"This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another."
August 4, 2010 8:57 AM   Subscribe

"On September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked 'What God do you pray to?' 'What beliefs do you hold?'"
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recently defended the planned Cordoba Initiative Islamic Community Center and Mosque to be built near Ground Zero against critics. Yesterday, after the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to allow the demolition of a building that would be replaced by the center, Mr. Bloomberg gave a speech on Governor's Island (the location seems to have been deliberately chosen) in which he eloquently defended religious freedom. (YT: Video) (Previously on MeFi)
posted by zarq (315 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great job Bloomberg! The Cordoba Initiative has been pretty clear that Cordoba House is not intended to be a place of worship exclusively for Muslims. Also, you know what else is within two blocks of Ground Zero? Just about everything, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches, a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, and even a Chicago-style pizza joint. If that last sacrilege can stand, why not Cordoba house?
posted by reverend cuttle at 9:00 AM on August 4, 2010 [44 favorites]


ah, just noticed this as I was creating a post for the same speech. your post is much better. thanks, zarq. for once I really like bloomberg. this speech is remarkable.
posted by shmegegge at 9:02 AM on August 4, 2010


Oops. forgot the link to the statement regarding exclusively Islamic worship.
posted by reverend cuttle at 9:02 AM on August 4, 2010


I usually have mixed feelings about Hizzoner, but this time I want to say Huzzah! Very loudly, and in his presence.

Speaking as a Jewish person who used to work across the street from the WTC, and who lost a high school classmate and a law school classmate in the attack on the Towers, nothing could be a clearer statement in support of American freedom than the building of this community center and mosque.

What the heck do the opponents think Osama bin Laden was aiming at, anyway? It was our Constitution and our civil liberties. He already scored too large a hit as it is.
posted by bearwife at 9:03 AM on August 4, 2010 [24 favorites]


I am not a New Yorker, but I am relieved by the decision that this building does not meet landmark status standards.

My concern with the issue is that the meaning of true landmarks would be diminished.

And the racism. I was pretty nervous about using landmark status to perpetuate racism and religious exclusion.
posted by bilabial at 9:04 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I am reading the NYDailyNews transcript of the speech, above, and feeling very moved when I make the mistake of reading one of the first user comments:

I hope a plane flies into that temple of hate the first day they open it. - The Wizard

If you oppose this site, understand whose side you are on. And be careful fighting monsters, lest you become one.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:05 AM on August 4, 2010 [33 favorites]


We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else.

Bloomberg is a real American patriot in every sense of the word, showing courage of conviction in an increasingly ugly, racist climate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:06 AM on August 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


For those unwilling to sift through the link soup in the post, here's the raw text of Bloomberg's speech.

Absolutely inspiring. Easily the best-written political speech I've heard in recent memory. New York is a ridiculously diverse place, and it's good to see the mayor stand up and say so out loud. We need more voices of reason like Mayor Bloomberg.

Also, the WTC site is located on a "superblock" -- half of freaking Lower Manhattan is within 4 blocks of it. But the mosque's opponents probably don't realize this, because they've never been to New York.
posted by schmod at 9:07 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a pretty speech, and I share its sentiment, but I don't think that "our freedom" had very much to do with the 9/11 attacks beyond a justification. They were mad about American foreign policy, and everything else was an after thought.
posted by codacorolla at 9:08 AM on August 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


"When I go down there on 9/11, I’ll have to look at the mosque right on the site where they murdered my son that day."

Pardon if I read too much into what may simply be ambiguous grammar, but they did not murder your son and the sooner people get that through their thick goddamn skulls the sooner we can stop taking up airtime and politician-time with this inanity. We're not setting up a shrine to al-Qaeda. It is not a statue of Osama bin Laden. It is a house of peaceful worship for the people who have been libeled and slandered on a daily basis since the attacks by assholes who have only profited. Open your eyes and see just how much of the shit end of the stick American Muslims got after 9/11. How much bigotry they have to endure, to this day, because a mad zealot decided to commit an atrocity in their name.
posted by griphus at 9:09 AM on August 4, 2010 [87 favorites]


Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.
posted by Standeck at 9:10 AM on August 4, 2010


Am I seriously lacking something in my (cold and traitorous?) American heart that I just don't understand the opposition to this? Just how big a "no Muslim" zone do people want?

