlessness and political Machiavellianism.

When the police arrested her, it was reported as an act of ‘political repression’. No kind sirs, it was a manifestation of common sense.

Our wounds haven’t healed so much that a demagogue, funded by shadowy groups and working in collaboration with FDLR rebels (terrorists according to the US State Department) can, without fear of any consequence, diminish in any way the memories of our loved ones.

If American tempers are rising because of the Cordoba House, Rwandans should be lauded for their calm.  

sunnyntayombya@newtimes.co.rw 

 

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