As someone who spent much of my childhood in New Jersey, who identifies as being “from” New Jersey, I would like to apologize. On behalf of everyone from the Garden State, to anyone who might still look on New Jersey as perhaps a little bit better than its depiction on “Jersey Shore.”
Bridgewater, NJ, has become the latest in an unfortunately growing number of municipalities using every dirty trick in the book to deny its citizens their freedom of religion.
The town of Bridgewater has, most likely illegally, pushed through a zoning change to keep its Islamic community from building a mosque.
I’m vividly reminded of the attacks against the Islamic community is Murfeesboro, TN, where attempts to build a mosque resulted in vandalism, threats, and then an outrageous lawsuit claiming that Islam wasn’t a religion.
A growing sense of fear and hatred towards Muslims is growing in this country. We can see it in the escalating rhetoric, the outrageous stories people are telling- rumors of this town or that instituting Sharia law, or terror cells being found in small suburban communities.
We are all Americans. What we want for our lives is an essentially American dream, to live in peace in our own way, to build our lives the way we want them to be. There is room in the American dream for all faiths, for all ideologies.
And that is something much more important than fear of a minaret.
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