The attack on the Islamic Center is justified by the alleged threat posed by its members. The nature of this threat is not disclosed, and this is because there is not one. The Bloomington Muslim population is incredibly diverseâ€”about as far away from the rigid and doctrinaire Islamic environments that actually produce terrorists as can be imagined. Zacharias and his ilk are not threatened by members of the Islamic Center, but rather by Islam itself. There is a name for this kind of thinking: bigotry.
Yesterday the Indiana Daily Student ran a sort-of apology from Zacharias as well as a strong rebuke from two members of the Muslim Student Union amongst others. Unfortunately, the paper also ran an ill-timed opinion column by Adam Sedia called "The Ugly Side of Islam," about Mohammed Bouyeri, the killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. In the column, Sedia's mantra is "No tolerance, no dialogue, no mercy." While this certainly applies to people like Bouyeri, the wisdom of printing such an article so close to the incident at the Islamic Centerâ€”an incident which bears all the hallmarks of a vile misapplication of this very philosophyâ€”should be called into question.
There are encouraging signs that people like Zacharias may not be in the majority in Bloomington. On Sunday, an interfaith rally in solidarity with the Muslim community was attended by hundreds. Now is the time for Bloomington to prove what kind of community it really is.