b-the change: Join the dialogue that supports sanity not extremism

photo courtesy of gothamist.com

photo courtesy of gothamist.com

Aren’t you tired of all the extremist rhetoric that is so lightly thrown about nowadays? Here are some ways that you can do something about it.

The controversy over the so called “ground zero mosque” is just one illustration of the extreme sentiments that often frame issues within today’s highly charged media landscape, especially with respect to matters of religion, gender, politics and nation. Last month we brought you the Unity Productions Foundations’ “20,000 Dialogues” project, that aims to foster cross-cultural dialogue about religion in an effort to educate people and open up communication channels in ways that foster a healthy understanding of controversial subjects such as Islam in the U.S.

Today, a group of Islamic leaders met outside the potential location of the proposed community center and mosque to call for an end to the anti-Islamic sentiments that have plagued the nation since the announcement of the Park 51 project a few months ago. Standing for the rights of all Americans to build houses of worship, their press release called for an end to the “racism, hatred, religious intolerance and ethnic bigotry, directed at Islam and American Muslims.” Alluding to Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement in 1950s America, the leaders also announced a national “Week of Dialogue” beginning October 22, “during which Muslim leaders will conduct open houses at their places of worship.” They hope that these events will help to “allay tensions in civil society caused by the Park 51 controversy, and will build bridges of understanding that unite and strengthen our nation.” They expressed their commitment to the building of the community center as Imam Al-Amin Latif stated that “ground zero belongs to all of us.”

Once you’ve whetted your appetite for dialogue, you can express your frustration at extremism in a lighter way. Bring in Halloween by supporting Comedy Central’s finest in their fight against extremist rhetoric. On October 30, 2010, Jon Stewart (of Daily Show fame) and Stephen Colbert (of the Colbert Report) are organizing “dueling” rallies on the National Mall in Washington D.C. On Thursday, both comedians announced their rallies, Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” and Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive,” as rallies that seek to battle it out three days before the mid-term elections. In reality however, it is evident that they are part of a joint effort to satirize and ridicule TV personality Glen Beck’s “Rally to Restore America” that was held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech at the end of August, in which he and other conservative leaders such as Sarah Palin, called for a return to traditional values and to a zealous, religious patriotism.

Stewart announced his plan for a million moderates to march in D.C. in an effort to convince angry Americans to “take it down a notch,” and to “stop shouting, throwing and drawing Hitler mustaches on people other than Hitler.” Watch his announcement here-

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity

There is no denying the need for some sanity amidst the vitriol that is unleashed by sensitive issues on a regular basis. And while the two comedians are always joking, this is for real. So plan to be in D.C. on October 30th to rally to restore sanity!

September 20, 2010 by ishita
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