September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization composed of family members of people killed on 9/11 and are dedicated to seeking nonviolent solutions to conflict, joins with many others to condemn the behavior of the Orange County, CA protesters who insulted and jeered at a group of Muslims that were holding a dinner in the Yorba Linda Community Center to raise money for women’s shelters to help relieve homelessness and hunger in the U.S. We also condemn the rhetoric of political leaders who spoke to the crowd, particularly Congressman Ed Royce of California.
The crowd of protesters certainly seemed to believe that they were being patriotic and defending American values, but they were doing the exact opposite.
We believe the protesters lack certain essential qualities which we feel all true American patriots should have:
- Being a Defender of Human Rights – One of the values that have made the United States the greatest country in the history of the world is our belief in the rights of the individual. Clearly, treating all Muslims, including children, as if they are part of one collective group, judging that group to be evil, and condemning its members to harassment and discrimination is not only unjust, it is un-American. In fact, it is possible that many of the parents and grandparents of the protesters fought in World War II to defend the world against this kind of collectivist and hateful action.
- Standing Courageously in the Face of Danger – While September 11th was a horror experienced by ALL Americans including those in Orange County, the protesters seemed to have been so consumed by group hysteria from the attack that they now believe any man, woman and child who is of the Muslim faith is going to kill them or their loved ones, and are actively trying to bully their fellow Americans out of our country along with the American values of freedom and liberty for all. We believe that denying certain groups of individuals equality and tolerance in exchange for feeling more secure is not only cowardly, it is un-American. A truly courageous American would have the guts to look any man, woman and child in the eye, see them for who they truly are without prejudicial fears clouding their vision, extend their hand in friendship, and defend that individual’s rights.
- Thinking Logically about how to defeat bin Laden – bin Laden has repeatedly called on all Muslims to join his jihad against the US and its allies. While we don’t believe for a minute that American-Muslims like the members of the Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA] would ever join bin Laden, we believe the protesters actions actually serve to assist bin Laden’s recruitment efforts by doing everything they can to make American-Muslims feel like they are the enemy of the United States . True patriots would never ever do anything to help our greatest enemy.
All Americans want a secure, prosperous and free nation. If we continue down the path the protesters want us to take, we will lose all three. While we must firmly oppose the intentions and behavior of all hate groups, Peaceful Tomorrows stands firmly behind the ideals of equality and religious tolerance for all, including the Muslims of America. We count them, along with all tolerant and compassionate people, our friends, and we defend them as surely as we defend all our neighbors in this wonderful, pluralistic society, the Home of the Free and the Brave — America!