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Posted: August 6, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Separate but equal seems to be back

I never thought the days of "separate but equal" would return. It was well settled that Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) was bad law. I wake up one morning to find that both liberals and conservatives both support "separate but equal," at least for Muslims.

Muslims. You know, the innocent people who died on 9/11 working at the World Trade Towers. Some of the brave first responders who came to save those they could after the 9/11 attacks were Muslims. They died trying to save Christians, Muslims, Hindus and others.

Muslims, the folks in Iraq and Afghanistan where our brave troops are trying to help them build a country out of wreckage. Muslims who are fighting both as our troops and along side our troops to build those countries.

Tax paying, peaceful, U.S. citizens want to build a Muslim religious center near Ground Zero. Suddenly, it’s 1896 again. Muslims can have a religious center, but it needs to be separate, at least another couple of miles worth of separate.

I was not surprised at the conservative talk show hosts who subsist on a diet of ignorance, intolerance and bile. It was disappointing that Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League said that of the opponents to the center that, "their anguish entitles them to positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted."

So, if we are upset enough, then we can be bigots and that’s OK by the Anti-Defamation League? And we can welcome back 1896, separate but equal, as far as Muslims are concerned? I think we are a better people than that. At least I hope we are.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His columns regularly appear on Fridays.

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