I'm especially confused by my liberal friends who agree that they should be allowed to build but "why can't they just go somewhere else?" Like when I was in elementary school and didn't understand the big deal about Rosa Parks being asked to sit in the back of the bus. (That's where all the cool kids sit!)
posted by JoanArkham at 9:17 AM on August 4, 2010


They will be wrong.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:17 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Go Bloomberg.
posted by millipede at 9:20 AM on August 4, 2010


enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

OH, DAMN IT, OUTSMARTED US AGAIN

THOSE FUCKERS
posted by Greg Nog at 9:23 AM on August 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.
posted by resiny at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


I posted this amazing speech yesterday to the still-open, now 400+ comment thread on this subject, with the note that I didn't think I could justify an FPP. Was I wrong?
posted by The Bellman at 9:26 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do we really need a second post about what is basically a provincial issue?
posted by seanyboy at 9:26 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is there a particular reason you had to make a new thread about t this issue when there was one created 3 days ago?

I get that this is a different angle, but this post seems unnecessary.
posted by nomadicink at 9:27 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've always been mixed on Bloomberg, even when I lived in New York. On a political level, I cannot avoid the irony of a situation- Bloomberg pretty much became mayor solely because of 9/11, having redefined the definition of being in the right place at the right time by switching to the GOP weeks before a Republican Mayor suddenly became the most beloved position in the world. But on a moral level, I'm in awe. This is an incredibly brave thing to do, and if anything others in authority should be ashamed for not having done it already.

The other irony, I suppose, is that the big message 9/11 was alleged to have taught us was how to not cave in to ignorant, bigoted bullies. Glad that only took nine years.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:28 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


"When I go down there on 9/11, I’ll have to look at the mosque right on the site where they murdered my son that day."

Actually, in order to do that, you'll have to acquire x-ray vision which lets you see through two blocks of tall buildings which stand between the WTC site and Cordoba house. If you aren't looking for it to begin with, you won't find it at all, because it won't be visible from where you're visiting.
posted by hippybear at 9:29 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


resiny: "You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists."

If you're referring to Bloomberg, he quit the Republican Party three years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 9:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is there a particular reason you had to make a new thread about t this issue when there was one created 3 days ago?

I get that this is a different angle, but this post seems unnecessary.
posted by nomadicink at 9:27 AM on August 4 [+] [!]


I, for one, didn't see that post, and this seems to be a different issue unto it.

Thank you for posting it, zarq. Mods, PLEASE don't shut it down.
posted by Malice at 9:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands the US whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win loss for their brand of Islam Christianity.

Let the tribalists have keep track of wins and losses for their particular tribe. I prefer winning points for human rights.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


Related Tom The Dancing Bug comic
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:31 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


On the actual WTC site, I think it'd be a good idea to just rebuild the WTC towers.

Kinda like a big middle finger.

I don't know who'd be brave enough to work there, though, but I suspect if you build it, they will come.
posted by Malice at 9:32 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wish that "no religion" would always share equal billing in these proclamations of tolerance. Religious freedom also means the freedom to reject those ancient superstitions.
posted by three blind mice at 9:34 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you're referring to Bloomberg, he quit the Republican Party three years ago.

I'm not. I'm referring to people here who routinely make sweeping generalizations about conservatives and who lambaste people who make sweeping generalizations about Muslims.
posted by resiny at 9:34 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there a particular reason you had to make a new thread about t this issue when there was one created 3 days ago?

Yes. I thought this was noteworthy enough to highlight in it's own post If the mods decide to shut this down, I'll be disappointed, but that's their prerogative.

There are 415 comments on that other post, which also devolved into a lengthy flamewar and spawned an angry MeTa. Oh, and it was posted four days ago, not three. :)
posted by zarq at 9:34 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oops, forgot to italicize and make that first sentence a link to this comment. Honestly, I find it difficult to believe that a moderate Islamic community center in Manhattan matters a whit to OBL and his type, any more than the Christian Identity movement would care about a Unitarian or Methodist church opening somewhere.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:34 AM on August 4, 2010


Yay Bloomberg.

But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

So what?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:34 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.

Good thing no one has done that in this thread.
posted by defenestration at 9:37 AM on August 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

Thank goodness they were not the authors of our constitution. And our fears about what they may or may not think has never been a guiding principal in our approach to justice.

Do we really need a second post about what is basically a provincial issue?

The attack on the Twin Towers was not intended as an attack on Lower Manhattanites alone, and the conservative attack on the Muslim community center is not because they like to meddle in local politics. We are witnessing an epic battle for the manipulation of symbols, and one that doesn't merely concern Manhattanites, but the entire world.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2010 [23 favorites]


Open your eyes and see just how much of the shit end of the stick American Muslims got after 9/11. How much bigotry they have to endure, to this day, because a mad zealot decided to commit an atrocity in their name.

