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The amount of inflammatory misinformation designed to arouse fear, suspicion, and hatred of Muslims is all over the web.  Here we find a particularly pernicious piece that seeks to mislead everyday Americans into thinking that everyday American Muslims support and even celebrate the atrocities perpetrated on September 11, 2001.  To anyone with even a little education in Islamic history or theology, this discriminatory and intentionally misleading email seems too ridiculous to merit a response.  However, for those millions who have absolutely no knowledge of Islam, it seems very real and very threatening.  Such a person sent it to me in a state of tremendous alarm. 

Whatever else can be said about the person who crafted this propaganda, he/she wants us to think that the military conflicts in which America is engaged are part of a larger religious war waged by Muslims everywhere (including within the United States) against the U.S.  More, he/she will use anything and take anything out of context (including the sign cited below) to "prove" this.

(propaganda citation begins below this line)



This is so "Unbelievable"....   
In Houston, Texas 
Harwin Central Mall: The very first store that you 
come to when you walk from the lobby of the 
building into the shopping area had this sign 
posted on their door. 

The shop is run by Muslims

Feel free to share this with others.
In case you are not able to read the sign 
below, it says 
"We will be closed on Friday, 
September 11, 2009 to commemorate 
the martyrdom of Imam Ali"  

[photo of a sign posted in the front window of a shop...]

Imam Ali flew one of the planes 
into the twin towers.

Nice huh?  
Try telling me we're not in a  
Religious war!
  (end of propaganda citation)

OUR RESPONSE (to the person 
who originally sent this to us, a response that was
never acknowledged):

Dear _______:

I send warm regards, along with real disturbance over the kind of mindless, fear-mongering propaganda that you continue to spread and, by spreading, promote.

For the record, Imam Ali has been dead for nearly one thousand four hundred years (he was killed by an extremist in 661 CE).  He was the prophet Muhammad's first cousin and son-in-law, and he is revered by Shi'ah Muslims as the first of the twelve blessed imams, or Divinely-guided spiritual leaders of the Muslims following the death of the Prophet in 632 CE.  The "A.S." following his name means "peace be upon him" and would never be used for any other Ali in Islamic history. 

For the record, in the solar year 2009, the anniversary of his death in the Islamic lunar calendar fell on September 11, and so this Shi'ah-owned shop closed in remembrance of that anniversary.  IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ATROCITIES OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001.

_______, in the name of truth and for the love of humankind, PLEASE STOP SPREADING THIS FEAR MONGERING AND DEMONIZING PROPAGANDA!  This is the very kind of thing that leads to the irrational and unfair demonization of an entire group, the very kind of thing that can lead to mass persecution and even genocide.  It is discriminatory and dangerous, especially in this global climate. 

Please remember, that our greatest enemies are really ignorance and fear, and such emails are powerful weapons in the service of evil plots to spread both.

This is reality!!!


(which was, not surprisingly, also unanswered):

Dear _______:

Again, I send warm regards, along with my sincere hope that you are beginning to grow more cautious about spreading this kind of discriminatory propaganda that plays upon people's ignorance and fears.

As someone who remains confident that you yourself oppose the promotion of slanderous misinformation against any group, I write to urge you to send out a public retraction and apology for this irresponsible and dangerous email.  Our shared commitment to "never again" must include all peoples who are victimized by this kind of hateful propaganda.  Otherwise, we are mere hypocrites who promote some perpetrators while denouncing others.



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