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Fallout of Hate Is Spreading Across America from "Ground Zero"

The hysteria over a planned Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan is only the tip of the iceberg.

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It’s an extraordinarily dangerous game, not only for the American Muslim community but for U.S. national security as well. Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who has interrogated several dangerous terrorists, wrote this week that “when demagogues appear to be equating Islam with terrorism” it reinforces “the message that radicalizers are selling: That the war is against Islam, and Muslims are not welcome in America.” He added: “from a national security perspective, our leaders need to understand that no one is likely to be happier with the opposition to building a mosque than Osama Bin Laden. His next video script has just written itself.”

Fortunately, the hysteria over the Islamic center in downtown Manhattan has produced no fatal attacks to date. But as the rhetoric continues to get hotter, good people -- those who embrace American values of pluralism and religious liberty -- need to stand up to the hate and confront these views before we have a body count on our hands, not after.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. Drop him an email or Follow him on Twitter .

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