Endure bigotry compared to whom? Historically, religious and ethnic bigotry in the US has resulted in lynchings, murders, unjust arrests and prosecutions, legally backed job discrimination, social discrimination, legal barriers to residence, business discrimination ... I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11, but it is an insult to real victims of US bigotry to describe a few incidents of discourtesy "shit end of the stick." Muslims have a long way to go before they get as shitty an end of the stick as African-Americans continue to get today, as Chinese (discriminated against in admissions to higher education) are today, as Jews and Catholics have gotten in the past. A little historical perspective here, please.
posted by Faze at 9:39 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but if one group of people thinks they've won, and the other group of people thinks they've won... isn't that called a "win-win?"
posted by verb at 9:39 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.

I would agree that both are in the wrong. However, there is a difference between mocking the bully and mocking the victim.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:39 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do we really need a second post about what is basically a provincial issue?

It is a local-rights issue. A crazy woman in Alaska wants a federal takeover down there. Damn big-government types!
posted by Ironmouth at 9:39 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Muslims have a long way to go before they get as shitty an end of the stick as African-Americans continue to get today, as Chinese (discriminated against in admissions to higher education) are today, as Jews and Catholics have gotten in the past. A little historical perspective here, please.

Here, people are not trying to shut down a Jewish, Catholic, Chinese or African-American place of worship. Therefore this is the appropriate place to discuss actual getting of the shitty end of the stick by actual people actually really happening right now, not in history.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 AM on August 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11, but it is an insult to real victims of US bigotry to describe a few incidents of discourtesy "shit end of the stick."

While I will remind you that Americans who were thought to be Muslim were murdered after 911, and mosques in this country have been attacked as recently as last week, that would be misplacing the discussion into some horse race about who is the most oppressed. It's all intolerable, and shame on you for minimizing it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 AM on August 4, 2010 [46 favorites]


Yes yes yes, but other than the bigotry Muslims face, what bigotry do Muslims face?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:42 AM on August 4, 2010 [12 favorites]


But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

"So what?"

Did you miss that whole war thingy? And that these are the people we're fighting against? And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side? So yay for modernism and freedom of religion. But it is not an unmixed blessing.

That's what.
posted by Standeck at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2010


I have no problem with the building of this place at that site. I do though like for my own satisfaction of mind like to look at what those opposed--not the nujtters but rational people--have to say in opposition. So here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/233572/ground-zero-mosque-imams-muslim-brotherhood-friends-andy-mccarthyhttp://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/07/terror-finded-ground-zero-mosque-imam-raufs-bin-laden-link.html yes. those two links go to right of center places...but then if we are to believe in diverse views, choice, judicious and rational decisions, we can explore what those who differ have to say.
If you haven't got the time, you can use my quick decision method:
If Newt is against something it must be ok; if he supports something, it is probably questionable.
He opposes the building at this spot.
posted by Postroad at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2010


Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and 10 religious leaders of various faiths journeyed to Governors Island

NYC governors get their own island? You'd think a reserved parking spot would be enough.

... And it is a freedom that even here -- in a city that is rooted in Dutch tolerance -- was hard-won over many years. In the mid-1650s, the small Jewish community living in lower Manhattan petitioned Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant for the right to build a synagogue, and they were turned down.

What was that about Dutch tolerance? Was that Dutch governor a rare breed of intolerant Dutch people, or was that just an unfortunate set-up that no one caught when writing this speech?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2010


It's great to see a defence of religius plurality and freedom of worship that goes beyond "well, it's in the Constitution, so there" and makes a positive case for it.

And the only version of "modernism" that I recognise is one that is plural, tolerant, international, and rational, not one that makes planning decisions on the basis of tribal bloodfeuds and the opinion of bookburners in Wasilla and Tora Bora.
posted by WPW at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2010


How sad that just standing up for what in the recent past seemed like the minimal principles of common decency in America has become, in relative terms, heroic.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:43 AM on August 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Here's a couple of my favorite parts of a very fine speech:

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.

and

[I]t is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam. Muslims are as much a part of our City and our country as the people of any faith and they are as welcome to worship in Lower Manhattan as any other group.
posted by bearwife at 9:44 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Did you miss that whole war thingy? And that these are the people we're fighting against? And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side? So yay for modernism and freedom of religion. But it is not an unmixed blessing.

What propaganda points? Which converts? Which muslims are we talking about again? Think carefully. Al Qaeda and Taliban members are not exactly going to be attending this cultural center. And since when is this issue a zero-sum game?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:44 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


...the location seems to have been deliberately chosen.

The New Colussus
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 9:45 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Did you miss that whole war thingy? And that these are the people we're fighting against?

I was unaware Congress had declared war on its own citizens.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2010 [19 favorites]


And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side?

I keep hearing this, and I wait in delicious anticipation to see it backed up in any way. What will the nature of that propaganda be? How will it be worse than the propaganda that says Muslims are so despised in America that we would ignore our own constitution to deny them the rights accorded everyone else?

