Entry for April 06, 2006

Again from Geov Parrish, on this day in  610: 

 Lailat-ul Qadar, the night the koran descended to Earth

The above photograph by Charles Eckert in Newsday shows Mostafa Khalifa, 27 (L), and Sami Shaban, 27 (R),at a news conference  at The Interfaith Church, Morningside Heights, Manhattan.  They were talking about the September 19, 2005  incident in which they and fellow Muslim football fans were questioned by authorities after praying at a New York Giants-New Orleans Saints game. 

Why this photo now?    When our local WSLS television station reported today about the NBC Dateline experiment to send some Muslim-appearing men to a NASCAR race in nearby Martinsville, VA and see if it got any reaction  (it didn’t) this detail caught my eye:

People at the race say the group pulled out prayer mats at one point and started to pray.  

At the time,  the Giants officials who made room for an noon-nominational prayer area were criticized by Daniel Pipes  for letting Islam “drive the social and legal agenda.”    Mr. Pipes was George Bush’s recess appointment to the U.S. Institute of Peace , after failing to gain confirmation July 23, 2003.

How come we don’t have similar complaints about Christianity when ABC airs a story like ABC’s  “NASCAR Takes Religion to the Raceway”  

Evangelical pastor Dale Beaver is the assistant director of “Motor Racing Outreach,” a ministry for drivers and their families who spend time away from home on the racing circuit. Beaver ministers to drivers and pit crews and runs a mobile Sunday school for their children. 

 Sports Ilustrated columnist Rick Reilly commented about professions of faith by athletes:

To me, that’s saying, ‘If you love me, you need to love my God.And so, for a Jewish kid or a Muslim kid in the stands, they’re like, ‘Hey, wait a minute.

Beaver replied,  

If NASCAR had a Muslim driver, I would respect that, and I would ask him if I could pray with them. And he may not want me to, and that would be fine.

Could this be the reason that Dateline decided to check out NASCAR? The rightwing pundits, those friends of Islam, are outraged, I say, outrasged, about NBC “manufacturing” the news.I won’t give links to their blogs–they get enough traffic.  Michelle Malkin seems to be leading the Brigade with Rush Limbaugh and   Little Green Footballs chiming in. 

But is it manufacturing the news if you report the reaction?  WSLS featured the response of two Muslim students at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  Both had been asked to participate in similar experiments but had refused.  Here’s what they said:

That was one experiment. Fortunately nothing happened, but it happens somewhere ..else.  They stereotype both parties now. Muslims looking like Arabs and Americans in the south going to a NASCAR race.–Adam Daken

How do you identify a Muslim looking man? We don’t go around with those robes or a turban on our heads….I can see their good intention behind it, but maybe the approach wasn’t the best approach…If me and Adam were at a race or a game and prayer time comes we would go and pray. Sadly that ritual is associated in the minds of many to terror..–Ahmed Sidky




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