A best-selling Texas science fiction author has been un-invited as a Guest of Honor at a literary convention in the wake of controversial remarks she posted on her personal blog Sept. 11 on the subject of citizenship, assimilation and Islam.
Elizabeth Moon is a best-selling author who lives in Florence, a small town of approximately 1,000 people in Williamson County, 40 miles north of Austin. She said she received a phone call Wednesday evening from a representative of WisCon, the self-described “world's leading feminist science fiction convention” held in Wisconsin every spring, stating her invitation as a Guest of Honor had been rescinded.
Moon’s comments in her Sept. 11 posting, specifically on assimilation and Islam, has generated a firestorm of controversy among the science fiction community of authors.
Moon said she felt her comments were centrist and really didn’t expect them to generate as such controversy as they did. “The polarization of American politics, world politics, for that matter,” she said, “decreases the opportunity for civil discourse. What we dare not mention - because of fear of backlash - and cannot discuss calmly, because of the actual backlash and the feeding frenzy, is often what most needs to be brought into the open.”
Addressing the issue of assimilation and the proposed mosque to be built in the vicinity of the former World Trade Center in New York City, Moon had written, in part, on Sept. 11, 2010:
“A group must grasp that if its non-immigrant members somewhere else are causing people a lot of grief (hijacking planes and cruise ships, blowing up embassies, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.
“When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people. Not only were the attackers Islamic - and not only did the Islamic world in general show indecent glee about the attack, but this was only the last of many attacks on citizens and installations of this country which Islamic groups proudly claimed credit for.
“That some Muslims died in the attacks is immaterial - does not wipe out the long, long chain of Islamic hostility. It would have been one thing to have the Muslim victims' names placed with the others, and identified there as Muslims- but to use that site to proselytize for the religion that lies behind so many attacks on the innocent (I cannot forget the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown, or Maj. Nadal's attack on soldiers at Fort Hood) was bound to raise a stink.”
“It is hard to believe that those making the application did not know that - did not anticipate it - and were not, in a way, probing to see if they could start a controversy. If they did not know, then they did not know enough about the culture into which they had moved.
“I know - I do not dispute - that many Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks, did not approve of them, would have stopped them if they could. I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, Muslims, that many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways. But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they've had.
“I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom. It would be helpful to have them understand what they're demanding of me and others - how much more they're asking than giving.
“It would be helpful for them to show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a non-Muslim country.”
Immediately after the convention’s decision was announced, Moon posted a short note on her blog: “WisCon management has the right to make whatever decisions they think best for the convention. I do not and did not dispute their right to rescind the invitation.”
A native Texan, Moon was born Susan Elizabeth Norris and grew up in McAllen. She earned a Bachelor's degree in History from Rice University in 1968. She later earned a second B.A. degree in Biology. In 1968, she joined the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of 1st Lieutenant while on active duty in the Vietnam Era.