What would be the unmixed blessing here?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.

Haven't seen anyone here writing "All Republicans are ignorant, hateful bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom," just a few people posting actual things that people said in comments on another site.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2010


Here are Postroad's links, in hypertext:

National Review / Atlas Shrugs

Haven't looked at them, but thought it might be helpful to make them clickable.
posted by zarq at 9:45 AM on August 4, 2010


seanyboy: Do we really need a second post about what is basically a provincial issue?

An important (and incredibly eloquent) speech by a major public figure about the separation of church and state and religious liberty in the United States (and by extension the relations of the US with the rest of the world, including Muslims in the US and abroad) is not a provincial issue.

Faze: I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11

Get your head out of the sand. They've gotten far more than dirty looks.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


And that these are the people we're fighting against? And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side?

No it doesn't because their propaganda mission is to convince all Muslims that America represents a threat to the religion of Islam itself. The construction of a Mosque in Manhattan does nothing to further the extremist agenda. In fact, it's people like you who are carrying the water for al-Qaeda and other radical extremists.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:46 AM on August 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


I thought Atlas Shrugs was an outright nutblog. Am I wrong?
posted by defenestration at 9:47 AM on August 4, 2010


Did you miss that whole war thingy? And that these are the people we're fighting against? And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side? So yay for modernism and freedom of religion. But it is not an unmixed blessing.

You're awfully free with the word "we" in this paragraph.
posted by codacorolla at 9:47 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


A little historical perspective here, please.

My 'shit end of the stick' comment specifically referred to the constant condemnation of the Muslim community since 9/11, not historically. And I'm not sure that what, for instance, Fox News, who have an audience of more than a "few," have to say counts as "a few dirty looks." The constant racial profiling of anyone remotely Middle Eastern-looking by TSA isn't either. Nor the constantly-thrown-around right-wing term "Islamofascism," which condemns them as a group in their entirety. Globally? Take a look at the minaret and clothing bans in Europe.
posted by griphus at 9:48 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Standeck, I guarantee you that the American government has done 100 things in the Middle East this month (and yes I mean August) that have inspired more people against the U.S. and towards terrorism than this decision.

Doing what is right is right because you should do it even when it isn't convenient.

(Not to mention that this example of freedom of religion is EXACTLY the type of thing that keeps moderate Muslims from sliding off the fence into a less desirable "side" against "us.")
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:48 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm not. I'm referring to people here who routinely make sweeping generalizations about conservatives and who lambaste people who make sweeping generalizations about Muslims.

Well, that's awesome and all, but no one in this post right here had actually done that before you accused them of doing so. Maybe wait until there's something to call out before making a callout. And if you're talking about another thread, then go tell it to the other thread.
posted by rtha at 9:49 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]



Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.


Why?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:49 AM on August 4, 2010


"You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists."

I keep trying to stop, but they keep proving me right.
posted by nevercalm at 9:49 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


resiny: You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.

You know, you'd probably be right if "the people" who allegedly said that actually existed. Instead, it's usually Republican politicians (in this election cycle anyway) who take advantage of the "they are bigoted racists who hate freedom" trope to tar and feather Democratic politicians and to gain political points. I've seen way too many political ads in my state doing just that (and worse).

I have yet to see a single ad by a Democrat doing what you describe. If you have seen one, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by blucevalo at 9:50 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have no problem with the building of this place at that site. I do though like for my own satisfaction of mind like to look at what those opposed--not the nujtters but rational people--have to say in opposition. So here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/233572/ground-zero-mosque-imams-muslim-brotherhood-friends-andy-mccarthyhttp://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/07/terror-finded-ground-zero-mosque-imam-raufs-bin-laden-link.html yes. those two links go to right of center places...but then if we are to believe in diverse views, choice, judicious and rational decisions, we can explore what those who differ have to say.
If you haven't got the time, you can use my quick decision method:
If Newt is against something it must be ok; if he supports something, it is probably questionable.
He opposes the building at this spot.


Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs is a nut job, dude. Seriously, bat shit insane. I've been reading her for years and she's a nutter. I just cant respect anyone who posts this glowing review of her self on her own site:
Hot female host with a good sense of humor based in NYC? I nominate Pamela.-- Michelle Malkin
enough said.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:50 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bombing wedding parties vs. allowing a mosque in Manhattan. Hm, which one radicalizes more ignorant tribesmen? Remind me again.
posted by unSane at 9:51 AM on August 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


I've always been mixed on Bloomberg, even when I lived in New York. On a political level, I cannot avoid the irony of a situation- Bloomberg pretty much became mayor solely because of 9/11, having redefined the definition of being in the right place at the right time by switching to the GOP weeks before a Republican Mayor suddenly became the most beloved position in the world.

