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August 1, 2010 2:27 AM   Subscribe

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking religious extremism for several decades, including anti-Islamic violence in the United States after 9/11. Nonetheless, the organization joined right-wing opposition earlier this week to the construction of Cordoba House, a 13-story Muslim community center and mosque that may be built two blocks away from the site of the former World Trade Center. The ADL's alignment with calls for "refudiation" by Republican celebrities Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, along with other members of the GOP who are ramping up angry sentiments in voters during an election year, have puzzled and angered religious, political and cultural figures of various stripes, particularly within New York City itself.

Reverend Gaddy of New York's Interfaith Alliance posited in strong terms that "those who claim to defend religious freedom can not turn their back on it when faced with controversy." Rabbi Irwin Kula, President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, responded that the ADL "should be ashamed of itself." NYT columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman argues that "[w]e can’t afford to live in a tribal world." NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked, "What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us?"

Planning for the center has been lead by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, an Egyptian-American who has worked in New York since 1983, and his wife Daisy Khan. In 1997 he founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the "first Muslim organization committed to bringing American Muslims and non-Muslims together through programs in academia, policy, current affairs, and culture." Ms. Khan describes the Cordoba House as "a symbol, a platform that will give voice to the silent majority of Muslims who suffer at the hands of extremists. A center will show that Muslims will be part of rebuilding lower Manhattan."

For its part, the ADL argues that the mosque's proximity to the WTC site would cause grief to the families of 9/11 victims and maintains that there are yet unresolved, if unspecified questions about who is behind its construction, even if those questions are ultimately irrelevant to the group's main objections:

In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (446 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Speaking as a Jew, this is very disappointing. It seems to promote the idea that under certain circumstances bigotry is okay, which is completely at odds with the ADL's mission.
posted by amro at 2:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Wait...adl means justice in old Arabic!
posted by hal_c_on at 2:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


All religions are...blah, blah, blah

Something of historical value just occurred and I'd like to hear someone else's opinion and not just stick to my insular opinions. I don't know much about this besides what the links provided, and I'd like to hear about it from people all over the world...including just a few stops from ground zero.

Please nobody hijack this thread for some sort of personal vendetta.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:53 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.

I'm having trouble finding exact numbers, but plenty of Muslims (i.e. more than zero) died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed. For some reason I have a feeling that this press release from the ADL is causing their families pain -- unnecessarily -- and that is not right.
posted by one_bean at 3:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


Oh Anti-Defamation League. Why won't you let me support you?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:09 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


What does any of that have to do with this post?

His parents made him go to that stupid church when he was a kid and everyone was always telling him what to do and he's had it up to here with sky wizards; but now that he's all grown up he's figured everything out and all those stupid bible-thumpers can just Deal With It.
posted by hamida2242 at 3:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


First, they came for the Muslims. And I said nothing, because I was a member of the ADL...

This post from Paul Krugman really brought home to me how amoral this ADL decision was:
Translation: some people will feel bad if this thing is built, and we need to take these feelings into account, even though proponents “have every right to build at this site.”

So let’s try some comparable cases, OK? It causes some people pain to see Jews operating small businesses in non-Jewish neighborhoods; it causes some people pain to see Jews writing for national publications (as I learn from my mailbox most weeks); it causes some people pain to see Jews on the Supreme Court. So would ADL agree that we should ban Jews from these activities, so as to spare these people pain? No? What’s the difference?
That brought to mind this scene (staring around 2:30).
posted by ibmcginty at 3:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [36 favorites]


imho, there could have been no better way than this to demonstrate that the actions of a minority could have any influence on continued mutual respect and peace between cultures.
posted by infini at 3:17 AM on August 1, 2010


Manipulative people will always use scripture to justify their own horrible actions. I'm just really surprised than an organization, that usually fights for people who have been harmed by those manipulative people, is engaging in that same manipulative behavior.

Who said that "even the devil can quote the scripture to fit his own needs"...oh yeah, fox mulder.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:25 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award. Period.

Talk about tone deaf. If they had any compassion or brains they'd build elsewhere. Because if their goal is mutual respect and peace this is a hell of a way to go about it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:34 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Poisonous on so many levels, not least in joining the lunatic right in the view that Islam tout court was the motivation for 9/11 rather than the particular religio-political ideology espoused by those who perpetrated the attack. Endorsing guilt by tenuous association seems like a massive own goal for the ADL; what on earth are they thinking?
posted by Abiezer at 3:36 AM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


Where did you get the idea that this actually is "upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular"?
posted by creasy boy at 3:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular

Sorry, do you belong to either of those groups? Because I'd say the most infuriating thing is people who deign to speak broadly for all of the victims, as though they had a single opinion. Do you think that building this center would be upsetting to families of Muslim victims? I only bring that up because people opposed to this building seem incapable of separating religion broadly and the specific lunatics who killed thousands of people that day. Of course, there are plenty of non-Muslims who are, in one way or another, living victims of 9/11 who are strongly in favor of religious freedom in this country. You know, strict constructionism and all that.
posted by one_bean at 3:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [86 favorites]


So here's my question: Why does the ADL even have an official position on this? I understand that I/P is a touchy subject, but jesus christ on a bike: it's like they're going out of their way to make "be shitty to a Muslim" the official Jewish position because of it. The whole thing just plays into the "Oh, the two peoples are mortal enemies, going back thousands of years, and that's just how it'll always be" myth, and it's stupid bullshit. Like, if you can't muster the integrity to do the right thing, how about a simple, "What are you asking us for?"

Anyway, I work a couple of blocks from the mosque, and before all this hit the media, I would walk past it from time to time (there's a tasty, if overpriced, Amish market right next door), and let me tell you, it took me forever to figure out what the anti-mosque protesters were even going on about. Partly, I just didn't want to engage them, but mostly I couldn't make hide nor hair their signs, which were serious, off-their-meds, blend-in-at-a-teaparty-rally caliber. Ugly stuff.
posted by Amanojaku at 3:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


St. Alia-- actually, people in Manhattan favor the construction of the mosque. It's mostly outside agitators from places like Georgia and Alaska who are so hopped up about it. And it's not even at ground zero ("It is unlikely that very many people commuting to the World Trade Center site would pass by Cordoba House"). This is only upsetting if you agree with Osama bin Laden that we need a war between Islam and the West. I don't see why we should choose to follow bin Laden instead of the people actually building this community center, who explained that "[t]his proposed project is about integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. It is intended to be "a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic values in their truest form--compassion, generosity, and respect for all."

A mosque is no more a symbol of 9/11 than a church is a symbol of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The only reason people are upset about this is because the Republican/Tea Party has no views on policy, having degenerated into a tribe with a series of enemies toward which it feels intense resentment.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [193 favorites]


[I removed the first comment in this thread, which has nothing to do with the thread, and another addressing it. Thanks to those who flagged it.]
posted by vacapinta at 4:00 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award. Period.

Talk about tone deaf. If they had any compassion or brains they'd build elsewhere. Because if their goal is mutual respect and peace this is a hell of a way to go about it.


Pardon my French, but fuck that. As a New Yorker, the only thing I find offensive is the idea that we haven't collectively told a certain busybody ex-governor of Alaska to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut already. Sorry, but bigots being offended by the world not conforming to their bigoted viewpoints don't overly concern me, and nor should they concern the nation at large, however sympathetic we may be to their individual losses.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:00 AM on August 1, 2010 [79 favorites]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award.

how the fuck would you know that living in North Carolina?

I live in lower Manhattan and am half Jewish. I knew people who died on sept 11 2001. I smelled the burning rubble. All that good shit.

I support the mosque. It doesn't offend me. The fucking ADL just offended me though.

Non-New Yorkers can stop speaking for us, thanks. The mosque is a new site but it's been in lower Manhattan for a long time. We New Yorkers pride ourselves in diversity and tolerance.

And most of us have put 9/11 in perspective and are amazed how much the rest of America seems to feel pain on our behalf when they experienced none of it first hand and lost no one they know.

Fuck the ADL. Way to sell out.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [171 favorites]


Funny how New Yorkers - even 9/11 responders, fuck you congress -- only count as Real Americans (tm) when it's convenient for the righties.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [71 favorites]


We're America because we let them build the mosque. And even if the Muslims paying for the mosque were extremists (they aren't by any stretch of the imagination), I say we should still let them, so long as they do nothing illegal. Part of our freedom is free speech, which was created on the idea that America's ideas and people can withstand people spreading their opinions, religion, etc. America withstood an attack from Britain and the USSR. I think it can handle a religion that is generally peaceful in the modern world, save for it's more extreme manifestations. So long as Muslims don't threaten any American rights, I think the right wingers should relax.

Of course, I can't see Al Qaeda wasting millions on a 13 story building in NY, so the idea is silly in the first place. Frankly, if it were like the right wingers said, I'd rather they spend their money on huge mosques instead of holy war.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


I imagine once the House is finished, there will be a lot of carrying on in the Islamic Capitals, where their equivalents of The New York Post will run front page pictures of the new building, and place the appropriate spin on it, that the WTC was replaced with something more suitable to their taste. I can imagine the boys shouting in the streets, like they did on 9/11 itself.
posted by nervousfritz at 4:32 AM on August 1, 2010


America withstood an attack from ... the USSR

I wouldn't really characterize that 46 year dick-waving contest as much of an "attack".

That being said, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that part of the building's funding was from people connected to Republican Party big shots, to drum up the fear for the midterm elections.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 4:38 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have a fairly active imagination. I am unwilling to hold American's rights hostage to propaganda interpretation elsewhere.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:40 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I should imagine 99 percent of the billion-and-a-half-plus Muslims in the world will carry on with their lives never knowing that the place exists.
posted by Abiezer at 4:40 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


how the fuck would you know that living in North Carolina?

I think you forgot which part I live in.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:43 AM on August 1, 2010


Not to mention some of us out here believe this would be used as propaganda in certain parts of the world. I still see this as tone deaf. You are free to disagree with me if you like.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:45 AM on August 1, 2010


So let’s try some comparable cases, OK? It causes some people pain to see Jews operating small businesses in non-Jewish neighborhoods; it causes some people pain to see Jews writing for national publications (as I learn from my mailbox most weeks); it causes some people pain to see Jews on the Supreme Court. So would ADL agree that we should ban Jews from these activities, so as to spare these people pain? No? What’s the difference?



say what you will for or against the center (it is not to be only a mosque), there is hardly a comparison in this comment. Those opposed claim that the single biggest attack on American soil by outside forces ought not be pushed aside in what is claimed (by building here) something seeming triumphant and calling attention to the mass death. Hardly in the same league as those so-called examples, which have to do with rights and freedoms. ADL and supporters state that they have no issue with building elsewhere rather than at the almost exact spot of 9/11.
posted by Postroad at 4:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have a fairly active imagination. I am unwilling to hold American's rights hostage to propaganda interpretation elsewhere.

Yeah, that's a good point. I had typed in my comment and was just thinking about the argument, intending to back out from the preview, and I dropped my soda. In the ensuing frenzy the post button got clicked. I'm not really so sure about what I said.
posted by nervousfritz at 4:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


"In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right."

This would be a poor argument even if it were true. But it's not.

Wonkette: "Attention Bigots: There Is Already a Mosque Near the WTC Site"
Wonkette operative “Evan B.” writes: “The debate over the planned mosque at Ground Zero seems a bit retarded to me; I work directly between the planned mosque and a mosque that has existed before 9/11 and continues to operate to this day. The existing mosque and the proposed mosque are probably 800 feet apart; one city block, let’s say.” This is humorous!
FiveThirtyEight: A Street-Level View of the "Ground Zero Mosque"
There's not going to be some huge, ostentatious mosque with some minaret or some giant crescent located "at" Ground Zero, nor within clear sight of it, nor even on the way (in terms of virtually all natural paths a commuter or tourist might take) to Ground Zero. Rather, there's going to be a mixed-use retail building that contains some kind of reformist mosque, located somewhere in its general vicinity -- as there already is now. It would not impose upon or offend anyone unless they were going out of their way to be imposed upon or offended.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:55 AM on August 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


For its part, the ADL argues that the mosque's proximity to the WTC site would cause grief to the families of 9/11 victims

Let me get this straight. They rebuild a Catholic cathedral mere yards away from the site where Timothy McVeigh (who was a Catholic) killed 168 people in cold blood but we can't have a mosque 2 blocks from the WTC memorial?

Because, what, "not all Catholics are bombers of federal buildings"? Help me out here folks.
posted by Talez at 4:57 AM on August 1, 2010 [56 favorites]


The ADL doesn't have a dog in this fight. It doesn't get much more defamatory than excusing those who would conflate moderate, ecumenical (their board is going to be Christian, Muslim and Jewish!), American Muslims with Saudi terrorists and murderers. You may as well ban mainline Protestant churches from building near clinics where abortion providers were murdered, or forbid military recruitment offices from Oklahoma City, or bulldoze the Shinto temples serving Americans of Japanese heritage on Hawaii. I find that incredibly un-American and offensive--something that would indeed "let the terr'ists win."

Also, from Clyde Haberman, a lesson on prepositions, and this:
That it may even be called a mosque is debatable. It is designed as a multi-use complex with a space set aside for prayer — no minarets, no muezzin calls to prayer blaring onto Park Place. It would seem to qualify as a mosque about as much as a chapel in a Roman Catholic hospital qualifies as a church.
posted by availablelight at 5:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


If they had any compassion or brains they'd build elsewhere.

The efforts that a group of Muslims have made to build a center "out here" in Tennessee have been met with anger, opposition, and hatred every step of the way. "Build elsewhere" -- that's the battle cry here too. Because Islam is a "cult," and all that noise.

ADL and supporters state that they have no issue with building elsewhere rather than at the almost exact spot of 9/11.

Wrong. The ADL may state that, but some of their "supporters" most certainly do have issues with Islamic buildings being built elsewhere.
posted by blucevalo at 5:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


So basicically what the ADL is saying is that a mosque near the Hallowed Land in New York is an abomination to God and His Chosen People because people in places like North Carolina and Alaska don't want to be reminded of their religious intolerance?
posted by leftcoastbob at 5:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [23 favorites]


I get totally creased about these kinds of "it's my right to do X, but you shouldn't do X because [bullshit]" arguments. There is this growing movement in political circles that "rights" are a thing to be shared between friends like a softball in a game of catch, and then the ugly kid comes up and wants to join in and suddenly it turns into a vicious bout of keep-away.

It's like people are only too willing to ignore the most important thing about a rights-based society in that the most important rights to defend are those of our enemies. If the only people taking the moral high ground are the downtrodden, they are nothing but martyrs-in-waiting.

I know there are high-minded people out there, but they seem to be averse or unable to keep up their end of the rhetoric.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


This whole "controversy" makes my brain hurt.

My heart, too.
posted by milarepa at 5:21 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Once again I'm faced with another painful reminder of the sheer and utter failure of my twenty-year campaign to convince the world to see things as I do, with nothing but tolerance, grace, open-mindedness, charm, and devilish good looks.

This is a dark day indeed.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:26 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


So much stupidness. I wish these groups would just straight up say, "We are so fucking afraid of Muslims and/or we hate them."
posted by chunking express at 5:33 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Years of fighting this nebulous enemy of "radicals" combined with a catastrophic economy (and now a black president!) has created an elevated a climate of fear that has whipped up many people. The fear-mongering of their leaders doesn't help, I hate to be condescending about it, but I gotta say those people seem to be the more simplistic-thinking types (at least about these kinds of social issues). The mosque in Murfreesboro is being protested because a bunch of people don't like Muslims, and I gotta say, for all of the justification and nuance people try to put on it, this doesn't really seem any different. I'm sure there are some 9/11 survivors who may be pained by the building, but that's no reason to stop it.
And while I understand what you're saying seanmpuckett,
It's like people are only too willing to ignore the most important thing about a rights-based society in that the most important rights to defend are those of our enemies.

Who's an enemy here? This doesn't seem quite the same as letting the KKK march.
posted by Red Loop at 5:40 AM on August 1, 2010


I do wish people would stop calling it a mosque. It's not a mosque. That's been pointed out a couple of times now in this thread, and I'm pointing it out again. It's a cultural center, mixed use, with retail, arts spaces, community rooms, and a small area set aside for daily prayers. I'd expect most community buildings built by Muslims to have a space set aside for prayer, because it's such an intrinsic part of daily life for many of them.

And it's being built on Park Place. A quick look at Google Maps shows that it's not simply two blocks away down a street that borders the WTC site. There are buildings between the site and the proposed center. You won't be able to see one from the other, at all.

This is posturing and fear-mongering, nothing more. And why the ADL feels that they need to put their two cents in about it, I have no idea.
posted by hippybear at 5:47 AM on August 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


Not to mention some of us out here believe this would be used as propaganda in certain parts of the world.

What?? That Jews might try to keep Muslims from doing what they want with property that is rightfully theirs? Yeah, that might be used as propaganda
posted by Xurando at 5:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award. Period.

The opposition seems to come mainly from the kind of yokels who fear and mistrust the "Big City" and "established elites" in any case. Why should the kind of people whose only experience of Manhattan is blocking escalators in the subway and gawking determine what is and what is not built there? Given the astounding ability of rubes to mistake any building over 10 stories tall for the Empire State Building, how would they even notice?
posted by atrazine at 5:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


The mosque in Murfreesboro is being protested because a bunch of people don't like Muslims, and I gotta say, for all of the justification and nuance people try to put on it, this doesn't really seem any different.

There is no difference. The ADL line is that the only reason for opposing the center at Ground Zero is because it's at Ground Zero, that those who want to build there would not be opposed if they built anywhere other than Ground Zero.

So what's so hallowed about Murfreesboro that a Muslim center can't be built there?

As the FPP states, the GOP is attracted to this "controversy" like a feline to catnip because it's a way to whip up xenophobic frenzy among the base, to divert attention from the fact that the GOP has no actual agenda on which to run in the upcoming election, and because running on hatred has always been a better campaign strategy than, you know, running on actual policy.

The ADL release states, "We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry .... The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong."

The ADL is giving the bigots it claims to abhor all the ammunition and legitimacy they need to ramp up the hate.
posted by blucevalo at 5:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


because people in places like North Carolina and Alaska don't want to be reminded of their religious intolerance?

Hey now! Don't go painting us all with the same tar brush.

America's strength arises from the diversity of cultures and New York is built on a bedrock of melange. I wouldn't have it any other way-- nor should any true American. Italian, Jewish, Catholic, Hispanic, Muslim-- each wave that lands on our shores brings fresh ideas and renewed vigor. When are we going to learn that basic fact and stop fearing The Other?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A question that I read on fark, of all places is this: for those that oppose the building, how far away should it be built? North of 14th street? Not in Manhattan? Not in New York City? Not in the tri-state area? Not on the eastern seaboard? Not in the US?

Where is the dividing line?

(The best answer I saw was "where there aren't any votes to be gained by fear mongering bigotted responses")
posted by Hactar at 6:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Not to mention some of us out here believe this would be used as propaganda in certain parts of the world. I still see this as tone deaf. You are free to disagree with me if you like.

"Some of us out here"? Is this comedy hour? Out where, pray tell? Is there a combination Arbys/think tank out there that I don't know about? Yeah, great. A bunch of provincial truck drivers named Earl think that it would be used for propaganda in "certain parts of the world" about which they know very little indeed.

Here's an idea: anyone opposing this for being "two blocks away" from ground zero without being able to give a reasonable estimate of what that is in feet should be gibbeted in Central Park.
posted by atrazine at 6:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


I don't think, for the developers, this is about having a mosque near Ground Zero as much as a mosque in lower Manhattan near what John Lennon called the center of the universe (which isn't exactly an original idea).
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:11 AM on August 1, 2010


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award.

I don't understand, and if that makes me a target for name-calling ok, but I'd appreciate it if you spelled out specifically why this is to me.
posted by carsonb at 6:12 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf writes about societies in which rejecting state religion was once considered not merely an act of conscience but an act of treason punishable by death. Of those who dissented, he writes, "Literally, one had no place in society, for such a person would be like an ant rejecting the structure of its colony, unprotected by its institutions. The possible freedom one had to exercise such inner convictions and to be true to oneself was to opt out of society and live as a hermit in a cave."

The United States was founded on principles of religious freedom that Christian fundamentalists are very speedy to invoke when they feel that their own freedoms are being infringed in any way. One would think, wrongly, as it turns out, that these fundamentalists would be the first ones to shout in favor of the Ground Zero center being built, if there were any consistency in their view that religious freedom was an inviolable first principle of life in the United States. This is particularly true in light of the historical record of Christianity in its first days, a time in which it was literally taking your life into your own hands to publicly profess your belief.

Evidently now that's only the case if the religion being protected is Christianity. As Madison wrote, "That diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution rages among some and to their eternal infamy the Clergy can furnish their quota of Imps for such business."
posted by blucevalo at 6:13 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Red Loop: Who's an enemy here?

It's easier to erode rights of groups that aren't obvious, dangerous, enemies... you can cast the issue in a light of "we're all friends and equals and very thoughtful people, and I'm sure after considering all the angles and ramifications, we can all agree that this is a special situation where your rights are certainly quite valid but indeed your exercise of them might be a disturbance and because I know we're all peace-loving people we'll all work together for the good of everyone!"

Which of course is code for "Your group's rights are secondary to my desire to increase my political capital as a voice of reason."
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


ADL = Anti-Defamation League.
posted by orthogonality at 6:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award.

St. Alia: When exactly did you poll everyone in this city to arrive at your decision about what "New York in general" feels about this? Because you somehow seem to have missed asking me.

For your data: on September 11, 2001, I lived close enough to Ground Zero to have heard the impact of both planes through my kitchen window. For a week, the "Frozen Zone" extended up into my neighborhood, so for a week I was carded just to get back onto my street whenever I left it for...any reason.

And I nevertheless support the building of this community center. The only thing "upsetting" to me is whe people who did not live here at the time and never checked with me what I feel like, presume to know what I feel like and presume to speak for me by making declarations that "this is upsetting to New York in general."

If you are PERSONALLY uncomfortable about the center somehow being a possible site for "propaganda," just say that. It is a perfectly valid opinion to have. But for the love of God don't try to dress it up in wwhat you think are more legitimate clothes by talking about how "the whole of New York" is also afraid of this. Because you don't know, and how dare you for presuming to know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on August 1, 2010 [90 favorites]


So I love how the right are all libertarian about property rights until someone wants to build something that they don't like.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 AM on August 1, 2010 [46 favorites]


I wish these groups would just straight up say, "We are so fucking afraid of Muslims and/or we hate them.

This, a thousand times. Just say what you mean instead of making up feelings for other people. Busy yourself keeping religious freedom out of your own community and let the shitheads and crackpots in New York worry about denying religious freedoms there.
posted by umberto at 6:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not to mention some of us out here believe this would be used as propaganda in certain parts of the world

I'd love to hear what this means. It's so confrontingly vague it's like a dogwhistle through a bullhorn.

