Last week I wrote an email to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to protest his fueling anti-Muslim bigotry by wading into the "debate" over the Park51 Islamic center in NY. Here is the lame boilerplate reply I got, addressed to someone called "Mr. Williams."The notion that equal rights for all Americans is now a matter of "individual conscience" -- like say, views on abortion or the death penalty -- only adds to my concern. To be clear, I do not care about the Park51 center. What I care about is the high levels of bigotry being expressed in the so-called "debate" and the fact that politicians rather than defending the victims of bigotry are feeding the atmosphere of anti-Muslim incitement with their statements. I fear this atmosphere may lead to violence directed against Muslims. That may already have happened. According to police, a NY cab driver was allegedly stabbed last night by a passenger after being asked "Are you Muslim?" I hope this misdirected note means they got a lot of complaints and had to send out a lot of replies, hence the mix-up.
Dear Mr. Williams,Thank you for contacting the Quinn for Illinois campaign. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts regarding this sensitive issue. We understand your concerns regarding Governor Quinn's remarks.
This is a complicated issue that Governor Quinn believes must be dealt with in a sensitive manner according to each individual's conscience.
Governor Quinn has a long record of working with individuals in the Islamic community and is a strong believer in inclusion and freedom of religion.
Thank you again for contacting Quinn for Illinois. Please feel free to contact us with additional questions and concerns.
Quinn for Illinois
676 N. LaSalle Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60654