Uh - I'm pretty sure Bloomy was slated to win before 9/11. Remember this is a city where all you have to do is say "David Dinkins, David Dinkins, David Dinkins" and you deliver 3 of the five boroughs - 2 of them by crazy margins (Queens and SI) and then hope what every non-white candidate who wins the democratic primary can be marginalized easily.

He only switched to become a repub because it is a much easy primary route in NYC - especially for a white guy.

That and the fact he spent a huge sum of money.
posted by JPD at 9:51 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a pretty speech, and I share its sentiment, but...

New York City is hardly the freest city in the world either.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:51 AM on August 4, 2010


Well fuck all of this then, I'm joining the ignorant tribespeople!
posted by furiousthought at 9:52 AM on August 4, 2010


I believe there have been conservative voices calling out in favor of the community service. I am rushing out the door to go to work, and will try to track them down later, but it may be useful in the thread to link to any, if anybody else knows of an example, or wishes to track one down.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:52 AM on August 4, 2010


I'm not opposed to the building of the community center and/or mosque, but the speech is pretty terrible IMHO.

"Of all our precious freedoms, the most important may be the freedom to worship as we wish. And it is a freedom that, even here in a City that is rooted in Dutch tolerance, was hard-won over many years.

He then goes on to describe all the limits on "Dutch tolerance".... which is to say they weren't very tolerant at all. So why describe it as "Dutch tolerance" in the first place?

The simple fact is this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship.

"The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right – and if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.


Tell it to the folks in the footprint of the Columbia University expansion. The fact that it's private property really is an appeal to people who value property rights, but it's a hypocritical one. The city has repeatedly shown itself willing to take private lands.

"For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime – as important a test – and it is critically important that we get it right.

But for many of the opponents, seperation of Church and state never enters into it at all, because they don't support state action to stop the building project. That's not really addressed here.

"Of course, it is fair to ask the organizers of the mosque to show some special sensitivity to the situation – and in fact, their plan envisions reaching beyond their walls and building an interfaith community. By doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam.

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion about whether this is primarily a mosque or not. It strikes an odd note for me in a speech about separation of church and state that the Mayor takes a position on what a religion "really teaches", even granting that he's correct.

"Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure – and there is no neighborhood in this City that is off limits to God's love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us today can attest."

This just strikes me as bizarre and ambigious. What is he saying? That the mosque is somehow an instrument of God's mercy? We should be instruments of God's mercy towards our Muslim neighbors? There's hope of reconcilliation over the issue?
posted by Jahaza at 9:52 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.

This will only be true when the first group:

(1) Starts wars against areas with lots of Republicans that had not a goddam thing to do with Republican liberty-hating.
(2) Kills at minimum several hundred thousand Republicans, predominantly out of groups that had nothing to do with the asserted liberty-hating.
(3) Spends trillions of dollars on the aforementioned wars and murders.
(4) Requires immigrants and other foreign residents from ethnic groups that stereotype to Republican sympathizers to register themselves and undergo special scrutiny.
(5) Sets up special prison camps to house and torture people who look like Republicans who someone once said sympathized with Republicans or committed liberty-hating.
(6) Attempt to forbid Republicans from opening a party office "too near" scenes of Republican liberty-hating.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:53 AM on August 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


Yeah, I am completely for the airing of views that are different than what you may believe, but if you're looking for sensible right/conservative views at the Atlas Shrugs (and usually the National Review - at least their blog), you're doing a real disservice to sensible right/conservative views.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:53 AM on August 4, 2010


In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked 'What God do you pray to?' 'What beliefs do you hold?'"

Wait .. the rescuers were all Humanists?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:53 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Faze: I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11

From Human Rights Watch: "WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY"
Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims,
and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11


Also: this.
Along with the Human Rights Watch, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) observed that prior to 9/11, forty-eight hate crimes against Muslim-Americas were reported in the United States, but in the days following the attacks, that figure skyrocketed to 481. Reported incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence against Muslims amounted to 602 in 2002, 1,019 in 2004, 1,522 in 2004, 1,972 in 2005, and 2,467 in 2006. The context of these hate crimes and incidents consist of murders, physical and verbal assaults, and numerous cases of vandalism directed towards Mosques, convenience stores owned by Muslims, and homes. Many reports included these same hate crimes and discriminatory acts towards non-Muslim South Asians and Middle-Easterners as well.