Which section of whom? What part of the world? Propaganda for/against/about what/whom/what?
posted by pompomtom at 6:30 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


I wish they wouldn't try to hide their hatred and intolerance behind an alleged respect for the memories of those lost in 9/11. Manhattan is a center for people of all walks of life, which is one of the things that makes it such an incredible place. Hopefully a small group of irrational bigots don't succeed in taking away a positive step forward in community building.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not to mention some of us out here believe this would be used as propaganda in certain parts of the world.

Yeah, I can see this. For example, in certain parts of Asia and the Middle East the fact that a Muslim community center exists in lower Manhattan could be used as propaganda for the idea that America celebrates freedom of religion and respects moderate Islam. And in certain parts of America, OMG GROUND ZERO MOSQUE could be used as propaganda to drum up votes for conservative politicians.
posted by creasy boy at 6:34 AM on August 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


"All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support .... May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid." -- George Washington, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, August 18, 1790
posted by blucevalo at 6:35 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


St. Alia, I live in New York know people who were there on 9/11 and a mosque nearby Ground Zero dosen't bother me in the least. In fact, since there's a fair number of Islamic New Yorkers, there's a fair number of mosques already. In my neighborhood in Queens, there's several and nobody gets all that bent out of shape about it, and it's not a SoHo/Upper East side cosmopolitan area, either.

I have no animosity towards people from other parts of the country and of different political persuasions than me, but Palin and Gingrich are outsiders using divide and conquer tactics for their own gain. When that was done in your part of the country way back when, there was a word for people like that, and it applies here, too.
posted by jonmc at 6:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [29 favorites]


I wish these groups would just straight up say, "We are so fucking afraid of Muslims and/or we hate them."

I just want to make it very clear to non-Jews that we Jews are never, ever taught hatred of any group - not in Hebrew school, not in services at synagogue, nowhere. It's not an element of the religion or traditional religious education. There's no anti-Muslim indoctrination, and personally it has never crossed my mind to hate a whole group of millions of people.

As for fear, yeah, we'd be stupid if there wasn't an element of fear of others - look at our history.

And it's not fair to bring Israeli/Palestinian politics into this. For the umpteenth time, Jewish does not equal Israeli.
posted by amro at 6:43 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


How about we build a giant statue of a unicorn riding a rainbow with puppies and kittens dancing around? It can be a giant fountain.

Surely no one could be offended by such construction?
posted by Fizz at 6:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Homophobes, Fizz.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:48 AM on August 1, 2010


Meanwhile, we show how concerned we really are for 9/11 victims by voting down a health care package for them.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


I think you forgot which part I live in.

And they should be ashamed to denigrate the rights they're fighting for, as should you.

If we're playing our military cred cards, I'm pulling out my I'm-a-disabled-OIF-II-vet-and-I-support-this-center trump on you.
posted by Evilspork at 6:51 AM on August 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


I think it's pretty tone-deaf for any white people to live on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Insensitive clods.
posted by creasy boy at 6:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular

Citation Needed.

As a 9/11 survivor and conspiracy theorist, I am opposed to the building of a synagogue several blocks away from the holy site of Ground Zero.

Did you know that no Jews showed up to work on the day of 9/11?

I am ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel, and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed that day, by the Jews who actually did it.

Now, I know you may disagree with my theory of what happened. And sure, obviously ALL Jews weren't involved in the conspiracy to take down the twin towers, but the controversy which has emerged regarding the building of a Jewish Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:53 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you forgot which part I live in.

You live in Manhattan, South Carolina?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:53 AM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


I know perfectly well what part of NC you're from Alia, and that has shit to do with anything.

You're still the bigot you always were, and that's the last I'll say on it.

Even were it not a "ridiculous statement," in America you can be tone deaf and still enjoy religious freedom and private property rights.


9/11 killed 3000 people. We've killed multiples of that in Iraq and Afghanstan in pointless, misguided responses. That many people die every month in car accidents.

If new yorkers are mostly over it, why don't the yokels in places like Wasila and Fayetteville shut the fuck up? You don't like New York or her citizens except as symbols for a phony war in which most of us here want no part.

Save the phony sympathy and hate yourselves silly somewhere else.

Fucking ugly Americans aren't worthy of a city like New York, where our productive economy supports half the hick states of Real America.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [72 favorites]


Not to mention some of us out here believe this would be used as propaganda in certain parts of the world.

Out of curiosity, what, specifically, would that propaganda look like, and how would it be so detrimental to America as to supersede our American value of making no law interrupting the free exercise of religion, a value held to be so important that it is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our constitution? What could me more tone deaf than arguing against our fundamental values because somebody, somewhere, might spin it in some as-yet-unarticulated way?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2010 [20 favorites]


Damn, Pope Guilty....you're right. Is nothing free from self-interest?
posted by Fizz at 6:56 AM on August 1, 2010


I do not have anything substantial to add to this discussion, other than to say that I'm so fucking proud to be a Mefite right now.
posted by Anderson_Localized at 6:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm not. They don't know how to handle dissent.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:59 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


We just prefer it be educated dissent, Alia. You've been asked to back up your assertions and demonstrate what you mean by propaganda. I am still curious to see you do that, instead of pouting that you don't get to blather your own propaganda without getting called on it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:02 AM on August 1, 2010 [34 favorites]


I am sorry that this is so much about St. Alia, but on the other hand it's kind of inevitable, considering that no one else has the gall to show up and spout the bigoted crap that the Sarah Palin-types are spouting out there. Here's the scary thing: there are a huge number, maybe a majority, of Americans that think this way.

We have to do a lot better with our education system, if we can't get across to people that 'religious freedom' means Muslims, too, and that 'don't be a bigot' means towards Muslims, too.

(And so you don't think I'm being back-handed about this, let me spell it out: I think that this position is a bigoted position, St. Alia. This doesn't mean I think you're a bad person, or a "bigot", but it does mean that the stance you are taking is a reprehensible, bigoted one. Re-think it.)
posted by norm at 7:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


So if the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, right, and we strive to deny people their constitutional right to religious freedom, that means that the terrorists have...lost?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:04 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


As a New Yorker, the only thing I find offensive is the idea that we haven't collectively told a certain busybody ex-governor of Alaska to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut already.

I wish I could favorite this infinity times. Summarizes how I feel to a tee. and I will now try to spread the phrase "take a flying fuck at a rolling donut" far and wide.

But seriously, I was so proud of being a New Yorker when the mayor of my fair city explained why this should be built.

So to all the "let's make the mosque a Willie Horton moment" right winger assholes who ordinarily hate New York so much, you can, um take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.
posted by xetere at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


For those who missed the last 30 years or so, this is entirely in character for the ADL. It stopped being a legitimate human rights group a long time ago.
posted by cell divide at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Forgive me for the snark. But seriously, it really is okay for me to disagree with this thread. A lot of people who don't post on Metafilter would disagree with this thread. The world will continue to turn on its axis regardless.

Yeah, I can see this. For example, in certain parts of Asia and the Middle East the fact that a Muslim community center exists in lower Manhattan could be used as propaganda for the idea that America celebrates freedom of religion and respects moderate Islam

Yeah, it could. But that's not what I am talking about.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2010


So, uh, say what you are talking about? You haven't yet.
posted by carsonb at 7:07 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


The propaganda talking point she is referencing is about how Muslim conquerors tore down holy sites and built Mosques on top of them. It will reference the name Cordoba in Spain, which you will note is now a Catholic cathedral, which is also the name of the center being built in NY if she wants to step into tin foil territory instead of just calling all Muslims terrorist sympathizer territory.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:07 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is there going to be a moment in time when you will tell us what you're talking about, or must we guess?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


So we should worry that some people out in the world would use the existence of this center as some kind of "Look, we won!!" propaganda.

But we should not consider that to the overwhelming number of Muslims - especially those who, say, live right here in the US, even right in New York - the rhetoric coming from those who oppose the center is filled with hate and lies, and the message couldn't be clearer: GTFO, we don't want your kind here.

Do I have that right.
posted by rtha at 7:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm having trouble finding exact numbers, but plenty of Muslims (i.e. more than zero) died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed.

It would seem that the number is at least 28 but less than 75.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]



So we should worry that some people out in the world would use the existence of this center as some kind of "Look, we won!!" propaganda.

But we should not consider that to the overwhelming number of Muslims - especially those who, say, live right here in the US, even right in New York - the rhetoric coming from those who oppose the center is filled with hate and lies, and the message couldn't be clearer: GTFO, we don't want your kind here.

Do I have that right.


Precisely correct.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it could. But that's not what I am talking about.

SAOTB: Can you stop playing hide the ball and explain just exactly what you are thinking about? There are about a dozen people that have asked you to explain your bizarre comment, and I don't actually understand what you are talking about. Or should we just go straight to MeTa, where this is going to inevitably wind up anyway? It's ok to take an unpopular position, but if you're just going to drop a turd in the punchbowl and say "la la la I'm not explaining and I'm persecuted", you're not any better than your past incarnations.
posted by norm at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


Then quit being so goddamn oblique and tell us what you're talking about!

Is there already propaganda in 'certain countries' about how the site is still basically a smoking crater and we've just barely gotten started rebuilding almost a decade later? Is there propaganda about how the government has blocked healthcare for those directly involved in rescue efforts?

There are a lot more things we should be downright ashamed about re:9/11. This mosque doesn't even make the top ten.
posted by graventy at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2010


The Twin Towers was a Holy Site? It was a goddamn eyesore. Had the buildings been empty when the planes hit (and the planes too, so there was no loss of life), a lot of New Yorkers I know would have sent thank you letters to Al-Qaeda for the opportunity for civic improvement. This was, after all, the structure that Lewis Mumford called "just glass-and-metal filing cabinets" and said the building was an "example of the purposeless giantism and technological exhibitionism that are now eviscerating the living tissue of every great city."
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:12 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


At least 50 Muslims died in the towers or on the planes on 9/11, including Salman Hamdani, a 23 year old police cadet and ambulance driver killed trying to rescue others.

But I guess he's not a Real American.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:12 AM on August 1, 2010 [45 favorites]


YT video of the walk from Ground Zero to the proposed Cordoba House, and the route on Google Maps. It would be on a side street that you would have to intentionally drive by if you wanted to see it. It's not on any normal route from anywhere to Ground Zero. In other words, if it wasn't in the news, would the Public at Large know where it was? I don't think so.

And has anyone else noted that the content of the "ramping up" link (Republican candidate for Governor of NY Carl Paladino's page on his view the mosque) includes the bold statement "As Governor of New York, I'll stop the Ground Zero Mosque with eminent domain"? You know, when the government takes what is yours for their own nefarious purposes (as property rights advocates might say). On another potential eminent domain claim, a tea party commenter noted the e.d. could be "just another example of liberals working to destroy capitalism." So is this another case of liberals taking what they want (and paying fair market value for it)? I'm confused.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Forgive me for the snark. But seriously, it really is okay for me to disagree with this thread.

A special irony, St Alia, in your attempt to insinuate that anyone in this thread has suggested you should not be allowed to express a minority opinion, or should be banned from doing so, or something. You've expressed an opinion that a large number of people believe to be rooted in prejudice rather than a shred of evidence, and they are exercising their freedom to say so.

The irony being, of course, that your position in this argument is precisely in opposition to freedom of expression for one specific group of Americans, for reasons you've neglected to explain.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [34 favorites]


It's probably worth noting that there are at least 600,000 Muslims in New York City, who this center would serve. I wonder if they are factored in when people say this would offend New Yorkers, or are New Yorkers not Muslim?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Also, there are a number of other churches in the area, if Google Maps is to be believed. Go religious diversity!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope everyone here realizes just how poisionous and insidious the curse of nationalism can be. I mean, we have a woman here (a Christian, a mother) who is defending the denial of constitutional rights to a religious minority because it offends the sensibilities of the majority and then claims to be a dissident in doing so.

And the ADL, who are defending the same denial of those constitutional rights in the name of protecting liberty and freedom.

Nationalism is a drug that makes us forget who we are.
posted by Azazel Fel at 7:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [53 favorites]


For the sake of the argument, here's the list of known Muslim victims on 9/11, rendered non-entities by the bigots who oppose the Cordoba Center.

Partial List of Muslim 9/11 Victims:

Note: This list is as yet incomplete and unconfirmed. It has been compiled from the Islamic Circle of North America, the Newsday victims database, and reports from other major news organizations. The victims' ages, employers, or other personal information is included when available, along with links to further information or photos.

Samad Afridi
Ashraf Ahmad
Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
Umar Ahmad
Azam Ahsan
Ahmed Ali
Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
Jamal Legesse Desantis
Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
SaleemUllah Farooqi
Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
Osman Gani
Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
Nabid Hossain
Shahzad Hussain
Talat Hussain
Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
Yasmeen Jamal
Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
Arslan Khan Khakwani
Asim Khan
Ataullah Khan
Ayub Khan
Qasim Ali Khan
Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
Yasmeen Khan
Zahida Khan
Badruddin Lakhani
Omar Malick
Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
Raza Mujtaba
Omar Namoos
Mujeb Qazi
Tarranum Rahim
Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
Naveed Rehman
Yusuf Saad
Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
Shoman Samad
Asad Samir
Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.'s Fiduciary Trust)
Jamil Swaati
Sanober Syed
Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
W. Wahid
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2010 [42 favorites]


Tea Party Jesus weighs in.
posted by Evilspork at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2010


I'm so fucking proud to be a Mefite right now.

I'm not. They don't know how to handle dissent.


When the dissent is totally fucking moronic, no, we don't know how to handle it.

I watched the attack from my window at work, had a perfect, unobstructed view. I walked 3 miles home through the cloud of debris when the buildings fell. I didn't have phone, internet or television for at least a week afterwards, and had to rely on word of mouth to find out what was going on. I smelled it for months. I woke up to military jets flying around at all hours of the night. I support this community center, and I wish we could pack up every meddling asshole from the south and ship them to Afghanistan where they can join their partners in philosophy, the Taliban.
posted by nevercalm at 7:19 AM on August 1, 2010 [37 favorites]


They don't know how to handle dissent.

It's not dissent that's at issue, but shouting cryptic and inflammatory slogans into a crowded room and then coyly refusing to explain or justify any of it. And I think we're dealing with it just fine. If you're interested in actually dissenting in a productive way, you could start by seriously answering any of the many questions people have put to you: What exactly is "tone-deaf" about building a Muslim center in lower Manhattan? How far away should it be from Ground Zero? Do you know what lower Manhattan looks like, or how big a block actually is? Have you even taken cognizance of the fact that it's not a mosque and it's not at Ground Zero? Why do you assume that it's upsetting to New Yorkers or families of 911 victims? You've heard in this thread from many New Yorkers saying that it's not upsetting to them -- do you think they're the exception? Do you not believe them? Or do you take back what you said? Exactly how is this community center going to be used as propaganda? And who are these people "out here" who are saying that? In short: what exactly are you saying?
posted by creasy boy at 7:20 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


At least according to that blog I linked to earlier, that about.com page is of questionable accuracy and hasn't been updated in a long time.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:20 AM on August 1, 2010


About.com: of questionable accuracy and hasn't been updated in a long time.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:22 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I still say this is tonedeaf. For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door. Yes, they have the legal right to move there but you sure don't feel good about it.

I am not an idiot, I am sure the people who want to build this thing have good intentions. But I think their choice of site is defeating their purpose.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:22 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd be gratified if people tried to keep in mind that the ADL does not have any special writ to speak for Jews in general, or even American Jews in general. What they say carries no "official" weight, and their actions cannot properly be used as evidence of "what (all) (American) Jews do" any more than the actions of a single Christian political advocacy group could be used as evidence of what (all)(American) Christians do, or the actions of a single Muslim group for what all Muslims in the greater surrounding community think, etc.

I've more or less abandoned trying to fight the odd willingness to stereotype and generalize about Jews in the I/P threads here, but I'll be damned if I'll put up with it in the American context.


On preview: I'm confused, furiousxgeorge. Are you quoting this, or saying it?

I am ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel, and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed that day, by the Jews who actually did it.

Now, I know you may disagree with my theory of what happened. And sure, obviously ALL Jews weren't involved in the conspiracy to take down the twin towers, but the controversy which has emerged regarding the building of a Jewish Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process.


Cause if you're saying it, really, go fuck yourself.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:22 AM on August 1, 2010


I still say this is tonedeaf. For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

Sure, in the sense that all Muslims have terrorist relatives. You know, a crazy racist way.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


Ah, so now we're moving on to concern trolling.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not. They don't know how to handle dissent.

You've been here for at least ten years under three (or more) names, so it's telling that "Mefites" are still "they" to you, you old troll.
posted by nicwolff at 7:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


snuffleupagus, he's parodying the anti-mosque argument in order to make its offensiveness more obvious.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Note that both Mefites AND Muslims are "they" to SAOTB, in her third MeFi incarnation.

My question then is who is "us?" Because for damn sure she's not part of my "we."
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:24 AM on August 1, 2010


like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

By virtue of their coincidentally sharing the same religion, and in no other way being related? I'm descended from Irish Catholics. Would it be tone deaf for you to move next to me? After all, Irish Protestants were responsible for some atrocities against my family.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


Serious question, anyone know a straightforward way to lend support (financial, etc) to the building of Cordoba House?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can site this very thread as proof. For those of you who have no problem with this, none of you needs any cultural education. For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick. The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah. After all, weren't those terrorists convinced they were going to go straight to heaven for what they did???? In many minds, that isn't going to be divorced from Islam. Whether or not it can or should be, that is how it is. And offended people are darn hard to win over.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:25 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still say this is tonedeaf. For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door. Yes, they have the legal right to move there but you sure don't feel good about it.

So St Alia, you support the closing and demolition of churches near the families of people who have been abused by priests? The closing of German restaurants near synagogues? Lady, I don't think you've thought this out very well.
posted by nevercalm at 7:26 AM on August 1, 2010 [40 favorites]




snuffleupagus, he's parodying the anti-mosque argument in order to make its offensiveness more obvious.


This. And I no that type of comparison can be shaky as hell and isn't well regarded as rhetoric around here, but considering exactly what St. Alia is saying is some 9/11 families are crazy racists and we don't want to hurt their feelings since they are 9/11 families it seems we should respect all the views of crazy racist 9/11 survivors and families even if they aren't just hating Muslims.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:26 AM on August 1, 2010


St. Alia: "All New Yorkers believe that X."

New York Mefites: "We don't believe X at all."

St. Alia: "Agree to disagree."

Metafilter: "???"
posted by shen1138 at 7:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [30 favorites]


they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

No they didn't.. Your making the victims here the perpetrators, but you're among those attempting to deny them their constitutional rights, and your only support for it is that it upsets bigots?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:28 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


And I no

DAMN YOU HOMOPHONES!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:28 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could this thread have gone any more predictably?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:28 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sure. There's no Meta yet.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:29 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good point.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:30 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This. And I no that type of comparison can be shaky as hell and isn't well regarded as rhetoric around here, but considering exactly what St. Alia is saying is some 9/11 families are crazy racists and we don't want to hurt their feelings since they are 9/11 families it seems we should respect all the views of crazy racist 9/11 survivors and families even if they aren't just hating Muslims.

Ah. Apologies for leaping out of my skin, then. I'd agree that both are absurd.

Here is the Cordoba House Initiative link requested, for those who want to contribute.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated [...]

Won't somebody think of the bigots?!?
posted by Rhomboid at 7:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


At least 50 Muslims died in the towers or on the planes on 9/11, including Salman Hamdani, a 23 year old police cadet and ambulance driver killed trying to rescue others.

But I guess he's not a Real American


Never heard of him before, now I want Park Place to be re-named Salman Hamdani place.
posted by xetere at 7:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could this thread have gone any more predictably?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:28 AM on August 1 [+] [!]


Sure. There's no Meta yet.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:29 AM on August 1 [+] [!]


Good point.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:30 AM on August 1 [+] [!]
Here you go.
posted by norm at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2010


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

The people who are building this community center did not commit 9/11.

This is really not difficult to understand.
posted by Azazel Fel at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2010 [39 favorites]


I guess the World Trade Center was a kind of holy site.
posted by goatdog at 7:36 AM on August 1, 2010


For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

They need more than that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:36 AM on August 1, 2010


It seems pretty obvious that what drove ADL director Abraham Foxman's decision was the sensitivity of some of his big donors; that's pretty much what always drives Foxman's decisions these days. To those who say the organization's credibility took a hit here, it's worth remembering Foxman's ADL lost its moral credibility long ago. Remember the ADL's Armenian genocide denial? Foxman refused to acknowledge the genocide because he didn't want to annoy Turkey, fired a regional director who disagreed with him, then sort of reversed himself after a couple of regional board members resigned and towns started cutting off ties to local chapters. It was disgusting. Jewcy published a sharp takedown of Foxman in the thick of that one.
posted by mediareport at 7:36 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm not. They don't know how to handle dissent.
Looks like they do, actually. You said your piece, the people who disagreed with you said their piece, and you still have an account. By the logic of your original post, you know that you anger and unsettle people on MeFi, so you're the insensitive clod who has no respect for others. Oh, snap!

The strange thing, Alia, is that when this sort of thing happens (and it happens frequently) you're often defended by several people who disagree with you, because they believe that you should have the right to be here, making people uncomfortable and upsetting them. I've even done that in other threads, not because I agree with you but because you do have the right to be here and it's good for MeFites to bust out of the relative unanimity sometimes.
If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award. Period.
Christians who evangelize in Saudi Arabia are upsetting to many people. Jews who have jobs in government are upsetting to many people. Blacks who want to drink from the same fountains as whites are upsetting to some people. It's a difficult, upsetting world that we live in. The important question is, "What is upsetting, and is it a legitimate grievance that should be honored? Or is it simply bigotry?" For better or worse, the vast majority of New Yorkers -- any much of the rest of the nation -- have decided that it's simply bigotry. You're on the losing side of that argument, statistically speaking. Sorry.
Talk about tone deaf. If they had any compassion or brains they'd build elsewhere. Because if their goal is mutual respect and peace this is a hell of a way to go about it.
There's a lot of interesting subtext in this statement, mostly because it demonstrates how thin the "We're not at war with Islam, we're at war with radical terrorists" fig leaf is. For years, it's been said that the real problem with 'Muslim moderates' is that they don't condemn the radicals, that they don't reach out and engage in positive ways, that they're too willing to close ranks and defend terrorists because they're fellow Muslims.

And here we have a Muslim organization that has done all of the things we say Muslims should do, has vigorously spoken out against radical Islam, engaged with tje community around it, planned a rec center and worked for a year with Christians and Jews in the community to get things rolling, and has the support of the people who live around it. And now, you're calling them brainless and compassionate for doing so.

Honestly, Alia, the thing I'm always shocked by when you drop statements like this isn't that you think those things. There are lots of people I know who think and even say things like that. What's interesting is that you know almost everyone here disagrees with you, and you make no attempt to engage or communicate or speak in ways that might perhaps be understood. I've talked to you about the pro-life movement in the past. I am not a pro-lifer, and I find the movement utterly repugnant, but I am capable of talking to someone in a way that respects their beliefs and their premises. Why? Because I care more about communicating than I do about spleen-venting and striking self-righteous poses.

