From The Gathering Storm Blog

How do you make Americans feels less sensitive to Muslims? The Virginia Interfaith Center has a solution. And with it they win the bonehead award of the year.

The AP is reporting that a program operating near Richmond sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center is raising eyebrows and causing some members of the citizenry to worry that secret Terrorist messages are being left across the city.

RICHMOND, Virginia: The small beige signs bearing black Arabic script have been appearing all over town on buses and at colleges. Are they secret messages from terrorists? one panicked bus rider asked. Should the FBI be contacted? What do they mean? Actual translation: “Paper or plastic?”

Why the signs?

The signs, which below the Arabic script carry English translations and comments that indirectly caution against jumping to conclusions, are part of a campaign by A More Perfect Union, a program of the Virginia Interfaith Center, and are aimed at dispelling some of the public’s fears toward the Muslim community. Organizers hope to eventually expand the program statewide. “As people see Arabic, they immediately make an association with terrorism,” said the Rev. C. Douglas Smith. “That’s probably because since Nine-Eleven, not only is fear overwhelming us, but that’s how we’re being trained to think.”

Notice the Reverend’s choice of words – training. I wonder who he thinks is responsible for ‘training’ us – surely not the radical Muslims.

Along with the “paper or plastic” sign, there are two others — one which is the Arabic version of the “I’m a little tea pot” rhyme and the other roughly translating to the English equivalent of “rock, paper, scissors.” Accompanying the translations at the bottom of the posters are comments such as, “Misunderstanding can make anything scary,” and “What did you think it said?”The signs were placed in all 170 Greater Richmond Transit Company buses in Richmond on Nov. 27 and will remain there through the end of December, though many buses will continue to display them at least through the end of January. The signs, designed by The Martin Agency, have also been posted at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The response from the public?

The transit company has already fielded several calls from concerned riders, said Gretchen Schoel, executive director of A More Perfect Union, a program to promote diversity. One woman, who Schoel described as a well-educated university employee, placed a frantic call to the bus company’s manager, suggesting the FBI be called in to investigate. Even after the signs’ English translations were explained to her, she remained concern that they might contain secret messages, Schoel said.

Then these cherry bone headed remarks to possibly inciting a riot.

“It’s so great that we’re getting feedback, even if it is negative, because it shows that people are looking, they’re thinking.”

Thinking?! How about scared!

But this quote takes the cake.

“After World War II, when people saw Japanese script it was scary,” she said. “But now we see it and it’s fun, it’s hip, it signifies a cool culture.” “That’s a huge turnaround.”

Yeah. Think December 8th, 1941. The Virginia Interfaith Center places signs in Hawaii and the west coast in Japanese and said, “It’s fun, it’s hip, it signifies a cool culture”.

Japanese is now fun and hip because we beat the pants off them and forcibly removed an enemy ideology to defeat us. Once we democratized the country and removed the fascist elements form their society, they became a benevolent people and have joined the civilized nations in commerce, entertainment and culture.

Islam has a very long way to go before it’s hip and cool.

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