Four days after 9/11, Mark Stroman entered a grocery store in Dallas, Texas, and shot and killed Waquar Hassan, a forty-six-year-old Pakistani father of four. Unfounded by the police, Stroman entered a convenience store in Mesquite, Texas less than a month later, and murdered Vasudev Patel, a non-Muslim Indian father of two. Stroman was finally arrested, and before being convicted and sentenced to death, he stated in an interview: “We’re at war. I did what I had to do. I did it to retaliate against those who retaliated against us.”

The next year, a man named Frank Roque boasted at a local bar that he was going to “kill the ragheads responsible for September 11th.” A few days later he shot and killed Balbir Singh Sodi, a forty-nine-year old father of three. When arrested for murder, Roque declared: “I stand for America all the way! I’m an American. Go ahead. Arrest me and let those terrorists run wild.” Little did Roque know that the turbaned man he killed was not an Arab or a Muslim, but an Indian Sikh.

Other incidents in the immediate days and months following 9/11 included attempted murder upon a Palestinian male who was shot at after leaving his Mosque in Seattle, a Pakistani woman who was nearly run over by a car in the parking lot of a New York mall, and an American Muslim women who was nearly choked to death by her attacker in Texas.
Not mentioned: in at least two or three incidents, Sikhs (who aren't even Muslim!!!) were beaten by angry New Yorkers in the days following 9/11. I watched those reports on the local news here.
posted by zarq at 9:53 AM on August 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Here are Postroad's links, in hypertext:

National Review / Atlas Shrugs

Haven't looked at them, but thought it might be helpful to make them clickable.


Oh and Andy McCarthy? did you read what he said?

The Ground Zero mosque project is not about religious tolerance. We permit thousands of mosques in our country, and Islam is not a religion.

This is your rational view that we ought to listen to? We ought to read it, yes, and then condemn it for what it is, irrational hate.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:54 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


And that these are the people we're fighting against? And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side? So yay for modernism and freedom of religion. But it is not an unmixed blessing.

The phrase "ignorant tribespeople" perfectly describes Americans who think that "these people we're fighting against" are US Muslims who think (or thought, until this Manhattan Islamic center thing blew up) that the US was the one country in the world that would defend their religious freedom to the end of the line.

Christians (and Americans) who believe that fighting against religious freedom is an "unmixed blessing" are beyond my capacity to understand.
posted by blucevalo at 9:55 AM on August 4, 2010


Also "we permit?" Mr. Andy McCarthy, these people are American citizens. They have the constitutional right to construct their house of worship.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:55 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11, but it is an insult to real victims of US bigotry to describe a few incidents of discourtesy "shit end of the stick." Muslims have a long way to go before they get as shitty an end of the stick as African-Americans continue to get today, as Chinese (discriminated against in admissions to higher education) are today, as Jews and Catholics have gotten in the past. A little historical perspective here, please.

damn, dude. takes a lot of nerve to pull a fast one like that. Of all the things I expected to see in this thread "speaking in support of muslims is unfair to blacks, chinese, jews and catholics" was not one of them. bravo to you, master troll! May your narrow worldview never widen, you champion of whatever happens to earn you teh lolz.
posted by shmegegge at 9:57 AM on August 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


Also, can I Godwin things up in here a bit and say that telling people where they can build a house of worship for reasons having nothing to do with public health and safety is the first step toward ghettoization (in the European sense.)
posted by griphus at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, the people who generalize that all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom aren't really any better than the people who generalize that all Muslims are American-hating potential terrorists.

I'm referring to people here who routinely make sweeping generalizations about conservatives
Then, resiny, I'm sure you can link to just one comment anywhere on Metafilter in which anyone asserts, or even implies, that "all Republicans are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom". Right?

And just to start you off: I hereby assert that all Republicans who oppose building an Islamic community center two blocks from the WTC site are ignorant, hateful, bigoted racists who hate liberty and freedom (or are pretending to be for political purposes).

Which still doesn't give your straw man a brain.
posted by nicwolff at 9:59 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, you know what else is within two blocks of Ground Zero? Just about everything, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches, a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, and even a Chicago-style pizza joint.

Seriously. Not to mention a strip club or two. (I, uh, looked it up on Google Maps.)
posted by naju at 9:59 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have yet to see a single ad by a Democrat doing what you describe. If you have seen one, I'd love to hear about it.

Who said anything about ads?

But the mosque's opponents probably don't realize this, because they've never been to New York.

Lets link to the Quinnipiac Poll again:
New York City voters oppose 52 - 31 percent a proposal by a Muslim group to build a mosque and cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released [July 1]. Another 17 percent are undecided.
Oddly New York City voters have been to New York City.
posted by Jahaza at 9:59 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Michael Bloomberg for President.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:00 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anytime you're removing a perfectly sound 152-year-old building from Lower Manhattan you're doing it wrong. Adapt. Reuse. Build with, build on, build around. Stop demolishing the cities that I love brick by brick for your ego trip du jour. Whoever you are.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:01 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

Really? Let's look closely at your statement. You state, without authority, that "tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners . . .will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam."