Try it. I dare you to say, "If I believed that it was okay for Muslims to do this, and I believed that only bigots would oppose this mosque, how would I explain the idea that it would be better to build somewhere else to a fellow lefty?" That exercise is difficult, and ironically it forces you out of your comfort zone as much as you obviously force MeFites out of theirs.
posted by verb at 7:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [72 favorites]


Tempest in a teabag.

Wait. Why is the ADL supporting a cause célèbre of the American right? Is it because the American right is supportive of the Israeli right?

Or is linking the ADL with the political interests of the Jewish state some kind of racism?
posted by clarknova at 7:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


For the accruing record: as a born New Yorker who watched the Twin Towers go up as a child and with my own eyes watched them turn to dust, I don't mind a mosque being built on Park Place and I don't know anyone who does.
posted by nicwolff at 7:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Sorry, yes, that About.Com list is old. Anyone have access to a more updated list? The point stands, because without question dozens of Muslims (American and not) were killed in the attacks, along with people of every other faith and no faith at all.

The real irony is that bigoted, inflammatory responses like the one represented here by a certain MeFite are exactly what al Quaeda hoped to inspire among Americans by executing that attack.

So that makes SAOTB a sucker for the propaganda she decries, because that attack was propaganda through and through. Maybe her error is in assuming other people must be as thoughtless, fearful, and tribal as she is. Making non-Muslim Americans fear and hate Islam (and Muslims all over the world hate and fear "America") was the mutually held goal of Osama Bin Laden and the Neocon war machine. Mission fucking accomplished.

People move to New York from all over the world to get away from that shit.

I just thought the educated Jews who make up the leadership of organizations like ADL would be smarter and better people than propagandized halfwits from the provinces so easily whipped up by con artists like Palin and Gingrich.

And if the Jewish supporters of organizations like the ADL really believe the apocalypse-craving right wing "Christians" currently sharing their platform are any less bigoted against Jews than the average member of Al Quaeda, they're fooling themselves. It's a relationship of pure political convenience. Once they're done with the Muslims, they'll come for the Jews. Bet on it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Or is linking the ADL with the political interests of the Jewish state some kind of racism?
No, that's politics. Go right ahead!
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2010


Meanwhile, we show how concerned we really are for 9/11 victims by voting down a health care package for them.

It's a tangent, but I just want to note that Rep. Anthony Weiner's response to this is one of the most glorious things I have ever seen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


Then there's the part where the New York MeFites kinda ignore that MeFites are a self-selecting bunch and that the site leans maybe a teensy bit to the left. Self-selection bias at its finest.

Are there any actual polls in New York about this? Because that would be a bit more authoritative about what New Yorkers think. Oh, here. That was my first attempt, about five seconds on Teh Goog. Are there more?

Love you guys, but always take a moment to remember that, as a group that probably has, on average, at least one more degree than the hoi polloi, one book more published than the usual zero, and running generally forty IQ points higher than the norm, we're not exactly super-representative of the nation or even any segment of the nation.

Having said that, build away.
posted by adipocere at 7:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah.

Wait, what? Where'd you get that 'in the name of Allah' stuff?
posted by fixedgear at 7:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just thought the educated Jews who make up the leadership of organizations like ADL would be smarter and better people than propagandized halfwits from the provinces so easily whipped up by con artists like Palin and Gingrich.

Maybe once but now that the ADL has been taken over by Likudnik neocons and their ilk, which means most American Jews have pretty much checked out of those organizations, they are given free reign to be the John Birchowitz society or something.
Here's hoping J Street and other organizations, like this one will restore the balance, Baruch ha shem
posted by xetere at 7:43 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah.

So by that logic all Christians in this country are responsible for the death of nine doctors, nurses, and security guards working at abortion clinics since 1993, the two people killed in the 96 Olympics, and the hundreds injured, since all of those were done in the name of Jesus?
posted by Rhomboid at 7:43 AM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


The best response to all this that I've read is this comment in a Reddit thread (not from me, and I quote for the sentiment, not the factual inaccuracies):
Putting a 15 story mosque inside the world trade center is the biggest fuck you to al-qaeda i can think of.

Sends the right message. America is tolerance. You are twisted, fundamentalist fucks. We won't let you divide the West against the Islamic world. We are one.
Seriously: we're talking about a community center and place of worship. Religious intolerance should not be answered with religious intolerance. We are better than that.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:44 AM on August 1, 2010 [59 favorites]


Yeah, I wasn't going to presume to say that New Yorkers are in favor or against it. I do, however, presume to say that human rights is nothing something we decide by poll. 99 percent of New Yorkers could be against it, and, were that the case, 99 percent of New Yorkers would be wrong.

That being said, I wonder how many New Yorkers would be against it were the question phrased "How do you feel about a Muslim equivalent of a Jewish Community Center two blocks away from the proposed WTC memorial center," rather than "OMG THEY'RE BUILDING A MOSQUE ON GROUND ZERO!"
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:44 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah. After all, weren't those terrorists convinced they were going to go straight to heaven for what they did??

Uh the towers were attacked with very specific reasons, NOT in the name of allah. But because Bin Laden wanted the U.S. armed forces out of Saudi Arabia primarily.

If you will recall GWB was REALLY not into blaming all muslims for this attack, especially American muslims.

It's astounding to see the repubs unravel after losing the reigns of power, these last 4 years have seen the repubs devolve into lowest common denominator territory with apparent glee.
posted by Max Power at 7:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they ran that poll only in Manhattan, where the attack actually occurred, I can guarantee you it would be overwhelmingly in support of the Cordoba Center. I know people of various political stripes all over the city. No one I know could give less of a shit about something like this.

In any case, in America we don't let the majority decide whether a minority can have religious freedom of property rights, as I recall.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Are there any actual polls in New York about this? Because that would be a bit more authoritative about what New Yorkers think. Oh, here.

Rasmussen likely voters, eh?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick. The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah.

*falls down dead from cognitive dissonance overload*
posted by rtha at 7:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Zol zein, Xetere.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2010


The clear generational and denominational bifurcation of American Jews is explored in this worthwhile piece: The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.
posted by gwint at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2010


For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick. The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah.
After writing my earlier post, I read what's been said in the interim. I appreciate, Alia, that you're trying to articulate your point in a way that meets the MeFi consensus opinion halfway. (Your most recent post boils down to, 'You people understand tolerance, but those who don't are bothered by this.')

The problem you're now facing is that if you argue from that premise, it's even more blindingly obvious why the folks here think that opposition to the building is nothing but bigotry. This building is "a poke in the eye with a sharp stick" the way a Jew marrying a Swede is a "slap in the face." The problem isn't that the Jew is being insensitive. I'm not attacking you here, just noting the conceptual hole you're digging yourself into.
posted by verb at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd be gratified if people tried to keep in mind that the ADL does not have any special writ to speak for Jews in general, or even American Jews in general. What they say ...

Is the ADL a "they" or a "he"? Because when the Oliver Stone thing came out it was all "Abraham Foxman demands an apology," followed by "Abraham Foxman forgives him," which makes me wonder whether there's a formal process behind the ADL's policies or whether he just makes it up as he goes along.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:48 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


. . . If new yorkers are mostly over it, why don't the yokels in places like Wasila and Fayetteville shut the fuck up?

Fucking ugly Americans aren't worthy of a city like New York, where our productive economy supports half the hick states of Real America.


Too late to say, of course, but can we not do this? As a hick-state native, I don't jump into threads about the many, many embarrassing things that our state governments do that make national news, and castigate Yankees for expressing an opinion. I am, of course, aware that Palin, Gingrich, et al. have no use for New York City except as a symbol, but throw that against them.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


The problem isn't that the Jew is being insensitive

The problem is really the erotic fantasies that formed in my head when you gave the example.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nate Silver on the limits of polling this question: (some emphases mine)

Interestingly, although the Quinnipiac poll showed a majority of New York City residents opposed to the project, a 46-36 plurality of Manhattanites were in favor of it. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but one might be that they have a superior understanding of the borough's geography. It is not as though there's just one road to Ground Zero and some huge mosque would be built right next door to it.

Although the Quinnipiac Poll described Cordoba House fairly completely -- as "a Muslim mosque and cultural center" -- the Rasmussen poll describes it merely as "a mosque near the 9/11 Ground Zero site", omitting any description of its multipurpose nature. It is hard to say how much difference this makes, but Rasmussen, which often has problems with question wording, would probably do more to inform its respondents by referring to it as Quinnipiac did.

Another problem with both the Quinnipiac and Ramsussen polls is that it's a bit ambiguous what it means to "support" or "oppose" the project in this context. I imagine there is a spectrum of about five different positions that one might take on Cordoba House:

1) I support the project: its goals seem laudable, and it would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

2) I am indifferent about the project itself -- I can see the arguments both for it and against it. But this is a free country, and the developers certainly have a right to express themselves.

3) I'd rather that the project weren't built, especially so near to Ground Zero. But it's certainly not the government's business to stop its construction.

4) I'm opposed to the project and hope that it isn't built. But I'm indifferent about whether or not the City should act to stop it.

5) I'm definitely opposed to the project, and the City should exercise its authority to prevent it from being built.

Arguably, responses 3 through 5 all qualify as "opposition" to the project, whereas only the first one indicates clear support. But one's personal position on the mosque is not necessarily the same as thinking that the City should take affirmative steps to prohibit its construction by eminent domain laws by or other means, a position held by only those in Group 5. This is somewhat analogous to asking: "do you support or oppose flag-burning?". Without additional context, it would be quite natural for someone to say they opposed it, but they might nevertheless consider it to be Constitutionally protected activity. Likewise, while Cordoba House is clearly not popular, none of the polling speaks to whether a proposal like Paladino's would find much support.

A final ambiguity -- and not one the pollsters can't do anything about -- is the question of just who "owns" Ground Zero. Is it the whole country? The residents of New York State? Of New York City? Just the people of Manhattan? Just the people who live or work in the neighborhood or who were personally impacted by 9/11? I'm a New Yorker now, but I wasn't at the time of the September 11th attacks; should my opinion count less than someone who was?


If the rest of America "owns" Ground Zero, then I'd like to register my opposition to the building of a Denny's on a quiet street in Wasila, my atheist's opposition to the existence of any house of worship anywhere near the Murrah Federal Building site in Oklahoma City, and my real dislike for the treehouse you're building in your own backyard, wherever you live.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [23 favorites]


St. Alia - "They don't know how to handle dissent."

Okay, honest question. What do you think is the proper way to handle dissent?

Personally, I think a good way to handle dissent is to say "I disagree. Here's what I think and evidence to back up my position. How about you clarify what you mean and provide evidence for your position, then we can hash it out."

In this case, you made a statement that building this Muslim community center would be tone-deaf because it would be upsetting to New Yorkers/ 9-11 victims families and also that it would be used for propaganda purposes.

In response, it was pointed out that most of the community in Manhattan support building the center. In addition, a number of individual New Yorkers who live close to the site and were personally affected by 9-11 volunteered that they support building the center. It was pointed out that a number of the victims were Muslims, and thus presumably their families would not be offended by a mosque in the vicinity. You were asked what evidence you have for asserting that the site is upsetting to New Yorkers or the victim's families, and you have not replied.

Also, you were asked what sort of propaganda could be made from the building of the site and why that propaganda should trump our core American values. You have made no attempt to answer those questions either.

You've got every right in the world to disagree with the majority in this thread. However, to suggest that you're being suppressed because those you disagree with provide evidence for their views and ask you to provide evidence for yours seems a bit odd to me.

So I'll return to my original question - what do you think is the proper way to handle dissent?
posted by tdismukes at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


The bottom line for me is that cynical political opportunists like Sarah Palin don't even include New York in their idea of "real America" unless it's convenient for their political grandstanding, so what right do they have to whine about what amounts to a local zoning issue?

That the Palins and Limbaughs and Fox Newses of the world continue to blow this dog whistle just goes to show that the Republicans and the modern conservative movement are primarily made up of racists and bigots. They know their market well, and they know this kind of inflammatory rhetoric is what gets their base all riled up and motivated to vote.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have to watch yourself with polls.

Interestingly, although the Quinnipiac poll showed a majority of New York City residents opposed to the project, a 46-36 plurality of Manhattanites were in favor of it. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but one might be that they have a superior understanding of the borough's geography. It is not as though there's just one road to Ground Zero and some huge mosque would be built right next door to it.

Although the Quinnipiac Poll described Cordoba House fairly completely -- as "a Muslim mosque and cultural center" -- the Rasmussen poll describes it merely as "a mosque near the 9/11 Ground Zero site", omitting any description of its multipurpose nature. It is hard to say how much difference this makes, but Rasmussen, which often has problems with question wording, would probably do more to inform its respondents by referring to it as Quinnipiac did.

Another problem with both the Quinnipiac and Ramsussen polls is that it's a bit ambiguous what it means to "support" or "oppose" the project in this context. I imagine there is a spectrum of about five different positions that one might take on Cordoba House:

1) I support the project: its goals seem laudable, and it would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

2) I am indifferent about the project itself -- I can see the arguments both for it and against it. But this is a free country, and the developers certainly have a right to express themselves.

3) I'd rather that the project weren't built, especially so near to Ground Zero. But it's certainly not the government's business to stop its construction.

4) I'm opposed to the project and hope that it isn't built. But I'm indifferent about whether or not the City should act to stop it.

5) I'm definitely opposed to the project, and the City should exercise its authority to prevent it from being built.

Arguably, responses 3 through 5 all qualify as "opposition" to the project, whereas only the first one indicates clear support. But one's personal position on the mosque is not necessarily the same as thinking that the City should take affirmative steps to prohibit its construction by eminent domain laws by or other means, a position held by only those in Group 5. This is somewhat analogous to asking: "do you support or oppose flag-burning?". Without additional context, it would be quite natural for someone to say they opposed it, but they might nevertheless consider it to be Constitutionally protected activity. Likewise, while Cordoba House is clearly not popular, none of the polling speaks to whether a proposal like Paladino's would find much support.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:53 AM on August 1, 2010


Haha, go to hell fourcheese.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


You've got every right in the world to disagree with the majority in this thread. However, to suggest that you're being suppressed because those you disagree with provide evidence for their views and ask you to provide evidence for yours seems a bit odd to me.
tdismukes, to be fair to Alia when one finds one's self as the voice of opposition in a thread where pretty much everyone disagrees with you, keeping up can be hard. Whether you're right or wrong, having a dozen people all taking a crack at what you said -- and insisting that you're dodging their insightful rebuttal because you only responded to the other 11 -- is tough.
posted by verb at 7:55 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a tangent, but I just want to note that Rep. Anthony Weiner's response to this is one of the most glorious things I have ever seen.


"...I will NOT yield... The gentleman will SIT DOWN ... SIT DOWN!"

Fucking golden, wish this guy was my rep. I assume he was yelling at Peter King, fellow NY congressman?

I actually cheered the first time I saw this.
posted by Max Power at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm as much a freedom loving guy as the next, so I don't understand the ADL position that it is just a tasteless place to build. Why not a theme park on German History two blocks from Auschwitz? German is now a great democratic state so what's the problem?
posted by Postroad at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2010


Is the ADL a "they" or a "he"? Because when the Oliver Stone thing came out it was all "Abraham Foxman demands an apology," followed by "Abraham Foxman forgives him," which makes me wonder whether there's a formal process behind the ADL's policies or whether he just makes it up as he goes along.

Nominally the ADL presents itself as a "they," but I really couldn't speak to how it functions internally. I've read that take on it before--both in Jewish media and in wider coverage--so there may very well be something to it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2010


I just want to make it very clear to non-Jews that we Jews are never, ever taught hatred of any group - not in Hebrew school, not in services at synagogue, nowhere. It's not an element of the religion or traditional religious education. There's no anti-Muslim indoctrination, and personally it has never crossed my mind to hate a whole group of millions of people.

I'm sorry to say this, but that's a bit of a generalization. Growing up semi-ultra-Orthodox, anti-Arab/Muslim (lumped together for our convenience) sentiment was very, very common. Not to mention a general distrust/grumbling hatred for gentiles in general.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am a New Yorker, one who witnessed the entire event on 9/11, including the second plane hitting, the towers coming down, the dust and ash covered people, dazed. wandering by me, the stench for weeks afterwards, the tanks on my street, and the loss of one of my businesses because my neighborhood was barricaded and only those with proof of residence there being allowed in.

I am VASTLY more offended by the GOP's propagandization of 9/11 for it's 2004 RNC here and the civil rights violations that were rampant during that event, than an Islamic center being built blocks away from the WTC site.

Personally, I wouldn't mind if it were right up facing the site, or on the site itself. The people who visit that area might be able to learn a little something about tolerance by example.
posted by newpotato at 7:59 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

no, it's more like crying "there goes the neighborhood" and selling your house the day a black family moves in

do you really think one billion muslims are all part of one, big, nasty terrorist family?

For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

they started a fight over this, didn't they? - and they don't just need educating in tolerance, they need educating in constitutional rights - which is something i would have thought TRUE conservatives wouldn't need
posted by pyramid termite at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is the ADL a "they" or a "he"?

That's a great question; Foxman often seems to treat the ADL as his own personal playground, and while there are a couple dozen regional offices, it's not clear how many actual "members" the group has. What *is* clear is that a large number of American Jews are very adamant in proclaiming the ADL does not speak for them in the slightest.
posted by mediareport at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2010


Back in 2008, when Sarah Palin was campaigning in North Carolina, she gave the following speech at a party rally, "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America. {...} Being here with all of you hard-working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans."

However much she was forced to "refudiate" her comments afterward, she has achieved no new credibility since to justify her telling "Peaceful New Yorkers" - who apparently have insufficient everyday kindness, goodness, and courage - what to do. Her small-minded demagoguery during her vice presidential run is still "too raw, too real" for such admonitions. If this is how she intends to address the city as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, she should close down her Twitter and Facebook accounts "in the interest of healing".
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm as much a freedom loving guy as the next, so I don't understand the ADL position that it is just a tasteless place to build. Why not a theme park on German History two blocks from Auschwitz? German is now a great democratic state so what's the problem?
Considering the fact that Cordoba House is being built by people who oppose Islamic radicalism, I'd say that it's more analogous to "A museum about Germans who opposed the holocaust." And I don't think many people would find that inappropriate, unless they had some axe to grind about 'The Krauts.'
posted by verb at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have been living in New York since 2002 and am right now on vacation in my home state of Florida. After driving up and down the length of the state and stopping at points along the way, I get a taste of the cultural divide in this country.

I spend ten hours a week in a subway crammed full of strangers, but there are folks at a flea market in Daytona who are more scared of Muslim terrorists than me.

What the red state folks fail to accept is that this is not THEIR country that I'm living in. We all have to share. And, I would emphasize octothorpe's point that the libertarian views espoused by so many of today's republicans seems to dissolve in these situations.

Most but not all of the vocal opponents of this structure are white and Christian and would prefer if the whole country were that way.
posted by sswiller at 8:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Great, but an actual poll, even if imperfect, even if Rasmussen, beats "Hey show of hands guys" on MeFi, any day. That's a heck of a beam in your own eye you're ignoring, when it comes to poll bias.
posted by adipocere at 8:06 AM on August 1, 2010


The assertion that this:

For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

is an acceptable position on this issue is pure, unadulterated horseshit. Seriously, brand new day blah blah same old shit.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:07 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


In many minds, that isn't going to be divorced from Islam. Whether or not it can or should be, that is how it is. And offended people are darn hard to win over.

There will always be people who are offended by groups don't like enjoying the same freedoms they do. How many people were offended by women getting the right to vote? How many people were offended by integration? How many people were offended by Jews and Catholics building synagogues and cathedrals when these groups were regular targets of discrimination? (there was at one point an entire political party based on anti-Catholicism)

People being offended is never an excuse to deny someone's rights.
posted by Ndwright at 8:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


I would go so far as to say that the only time that the sensitivities of bigots should be taken into consideration is when predicting the need for measures to contain them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Great, but an actual poll, even if imperfect, even if Rasmussen, beats "Hey show of hands guys" on MeFi, any day. That's a heck of a beam in your own eye you're ignoring, when it comes to poll bias.

The community board, made up of...well...PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH THE PLACE IS GOING TO BE BUILT voted overwhelmingly to allow it to move forward. Fuck the polls, if the people who live there support it by a vast majority, it should be built.
posted by nevercalm at 8:12 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


The community board, made up of...well...PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH THE PLACE IS GOING TO BE BUILT voted overwhelmingly to allow it to move forward. Fuck the polls, if the people who live there support it by a vast majority, it should be built.
This is the interesting part. It's not as if a gang of guys in white robes flew in from Saudi Arabia and announced they'd be building a mosque on ground zero.

Actual New Yorkers who happen to be Muslims decided to build a community center! And they worked with Christians and Jews in the area to figure out how it should be done! And now someone from Alaska is complaining about it! This is kind of staggering.
posted by verb at 8:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [27 favorites]


but can we not do this?

Sorry, and of course you're right and I'm being polemical, mostly because I think it behooves people who think their red-state world is "America" and want to annex Ground Zero (I hate that term, have you ever been to Hiroshima?) without annexing anything else about New York to hear that anger turned back on their taken-for-granted everyday.

I've spent good parts of my life in hick American, including a long stretch in Texas as a pro country and western musician (in the course of which I have visited more small towns than most people can name) and, more recently, long stretches in very rural Alaska. Some of my best friends are rednecks (slight irony intended). This little debate with Alia has a long history going back to the behemoth Sarah Palin threads of the last election. Actually, as I recall, back in the day when she was claiming her NC town was real America and loved Palin, I pointed out that her county actually went for Barack Obama handily.

So I'm being a little Swiftian. If the non-metropolitan, non-coastal communities of the US were detached from the political buzzsaw of "real vs. fake America," it would be great for all of us.

It's not so much actual hick America I'm othering. It's people who live anywhere that believe there is such a place as Sarah Palin's America, where the people are all white and the churches are all full and virtue prevails, under threat from the evil, multicultural, educated, internationalist fake America where *most Americans actually live.* Even those in small towns.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:18 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Fucking golden, wish this guy was my rep. I assume he was yelling at Peter King, fellow NY congressman?


Yes, that's right. He was yelling at one of the most obnoxious, hateful pricks ever to serve in congress.

That rant was a thing of beauty. I wish President Obama would throw down on the Republicans in general like that. I think it would be widely applauded.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Back in 2008, when Sarah Palin was campaigning in North Carolina, she gave the following speech at a party rally, "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America. {...} Being here with all of you hard-working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans."

Yes, she said that in a county that also went solidly for Obama.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


That obnoxious, hateful prick is from the town where I grew up. It's really hard to believe that a town filled with people who commute to NYC every day can elect that asshole again and again.
posted by nevercalm at 8:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You do understand that the more desperate the GOP gets the worse this stuff is going to get?
posted by lslelel at 8:32 AM on August 1, 2010


From the Wikipedia entry:

Mohammad Salman Hamdani (1978–September 11, 2001) was a Muslim Pakistani American who was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Hamdani was born in Karachi, Pakistan and moved to America with his family when he was only 13 months old. He later became a paramedic, ambulance driver, and a New York City Police Department cadet. On September 11, 2001 while on the way to work, Hamdani witnessed the smoke coming from the Twin Towers and hurried to the scene to assist. He was killed while going to the aid of victims in the World Trade Center. However, since he did not notify anyone of where he went and never showed up for work, US media speculated initially that he was involved in the terrorist attack, due to his ethnicity and religion. His remains were later found at the rubble of the WTC, and he was posthumously declared a hero.

