Sunday, April 21, 2024

WILD COOT – A burning issue


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A wise man once said: “There are offences given and offences not given but taken.”
“Harry why you chose to build a recreation centre and a mosque right near the place where the Muslim extremists destroyed the Twin Towers? Don’t you see that is rubbing coarse salt into an open wound even if it is a gesture of reconciliation?
“Don’t you see that you are being inflammatory? Have you no remorse for the near 3 000 people that were killed? Have you no sense of decency?
“After all, Harry, what happened on September 11 brought the world to a standstill. It was like Superman stopping the world. It could be compared to Pearl Harbour.”
The families of the slain men and women have only that spot to visit. They can at least remember their loved ones. Do you think that they can be pleased with the confrontation? No wonder a Florida priest threatened the action contemplated.
Suppose a Muslim had declared that he would burn the Bible (King James version or the Maccabees version), would we hear the same reaction? When a country in the Middle East confiscated Bibles, did we hear such a hullabaloo? 
In America there is freedom of religion, and that freedom may be playing into the hands of militant Islam. True, Muslims must be free to worship God like everybody else, but it seems that the militant arm is bent on destroying everyone, including their own people.
America is going to pay dearly for its liberal attitude, because the design of militant Islam seems to be to conquer the world by fair means or by foul. Could they not have found another location to build a mosque? Why near Ground Zero? Did they not know that it would inflame Americans? Was it to show the Americans that they have growing influence?
They ask for a confrontation and they got one. It will not end there. They have awaken the devil. Look what happened after Pearl Harbour. Americans have not forgiven the destroyers of the Twin Towers. They went to Iraq and Afghanistan and waged war.
Even though President Obama openly confirmed America’s religious tolerance, in deference to the hostility awakened by the proposal, the plans to locate should have been revived. After all America is a big country, lots of space. The argument that a mosque is unwelcome near any home in which a 9-11 victim died is preposterous. 
The proposed burning of the Koran is a senseless, stupid act, but no more provocative than licking upside down the Twin Towers with two big stolen aeroplanes.
I believe in peaceful coexistence in Barbados, but I am aware of the disturbing practices and recent trends in other countries – Germany, France and the United States to name only a few, all stirred by Muslim influx. Building a mosque and social centre near Ground Zero is trying the Americans’ religious tolerance and flying in their face. The response of burning the Koran publicly, though foolish, is one man expressing his disgust.
By the way, there was a highly enlightening feature in the DAILY NATION of September 9 of the history of Muslims coming to Barbados around 1910. My grandmother on my father’s side, whom I did not know, was an Indian from Bombay, according to my father.
How come? My father, God rest him in his grave, was born in 1898 and both he and his sister were coolie to the bone. I have inherited some Indian characteristics, but I am Anglican.
I do not know of my grandmother’s religion or even if she had one, but religion did not play a part in my father’s life until 1948 when he was 50 years old.
Should I be a Muslim? Don’t answer like Saint Paul did to King Agrippa: “I would to God . . . .” (Acts 26:29.) Peace!
• Harry Russell is a retired banker.


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