How exactly do you know this fact? Have you spoken to any "ignorant tribesmen in far off lands" lately? No you have not. You are just projecting your own prejudices upon to an imagined group of people. You have never met any of the people you say exist. You have not met them, you have not talked to them, you have not spoken with them. Because, sir, they do not exist except for within your mind. You have exactly zero facts to support the proposition which you advance.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:01 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11
Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down on Sept. 15, 2001 in Mesa, Arizona. The turban-wearing Sikh was killed outside his gas station. Sodhi's killer spent the hours before the murder in a bar, bragging of his intention to "kill the ragheads responsible for September 11." He has been convicted and sits on death row.

Waqar Hasan of Dallas, Texas was also murdered on Sept. 15, 2001. The 46-year-old Pakistani, was shot to death in a convenience store he owned. Hasan was murdered by Mark Stroman, who was convicted of also murdering Vasudev Patel days later in nearby Mesquite, Texas.

Cordell noted that Stroman admitted to authorities to blinding a third victim, a Bangladeshi, in between the murders of Hasan and Patel. After his arrest Stroman bragged, "I did what every American wanted to do after Sept. 11th but didn't have the nerve."
Just this summer: CA Mosque vandalized
Texas mosque vandalized and playground burned (that was two days ago).

And, of course, there's the ongoing War on Terror, which has killed tens of thousands of innocent Muslims in far off lands, and tortured a few dozen more.

I'm sure I can find a lot more with a little more Googling, but I should probably get back to work.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:03 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know Faze, it's awfully interesting how many conservatives, confronted with instances of bigotry faced by certain members of the US, suddenly develop an interest in how lots of other people "suffered even more!", when just the day before, they had no interest whatsoever in the plight of those other victims. Right now at this moment you've got people across the country protesting the construction of mosques in the midwest, on the westcoast, not just in lower Manhattan. And you have politicians openly agreeing with these idiotic anti-Muslim sentiments.
posted by deanc at 10:03 AM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm not opposed to the building of the community center and/or mosque, but the speech is pretty terrible IMHO.

So ..... what would have imporved it, in your opinion? Other than the points that you spoke about, which were not focused on the speech in general, but on particular points in the speech with which you disagreed?

I thought it was a terrific speech that Bloomberg didn't have to make -- and it brought lots of strands of American history into it, at a time when American history is something that American politicians generally ignore, distort, or prostitute for political gain. I'm not normally a huge Bloomberg cheerleader, but in this case, he (or, more accurately, his speechwriters) did a great service to the American values and traditions of which Bloomberg spoke.
posted by blucevalo at 10:04 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was going to post this in the other thread, but it was hard to wade through the mounting flames.

London rejected a large mosque complex last year after 3 years of rumbling and campaigning. The situation was different. It wasn't near Ground Zero (although London did get attacked in 2005). What was also interesting was that some muslim groups opposed the plans as the group building the center was backed with Wahabist Saudi money and allegedly had some fruity links to extremism - and the fear was it would become a breeding ground for extremists.

Anyway, FWIW hopefully an interesting minor derail on this story.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:04 AM on August 4, 2010


I have yet to see a single ad by a Democrat doing what you describe. If you have seen one, I'd love to hear about it.

Who said anything about ads?

But the mosque's opponents probably don't realize this, because they've never been to New York.

Lets link to the Quinnipiac Poll again:
New York City voters oppose 52 - 31 percent a proposal by a Muslim group to build a mosque and cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released [July 1]. Another 17 percent are undecided.
Oddly New York City voters have been to New York City.


First, the elected representatives of the people in the area have approved the project.

Second, its not up to the voters of New York City. Our constitution provides persons with the right to build places of worship independent of the attitude of the local voters. Its called freedom of religion and it may not be abridged, no matter what the voters think. Protection of the minority is a core value of this country. I hear they don't allow Mosques in North Korea though. Maybe you'd like it better there. America love it or leave it!
posted by Ironmouth at 10:05 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


London rejected a large mosque complex last year after 3 years of rumbling and campaigning. The situation was different.

Indeed it was. That mosque wasn't being built in the U.S. where a written constitution protects religious freedom.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:06 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I do though like for my own satisfaction of mind like to look at what those opposed--not the nujtters but rational people--have to say in opposition.

From the vast expanse of the web, you chose two examples of "rational people" opposed, and one of them was Pamela Geller? Seriously?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 10:07 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Have you spoken to any "ignorant tribesmen in far off lands" lately?