He is specifically mentioned in the USA PATRIOT Act, Title 1 in section 102 (titled "Sense of Congress condemning discrimination against Arab and Muslim Americans"). The Act specifically states that:

Many Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have acted heroically during the attacks on the United States, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old New Yorker of Pakistani descent, who is believed to have gone to the World Trade Center to offer rescue assistance and is now missing.

posted by fourcheesemac at 8:39 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


I can site this very thread as proof. For those of you who have no problem with this, none of you needs any cultural education. For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

Huh?

You aren't really trying to make yourself one of the victims here, are you?? Because that's what that sounds like. It sounds like you are trying to say that because many people here disagree with, and are even intolerant of, your intolerant opinions, that *we* are the bad guys? That our intolerance of your intolerant opinion is *worse* than your more pure intolerance, and that you are just as much a victim of our intolerance as they are of yours???

Also, reasoned disagreement isn't intolerance. We aren't saying you can't move into our neighborhood because we disagree with you. We are merely saying you are wrong. Big difference.

The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah.

Even if what you say is true, so what? They have just as much right to be offensive as you do.

After all, weren't those terrorists convinced they were going to go straight to heaven for what they did????

It doesn't make a damn bit of difference what they thought.

In the first place, they are dead, so we really don't know what they thought. In the second place, beliefs are not equal to actions. Third, being a member of the same racial or religious group, or believing in the same god, does not mean people are going to act the same way. Plenty of people have killed in the name of Christ- does that mean it's cool to not let Christians move in next door? Of course not. Sharing beliefs, even abhorrent ones, is not a predictor of action.

And furthermore, these people are trying to build a place that is expressly about finding common ground and living in peace with those around them.

In many minds, that isn't going to be divorced from Islam. Whether or not it can or should be, that is how it is.

That doesn't mean we should change our values to align with their ignorance. Turning the other cheek and all that...

And offended people are darn hard to win over.

Clearly.

posted by gjc at 8:39 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


A happier recent event in NY: Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan
posted by homunculus at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please nobody hijack this thread for some sort of personal vendetta.

Uh-oh.
posted by ericb at 8:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The United States was founded on principles of religious freedom that Christian fundamentalists are very speedy to invoke when they feel that their own freedoms are being infringed in any way.

The Founding Fathers and Islam: "it is clear that the Founding Fathers thought about the relationship of Islam to the new nation and were prepared to make a place for it in the republic." Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was a precursor to the First Amendment and Jefferson said it was "meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" (emphasis added).
posted by kirkaracha at 8:48 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Another vote of support for the center from someone who was in Manhattan on 9/11, smelled the lingering stench for weeks, and despises the people who planned and carried out that criminal act. None of whom are involved with this project.

> I still say this is tonedeaf. For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door. Yes, they have the legal right to move there but you sure don't feel good about it.

I am not going to call you a bigot, but I am going to say that you are abetting bigots and sounding exactly like a bigot. And please don't tell me about your multiracial family. That's not the issue here.

> Are there any actual polls in New York about this? Because that would be a bit more authoritative about what New Yorkers think. Oh, here.

Oh, look, that poll is about opinion in New York State. When we say "New Yorkers," we're talking about New York City. Nice try, but your poll is irrelevant.
posted by languagehat at 8:48 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


If you are surprised by the ADL in this case, then you haven't been paying attention. The ADL is a politically conservative group with a fairly narrow fund raising base. It's not a mass-base organization and it's not a human rights organization. They often end up on the right side of issues, but they are not Amnesty International.

More than once, Foxman has totally stunned people who usually work with and support the ADL by coming out of nowhere with a reactionary position. Over the years, we have figured out that a) Abe is a very very conservative guy and b) a handful of very influential funders are also extremely conservative. So when they get a wild hair up their ass, they can look like complete bigots. Deal with it and move on.

If you are looking for more broadly representative Jewish organizations try the American Jewish Committee or some of the other groups. But if what you are finding isn't matching your expectations, maybe it's time to reevaluate your assumptions.

What it really comes down to for the ADL and other Jewish groups is their safety. Historical sources of conflict and friction are going to persist and none of these groups are going to suddenly take a fluffy lets-all-hug attitude.

All that being said, I'm disappointed by Foxman's unnecessary swerve in this direction. Not shocked, 'cause he's done things like this before. My guess is it basically comes down to fundraising and somebody bought the position by threatening to withhold a large donation. It's not nice, but that's how things work.
posted by warbaby at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


look you guys, your all missing the point -- THIS COULD BE ANOTHER SHOE STORE!!!!! Why are the liberals against small business!!!!!!!
posted by lslelel at 8:51 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why not a theme park on German History two blocks from Auschwitz? German is now a great democratic state so what's the problem?

That's an odd comparison for a number of reasons. A better example might be putting a rapid response police unit right next to Dachau.
posted by Slothrup at 8:52 AM on August 1, 2010


look you guys, your all missing the point -- THIS COULD BE ANOTHER SHOE STORE!!!!! Why are the liberals against small business!!!!!!!

iirc, it used to be a long closed Burlington Coat Factory -- an eyesore that I would pass when I walked down Park on my way from WTC to work. That block has very little foot traffic, so it's not very good retail space.

WHY DO MUSLINS HATE COATS? AND SHOES? ALSO, TOO.
posted by ryoshu at 9:00 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

If this statement is to be accepted, and "family" means "any member of the same religious faith," then the next logical step is to proclaim Lower Manhattan a Muslim-free zone, and deny Muslims the right to live or work within that zone.
posted by Pants McCracky at 9:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


The thing that surprises me? The fact that so many people are surprised and shocked - shocked I tell you! - that the ADL would have a position on this, and what that position would be.

Have you not been watching the news the last fifty years? Has the internet not made itself available to you? Have you not been reading the threads here on MetaFilter?

/antisemitism*

*you know what I mean...if you don't, it's meant somewhat facetiously, pointing at the elephant in the room
posted by Xoebe at 9:04 AM on August 1, 2010


It's amazing to me that so many people who don't live in NYC and never would have all sorts of strong opinions about this issue. In my opinion, this is a local issue.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forgive me for the snark. But seriously, it really is okay for me to disagree with this thread.

St Alia's loving it. She's a "Crusader" taking on all comers! Onward Christian Soliders!
posted by ericb at 9:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


St Alia, why do you insist on lumping mainstream, law-abiding, peaceful muslims who are not responsible for 9-11, and who support our nation's ideal of freedom of religion, with the fanatical, fringe muslims responsible for 9-11?
posted by hollyanderbody at 9:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A point of clarification-- is the cultural center being built in a new location, or is it an expansion of an existing center?
posted by cell divide at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2010


This drivel is the tip of the iceberg for Newt these days: Gingrich Suggests Taking Out The Remaining ‘Axis Of Evil’ Members: ‘We’re One Out Of Three’
posted by homunculus at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2010


The fact that Newt is the "brainy one" of the Republican party these days both amuses me and scares me at the same time.
posted by octothorpe at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

Except, it isn't. It's as if a Frenchman murdered your family and you getting upset when an unrelated French family moves next door.

Anyway, in my experience New Yorkers are not shy and retiring people. If they are upset about this then I'm sure they'll let us know. At length. With rude gestures. And the occasional f-bomb. I'm pretty sure that I don't need to hear from Alaskans and Georgians that the New Yorkers are miffed.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:26 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Christians turn the other cheek.
posted by hoople at 9:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another New Yorker here who's all in favour of letting people do as they please as long as it's legal.

It isn't even symbolic - it's a Muslim community center as a floor inside an already-existing building, you'd have to go into the lobby to make sure it was even there.

I haven't talked to one New York City dweller who's against this - not one.

St. Alia of the Bunnies: in one sense you are "entitled to your opinion". However, some opinions are considered generally offensive, at least around Metafilter.

In this case, you want to deny people their legal rights because of their religion. That is one of those "generally offensive" opinions, and is also anti-American (since America's Constitution is considered the bedrock of the American system, and that very Constitution explicitly protects freedom of religion).

Christian America has killed far more Muslims than the other way around. During my lifetime, the US has killed literally millions of innocent people in their own countries, people who never offered the slightest harm to any American before they were confronted with American soldiers on their own soil.

9/11 was a horrible thing - I was living in New York City then too and have written elsewhere about how strongly it affected me - so it should give Americans an idea about the far greater destruction that the American military wreaks all over the world.

Consider just the "Shock and Awe" part of the Iraq war, which lasted a couple of days. This killed over 6000 Iraqi citizens, but was mainly aimed at destroying the infrastructure of Bagdad, which it did, depriving a city about half the size of New York City of power, water, sanitation and other basic needs.

In absolute magnitude, this is far worse a disaster than 9/11 in every way - BUT this was in a country whose population is about one-tenth that of the US...

So, St. Alia of the Bunnies, I strongly urge you to look at that beam in your eye before you're complaining about a mote in ours.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:34 AM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


It could be a Wahabi mosque and it'd still be okay as long as they weren't breaking any laws.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Ah, but kirkaracha, you know we have to observe the original intent of the founding fathers' words, you know? And clearly Jefferson's specific enumeration of the rights of Muslims, Hindus, and we infidels, actually meant "America is a Christian country."

The most infuriating thing about the politics of cultural identity and authenticity in the contemporary US is the way a completely fake, Norman Rockwell-would-be-ashamed-to-paint-it, fantasy version of some primordial yeoman farming society centered on the church and the civic hall of a small town surrounded by prosperous private enterprises and populated only by White Citizens and the colored folks who do their dirty work, where the women are pretty and primal and the men brutal and unfeeling, the children doped up on fairy tales (now told with moving pictures_, all sex limited to missionary position man-and-property-wife (ignoring the dude getting the blowjob from his meth dealer in the church basement), and no one who questions the order of things as any less than God's own natural creation (which they don't mind despoiling to the point of ecocide because they're positive God is gonna come back and fix everything soon) . . . sorry, carried away ... the way that version of "America" has not yet become a joke when it is invoked. Because there is no place in America like that, and there wasn't even 10 years ago or 50 or 100 or 275, or 6000. It's all the same deployment of mythology in service of denial and hegemony. Come. The. Fuck. On. People. No one you know of any surviving generation experienced anything like this nonsense. Most living Americans are children of an age of urbanization, divorce, class and race conflict, ecological decline, constant war and associated propaganda, and sheer, dizzying cultural diversity overflowing all prior boundaries that had localized it and allowed people anywhere to project their own narratives on people anywhere else without the pesky interference of things like Muslim doctors in small Appalachian towns (true, they used to be Jews, not jolly Anglos with ruddy cheeks and little black bags who came to your house for free when your child was dying and made everything alright no matter who you were in that picture), or ex-husbands who have come out as gay, or good local kids somehow winding up dead in Afghanistan or in prison for life.

Nope, for some folks it's as if we could maybe get back to a time when everything was perfect if we only showed some discipline, tightened our belts, observed the natural hierarchies that determine our social hierarchies as immutable facts, accept that the earth was made to be used up, and shut up and sat down and got back into our places, and then all the scary things will go away. And if we can't make the whole country do it, we're going to secede and do it ourselves in the Distributed States of Real America, most of which are states of mind that develop in the dens of suburban McMansions approaching default and foreclosure (whether the "owner" knows it or not) while Fox News tells people what to think and whom to hate for scaring you so bad.

The thing I love about New York is actually the same thing I love about the deep rural Alaskan communities where I work, or about the best aspects of the the small town Texas culture I also loved as a younger man: a deep synthesis of respect for individual dignity and committed, naturalized reciprocity, and the understanding that these are in no way mutually exclusive things. One of the cardinal virtues of the very rural communities I've worked in in various parts of the US has been a principled way of incorporating strangers, and despite its reputation, that is a signal virtue of many big cities, and New York overwhelmingly so, which is why so many strangers move here to be among their own. ("New York" is a city-state, and to conflate it with the politics and opinions of New York State, by the way, is to diminish it significantly as a context apart -- the very thing that made it the target of Al Qaeda's attacks, as it remains.

Those motherfuckers attacked a real community on 9/11 when they attacked New York City. That attack came to symbolize an attack on the nation, to the point that many non-New Yorkers essentially resent it deeply when a New Yorker refuses to accept that symbolic role. *Most* New Yorkers I know were fed up with it a long time ago, and as someone who travels a lot to places very different from New York, I have been related to on the level of 9/11 mnemonics countless times, to the point that I have a rehearsed way of getting off the topic, even as I am always glad to have this common ground on which to relate to non-New Yorkers as a fellow American.

The very thing they attacked was diversity and tolerance and the prosperity and civic order that result from and reproduce such democratic values -- the things that make New York City one of the world's most desirable places to live for people from every social class, faith, culture, and nation around the world, many of whom move here from small towns and rural places and reform small-town communities as engines of social mobility in the big city, as immigrants have been doing in New York for generations. The irony of Irish and Italian Catholics opposing the building of the Cordoba mosque is that they fought the same discrimination a few generations ago. JFK was as othered by many Americans for his Irish Catholicism as Obama is now for being a black guy with an Arabic name (although I think by a far larger percentage overall).

I'm just ranting, I know, but I want to be clear that I am not bigoted against the kind of people a certain person here claims to represent in the slightest. I disagree with her claim, the claim of the far right for generations, to represent a majority that is much a fantasy as the imaginary small town world Sarah Palin evokes as if Wasila were not the meth capital of a state with a biiiiig meth problem, not a place with precious little civic culture, and what there is deeply corrupt the way only Western state local politics can be away from the scrutiny of urban media and competition.

I'll take a moment to plug one of my favorite blogs here, something I've long considered FPP-worthy except that the guy is a friend of mine. This is "Wasilla Alaska By 360," the blog of a remarkable documentary photographer named Bill Hess, best known for his beautiful work documenting Native Alaskan (especially Iñupiaq) life, but also a marvelous naturalistic photographer who has focused his lens on the everyday world of Wasilla, where he lives, in ways that make the point that while Wasilla isn't the Homeland Township of Sarah Palin's political pornography, it is a lot more like the America I recognize in some good ways as well as bad ones. It's here:

http://wasillaalaskaby300.squarespace.com/


The whole thing about who's in the majority is a bit of a red herring, but the evidence clearly favors the argument that absolute majorities of Americans live in urban, multicultural, immigrant-rich, globally competing communities, most of which have drug and alcohol problems, obesity and other health problems, economic problems, and social conflict problems, in most of which there are out gay members, local folks who are serving in a war (or who have died in one recently, the more so the poorer the community). The willingness of people to ignore the reality of our world, when it is so urgent that we do so, in order to indulge a childish fantasy about a nationalist wet dream constructed almost entirely of cinematic and televisual tropes and then equated, bizarrely, with some sort of "freedom" we are now losing is the Big Fucking Problem in American politics. Send 10 million productive immigrant Mexican undocumented workers home tomorrow? No fucking problem, idiots. Or would you like what's left of the economy to remain reasonably stable? The clear evidence of massive ecocide caused by offshore oil exploration in deep water? Drill, baby, drill. On and on.

And so what if one particular construction of views has some sort of national majority after careful media construction in a closed bubble of discourse laced with addictive newsporn? Fuck does that make the 10 percent or 30 percent or 49 percent of us on the other side not as American as Mr and Mrs Fifty One Percent? Or does only the side that can construct a majority get rights around here?

Well, that's pretty much the story of America in one sentence, except now all those prior minorities are starting to add up to a majority. And assuming all of "them" are as mean spirited as "we" have been, uh oh, payback might be a bitch. Better head them off at the pass, there, John Wayne, or else we're gonna have to secede from the United States of Brown, Black, Educated, Atheist, Pot-Smoking, Tax-Paying People.

It's already way too late, which is where all this secession talk is coming from on the way far teabag right (like the Governor of Texas, let's say). One is tempted to wish them well and hope the door hits their asses nice and hard on the way out. But that would be letting down our peeps who live in those places where a "majority" might still be rounded up for right wing secession to form the United States of Real America -- Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, maybe Arizona, Montana, some of the plains states, but all with a total population about the size of the New York Metro area with the exception of Arizona. Have to make sure we get the nukes back, though.

They're mostly scared of a world where being white ain't gonna get you by automatically, even though the weird version of that world they imagine restoring never came close to existing anywhere but on a screen. So they're easily roused to racialized fear, especially when it can be fused with religious righteousness.

Barack Obama should do a fireside series reading to the American people from Howard Zinn's People's History. Just read it out loud. Have Oprah spell you every once in a while.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [35 favorites]


It's amazing to me that so many people who don't live in NYC and never would have all sorts of strong opinions about this issue. In my opinion, this is a local issue.

To be fair, if a majority of New Yorkers opposed the building they'd be just as dumb and wrong as St. Alia's being in this thread. It might make make for a better case of "insensitivity" or "tone-deafness" (gag me with a spoon) but their First Amendment right to build the thing would be just as strong.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


What a poor, poor, misunderstanding of Islam. I don't know why they call this a debate and not just a "tailgate party."
posted by iamck at 9:43 AM on August 1, 2010


As a New Yorker, I'm looking forward to the halal food card in front of the community center.
posted by fuq at 9:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


card=cart
posted by fuq at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2010


St. Alia, do you know any muslims personally? It's the second largest religion in the world, larger than either the catholic or protestant branch of Christianity (only when considered together do they outnumber Islam). There are many different people who turn to the koran or allah for guidance, and the vast majority of them are not crazy.

Christians come in all flavors too - there's the Westboro Baptist family, or Timothy Mcveigh, or the KKK or other Aryan nation organizations, or anti-abortion terrorists (whose motives you may appreciate, but whose actions I imagine you disown). Look into christian extremists if you haven't come across this before...

Living in NYC, it's pretty common to actually interact with muslim people personally, and not be freaked out by the idea of a community center. Most of us have come across real life mosques or veils or prayer rugs or PBUH or whatever in the everyday world. It is no more or less weird to me than all the other variety of people I casually cross paths with in new york.

If it were an al queda meeting center, I'd be concerned. Given that it's a community based muslim center, I am not. That's like mixing up a YMCA with a KKK.
posted by mdn at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award. Period.

Talk about tone deaf. If they had any compassion or brains they'd build elsewhere. Because if their goal is mutual respect and peace this is a hell of a way to go about it.


Just because someone does something that might or even definitely will be upsetting to someone else doesn't mean feelings were considered. Contrary to popular belief, you can take feelings into account and make a logical, rational, defensible decision that other concerns trump a group's feelings.
posted by Taco John at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2010


Living in NYC, it's pretty common to actually interact with muslim people personally

Hear, hear, mdn!

Some people's "them" are our neighbors. My Muslim neighbors -- New Yorkers with whom I interact in all kinds of contexts -- are, from all the evidence, a community of hardworking, family-oriented, yummy food-making (ditto on the Halal cart), devout immigrant Americans. The Yemeni kids who man the deli outside my front door and always trust you to come back with the money for your cigarettes, the line of taxis that blocks the gas station up the street at sundown, while all the drivers go into the station's tiny little prayer room (many NYC gas stations have them) to face Mecca and kneel on their prayer rugs, the Afghan refugee who makes sandwiches in the cart on the corner, implacable inside a metal box even when it's 100 (or 15) degrees outside, the Egyptian American man who runs the specialty bookstore and can recommend recent works of Arabic fiction in translation, the Palestinian American musician, the brilliant engineering student, the guy checking baggage at JFK.

New York is like a small town. We don't gang up on our neighbors when they want to build a church near the town square.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


I often suspect that when a member of group x says "all the members of group y believe in and support the horrible thing that a few members of group y did, they just won't admit it", it's because they themselves believe in and support some horrible thing that a few members of group x did, even though they won't admit it.

It's like a two-level projection: first, the projection that their own fringe belief (support of the horrible thing fringe members of their own group did) is shared universally amongst all members of their own group --so that they don't feel like fringe beliefs -- then the projection that the same must be true for the other group.

Frankly, it's the only way I can explain a position like St. Alia's rationally. Perhaps that's a futile undertaking.

Having said all that, wouldn't the best possible response have been to build small, storefront churches for all major (and some minor) religions, including Muslim, around the base of the new building? From a tolerance perspective, that would be a big "fuck you" to religious extremism worldwide, and from a security point of view, that would help protect the site from future attacks by religious extremists. Seems win-win to me, and the only folks I can see fighting it would be (no surprise here) religious extremists.
posted by davejay at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I remember reading through a super long thread about St.Alia several months ago. It was like a religious experience. Please, Allah, build that fucking building, for I am of the view that people like St.Alia must be mocked and needled by the existence of nice buildings. This is my religion. Amen.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm a Muslim, who lived in downtown Manhattan for 15 years until recently. I personally experienced certain people's negative reactions to the Islamic faith immediately following 9/11. I chalked it up to ignorance, having experienced it my entire life. I looked with hope at the information that was coming out about how the 19 hijackers were not representative of all ~1 billion Muslims. And people would now be better informed. But now I feel dismay and at times actual fear that my parents will be harmed since they live in semi-rural Ohio. There were a few incidents following 9/11 where people were followed and harassed.

I'm liberal, do not wear a hijab, am well-educated. My parents are very religious (2x Hajis) but I never felt subjugated because I'm female. In fact, my father, because of his religious beliefs, feels that women are equal and entitled to a great education and all the opportunities that life can afford them. My dad has actively been working in his community doing interfaith outreach, usually with Sunday school kids, for years. He also counsels convicts at the local penitentiary.

It really angers me that attempts to show that Americans who are Muslims, who are trying to peacefully integrate with the general community, are constantly forced to defend our faith or have our loyalties questioned. Or in this case, like the situation in Tennessee, that we are not welcome.

You cannot tell me that you oppose the building of Cordoba House and not expect me to think you are an outright bigot.
posted by nikitabot at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2010 [91 favorites]


"Insensitive Clods of the Year"

Some people need to grow up.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:47 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most taxi drivers in New York City are Muslim. I've had literally thousands of interactions with Muslims this way (and on that very biased sample, would judge them to be a civilized, polite, well-educated and thoughtful group).

I asked the first Muslim taxi driver I had after 9/11, "I'm sorry, it must have been rough, how have things been for you?" He said, "I didn't drive for a few weeks because I was frightened but then when I started driving, every passenger I had said the same thing, "We know it's nothing to do with you, and it's hurting you more than it's hurting us, we're really sorry and we're all in this together."" (paraphrased, this was a while ago)

He teared up and so did I.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:47 AM on August 1, 2010 [36 favorites]


fourcheesemac: "If new yorkers are mostly over it, why don't the yokels in places like Wasila and Fayetteville shut the fuck up? You don't like New York or her citizens except as symbols for a phony war in which most of us here want no part.

Save the phony sympathy and hate yourselves silly somewhere else.

Fucking ugly Americans aren't worthy of a city like New York, where our productive economy supports half the hick states of Real America.
"

Yeah, this got a lot of favorites and everything, but you and some others need to take hold of the reins of the more subtle generalizing prejudices like regionalism. It's so easy to run with, but it's really kind of shitty. Not really the same as what we're talking about here, but it is a not-too-distant relative.
Or yeah, what Countess Elena said.
posted by Red Loop at 10:53 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I remember reading through a super long thread about St.Alia several months ago. It was like a religious experience. Please, Allah, build that fucking building, for I am of the view that people like St.Alia must be mocked and needled by the existence of nice buildings. This is my religion. Amen.

There are some people whose opposition to a thing is a mark in that thing's favor.
posted by kafziel at 10:57 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't think of a way to make this thread any better or worse, but I will say this.

Batman means a lot to me.
posted by timsteil at 10:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


dirigibleman, thanks -- I love that photo essay and it makes the point of thousands of words.

nikitabot's testimony above is why the crude bigotry represented by only one person in this thread cannot simply be ignored as the basis of the opposition to Cordoba House, possibly even among some numerical majority construed in some narrow way.

People who live in fear can easily be convinced to turn to hate for relief, and people who are not accountable to demonstrable facts can be made to believe almost anything if its sold with the right amount of sizzle. So somehow the relocation of an established, progressive Islamic community center several blocks from the WTC site, supported broadly by and well integrated into the community in the area, becomes "building a mosque at ground zero."

It works the same on the other side of the hate wall too. Dehumanization is like the meth of right wing statist politics, always was: a quick, hard high that slowly eats away at the user over time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Red Loop, I responded to Countess Elena, and partially conceded the point. My irony was heavy handed.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2010


You know, the titular "Ugly American" is actually the engineer who moves to the country, treats the indigenous population well, respects local customs, and offers his assistance to the locals only on the terms that they are willing to accept it.

How odd that the term "Ugly American" has come to mean the clueless and insensitive characters from the book.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2010


I look forward to visiting the Cordoba House the next time I'm in NYC and praying two raka'ats of salat for mercy and guidance to the bigots. I invite people like StAotB to come to the center. There are usually regular "Islam 101 FAQs" for non-Muslims in places like these that could offer a counter to all the misinformation and prejudice that she has been given by others.

I'm liberal, do not wear a hijab, am well-educated.

This kind of jumped out at me a bit in spite of my agreement for the rest of your comment. There are plenty of Muslim women who are well-educated, liberal and wear hijab. I know you didn't mean your statement as a negative, but the wording bothered me a bit.

posted by Burhanistan at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another lifelong NYer who lived downtown during 9/11 in favor of the center.
posted by ltracey at 11:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Teabaggers are at it in Temecula, CA as well.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2010


Slightly more newsy link to the above.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2010


Burhanistan, I did not mean it as a negative more of a reference to the stereotype of what some people think of when they think of a Muslim woman.
posted by nikitabot at 11:39 AM on August 1, 2010


200+ comments later, nobody's said "Welp, cute idea, but religious freedom is guaranteed by both the United States and New York State constitutions."

Basically, I see this as a discussion by the "right-wing" on the merits of pushing for unconstitutional legislation. Stopping construction of this building, assuming the land and rights were legally acquired, would be illegal in the most fundamental sense.

And it's our most fundamental laws that are supposed to line up best with what's good and reasonable. They're fundamental because they're uncontroversial. Illegal certainly doesn't mean wrong (it was once illegal to be black in the front of a bus, after all), but unconstitutional is supposed to mean exactly that, as near as we can manage.

The rest of the legislation, all the later stuff, we can argue about all day. But if you start hacking away at the Constitution, we're stepping into the territory of illiberal and unconstrained democracy.

The real discussion here is, I think, our relation to the idea of a Constitution. Do we think it's a good idea to place legal limits on popular democracy, such as we now have? Or do we want to leave issues like this to majority decision?

The fact that people are debating this so heatedly, and that it's even presented as debatable, says to me that today many people believe nothing is "off-limits" to democracy and popular opinion.

If simple majorities wield legislative power on all issues, not just those given to them by a Constitution, then it's just a matter of time before charisma wins over more people than cool-headed deliberation and rational debate.
posted by edguardo at 11:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


That rant was a thing of beauty. I wish President Obama would throw down on the Republicans in general like that. I think it would be widely applauded.

Every single DAY I pray for the rest of the Democrats, Obama included, to get equally passionate -- and, for that matter, outright obnoxiously loud and shouty -- every time the opposition pulls their same-old same-old obstructionist nonsense. My prayers are rarely answered. They were watching this.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:43 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Point of parliamentary procedure : So far, I've counted 61 occurrences of the word "Jew" in this thread. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THIS OUT TO BE "JEWS" VS "MUSLIMS." This may not be what you're trying to do, and I know that for some (especially non-Jews) it's probably easy to slip and confuse the ADL with "Jews," but please do not do this. The ADL is one specific organization, and they do not represent the views of all Jewish people. I know it seems like I'm picking nits here, but before you respond, please stop and and consider that to some, this niggling little detail actually means a lot. Please be careful with your word choice. This is not an issue for "Jews." It's an issue for "The ADL."

Myself, I'm Jewish. Lived in lower Manhattan for 7 years. I have no problem with the proposed mosque/cultural center. What do I think this is really all about?

(from the Nate Silver piece)

"... a Republican candidate for governor in New York, Carl Paladino, going to far as to say he'd use eminent domain laws to block its construction."

And, well, there you go. A dumbass election-year issue, used to drum up support for reactionary politicians. Same shit, different day. It upsets me to see the ADL drawn into this, but they're not really an organization that's near and dear to my heart. I'd be more upset if the ACLU or the NRDC opposed the facility.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:48 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


My first thought was: well, a mosque in any building would deterr any radicals from bombing it, so I think a mosque there would be not only a good idea, as a good intentions manifesto for people who follow Islam, but also pretty good insurance.
posted by omegar at 11:53 AM on August 1, 2010


fourcheesemac, sorry I missed that in the flood of posts today. But I still think you let yourself off a little too easy.

It's not so much actual hick America I'm othering. It's people who live anywhere that believe there is such a place as Sarah Palin's America, where the people are all white and the churches are all full and virtue prevails, under threat from the evil, multicultural, educated, internationalist fake America where *most Americans actually live.* Even those in small towns.

I fucking hate the everything Palin stands for, because she stands for fear and ignorance and everything that is wrong with people in this country. I want to fight her for that, but it's not her, it's what she stands for. It's just that you know that the people who believe that crap, like all of the people everywhere who believe crap like it, believe it for the most part out of some form of ignorance. Railing and othering them may feel good, but ultimately it does nothing to help the problem of ignorance. And like I said, I think people really just need to remember to not just run with it they get on a ranting roll about prejudice— because they can easily end up being prejudicial themselves.
posted by Red Loop at 12:22 PM on August 1, 2010


Metafilter: I'm not really so sure about what I said.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:28 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


They probably went in on this Mosque because the bigots and conservatives succesfully defamed CAIR earlier...
posted by lslelel at 12:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


> the bigots and conservatives succesfully defamed CAIR earlier...

These people have deemed CAIR (a worthwhile organization that tries its best to help and to inform while not trying to step on anyone's toes, Muslim or non-Muslim) as inseparably linked to the most extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, so it's only natural that they should pretend that a mosque within walking distance of the WTC site is an act of pure terrorism.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:42 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man, some people really miss that whole Global War On Terror bullshit.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Omegar, terrorists have no problem blowing up mosques -- that's part of the deep irony here, that Americans have no idea of the deep divisions within Islam.

The US military has no problem blowing up mosques either, for that matter.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:05 PM on August 1, 2010


The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah. After all, weren't those terrorists convinced they were going to go straight to heaven for what they did???? In many minds, that isn't going to be divorced from Islam. Whether or not it can or should be, that is how it is. And offended people are darn hard to win over.

So, you're here to point out that some people are reacting emotionally to this issue and, whether they intend it or not, are acting as bigots. Um, okay, we know that.

Instead of just explaining the existence of this irrational bigotry, why don't you discuss how to compassionately refute it? People DO change their minds, they can be swayed to realize that their knee-jerk reactions are wrong-minded.

I'm sure that you can think of times when you have been saddened or horrified by acts committed in the name of something that you hold dear. Anyone who understands that terrorists should NOT get to define Islam should be reinforcing that this association is poisonous. Aren't we supposed to be treating people the way that we want to be treated?
posted by desuetude at 1:07 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess the World Trade Center was a kind of holy site.
It is for those who worship mammon and hegemony.
posted by ambulocetus at 1:14 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those opposed claim that the single biggest attack on American soil by outside forces ought not be pushed aside in what is claimed (by building here) something seeming triumphant and calling attention to the mass death.

Huh? The biggest attack on American soil by outside forces is undoubtedly the Revolutionary War, or, if you don't think that counts, the War of 1812 (which not only had more American casualties than the WTC attack, it involved an invading foreign army occupying our capital city and destroying most of the government buildings). No one is suggesting that we "push aside" memory of these events. At least, I'm not. Are you?
posted by baf at 1:54 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

Yeah, like 'one letter' actually represents the predominant view of the 8,008,278 people of New York City. Once again, St. Alia, 'anecdata' does not equal 'data.'
posted by ericb at 2:11 PM on August 1, 2010


But seriously, it really is okay for me to disagree with this thread. A lot of people who don't post on Metafilter would disagree with this thread. The world will continue to turn on its axis regardless.

Of course you do! No one is saying YOU cannot disagree with this thread.

That is not my objection. I have utterly and absolutely no objection to you saying "I, St. Alia, do not like the idea of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero." That's perfectly fine with me, because in that case, you are only speaking for yourself and yourself alone.

It is when you say "NEW YORKERS don't like the idea of a Musim community center near Ground Zero" that I have the problem, because when you say that, you are presuming to speak FOR ME, and I have strong objections to other people speaking on my behalf unless I expressly ask them to.

I have especially strong objections to other people speaking on my behalf in this instance, because when people speak on my behalf about 9/11, it makes me feel like they are exploiting my experiences to cover for their own opinions. I'm assuming you wouldn't approve of me saying "I can't see how North Carolinians could POSSIBLY approve of cutting the NEA budget. So we owe it to North Carolina to fund a Robert Mappelthorpe commemorative museum in downtown Raleigh! And let's cut Social Security to pay for it!" I'm prefectly free to think that we should cut Social Security to pay for a Robert Mappelthorpe museum, but it would be exploitative to say that I think that ON BEHALF OF NORTH CAROLINIANS. I can only speak for me.

I just ask that you only speak for you, and not New Yorkers. We are capable of speaking for ourselves on this issue, thank you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


911-NEVA4GET

Good stuff for a license plate. They're building a 100 story butt-ass ugly tower on the site, with reflecting waterfalls where the building footprints were, and the names of all the victims engraved in stone. Many thousands of people will come to visit this site, many driven to it in taxis piloted by Muslim drivers, interacting with Muslim staff, and I can bet you some significant number of Muslim tourists paying respects to the victims and heros, some of whom (to repeat) were Muslims.

If you were here, the memory of 9/11 is actually something you'd rather "forget," in the literal sense of the events of the day and the weeks that followed. New Yorkers certainly aren't worried about forgetting a damn thing, and I think tourists will certainly be able to figure out where Ground Zero is even if Cordoba House is a few blocks away.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:31 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I've been to North Carolina once but I'm sure I can find a letter by a North Carolinian saying that slavery is a grand old idea and plantations are the new hotness, does that give me license to proclaim that it's the will of the entire state?
posted by Skorgu at 2:58 PM on August 1, 2010


I can site this very thread as proof. For those of you who have no problem with this, none of you needs any cultural education. For those that do need educating in tolerance, they just got poked in the eye with a sharp stick. The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah. After all, weren't those terrorists convinced they were going to go straight to heaven for what they did???? In many minds, that isn't going to be divorced from Islam. Whether or not it can or should be, that is how it is. And offended people are darn hard to win over.

What a bunch of weasel words. Are you one of the ignorant bigots or are you just speaking for them?
posted by empath at 3:36 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I appreciate the fact that St. Alia shows up and discusses this stuff here. Tens of millions of people think like her, but the vast majority (IMO) retreat to cocoons of like-minded individuals, the fact that she shows up here and actually reads and listens to what other people have to say is good. Although I'm kind of shocked that someone so open to other ideas can be a right-winger. There's a lot of "fuck you!" thrown at her, but obviously that doesn't phase her because she's been here for a long time.

Beyond that, I say build the mosque community center. I understand that people are going to be upset, but fuck those people. This is America where people have Freedom of Religion, god damn it. You know the right wing are experts in appealing to patriotism and the constitution. So what about us liberals?

I say, if you are opposed to this mosque, you don't just hate Muslims you hate America, and everything it stands for.

---

Also, I'm kind of sick of this "Ground Zero" terminology. Why not just call it the "WTC site" or something. Technically ground zero refers to the location under an explosion, so there are lots of Ground Zeros around the world. Every earthquake has one, for example. And frankly it's a little cheezy anyway.

---
I still say this is tonedeaf. For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.
But think about it. Would you really have a problem with the family of the murder moving in next door? They had nothing to do with it, they had no control over their relative. And probably, they feel bad and embarrassed. America, to a large extent is about individualism, and that means not holding family members responsible for things their relatives do. If the family backed up and defended the attacker, it would be another issue, but clearly these people don't.

And beyond that, the people who actually live next door are all for it (as evidenced by those in this thread who were actually materialy affected by 9/11, and support the community center). Isn't it unfair for you, someone who lives far away to criticize this, when the people who actually know these people, who actually live there, are for it?
posted by delmoi at 3:46 PM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't really characterize that 46 year dick-waving contest as much of an "attack".

I once heard of a woman who had been traumatized for years after this creepy dude exposed himself to her for 10 seconds. She was effectively attacked.

Watching two guys do that to someone for 46 years is definitely an attack.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:48 PM on August 1, 2010


Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.
-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
posted by empath at 3:49 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think just for political reasons -- if we want 'moderate muslims', then the thing to do is to make sure they have money, power and real estate. There's nothing like having 'something to lose' that will moderate an institution. Only outcasts are rebels, because only they need to be. If every big city has a massive mosque, and Islamic representatives in government, Islamic leaders in business, and so on, then Muslims won't hate America, because they'll BE America.

If you keep saying no, not now, it's too soon, it's too close, then all they will do is resent us for closing the promise of America to them and them alone.

I believe in America, I believe in freedom, I believe in equal opportunity, and I believe that it will always win out against fear, and tyranny and hate.

So many conservatives, I think, fear Islam, and fear Communism, because they don't really trust democracy. They think that America is weak, that Americans can't prevail. But we beat Communism not by becoming Communists but by just being America -- and when they wall came down, and the Eastern bloc had a choice, they chose freedom.

When the walls come down in the Islamic world, when Muslims come here, they'll have a choice. And I believe they'll choose freedom. If we offer it, they'll take it. Because they're human beings, just like us. And they want what we want.
posted by empath at 4:01 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think the most healing thing in the world and for that site would be to have a mosque for non-extremists to attend & learn in nearby.

St. Peter's is right there. Battery Park Synagogue is nearby. It seems like this could be a unique opportunity for the Abrahamic religions to be near each other and work together to defeat hate and mistrust.

Instead, one of the organisations that could have pioneered this approach has also chosen intolerance. Unbelievable.

Those going along with that view are allowing those who did the evil deeds of 9/11 to truly celebrate their victory, to prove that we are as weak and small as they wanted us to feel on that day.

Shameful. Sorrowful. Disgusting.
posted by batmonkey at 4:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - act like adults and take crap to metatalk.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:16 PM on August 1, 2010


I'm reminded of the song we used to sing in church, back when I was a child,

And they will know we are Christians by our hate, by our hate
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our hate.


Oh wait, that wasn't how it went?
posted by nomisxid at 5:01 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


batmonkey's comment states exactly how I feel- people are choosing bigotry AND the weaker strategic position. The right has also done this on global warming, immigration, etc. At least fiscal conservatism has some arguments that it puts us in a stronger position- whereas excluding moderate Muslims from American society only increases alienation and strengthens the small portion who subscribe to violent Islam. We lose morally and strategically.
posted by nowoutside at 5:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


THIS MAY NEED TO GO TO METATALK:
Are there any actual polls in New York about this? Because that would be a bit more authoritative about what New Yorkers think. Oh, here.
posted by adipocere at 10:41 AM on August 1


Rassmussen polls are a serious problem for their right-wing bias. this has been reported through netroots blogs for years but it wasn't until Politico wrote about it earlier this year and only from the context of congressional races that the punditocracy was forced to deal with this issue.

Nate Silver's take tries to be "fair and balanced" but he's right on point when he says: they have a knack for issuing polls at times which tend to dovetail with conservative media narratives.

Jonathan Chait goes right to the point:
Rasmussen polling occupies an odd place in the political culture. In the conservative world, it is the gold standard. If you go to a conservative set on basically any random day, you'll see somebody touting a Rasmussen poll. Here is John McCormack at the Weekly Standard touting a poll showing huge support to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Here is Peter Wehner at Commentary doing the same. Rasmussen frequently asks unusual polling questions that produce results almost certainly calculated to demonstrate public support for the conservative position. (Here's one example of a loaded Rasmussen question.) Rasmussen has become a right-wing celebrity. He's the author of a conservative book. This fall he is a featured guest on National Review's cruise, along with other conservative luminaries.

Part of Rasmussen's celebrity status derives from the fact that even his polls on commonly-asked questions skew strongly toward the conservative position.
and then there's Harry Enten's hard-core pollster take on the issue.

The moral of my comment? NEVER EVER ACCEPT A RASSMUSSEN POLL FROM A RIGHT-WINGER unless there are polls by other firms that can confirm Rassmussen's data. Because when it comes to social or political issues (not electoral races), Rassmussen only exists to re-inforce hard-core neocon talking points with the patina of objectivity and "science" bestowed by the word "poll".

and with that note: Carry on. This Muslim-loving Wise Latina is proud of your commitment to equality and justice for all.

i also happen to be one of the thousand of New Yorkers who saw the towers collapse from her rooftop. i had people inside of those buildings that survived while others didn't.

i, like many downtowners, had to live with the daily reminder of the tragedy that the smell of burning rot and the mist of ashes brought into our homes for months that never seemed to end.

and even though i am an atheist, i am also the proud sister of a muslim convert; a man who converted to Islam while serving the US military DURING THE PERSIAN GULF WAR.

the xenophobic, racist, anti-islamic carpetbagging frothing of despicables who are against Córdoba House and all muslims do not speak for me, my family nor my neighbors here in our slice of downtown Manhattan.
posted by liza at 5:58 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Who is even behind the funding for this community center? Because I'm not hearing anything about that. I'd be able to understand the concern if it were a Wahhabi/Saudi-financed joint, but all I'm hearing is "Muslims are scary!"
posted by autoclavicle at 10:48 PM on August 1, 2010


Who is even behind the funding for this community center? Because I'm not hearing anything about that.

The ADL suggests there are significant issues, where there are relationships with terrorist organizations, but it has not made public any of its findings or the specifics of its allegations, which would allow others to do fact-finding and other due diligence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 PM on August 1, 2010


Who is even behind the funding for this community center?

They're a non-profit, and there's not much information readily accessible about major donors. My offhand guess is that the bulk of their funding for this is from wealthy Pakistani doctors living in NYC and surrounding areas.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:57 PM on August 1, 2010


I'm glad the ADL publicly is against building a mosque in NYC at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack. I think what Iran/Islam is doing to it's citizens is terrorism right now. A woman is going to be stoned for committing adultery. In 2010.

How do we know that a percentage of the tithe in a new mosque doesn't go to the top of the Islam religion, who support stoning for adultery, and capital punishment for people who try to leave the religion? Not to mention cutting off your hands(s) for stealing.

Religion should be based on faith, and allow you to leave - not force you by killing you if you try to leave. If we don't take a stand against this extremism and question if funding from a mosque funds these terrorist activities stuff like this will keep happening in the world.
posted by andy_t at 11:19 PM on August 1, 2010


How do we know that a percentage of the tithe in a new mosque doesn't go to the top of the Islam religion, who support stoning for adultery, and capital punishment for people who try to leave the religion? Not to mention cutting off your hands(s) for stealing.
Now is the time for the slow-clapping.
posted by verb at 11:23 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Uh, gosh. andy_t, are you for real? That's like a thousand times more ignorant than the derail earlier in this thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:28 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


How is it ignorant? I didn't read every single comment on this page yet. Which derail?

Do all Muslims support capital punishment for apostasy? What about stoning women for adultery? Wouldn't not supporting those Hudud punishments it be a form of apostasy itself?

I don't know too much about Islam except for what I've read in wikipedia and these articles in the news about the woman being stoned, and other human rights violations in Iran.
posted by andy_t at 11:33 PM on August 1, 2010


andy_t: You've really bought the two minute hate, haven't you?

If it will calm you down at all: we "know that a percentage of the tithe in a new mosque doesn't go to the top of the Islam religion", because there isn't a "top of the Islam religion".

Theology aside, I suppose.

posted by pompomtom at 11:38 PM on August 1, 2010


So, like, if you give money to a Christian group you could be funding the Lord's Restitance Army. YOU JUST DON'T KNOW. Think about it!
posted by Artw at 11:42 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, ok. Performance art. Have fun.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:42 PM on August 1, 2010


I don't know what you mean about two minute hate. I don't want anyone in this world to be stoning people or killing people for adultery or stopping believing in a religion/cult. Otherwise I don't care if people believe in god or go to churches or mosques or anything else. I'm personally agnostic, but I think there is probably a god or more than one god.

Ok, I guess that is my mistake then about there being a "top of the Islam religion". I figured it was similar to catholicism in that the Pope is at the top and then there are different levels, etc. Do you have any links on the organizational structure of Islam? Thank you.
posted by andy_t at 11:43 PM on August 1, 2010


Artw, If you are giving money to a Catholic group, you are indirectly funding the cover up of molestation of children, or at least you were. Not anything to do with Uganda.

I'm not talking about the stuff you don't know - I'm talking about stuff we do know or at least can try to find out.
posted by andy_t at 11:47 PM on August 1, 2010


Organisational structure of Islam, or close enough for this purpose.
posted by batmonkey at 11:51 PM on August 1, 2010


I don't know what you mean about two minute hate.

I mean that your antipathy toward a number of Americans building a cultural centre in the USA seems to be based on your poor opinion of a theocracy on the other side of the globe, to which they have no connection bar a shared religion - a religion shared, incidentally, by about one in four people on this planet. I gather that a lot of US media spend a lot of time vilifying this religion, and it seemed to me that your opinion may have been informed by such directed vilification: hence the Orwell reference.


(artw has nailed it pretty well...)
posted by pompomtom at 11:54 PM on August 1, 2010


Organisational structure of Islam, or close enough for this purpose.

Er, that is to say that it's not all that close.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:58 PM on August 1, 2010


I don't have cable/dish tv and just use news.google.com, news.ycombinator.com, and twitter links for my source of news 95% of the time, so that includes non US media also.

I don't know anyone who's Muslim - is there anyone on Metafilter who is and who's been active on this thread? What are there opinions on Hudud/stoning/cutting off hands as punishment for doing bad things?

What good things is Islam doing for this world?

If it's shared by 1 in 4 people it's probably like that because if you try to leave than you die.
posted by andy_t at 12:02 AM on August 2, 2010


andy_t, when you know you're ignorant about something, it's usually best to not display that ignorance for all to see. It tends to make people not think the best of you, and for good reason.
posted by rtha at 12:03 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm asking to be taught/convinced and admitting I'm somewhat ignorant on this topic compared to some other posters here. I've spent probably at least 5+ hours over the past couple weeks reading things about it. If someone wants to not think the best of me because of that and my posts here please explain why in more detail.
posted by andy_t at 12:09 AM on August 2, 2010


Are you twelve andy_t, because it really sounds like you're twelve.

I don't know anyone who's Muslim - is there anyone on Metafilter who is and who's been active on this thread?

One of the most favorited comments in this thread is from a Muslim. I don't believe you when you say you've done five hours of research because you haven't even done the ten minutes of research it would take you to read this thread all the way through and see what we've already hashed out. That's what makes people not think the best of you. You're coming off as ignorant and lazy.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:15 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm 27. I read that comment, thank you for pointing it out. I'm reading the rest of the thread now.

I meant 5 hours of research over the past couple weeks starting in early July when that stoning news story first came out. I scrolled through about 20 comments here, then posted my comment because I've also been posting about this on Facebook and Twitter over the past couple days.

So if that poster could post her opinions on Islamic punishments I would appreciate it. I'm intimidated because of what she said about being thought a bigot, of course.
posted by andy_t at 12:20 AM on August 2, 2010


Is there a way to sort a thread by most popular favorited comments? This was my first comment on metafilter but I've been lurking for awhile.
posted by andy_t at 12:21 AM on August 2, 2010


Yeah, good job.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:31 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


andy_t, maybe go back to lurking, or perhaps look up 'trolling' in Wikipedia. Good grief, look up 'mindless bigotry' while you're at it. Wikipedia may not have all the answers but it's a good start for people who know absolutely nothing about anything. Your welcome.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:33 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You're welcome". My God. Why must I typo when judging others? It's just not fair.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:35 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Happens to the beast of us.
posted by trondant at 12:49 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is there a way to sort a thread by most popular favorited comments?

You should be able to find an answer here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:54 AM on August 2, 2010


I am late to this thread. This is probably quite redundant by now. But I really wanted to say this anyway.

I am Jewish. I am from the NYC area. And I wish to disassociate myself from the words and opinions of the ADL. They do not speak for me.

Also, I hope they are some day forced to swallow their own bigotry until they choke on it.
posted by kyrademon at 1:06 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


andy_t, you are making the naive mistake of assuming that all Muslims belong to the same church and believe in the same things, but the truth is it's a wide spectrum and there are fundamentalists on the fringes of all religions. It's as if you read something about the FLDS Church and came wandering in here saying that all Christians must be into child marriages and incest, and could any practicing Christians please stand up and tell us whether they bang their 13 year old cousins or not? The vast majority of Muslims, especially those living in western nations, are moderate, peaceful, normal people that don't believe in any of the horseshit you mentioned, and are most certainly not being held at gunpoint to their beliefs.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:10 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the moderate, peaceful Muslims of the western world had a choice would they want to stop the growth of Islamic criminal jurisprudence worldwide? That page doesn't mention that it's an extremist view of Islam.

Except for drinking alcohol, punishments for all hudud crimes are specified in the Quran or Hadith: stoning-Hadith, amputation and flogging

When The FLDS excommunicates someone they don't execute them. If a woman commits adultery in FLDS she is not stoned to death.
posted by andy_t at 1:34 AM on August 2, 2010


andy_t: I think you forgot to include a link for "growth", or include any perspective that compares Quranic Law with, say Leviticus.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:03 AM on August 2, 2010


Andy_t, maybe you don't realize exactly what you're doing. You just essentially walked into a crowded room and announced "Muslims are terrorists", and now you're asking us to educate you to the contrary. Imagine if I walked into a crowded room and said, "Jews are all stingy", and then when people got upset said "well, I admit I don't actually know any Jews or anything about Judaism, maybe you could prove to me that it's wrong?" It's just plain insulting and offensive. Or imagine if I said "andy_t is a child molester", and then followed it up with: "well, I admit I don't know andy_t at all, I just started reading his comments, maybe you could educate me to the contrary." You're not supposed to accuse people of horrible things if you don't know what the fuck you're talking about. It's just not done, and in fact it's a crime.

It's pretty simple: if you don't know anything about Muslims, you shouldn't accuse them all of being terrorists. Or really you shouldn't accuse them all of being anything. There's actual people you just insulted and you owe them an apology. And then maybe, if you're truly interested in learning about Islam, you can spend the next five hours of research in the library, where research is traditionally done, or contact some Muslim community centers near you and talk to people who are actually Muslim. Just don't start off the conversation by assuming they're terrorists, that won't get you very far.
posted by creasy boy at 2:22 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Or, y'know, maybe get outside a bit & actually visit some Muslim countries (or countries with significant Muslim populations): Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Mali, areas of Ethiopia & Tanzania...places I've been where I can tell you for a fact that the things you're talking about simply are not true. Even Iran, where I've also been, isn't nearly as extreme as you think it is, occasional sensationalistic news reports notwithstanding.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:29 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I definitely don't think all Muslims are Terrorists, just the leaders of Iran, who are causing terror, who are Muslims. I am pissed off that they are executing people and torturing people.

I wanted to know if 10% of the money people earn and give to the mosque is supporting Islamic punishments in countries where that happens. I know it's not happening in the US, but I care that it's happening in Iran. According to Quaranic law, Muslims support that as punishment, but according to that organisation chart, all Mosques are run independently. However, I recognize the Bible and Leviticus says some pretty messed up things also.

Do you have any suggestions on books to read in the library? It's easy enough to come on here and say things and ask questions, but going to a Muslim community center near me would be a lot of effort. Have you ever been to one? If I had a friend nearby who would go with me I would probably go, lol.
posted by andy_t at 2:33 AM on August 2, 2010


Of course they want to stop it! What makes you think that they don't? You think Muslims in America see news reports of girls being stoned in Afghanistan for being raped and think that's something good? They think it is absolutely horrible and atrocious! Do you have a single shred of evidence that anyone involved with the Cordoba House has ever said a single thing about wanting to stone people or cut off hands? You are making sweeping generalizations based on caricatures.

By the way, have you ever read a Bible? According to the text the following are all to be punished by death: children who strike or curse their parents; rebellious, disobedient, or stubborn sons; nonbelievers and those who worship another god; brothers, sons, daughters, wives, or friends who try to get you to worship another god; adulterers (both parties); men who have sex with their daughters-in-law (both parties); men who have threesomes with their wives and mothers-in-law (all three parties); anyone who has sex with an animal (both parties); anyone who works on Sunday; homosexuals; rape victims who fail to cry out loud enough; anyone who does not listen to a priest or judge; false prophets and dreamers if they say the wrong thing; murderers; false witnesses; brides who are suspected of not being virgins prior to marriage and whose fathers cannot produce her "tokens of virginity" (bloody sheets); anyone who blasphemes or curses; non-virginal daughters of priests; witches; fortunetellers; and probably many more that I've missed.

Now I don't know about you, but I don't see people cherry-picking these horrible passages from the Bible and using them as evidence that all Christians are murderous and bloodthirsty and that it's a hate-filled religion every time someone tries to build a Christian community center.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:34 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ok, I can agree with you there about most Muslims in America not wanting to see girls being killed with stones in Iran. But are they willing to give up their religion to see it stopped?

As long as it can be proved the Cordoba house and the people who worship there are not associated with the radical terroristic Hudud punishment part of the Quaran, I support it being built at the wtc site. It would be good if they were also publicly in favor of the leaders of Iran being overthrown because of their unwillingness to respect human rights, but you can't tell people what to think I guess.

I think it's the government's responsibility to make sure that all the activities and accounting in the new Mosque and all Mosques are not in anyway supporting the radical parts of Islam, but I'm sure they will be without just me wanting them to do it. I think they should probably keep tabs on any radical forms of Christianity like FLDS and Westboro baptist too.
posted by andy_t at 2:52 AM on August 2, 2010


But are they willing to give up their religion to see it stopped?

Why would American Muslims have to give up their religion to stop people in Iran from stoning other people? Do you have to get a sex change to prevent women from getting raped?

And it's not being built "at the wtc site". It has nothing to do with the WTC site.
posted by creasy boy at 3:00 AM on August 2, 2010


Do you have any suggestions on books to read in the library?

Ask MetaFilter is a better resource for that kind of question than asking in the middle of a thread here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:13 AM on August 2, 2010


Personally, I wouldn't be willing to get a sex change to prevent a rape, but I think that's sort of different because it's a physical change that you're making to your body vs a belief that is happening in your mind.

They would have to give it up because part of the belief of Islam is that you can't leave the religion, and if you do you have to be killed. I'm not sure if rejecting that belief is giving it up. Can you still belong to the Catholic religion if you give up a core belief. Maybe giving up the religion is not the right word, but you have to totally surrender yourself to Allah if you believe in Islam right?

Once a person enters into the fold of Islam, the rules change. As soon as you become a Muslim by your own choice, you are expected to submit yourself to Allah totally and completely. "O You who believe! Enter into submission, kaffatan!" (2:208) he surrenders the right of making decisions to Allah and His Messenger. No believing man and no believing woman has a choice in their own affairs when Allah and His Messenger have decided on an issue." (33:36)

Now even the question of apostasy, irtidad or deserting of one's faith, for a Muslim, becomes a shar'i/religious issue - even in this issue he is governed by the laws of Islam. And Islam clearly says: No! You cannot become an apostate.After coming into the fold of Islam, rejection of the fundamentals is not tolerated. If there are doubts in your mind about the fundamental beliefs of Islam, then discuss, question, debate, study and solve them BUT you are not allowed to leave Islam, desert your own fitra!


http://www.peacefaq.com/apostacy.html

Sorry about saying 'wtc site' which isn't exactly correct, I meant the site of the proposed Cordoba center. I said wtc site because an earlier comment mentioned that instead of ground zero and I was trying to imply I pretty much read the whole thread.
posted by andy_t at 3:15 AM on August 2, 2010


UbuRoivas: I was responding to creasy boy who told me to go to the library and do some research on Islam. I was just asking him if he had read any books specifically that he recommended. I might post a new ask metafilter thread after searching to see if there's anything related.
posted by andy_t at 3:17 AM on August 2, 2010


They would have to give it up because part of the belief of Islam is that you can't leave the religion, and if you do you have to be killed.

This is complete and utter horseshit.
posted by rtha at 5:48 AM on August 2, 2010


I know lots of Catholics who have sex before marriage - try just avoid condoms. I know bacon eating Muslims. I am so far from being a vegetarian and I'm Hindu. Individuals decide how to express their religious choices.

It always weirds me out reading this Fear of a Brown planet stuff on MetaFilter. I don't expect to find the stupid here.
posted by chunking express at 5:54 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, this took a weird turn. Proves there is mindless bigotry all around us. Even on MeFi.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:11 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


"because part of the belief of Islam is that you can't leave the religion, and if you do you have to be killed. "

Thanks for this comment, Andy_T. I've forward it to all my faithful Muslim friends and family to let them know that they're totally doing it wrong, and need to kill me as a raised Muslim, open atheist. I mean, not *once* have they condemned me - not a single threat, not a "you're going to hell," not even a "well then, what *do* you believe in?" Me allowing them to be tolerant and accepting of my apostasy is just letting them continue being bad Muslims. And I'd be a bad sister/friend if I did that! Thanks for setting all of us straight with your wise insight.
posted by raztaj at 6:21 AM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


So there are Unitarian Muslims, too?

Yes, I know; no Trinity in Islam. It's a joke.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:35 AM on August 2, 2010


As long as it can be proved the Cordoba house and the people who worship there are not associated with the radical terroristic Hudud punishment part of the Quaran, I support it being built at the wtc site.

But the burden of proof doesn't lie on Cordoba House. The US, like most other civilised nations, has a presumption of innocence. US citizens are assumed to be innocent, unless they do something to disprove this. Cordoba House no more has to prove that it does not support Iran, or anything else, than you do.

(Incidentally, neither that Wikipedia article or www.peacefaq.com look like particularly accurate sources: if you want to know what Muslims believe, you might want to start by asking Muslims, or looking at Muslim websites...maybe even the Cordoba Initiative website)
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:39 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Andy T - Snark aside, while there is useful info to be gained from books on Islam, I think the best thing you can do is talk to Muslims themselves. See them, meet them, learn about their family, their stories, share your own stories, and just engage your questions with a Real Live Muslim. There is something to be gained from the personal interactions with real people that is often hard to gain from text, and definitely a kind of depth that you just can't get from Wikipedia. Talk to a Pakistani Muslim, a Yemeni Muslim, an Indonesian Muslim, a convert Muslim - men, women, youth. You'll see that though they all identify as Muslim, their responses to your questions will vary based on their own predicaments - just like any human being. People are infinitely more complicated than just "this is what I am" - talk to them about it. Real people - don't be afraid of them.
posted by raztaj at 6:46 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


But are they willing to give up their religion to see it stopped?

Are you willing to suspend your metafilter account to keep St. Alia from upsetting other people? You should.
posted by fuq at 7:00 AM on August 2, 2010


I'd like to see a mosque, a church, and a synagogue built at Ground Zero. With a shared playground between them.
posted by EarBucket at 7:04 AM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Here's a reading suggestion to keep Andy_k busy: Marhsall Hodgson's magisterial 3 volume *The Venture of Islam.*

Find out why they named the Center Cordoba House! Learn about the Sunni/Shi'a split! Read the hadith debates on the subjects of free will or the application of the Koran to questions of applied justice! Epic battles! Palace Intrigue! Nearly 1400 years of history involving billions of people across the entire globe.

Then go back to Wikipedia.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:05 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, and learn how all of western science and art rests on an Islamic foundation that was laid as a crucial intervention at one of western society's lowest points.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:06 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


i learned this year that my best friend's father, who i knew was from croatia, had been a muslim and converted to christianity on the boat to america - it's kind of odd knowing someone for 40 years and not knowing that about them - maybe it wasn't that big a deal to him, maybe he was concerned about how our society would react to something like that

i do know that my best friend's father doesn't act as though hordes of muslim assassins are waiting to kill him for his abandoning his childhood faith - he's unusually calm for someone who a 1/4 of the world's people would like to supposedly kill - i don't even think he owns a gun to protect himself - he goes out in public just like anyone else does

i guess he must not be worried about that
posted by pyramid termite at 7:10 AM on August 2, 2010


Oh, and if we need to be doing this for andy_t, my co-worker and friend Imran was still alive, and had kept all his bits, despite being a loudly atheist ex-muslim, when we had a few pints last week. I shall update the thread if he is killed for his apostasy.
posted by pompomtom at 7:21 AM on August 2, 2010


Actually, sorry to be so glib - I have a real question:

Andy_t: where do you live that you've never met a Muslim, nor learned anything about Islam?

I'm a pretty obnoxious atheist, but I've managed to meet and get along with Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. I'm sure they've each shared their faith with nutcases who've done bad things (just as I share my atheism with a bunch of nutcases who did bad things), but that's no reason to cause them grief... particularly in the case of allowing religious freedom in a nation which declares the same in its constitution.

I live in a fairly big, and fairly diverse, city to have met such people. Are you stuck in a small town somewhere? Perhaps hitting a nearby town may help? (I like Ubu's suggestion too, but maybe a world tour is a bit much?)
posted by pompomtom at 7:39 AM on August 2, 2010


Ya, the instant I heard about this I went to the ADL website, filled out there BS contact form, and basically told them "You have completely lost my support/confidence/etc."

Good on Bloomberg though for standing up for rationality and tolerance.
posted by rosswald at 7:46 AM on August 2, 2010


here's another "I'm a Jew and a New Yorker, the ADL does not speak for me, I am in favor of the Islamic community center being built in its location adjacent to the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Neither do the NIMBY's and the families of the 9/11 victims. I do not see a cause and effect. I do not see the relationship. I do not see how this dishonors the dead.
posted by micawber at 8:18 AM on August 2, 2010


all of western science and art rests on an Islamic foundation that was laid as a crucial intervention at one of western society's lowest points.

Granted this is an emotional thread, but let us not go overboard.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:46 AM on August 2, 2010


It's easy enough to come on here and say things and ask questions, but going to a Muslim community center near me would be a lot of effort.

Well, there's the rub, isn't it. andy_t, you're asking other people to do the work of your learning for you--many of your comments have read to me as "I admit I don't know much about this at all, but here is my strong and inflammatory opinion and if it's wrong please explain my ignorance to me." I have a word for that attitude when I encounter it among my students: laziness.

Truth is, learning and understanding stuff is work, often hard work. You're coming into a thread clearly populated by thoughtful, well-informed commenters and asking the rest of us to educate you, to do your work as a citizen of the world for you. That's just lazy, it's the damn 21st century, the onus is not on us to educate you; it is your responsibility to be an informed adult, and not pop into other conversations among adults and spew ignorant bullshit. I am honestly surprised that you're 27--I had you pegged at 16-19 given your first few comments.

Be an adult, take responsibility for what you say, and don't foul a good conversation with ignorant, offensive proclamations. Please.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:07 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Find out why they named the Center Cordoba House

Because Cordoba is in Spain, which is mentioned in The Spanish Prisoner, which starred Campbell Scott, who was in Loverboy with Kevin Bacon...and Muslims don't eat bacon.

WAKE UP SHEEPLE
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:44 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


My abiding memory of Cordoba is I had a really nice pork loin there with some really nice wine... oh dear.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on August 2, 2010


Ezra Levant column on the topic. I have no way to confirm or deny his ostensibly factual statements. It is encouraged to debate those ostensibly factual statement rather than the ostensible reputation of the writer.
posted by joeclark at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2010


Have you not been watching the news the last fifty years? Has the internet not made itself available to you? Have you not been reading the threads here on MetaFilter?

/antisemitism*

*you know what I mean...if you don't, it's meant somewhat facetiously, pointing at the elephant in the room
posted by Xoebe

I don't understand this comment? What has happened over fifty years?
posted by rosswald at 10:12 AM on August 2, 2010


raztaj: Thanks for your explaining your experience about leaving Islam, I appreciate it. What type of Muslim are your friends and family? Kind of off topic, but if you're an atheist, how are you totally sure there is no God? Are you also totally sure about how the universe was creted?

pompomtom: I live in a Philadelphia suburb now. I've lived in Boston, MA and Honolulu, HI, and Newark, DE in the past. I've mostly never wanted to question Muslims or talk about their religion up until now. My former manager at a software development company I worked at I think was Muslim but I never discussed it with him. I say this because of the turban he wore. (is this the right word? I think so) He was really friendly and we got along great but we never discussed religion.

LooseFilter: I consider coming on Metafilter not work because it's something I don't have to do and doesn't make me money. I could continue being ignorant about Muslims and still survive. Since you 'insulted' me by calling me 16-19, I'll say that 99% of the teachers I had I think were completely lazy, incompetent, and just not good at what they do. I think most teachers should be fired and either need to be reeducated in how to be helpful, or get a job doing something else. I've done some research and I plan to do more but I want to enter the conversation on Metafilter now because the debate won't exist in the same way after doing a week of part time research.

were there any other questions I missed?
posted by andy_t at 10:15 AM on August 2, 2010


Ezra Levant column on the topic. I have no way to confirm or deny his ostensibly factual statements. It is encouraged to debate those ostensibly factual statement rather than the ostensible reputation of the writer.
The headline is, "Should we build a mega-mosque at Ground Zero?" I don't know what that writer's reputation is, and I have no comment on it, but nine words into his column he'd already made significant two factual errors.
posted by verb at 10:16 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I say this because of the turban he wore. (is this the right word? I think so) He was really friendly and we got along great but we never discussed religion.

He was more likely a Sikh, since the uncut hair in a turban is one of the primary tenets of that religion... Western muslims are less likely to keep that tradition since it doesn't have religious meaning for Islam.
posted by mdn at 10:19 AM on August 2, 2010


because of the turban he wore.

/headdesk.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


(or, who knows, point is, that's a weird assumption and not even the most accurate stereotype you could go for...)
posted by mdn at 10:23 AM on August 2, 2010


Yes, I think you're right about Sikh. Like I said I never talked about his religion to him or anyone else, I just noticed the turban/hat. So it's not even relevant actually because we never talked about religion. Thanks for the link on Sikh's.

So I guess my first real interaction with a Muslim where we are talking about religion has been raztaj through Metafilter. I'm sure I've talked to some in the past, it just hasn't made an impression because I wasn't talking about anything that mattered.

btw, my first sentence in that response should have read "Thanks for explaining your experience".
posted by andy_t at 10:29 AM on August 2, 2010


I've gotta assume I'm not alone in America in not ever talking to a Muslim about their religion and apostasy.

So I guess if you'd like to see this Mosque built, and you are an atheist and former Muslim, it's your responsibility to tell anyone who will listen that people can leave Islam without threat of capital punishment for apostasy.
posted by andy_t at 10:35 AM on August 2, 2010


C'mon, really? You guys are getting played. A little "HAY GUYS -- how do you KNOW Muslins don't kill all their women and live in caves? It says they do right here on the internet," and suddenly we're all trying to explain fucking epistemology? When has that EVER worked? There's no argument of substance here, just some smoke and mirrors. Flag it and go.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Since you 'insulted' me by calling me 16-19, I'll say that 99% of the teachers I had I think were completely lazy, incompetent, and just not good at what they do.

Huh? it's perfectly acceptable to be 16-19, and in fact I know several 16-19ers who are quite awesome people. Also, it is quite clear that 99% of your teachers couldn't reach you, although, it seems your problem is a lack of curiosity.

Well, it's good you're on metafilter though, especially since you seem interested in filling in the massive gaping holes in your knowledge of anyone different that you.

Where did you go to school that didn't have ANY sort of basic social studies program?
posted by fuq at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2010


it's your responsibility to tell anyone who will listen that people can leave Islam without threat of capital punishment for apostasy.

Andy_t, as a (presumably) male person, I do hope you'll step up to your responsibility to tell anyone who will listen that men can be decent people and don't have to commit rape.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:39 AM on August 2, 2010


Well, andy_t: I consider coming on Metafilter not work because it's something I don't have to do and doesn't make me money. I could continue being ignorant about Muslims and still survive.

Having an informed, thoughtful conversation with other people about topics that are complex and emotionally charged does in fact require effort, because you have to bring knowledge, experience, and sensitivity to the table if you don't wish to needlessly offend. I find it curious that you automatically equate the term 'work' with 'something I have to do to make money,' because it also is commonly used to mean 'effort at something,' yes? So substitute my use of the word 'work' with 'effort' and I'll put my concern a little more directly: having informed, thoughtful conversation with adults requires effort on everyone's part; I am insulted that you expect me to educate you. I am not responsible for your ignorance, and if you come into a conversation with strong and inflammatory opinions that you even admit are ignorant or at least only partially informed, you should expect to be called out about it. It is an immature thing to do.

Since you 'insulted' me by calling me 16-19, I'll say that 99% of the teachers I had I think were completely lazy, incompetent, and just not good at what they do. I think most teachers should be fired and either need to be reeducated in how to be helpful, or get a job doing something else.

You sure do have a bad habit of extrapolating universal truths from your own very limited slice of experience. I've suffered through plenty of bad teachers as a student myself, but I also had good ones and really, really good ones, all the way through public school and three degrees at public universities in different regions of the country. But both of us are just trading anecdotes, which have very little to do with data, that is, what is actually happening in the larger picture. (Here's something I recommend you read up on: the difference between anecdotal experience and data-driven observations.)

However, I don't take what you said as an insult. I'm sorry that your experiences with teachers have been poor, but that reflects on me not at all. I said you sounded around age 16-19 because of what you actually wrote right here in this thread, not because of the behavior of other people. You, on the other hand, are using the behavior of other people in completely different contexts to attempt to draw a conclusion about me, and to then use that conclusion as an insult, which is ridiculous. (This is actually what is most offensive in your comments about Muslims, by the way.)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:41 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've done some research and I plan to do more but I want to enter the conversation on Metafilter now because the debate won't exist in the same way after doing a week of part time research.

There's actually no requirement to enter a discussion on MetaFilter, on any topic. And there are many, many ways to participate while being aware of how phrasing things in certain ways will be more likely to cause a shitstorm. And it's not like this is The Last Thread Ever that will be, in some way, about Islam, or Muslims, or Muslims in the US.

"Listen more, talk less" is a way of being that I've found very useful. In this specific case, "read more, write less" would apply.

One thing you might want to think about: Your assumptions that All Muslims Believe [Foo] really need to be checked. As annoying as it may be, different people are different. Cultural practices inform religious practices, and vice versa. Presumably, you do not assume that Christianity as it is practiced in a rural area in Kenya is exactly like that which is practiced in suburban Philly. You probably know that Lutherans and Methodists and Assemblies of God congregations all believe (slightly, or not so slightly, depending) different things, despite all being Christian denominations. Heck, if two Lutheran churches belong to different synods, they're going to have different kinds of services and emphasize different aspects of their shared theology.

And for the love of noshitstorms, do not start with ask-an-atheist in this thread. You want to know more about what (some) atheists believe? Go to amazon.com; put "atheism" into the subject search field; hit "enter." (NB: I am not an atheist. I have also never encountered an atheist - and I know lots, and am friends with several - who is "totally sure" about the creation of the universe. Again, check the assumption: why would you assume that this is something an atheist would be sure of? Why would you assume that a religious person is totally sure about its creation?)
posted by rtha at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


As annoying as it may be, different people are different.

rtha, any chance you're printing that on t-shirts? I'd like one if so, plz thx.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:47 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And you know, if you want to read what one atheist thinks, you can read this blog. Some of it is NSFW (she also writes about sex).
posted by rtha at 10:47 AM on August 2, 2010


Ha! At last, I have found my path to fame and riches and glory!

*goes off to print t-shirts*
posted by rtha at 10:48 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


fuq: I went to college at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. I majored in Computer Engineering, and there were some social science type electives, not too much about Islam though. I could have picked it but it wasn't interesting at the time. I went to a public High School.

I also want to correct what I said about raztaj - I meant she is the first *former* Muslim that I've talked to regarding religion and apostasy. Although I haven't talked to any current Muslims either like I stated.

I don't think all Muslims believe [Foo], but I think the government is responsible for keeping the ones who believe the really radical things in check, just like a lot of European countries are doing.
posted by andy_t at 10:52 AM on August 2, 2010


andy_t, I think you're genuinely looking to be more well-informed, so I'm going to me-mail you in a little bit. It might be long and TMI, but hope that it might be beneficial for you to get to know about a (former) Muslim and see where they, and their community, come from.
posted by raztaj at 11:01 AM on August 2, 2010


In related news: Texas mosque and educational center vandalized with offensive graffiti and fire, causing $20,000 in damage.
posted by ericb at 11:06 AM on August 2, 2010


Zero Tolerance.
posted by ericb at 11:09 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ezra Levant column on the topic. I have no way to confirm or deny his ostensibly factual statements.

In other words "here's a link to some frothmouthed lunacy, most of which* I am too lazy or intellectually dishonest to spend 30 seconds disproving for myself."

Weak sauce. If you want to express silly, ill-informed and ignorant opinions, express them, but don't cower behind Levant and simultaneously demand that other people do your (very, very easy) homework for you.

*not a mosque, not at Ground Zero, not a "terrorist flotilla," not a "Jihadist name," etc. etc., sentence by sentence, all the way down the page.
posted by Shepherd at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2010


After thinking about this for a bit, it mystifies me that Christians don't see how they are making rods for their own backs here. The same blowhards who are winding everybody up about Cordoba House are saying, often in the same sentence as the one about how the place should not be built, that radical Islam wants to take over the country and impose sharia law and make your wife wear a burka.

Well shit, genius, how helpful of you to get rid of the longstanding tradition of religious freedom in this country for them. Lord knows it'd be hard for an immigrant population to so radically alter the founding principles of a nation. Religious freedom and an embrace of pluralism are the best bulwarks we have against theocracy of any stripe. There is no promise that Christianity will be the dominant religion in the United States forever, and Christians would do well to remember that the people you shit on while you're on your way up are the people you'll meet on your way down.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:29 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think all Muslims believe [Foo]

Well, you gave a strong impression otherwise when you wrote:

I'm glad the ADL publicly is against building a mosque in NYC at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack. I think what Iran/Islam is doing to it's citizens is terrorism right now. A woman is going to be stoned for committing adultery. In 2010.


In which you managed to conflate all Muslims with Iran, and that the only kind of Islam that exists in the world is that which is practiced in one country. And, you know, Iran had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. The guys in the planes were mostly from Saudi Arabia. And we've gone to war against Iraq and Afghanistan, not Iran, and not Saudi Arabia.

I don't think it's bizarre that I see you assuming that all Muslims believe [foo] when you've done an excellent job demonstrating that you do.
posted by rtha at 11:29 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've gotta assume I'm not alone in America in not ever talking to a Muslim about their religion and apostasy.

So I guess if you'd like to see this Mosque built...


It's not a mosque.
posted by hippybear at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2010


rtha: I guess I made a mistake there in conveying what I meant, or you guys convinced me. It's hard to say a large group of people all believe a certain thing with certainty (especially when that means stoning a woman). Everyone is slightly different, and personally I don't know my exact beliefs on everything so I assume most are like that. I want to find out what the majority of Muslims believe, and specifically what their beliefs are regarding Hudud. Strong opinions, weakly held is a good philosophy I think.

What I want is for the Cordoba house's contribution's as well as how it got it's money to be audited by the government to see if any of the money relates in anyway to Islamic extremism / Hudud terrorism. I'm not sure if all of that's possible, but I do think it's possible to increase oversight and surveillance by the government on places where people worship.
posted by andy_t at 11:43 AM on August 2, 2010


I do think it's possible to increase oversight and surveillance by the government on places where people worship.

That would be awesome. Can we start with the Mormons and Westboro Baptist Church?
posted by hippybear at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2010


I'm not sure if all of that's possible, but I do think it's possible to increase oversight and surveillance by the government on places where people worship.

It really isn't. Not even a little bit. Our Constitution is very clear on this point:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or restricting the free exercise thereof.

Auditing a religious centers funds to make sure they only go to sources you personally like is damn sure a restriction on the free exercise of religion. Again, if it can be done to Cordoba House today, it can be done to your church tomorrow.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:49 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we start with the Mormons and Westboro Baptist Church?

see also: the catholic church. the IRA are catholic, as are presumably some members of ETA, the basque separatist organization; both the IRA and ETA are terrorist organizations.
posted by lia at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone is slightly different, and personally I don't know my exact beliefs on everything so I assume most are like that.

Yeah, you need to stop that. Seriously. Stop it.

Lots of terrorist actions right here in the US have been committed by people who call themselves Christian, and commit the acts in the name of Christianity. And yet we don't think it's an awesome idea or even a gross, but necessary thing to have the government march into every church in the country to audit them just to make sure that they didn't support the actions of someone who claimed to be the same religion as they are.

So, again, you're assuming, from no foundation whatsoever, from what you admit is a deep well of ignorance about even the basics of Islam, that the folks at Cordoba House might be tied to extremists just because they share the same (nominally, at that) religion.
posted by rtha at 11:54 AM on August 2, 2010


Andy_t - how do you feel about the separation of church and state? Or does that only apply to Christian churches in your view? Cordoba is known for being a moderate organization dedicated to building understanding and pushing back at radical Islam. There are some organizations that have funneled money to radical religious groups of all flavors around - they aren't one of them. Do you think that ALL religious organizations support should be tracked? If not, why not?

Personally I'm a fan of the separation of religion and government for all religions.

And what do you mean by "Strong opinions, weakly held is a good philosophy"? To my mind that's an excuse for making inflammatory statements and not backing them up - this thread has been a great example of how well that doesn't work.
posted by leslies at 11:55 AM on August 2, 2010


It can be done through an amendment, and I'm saying at this point I'm in favor of something like that so religions can be audited for human rights abuses. Sure include Catholics, the IRA, ETA, Westboro, and Mormoms. Of course it should all be done carefully, but Europe has already started I think. I used to go to a Methodist church, but not for a few years, so I don't have a church myself really. Freedom of religion or freedom from religion, haha.
posted by andy_t at 11:55 AM on August 2, 2010


Strong opinions, weakly held
posted by andy_t at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2010


It can be done through an amendment, and I'm saying at this point I'm in favor of something like that so religions can be audited for human rights abuses.

Do you realize that al-Qaeda's entire propaganda strategy depends on painting Americans as intolerant toward Muslims? Do you really think the best way to fight that is to amend our Constitution to make it easier for the government to harass religions it doesn't like?
posted by EarBucket at 12:17 PM on August 2, 2010


Ok, well I guess we should make it clear! I'm not and the US is not intolerant towards Muslims. We are intolerant of the practice of Hudud.
posted by andy_t at 12:19 PM on August 2, 2010


Oh crap! Bristol Palin Breaks Off Engagement With Levi Johnston, Ending Democracy As We Know It
posted by Artw at 12:19 PM on August 2, 2010


Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Daily News is reporting that the Landmarks Preservation Commission will unanimously vote against granting protected status to 45 Park Place, clearing the way for the Cordoba House/Park51's construction.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:39 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


andy_t, a good guiding principle regarding groups of people that you find unfamiliar is to remember that really, people just aren't fundamentally that different from each other. Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something. Maybe you don't think you know any Muslims because you don't know any women who wear a headscarf or anyone with an Arab-sounding name, but I assure you that there are plenty of Muslims in the Philly 'burbs. (I live in Philly.)

There's a lot of power-grabbing political noise made about the differences between world religions and different cultures, but the basic "live a good life, don't be a jerk" message is pretty consistent. Take a spin through the Wikipedia entries here for Easter, Eid, and Yom Kippur -- three holidays all preceded by a period of fasting and repentance or atonement.

There are non-practicing Muslims the same way there are non-practicing Christians; there are strict and more liberal congregations; Muslims from different countries and regions may have variations on their religious customs in the same sort of way that German Christians put out shoes instead of hanging stockings on Christmas Eve; and most importantly, those who commit violent acts in the name of a religion do NOT get to redefine that religion for everyone else.
posted by desuetude at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door.

This makes no sense - hear something about x people from one source, assume it applies to a majority or "many"?
posted by WeekendJen at 1:05 PM on August 2, 2010


And the people who murdered the loved ones died on the planes too, so I doubt they'll be moving in next door.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:06 PM on August 2, 2010


I think the plot was bigger than JUST the people on the planes, but your general point is valid
posted by rosswald at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2010


Not the first time the ADL has shown that its mission includes attacking arab & muslim communities.
posted by mano at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2010


There's already another mosque two blocks away.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:03 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not a mosque.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:37 PM on August 2, 2010


Clearly, someone needs to hop on isitamosque.com while the hopping is good.
posted by cortex at 2:45 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was talking about Cordoba House.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:10 PM on August 2, 2010


It can be done through an amendment

Are you familiar with the constitutional amendment process? It can take years - it's definitely not happening before this center gets built.
posted by naoko at 3:34 PM on August 2, 2010


Bristol Palin Breaks Off Engagement With Levi Johnston

WHY ISN'T THIS ON THE FRONT PAGE YET?!
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:39 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a Muslim, but calling it "not a mosque" is a bit of a red herring. There's still a prayer center where the daily and Friday prayers will be held. There will be classes and activities just like "regular" mosques. It's a community center with an embedded mosque, basically, no matter how else it's billed. The idiots kvetching at it won't really care either way because it's connected to Muslims.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:50 PM on August 2, 2010


I'm a Muslim, but calling it "not a mosque" is a bit of a red herring. There's still a prayer center where the daily and Friday prayers will be held. There will be classes and activities just like "regular" mosques. It's a community center with an embedded mosque, basically, no matter how else it's billed. The idiots kvetching at it won't really care either way because it's connected to Muslims.
By that standard, O'Hare airport is a church.
posted by verb at 4:33 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


community center with an embedded mosque, basically
COMMIE MUSLIM CENTER WITH SECRET EMBEDDED MOSQUE!
NEAR GROUND ZERO!
TURN THE FLAG UPSIDE DOWN!
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:35 PM on August 2, 2010


It's worth pointing out that it's quite normal elsewhere in the world to build a prayer room into public buildings, because it's a standard amenity that many people want to use.

A building with a prayer room doesn't automatically become a mosque any more than one with a fire escape becomes a fire station.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:39 PM on August 2, 2010


> By that standard, O'Hare airport is a church.

> A building with a prayer room doesn't automatically become a mosque any more than one with a fire escape becomes a fire station.

You people are having such fun with your wacky analogies that you're entirely missing Burhanistan's point, which is that whether you say it is a mosque or just a building that contains a mosque doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the bigots who don't want it there.
posted by languagehat at 5:19 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


You people are having such fun with your wacky analogies that you're entirely missing Burhanistan's point, which is that whether you say it is a mosque or just a building that contains a mosque doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the bigots who don't want it there.
There is nothing wacky about that analogy; it's not even an analogy. I can attend Christian church services in a dedicated chapel at O'hare airport.

I don't expect it to make any difference to the people who are outraged that Muslims would have the temerity to build in Manhattan -- and that's the point of noting that O'Hare Airport, my local community recreation center, and a number of other innocuous public buildings are "churches" by their standards. There's a profound double standard, and I am noting it.
posted by verb at 5:39 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never seem to see people using those so-called prayer rooms. Perhaps it's because organised prayer tends to be kept to private spaces; perhaps it's because the most religiously-committed people are the ones least likely to use an ecumenical space. Anyway.

I think Burhanistan must be right on this. Lots of mosques have attached schools or function rooms or whatever; so do synagogues; so do churches. It's not unreasonable to describe a community centre as a religious building when the religious element is at the core of the design. Also, I feel uncomfortable with "It's not a mosque!" being used as an argument against people who find this building offensive. It implies that they're justified when they say that they think mosques are offensive.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:49 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is nothing wacky about that analogy; it's not even an analogy. I can attend Christian church services in a dedicated chapel at O'hare airport.

A building with a prayer room doesn't automatically become a mosque any more than one with a fire escape becomes a fire station.

No, it's a really wacky analogy in an attempt to be reductive and dismissive. Did they build O'Hare so Christians could have their own airport? Come on. It's an Islamic center. It has an interfaith mission but it is designed and run by Muslims with Islamic outreach in mind. The only reason people are having the reaction to it is because of this. Disputing on whether or not it is a mosque is just disingenuous.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:03 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder who is feeding the various journalists in the various linked articles the line that it isn't a mosque then, if it's so obviously a mosque as to be reductive, dismissive & disingenuous to claim otherwise?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:38 PM on August 2, 2010


And for the love of noshitstorms, do not start with ask-an-atheist in this thread.
This thread certainly isn't the proper venue for it. That said I consider myself an atheist and in the interests of education I'd be happy to have a dialogue about it via memail or email or whatever if there are any lurkers who have a burning need after this derail. Reddit also has an active (if somewhat reactionary) atheism board.

posted by Skorgu at 6:42 PM on August 2, 2010


> I wonder who is feeding the various journalists in the various linked articles the line that it isn't a mosque then, if it's so obviously a mosque as to be reductive, dismissive & disingenuous to claim otherwise?

It isn't "technically" a mosque from a fiqh perspective. But that whole argument is really beside the point. It's an Islamic center that is being protested. As Joe in Australia said, saying that it isn't a mosque as a placation for right wingers is wrong in its own right. So what if they build a mosque there? So what if they build one even closer to the WTC site?

As to who is feeding that to journalists, I have no idea. Could be the Cordoba Initiatives PR people, it could be an idea that journalists ran with because it creates another surface to hang arguments and commentary on. But, again, quibbling about whether it's technically a mosque here is totally side stepping the issue.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:46 PM on August 2, 2010


It isn't "technically" a mosque from a fiqh perspective. But that whole argument is really beside the point. It's an Islamic center that is being protested.
And that's my point. It's an Islamic community center, and that's what they are protesting. Christians helped construct a community center in my town, and they called it just that: a community center. The fact that they brought kids tere every halloween to tell them about Jesus, held worship services there on Saturday nights, and conducted all-night prayer vigils, didn't stop them from saying it was a "community center" and not a "church."
posted by verb at 7:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, then we were talking somewhat at cross purposes then, and are in basic agreement about it.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:19 PM on August 2, 2010


It continuously blows my fucking mind that this is in the news. And that the supposed 'conservative' 'originalist' folks are the ones arguing for the government infringement upon property rights and religion.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:28 PM on August 2, 2010


Ok, then we were talking somewhat at cross purposes then, and are in basic agreement about it.
I also re-read over what we both said, and after taking a breather I understand what you're saying as well: it's technically not a mosque, but it is a place where Muslims will worship and connect spiritually, and so on. By the standards of those who are objecting, it is effectively a mosque.

My frustration comes from both the fact that they are objecting to the community center, that they clearly believe calling it a mosque makes their case stronger rather than weaker, and that I've spent the last couple days interacting with relatives who gleefully work to game the federal funding system to get money for their churches by framing them as community centers, 'community service initiatives,' and so on.

There was a personal subtext to my comments that definitely colored my snarking; I can understand why you felt it was disingenuous to leave the statement as it was without elaboration.
posted by verb at 8:51 PM on August 2, 2010


relatives who gleefully work to game the federal funding system to get money for their churches by framing them as community centers, 'community service initiatives,' and so on.

They may actually do so in completely good faith (pardon the pun) because there's no distinction in their minds between "community centre" and "[christian] community centre" as they're conceptually one & the same thing.

It's only when 'others' try to build a centre for their own community that it loses its vanilla status: instead of being a [christian] COMMUNITY CENTRE it's a MUSLIM [community centre].
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:08 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's the part that had me clawing my eyeballs out with frustration and annoyance...
posted by verb at 9:10 PM on August 2, 2010


I think the point of "it's not a mosque" is that the right-wing outrage machine is trying to make a symbol out of something that's quite unsymbolic. They say "mosque at Ground Zero" and you're supposed to imagine that instead of a memorial to the victims, there's a big mosque-type thing with minarets and that guy at the top calling for prayer -- sorry, my architectural vocabulary is lacking, but you know, something straight out of Istanbul right in the ashes of the WTC. And the reality is quite different: there'll be a quite inconspicuous building in a side-street in lower Manhattan with a room set aside for prayer, and it symbolizes exactly nothing.
posted by creasy boy at 10:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Who gives a damn whether it is a mosque, anyway? The point is that people opposing this conflate Islam with terrorists, and oppose an Islamic SOMETHING near where terrorism (that they blame on Islam) happened. Intolerant? Yes. Prejudiced? Yes. Bigoted? Well, that's what bigotry means, so yes.
posted by norm at 11:25 PM on August 2, 2010


This thread is the Shi-ite.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:28 PM on August 2, 2010


man, those teachers at andy's school must have really sucked. Never mind Islam. They didn't cover the constitution, the American revolution, WWII or the civil rights movement either?

The stoning of adulterers is in the bible too, Andy. So should we raid every church and synagogue to round up anyone who takes any part of the bible literally?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:12 AM on August 3, 2010


William Saletan in Slate calls opposition to the Muslim cultural center un-American.
posted by aught at 5:32 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Leviticus 20:27 also calls for stoning psychics, mediums, witches, and wizards. Here's the KJV:

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.


That's right! Christians and Jews read a book they often take literally that calls for KILLING HARRY POTTER and every New Age quack in Sedona, Arizona!

The thing is, Andy, that stoning people to death is illegal in the US, even though we in the US "legally" put plenty of people in prison or on death row for reasons many other cultures find appallingly weak, by the way, if justifiable at all. It's illegal for Christians to stone adulterers, just like it is illegal for Muslims to stone adulterers.

Christians in Uganda have lately supported the death penalty for homosexuals. Many homosexuals have been beaten and killed by Christians in the US, in fact, acting out of a hatred ultimately justified by appeal to the bible (that same Leviticus punk, he sure was a hard case). Therefore, shall we conclude that the members of any Christian church need to be investigated to make sure they include no one who might be at risk of sympathizing with the killers of gay people? Who might take *any* part of the bible at all literally (No shellfish! Off to Guantanamo with you!)

Do you know how many American Christians have spoken in support of Uganda's death penalty for homosexuals? Some are actively working to help implement it, actually.)

You see, you don't get to decide what someone else has the right to believe, or how they choose to express or enact that belief as long as it is done within the law. The law in this case forbids stoning adulterers or setting up an alternative court system or compelling child marriages. But it is crystal clear on your right to believe in doing those things without interference from the state. Even *if* every single member of the Cordoba community believed that women should wear burkas and be stoned to death for adultery (when my guess is not one single person associated with this project believes that, and no one has yet produced any evidence of any sentiments or statements emanating from Cordoba that could in any way be construed as threats against anyone else, meaning there is no actionable basis for anyone's suspicions here other than a vague stereotyped generalization), the US government would have no right telling them they couldn't believe that, just the right to prevent them from actually doing it.

The same as with any other religious community in the US. You can believe in divine medical care, if you're a JW or a Christian Scientist, but you're not allowed to keep your kid away from doctors when she's sick. You can believe homosexuality is an abomination, or abortion is murder, but you can't kill gays and abortionists with this belief as a justification without facing criminal charges for murder yourself.

Nothing protects Americans from tyranny and terrorism better than our own laws, which supersede the laws of any church or sect because we live in a secular society. And one of those laws says the state cannot interdict a peaceful assembly, whether it's to protest or pray; it cannot prescribe or proscribe particular beliefs, whether those of a Muslim or a Christian or a Klansman -- this applies to political as well as religious beliefs. You can't kill people or enslave them in extrajudicial ways. (Some of us have a problem with killing people in judicial ways as well, true.)

Those laws are in the founding documents of our country, revered by liberals and conservatives alike. Were you to amend the constitution to reduce the scope of freedoms of religion, assembly, thought, speech, and property, it would be properly illegal under the existing terms of the constitution to do so in a manner that singled out any group of citizens -- immigrants, Muslims, gay people -- for separate treatment. And properly so, because if you know your history, if any group of people is excluded from the exercise of freedom, anyone could be.


But you do not know your history, rather appallingly so for a college graduate -- Northeastern failed you, as did your public school, if you don't understand the bedrock principles of our free society.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:48 AM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


William Saletan in Slate calls opposition to the Muslim cultural center un-American.


Right on. My exact words in the affiliated MeTa thread, and precisely true.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:19 AM on August 3, 2010


And one more, apologies for peppering, but a lot of unfair analogies have been made in this thread and the affiliated MeTa thread between those who stereotype all Muslims as terrorists and those who stereotype all right wingers (or Christians, or the specific protestors against the Cordoba House in Manhattan) as bigots.

Well, it's not the same. No one is calling for the government to arrest the protesters against Cordoba House, or to keep them from protesting where their words might hurt someone's feelings. They have the same right to protest that Cordoba House has to build its facility -- a constitutional right to believe what they want and speak their minds publicly as long as they are not interfering with anyone's business or speaking in order to intimidate or raise a violent mob (though some are, of course -- the folks who brought dogs to protest a mosque in Temecula, California, did so with the intention to intimidate clearly stated). The protesters are, however, calling for something illegal, which is an extrajudicial use of a bogus legal process to prevent something that hurts their feelings but is otherwise legal and protected conduct.

That impulse -- the will to theocracy, if you want -- is not just an unfair stereotype of the religious right and their various allies. Unlike Muslim Americans, the vast majority of whom never utter an anti-Western thought, let alone participate in legal or illegal opposition to the American government (ie, most of them are not in any slight tiny way even terrorist sympathizers, let alone terrorists, as if that had to be said explicitly one more time), a large number of Christian right activists in he US *have* actually acted in terroristic, extrajudicial, intimidating ways, and *do* express a desire to transform a secular democracy into a theocratic oligarchy with an official state religion (remind you of anyone?). US right wing anti-Muslim sentiment is boiling and growing at an alarming rate, with active demagogues like Palin and Gingrich and *many* religious leaders with large congregations exploiting the media-stoked fears of people like andy_t who are simply ignorant of the facts or the principles involved and doing something that *is* illegal, which is inciting hatred and urging violent action. A wave of anti-Muslim vandalism, violence, denial of civil rights, etc. is no hypothetical worst case scenario. It's actually happening, and I assert that it is being organized from above, just as similar recent campaigns against Blacks, gays, and immigrants have been.

So in fact I don't need to surmise that the protesters in lower Manhattan speak for a group. The group they speak for claims and supports them proudly, and grows daily, and has taken up similar actions elsewhere of an even uglier and more virulent nature, without the fig leaf of legality the Ground Zero protesters have pasted over their asses (do you think any of them care that the site is of historic value as such?). The world is not only "individuals" and "everyone," and where there are clear affiliations, there is no need to guess at who speaks for whom. If you can show me active connections between Cordoba House and known terrorist groups, or even legal Muslim organizations that have spoken out against West or American principles of secular governance, then you've got a very different case to make than the "tone deaf" argument. If there were Muslim-AMERICANSs all over TV telling their fellow citizens they were second class or not "real" Americans, you'd have a very different case.

No, those protesters are not speaking for themselves as individuals, nor as a small group with a specific target. They are one column of a large wave of anti-Muslim activity, just as the people blocking access to your local abortion clinic, illegally, are part of a movement. Collaborative activism defines a political movement. This isn't about one mosque, or not-a-mosque. It's about ginning up a national climate of hate. The Cordoba House made a convenient target.

Building a church defines a religious community. These people have done nothing collectively to offend anyone. The offense is inauthentic, at least from the leadership.

Scapegoating and condeming actual antisocial conduct are two different things. One side in this conflict is siding with Taliban values, and it ain't the Muslim side.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:42 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Daily News is reporting that the Landmarks Preservation Commission will unanimously vote ...

And the vote is in: Panel clears way for mosque near ground zero.
posted by ericb at 7:56 AM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


I love New York. I truly do. Proud of my town.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:29 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


New York is fucking awesome. Given the oportunity I would totally live in New York.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on August 3, 2010


Ezra Levant column on the topic. I have no way to confirm or deny his ostensibly factual statements. It is encouraged to debate those ostensibly factual statement rather than the ostensible reputation of the writer.

On the off chance anyone's still looking for new angles on this debate this late in the thread, I feel obliged to make clear that joeclark has dropped one reeking pile of trollbait here with this link, and he's shellacked it with a gloss of po-faced disingenuousness just thick enough you might be fooled into misunderstanding.

So, for the benefit of non-Canadians: Ezra Levant has built an entire career in pointed opposition to ostensibly factual statements. His role in the Canadian media is somewhere between Bill Kristol and Glenn Beck. He is a race-baiter and climate change denier. He built Act I of his career on the biblethumping, frothing-neocon rag Alberta Report; Act II involved thoroughly mismanaging the public image of failed Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day; in Act III, he resurrected Alberta Report, rechristened it the Western Standard (lest anyone misunderstand that bulge in his pants for anything but Kristol lust), published the infamous Danish Mohammed cartoons, wrapped himself in the Charter, and became a fame whore for freedom of speech.

Linking to Ezra Levant in a debate over a Muslim cultural centre in Lower Manhattan would be like linking to a NAMBLA press release in a pedophilia discussion - but please, just focus on the ostensible facts, or it's your fault if this reasoned debate derails, okay?

Hate to belabour the point, but I can already hear poor joe arguing I refused to even consider said facts, so what the hell . . .

Here's Levant: "Just weeks after 9/11 he told 60 Minutes that America had it coming—U.S. policies were to blame, and Americans were 'an accessory to the crime.'"

Here's the context 20 seconds of Googling will find you: "In a 60 Minutes interview shortly after the September 11 attacks Imam Rauf said, 'Fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam' and went on to say, 'I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.' When the interviewer asked Rauf how he considered the U.S. an accessory, the Imam replied, 'Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.'"

Sorry for the overlong derail, folks, but there is just no way I'm going to let a professional liar like Ezra Levant sneak in here under a veil of "ostensibly factual" reporting. No fucking way.
posted by gompa at 9:42 AM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Alan Dershowitz: Anti-Defamation League Should Not Oppose Mosques at Ground Zero -- "There is simply is no excuse for bigotry, and the ADL ought to know that better than any other organization."
posted by ericb at 10:21 AM on August 3, 2010


Even as protesters raised signs reading "NO 9/11 victory mosque" and "This mosque celebrates our murders" at the Landmarks Preservation Committee's hearing today, Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg draws a clear distinction between the Cordoba Initiative and Muslim extremism on his blog:
Bin Laden would sooner dispatch a truck bomb to destroy the Cordoba Initiative's proposed community center than he would attack the ADL{....} al Qaeda's goal is the purification of Islam (that is to say, its extreme understanding of Islam) and apostates pose more of a threat to Bin Laden's understanding of Islam than do infidels.

I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I've spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country. Bin Laden wants a clash of civilizations; the opponents of the this mosque project are giving him what he wants.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman sticks to vague fear-mongering as he joins the pile-on: "I've also read some things about some of the people involved that make me wonder about their motivations. So I don't know enough to reach a conclusion, but I know enough to say that this thing is only going to create more division in our society, and somebody ought to put the brakes on it".
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:34 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Man, fuck Joe Lieberman.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Alan fucking Dershowitz (he has my wife on an Enemy's List!) opposes this thing. Wow. How much further from any consistent ideals can Palin and pals stray?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:41 AM on August 3, 2010


Since her boss was out of town, my sister was on the stage with Bloomberg and Khan representing United Jewish Appeal (UJA) to support the building of Cordoba
posted by rosswald at 11:04 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


At the Governor's Island speech today
posted by rosswald at 11:04 AM on August 3, 2010


So nice it should be said twice:

FUCK Joe Lieberman.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:10 AM on August 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Bloomberg's speech is amazing. Possibly the best of his tenure. Full text here. Too bad it's so low in the thread, but I can't really justify an FPP.

This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.
posted by The Bellman at 1:19 PM on August 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


Nice, though he should have ended it with "And fuck you Rudy Giuliani".
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Excellent speech. That's how you do it. Courage, principle. Not fear and bullshit hand-wringing and weasel words.
posted by empath at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2010


I was going to wait for the speech to be posted to the Mayor's YT channel but until then here is the photostream (to go along with the text)
posted by rosswald at 1:42 PM on August 3, 2010


"Mr. Gingrich, while recognizing that there are more than 100 mosques already in New York City, said, 'There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.'"*
FWIW -- The Vatican has been negotiating for permission to build the first church in Saudi Arabia with talks beginning in 2008.

BTW -- Churches can be built in the other 56 Muslim-majority countries in the world.
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was going to wait for the speech to be posted to the Mayor's YT channel but until then here is the photostream...

Having the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop -- perfect!
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's how you do it.

And not only did Bloomberg appeal to the best of New York's ideals of tolerance and pluralism, but he also ennumerated the times the city has come up short - including occasions when Jews, Quakers, and Catholics were forbidden to build places of worship within its limits. Plus bringing up the Flushing Remonstrance was a great touch (previously).
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:13 PM on August 3, 2010


Q. Which structure insults Ground Zero?
posted by homunculus at 2:19 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


New York is fucking awesome. Given the oportunity I would totally live in New York.

You totally should! We'd be buddies and we'd talk about comic books all the fucking time.

posted by Amanojaku at 2:45 PM on August 3, 2010


Mr. Gingrich, while recognizing that there are more than 100 mosques already in New York City, said, 'There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.

That doesn't even make any sense. Why would the US wait to follow Saudia Arabia's lead in anything, let alone upholding the US Constitutional right to freedom of religion and assembly?
posted by desuetude at 4:11 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why would the US wait to follow Saudia Arabia's lead in anything

I think it's quit telling. Gingrich and others like him would love to live in a country with one religion, where citizenship is not conferred upon anyone other then the native group, and where the ruling class controls everything.
posted by chaz at 4:23 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like I said, the American right is perfectly comfortable with Taliban values.

The latest is this unbelievable shit about repealing the 14th amendment. This is all a war on citizenship, and it started with the Birther nuts, basically saying you can only be a Real American if you're white, Christian, straight, and stupid.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:07 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let's ban Catholic Churches until there's a synagogue in the Vatican.
posted by empath at 5:27 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.

Translation: "Rather than try to set the standard as high as possible, let's be no better than the worst in the world"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:42 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, since when did Saudi Arabia have anything to do with 9/11? I thought the conservatives were all LAA LAA LAA SADDAM LAA LAA IRAQ LAA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:45 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The video of Bloomberg's speech at Governor's Island Today is up on the YT channel and also through Salon's pick up of the story in a streaming .asx file (if that helps anyone).
posted by rosswald at 7:05 PM on August 3, 2010


Oh, I agree that the position of Gingrich and his ilk on religious freedom veers ironically close at times to those countries from whom we're "supposed" to recoil in horror. But those enamored of such propaganda don't group the world into secular and religious governments, they group the world into something along the lines of Christian Countries, Heathen Places, and Islamofacist States.

I would just think that a seasoned showman/politician like Mr. Gingrich would perhaps vet such hilariously juvenile rhetoric before saying it out loud. I mean, it's so facile as to be asking for snark and mockery.
posted by desuetude at 9:14 PM on August 3, 2010


Bigotry fail. Protest against a mosque in California (which was to include dogs [because they "offend Muslims"]) fails spectacularly and hilariously.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:47 PM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


From dirigleman's link: a small group of protesters took over a patch of grass across from the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley," but they were "greatly outnumbered by supporters from area churches who were there to support the Islamic Center [and] wore white shirts in solidarity with the Muslims and carried signs reading "Leave These American Citizens Alone." " [emphasis mine]

Now that's the America that we can all admire.

Translation: "Rather than try to set the standard as high as possible, let's be no better than the worst in the world"

Yeah, when you aspire to have less religious freedom and tolerance than (say) Egypt, it's a kind of weird position.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:55 AM on August 4, 2010


It's a weirder position still when you consider that Saudi Arabia & Egypt are both propped up by the economic & diplomatic support of the US. In the middle east, they're effectively the 52nd & 53rd States, after occupied Iraq.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:55 AM on August 4, 2010


God bless america?
posted by samsara at 6:42 AM on August 4, 2010


Opponents of mosque near WTC site plan to file lawsuit
posted by hippybear at 7:43 AM on August 4, 2010


Newt Gingrich, pushing prejudice at Ground Zero.
posted by ericb at 8:05 AM on August 4, 2010


From hippybear's link:
The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by the Reverend Pat Robertson, plans to file a petition that the Landmarks Preservation Commission acted arbitrarily and abused its discretion.

This comes after the panel voted unanimously to deny landmark status to the building at 45 Park Place that would be torn down so the mosque can be built.
It's just pathetic how far they twist logic to try to make it sound like they aren't just a bunch of bigots. "We must preserve this precious ex-Burlington Coat Factory outlet store, for it has such historic value to outerwear enthusiasts and garment sales historians worldwide!" Give me a break.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:13 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bigotry fail. Protest against a mosque in California (which was to include dogs [because they "offend Muslims"]) fails spectacularly and hilariously.

I was really hoping for a video of the dogs being all friendly to the Muslims and the Muslims scratching them behind the ears and the dogs wagging their tails while their racist owners just scowl in the background dumbfounded. But I'll settle for this.
posted by albrecht at 8:34 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh FFS. The radical cleric Pat Robertson's fundamentalist equivalent of ambulance chasers has no realistic hope of blocking the construction with their hyprocritical petition.

And isn't that the same Pat Robertson who said Islam is "not a religion, it's a political system, it's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination"? The same Pat Robertson who hosted Jerry Falwell on his 700 Club two days after 9/11 and agreed with his odious assertions that the attack was "what we deserve" and that the ACLU, pagans, homosexuals, feminists, pro-choicers, et al. "helped this happen"?

Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice has nothing to do with the law, justice, or America, much less the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:37 AM on August 4, 2010


Meanwhile, we show how concerned we really are for 9/11 victims by voting down a health care package for them.

It's a tangent, but I just want to note that Rep. Anthony Weiner's response to this is one of the most glorious things I have ever seen.


His silence on the Cordoba House issue is less impressive, however.
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, we show how concerned we really are for 9/11 victims by voting down a health care package for them.

One of the more disgusting things I read was a report quoting one of the reasons some of the opponents of the health care package had to vote it down -- "People get killed all the time."

The reason I find it disgusting is that -- yes, people do get killed all the time, but these very same politicians who dismiss giving the survivors health care because "people get killed all the time" then turn around and decry how we have to "Nevar forget".

It was just finally, incontrovertably apparent that they only care about 9/11 victims when it served their own interests.

A pox on ALL their houses.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:59 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm all for the Cordoba house as long as they remember to install the Fine Corinthian Leather.
posted by telstar at 12:39 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Because you all demanded it, Pat Buchanan weighs in. Interestingly, his argument seems to fully admit that the opposition to the mosque is irrational with its references to blocked construction near civil war battle sites. Naturally, he doesn't go into what is behind the irrational opposition this time since it would be too ugly for him to admit to.
posted by charred husk at 5:50 AM on August 6, 2010


Why did no one object to the "Pentagon mosque"?
Muslims have been praying inside the Pentagon since Sept. 11 but right-wingers have been strangely silent.


I cross posted this in the newer thread.
posted by futz at 3:04 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Almost 70% of Americans oppose the building of a mosque near ground zero.

Led by an Imam who calls America "an accessory to the crimes" of 9/11, won't condemn Hamas, and won't tell us where the money for the mosque is coming from.

Americans are smart.
posted by AdmiralAdama at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2010


AA: What do you think his nefarious plan is? Don't be coy. Just say it.
posted by empath at 3:08 PM on August 16, 2010


Led by an Imam who calls America "an accessory to the crimes" of 9/11

....as is his right to say so, and I'll defend that. Besides, there's a pretty reasonable case to be made that he's factually correct, even though I disagree with that case.

won't condemn Hamas

What did he actually say?
According to the State Department's assessment, "Hamas terrorists, especially those in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have conducted many attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets."
Asked if he agreed with the State Department's assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, "Look, I'm not a politician.
"The issue of terrorism is a very complex question," he told interviewer Aaron Klein.


source (the wholly unbiased New York Post)
You know what? It is a complex question. Hamas is not just an anti-Israel organization. It's also the largest supplier of humanitarian aid to Palestinians. It's not a bunch of hippies holding hands and singing, but even that link there says that a particular faction of Hamas has committed terrorist acts. Moreover, what the hell does that matter? Lots of fundamentalist Christian pastors refused to condemn Eric Rudolph, and we let them build churches. Should they submit a questionnaire to you before being able to practice their religion freely in the US?

and won't tell us where the money for the mosque is coming from.

And why is that your business? Do you hold other churches or synagogues to this standard? Should they put this in your questionnaire before you grant them their building rights?

Or are they second-class citizens because they're Muslim? I'm really, really appalled by your comment, frankly, much the same way I'm appalled by Reid and the other craven cowards of politicians who have come out against this mosque because of how some people feel about Musliims.
posted by norm at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2010


Muslims in the U.S. are now being viewed by the GOP as the "new communists."
posted by ericb at 4:22 PM on August 16, 2010


Orly Taitz wants people to send pig heads to the organizers of Cordoba House. Not linking her own site on account of malware.
posted by kafziel at 6:18 PM on August 16, 2010


How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began
posted by homunculus at 6:27 PM on August 16, 2010


Homunculus, Salon identifies the start as being in this NY Times article. It's a strange article. I can't tell whether it started as an attempt by the mosque's backers to pre-empt the resistance they expected; or whether it was an attempt to quieten resistance that was already out there; or if it was the Times' own attempt to drum up a story. For instance, why did the reporters seek the FBI's opinion on Imam Feisal?
The F.B.I. said Imam Feisal had helped agents reach out to the Muslim population after Sept. 11. “We’ve had positive interactions with him in the past,” said an agency spokesman, Richard Kolk.
The whole thing is just oddly unsatisfying.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:21 PM on August 16, 2010


Almost 70% of Americans oppose the building of a mosque near ground zero.

Here's another statistic for you -- 100% of the people who don't actually LIVE in New York DON'T GET TO HAVE A VOTE IN THIS ANYWAY. The rest of the country shouldn't even be weighing in on what is effectively a LOCAL ZONING ISSUE.

It's all well and good for people to have opinions, but -- this is a local matter. Our mayor has spoken. And that means that the opinons of those 70% of Americans WON'T AFFECT THIS, no matter WHAT they are.

And it is about time that the rest of the god-damned country acknowledges that the actualy RESIDENTS of New York City are the ones who get to have the final say in what the hell happens in THIS CITY, because New York is not just a sort of manufactured memorial, it is OUR HOME TOWN, and we should be allowed to DECIDE TO DO WHATEVER THE FUCK WE WANT TO DO in OUR HOME TOWN without it becoming a National Fucking INCIDENT.

For the love of DUCKS, people.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:56 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seems only fair.
posted by pompomtom at 11:52 PM on August 16, 2010


America Has Disgraced Itself
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:56 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if this has been posted around here already, but this article about the Imam in question may be of interest to some. It's mostly about how he is a Sufi, and how distinct that form of Islam is from what is practiced by terror groups. Of course, that should not imply that non-Sufi american muslims are practically al-Queda, either... This piece is just about the leader of this initiative.
posted by mdn at 9:23 AM on August 18, 2010


'No regrets' on mosque issue, Obama says.
posted by ericb at 9:33 AM on August 18, 2010


Sam Stein On Ground Zero Mosque Imam: A Voice "We Should Be Elevating, Not Downplaying".
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2010


Nancy Pelosi Calls For Probe Into Funding Of Opposition To 'Ground Zero Mosque'.
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2010


9/11 family member Ted Olson breaks from the GOP on NYC mosque: Obama ‘was right about this.’
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on August 18, 2010


The 'mosque discussion' may likely be shifting to this new FPP/thread.
posted by ericb at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2010


Is Harry Reid a bigot now that he's come out against the mosque? What about all the NY dems coming out against it? They bigots too? What about 68% of Americans against the mosque? They racists? What about the Muslims coming out against it? They islamophobes?

The Left has a problem. America is soundly rejecting them, and now all they have is to cry "racism". It augurs an extremely painful election for them in November.
posted by AdmiralAdama at 2:58 PM on August 18, 2010


Is Harry Reid a bigot now that he's come out against the mosque?

Yes. Or a coward. Or a fool.

What about all the NY dems coming out against it? They bigots too?

Yes. Or cowards. Or fools.

What about 68% of Americans against the mosque? They racists?

Racists or fools. Or both.

What about the Muslims coming out against it? They islamophobes?

Cowards and fools.

You're welcome.

The Left has a problem. America is soundly rejecting them, and now all they have is to cry "racism".

...accurately, as it happens. or they could cowardly embrace it.

It augurs an extremely painful election for them in November.

It should be extremely painful to any American too see that they belong to a nation of cowards, racists and fools right now.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


I guess leftists will just have to learn to deal with the fact that sometimes we are entirely right on the facts and the morals but most of the country is in an anti-muslim 9/11 rage so they will have their way.

Hey, so how did that Iraq invasion work out for you America?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:59 PM on August 18, 2010


Mosque a long shot to be built -
The Cordoba Initiative hasn’t yet begun fundraising for its $100 million goal. The group’s latest fundraising report with the state attorney general’s office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255 — not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.

The group also lacks even the most basic real estate essentials: no blueprint, architect, lobbyist or engineer — and now operates amid crushing negative publicity. The developers didn't line up advance support for the project from other religious leaders in the city, who could have risen to their defense with the press.
[via]
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 AM on August 19, 2010


AP Fact Checks Mosque Controversy: "A look at some of the claims and how they compare with the known facts."
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on August 19, 2010


It's not about the mosque -- it's America's war on "the Other".
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on August 19, 2010


It's not about the mosque-- it's about Muslims being the minority it's still ok to hate.
posted by norm at 1:27 PM on August 19, 2010


Burhanistan: If that accurately reflects the project's state then it's dead. It's quite usual for projects to be promoted before all the funding is in place, but you'd expect to have detailed plans and at least one major donor covering the setup costs. What major donor would come forwards now, with the Right baying for blood and the Left spinning like windmill?

The only person who seems to have come out well from this is Michael Bloomberg.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2010


The Shame of New York
"The real story of the Ground Zero mosque is that the project only became feasible because of the appalling and astonishing fecklessness of the officials who were charged with the reconstruction of the site and the neighborhood all the way back in 2001. "
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:51 PM on August 19, 2010


It's quite usual for projects to be promoted before all the funding is in place, but you'd expect to have detailed plans and at least one major donor covering the setup costs.

I imagine things were massively accelerated by the publicity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:24 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


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