Point of clarification: Pretty sure he was talking about the Palins.
posted by Mister_A at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


For the hell of it, I Googled my son's name. He's seven years old. Born on the day we invaded Iraq, believe it or not.

What I found was that my son shared his name with the name of a firefighter that had died in the WTC attack. That man was one of those first responders.

They attacked us because they don't believe in us. They're not out to get us because they think it's fun. They're out to get us because they think we're out to get them.

Fuck their paranoia. Plant a damn mosque directly ON the rubble. Pray to whatever God(s) you have. Because THAT'S what it means to be American. I disagree with you and that's WONDERFUL.

Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe FREE.

Land of the free. Home of the BRAVE.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2010 [26 favorites]


And you have politicians openly agreeing with these idiotic anti-Muslim sentiments.

Well-said, except that I'd go beyond "openly agreeing." Here in Tennessee, politicians are openly encouraging, fanning, abetting, and grandstanding with these sentiments for political gain, not to mention using these sentiments to raise money for their races.

I can count at least three politicians who are running for statewide elective office who have done this over the past three months, some about the Manhattan center, some about an Islamic center with similar goals to the Manhattan center that is being fought over here in Murfreesboro.
posted by blucevalo at 10:08 AM on August 4, 2010


How many buildings are within two blocks of Ground Zero? Serious question. I was in New York in January, and it seems like there are hella buildings on every block. Part of the right-wing hand-wringing over this is the "only! two! blocks!" element (which is being parsed as "at" by the usual frothmouths), but shit, there's a LOT of stuff within a two-block radius of Ground Zero, isn't there?
posted by Shepherd at 10:09 AM on August 4, 2010


Oddly New York City voters have been to New York City.

A relatively small number of them, however, have probably been to "Ground Zero", or even to Manhattan (New York City != Manhattan, right?). They have no idea what "two blocks" even means down here, which was the original poster's point (not that it matters).

You'd be surprised. I happen to live less than "two blocks from Ground Zero", but my kids go to school on the Upper East Side. Many of their classmates have never been south of 14th Street -- or if they have it was only on the wilderness adventure that was a trip to my one of my kids' birthday parties.

None of this is relevant, of course, because the poll question is bullshit. If you had phrased it "do you support the rights of religious groups to build houses of worship on private property, regardless of its location", rather than "do you support the rights of Muslims to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero", New Yorkers would probably have answered overwhelmingly in the affirmative, as would almost everyone else.
posted by The Bellman at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Standeck: "But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam."

Standeck: "... this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side?"

If you're concerned about not creating more terrorists, I think there are more effective ways to do that than to stop someone from building a mosque in NYC. Like not invading sovereign countries and indiscriminately murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians.
posted by brokkr at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Second, its not up to the voters of New York City.

Did I say it was? I'm making the limited point that it's false that opposition is purely an outside New York phenomenon. A completely true comment with which you can agree or dispute with facts. You can't dispute it with references to the constitution and suggestions that I move to North Korea.
posted by Jahaza at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2010


Lost a lot of family members in the Holocaust, here. I've experienced some anti Semitism in my life, and my parents experienced considerably more.

But nothing about that makes the persecution of almost every brown person I know in Seattle in the wake of 9-11, including the violent acts toward synagogues and the harassment of my Persian and Sikh friends, somehow unimportant.

It is also as unfair to blame Muslims (much less people of other faiths who happen not to be pale skinned) for the craziness of AQ as it is to blame Christians for the KKK.

And it is downright un-American to persecute people based on creed or national origin. (Among other things.)

The tension between bigotry and intolerance in the U.S. and the promises of our founding documents is as old as America. But good for Bloomberg for pointing out that the right path is never to yield to the bigots.
posted by bearwife at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Stop demolishing the cities that I love brick by brick for your ego trip du jour.

Religious inclusion and inclusiveness are an ego trip du jour?

Original derail, man!
posted by blucevalo at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2010


excuse me, the violent acts toward local mosques.
posted by bearwife at 10:12 AM on August 4, 2010


"The attack on the Twin Towers was not intended as an attack on Lower Manhattanites alone, and the conservative attack on the Muslim community center is not because they like to meddle in local politics. We are witnessing an epic battle for the manipulation of symbols, and one that doesn't merely concern Manhattanites, but the entire world."

I think you vastly overestimate the impact of a local zoning dispute, even as a proxy for a wet firecracker religious war, on the entire world.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anytime you're removing a perfectly sound 152-year-old building from Lower Manhattan you're doing it wrong.

Perfectly sound? It had parts of airplane fall through it during the 9/11 attacks, I believe it was a landing gear and maybe something else. It's been standing basically vacant since then because it's unusable and unsafe. It was finally sold in 2009 after being on the market for nearly a decade.
posted by hippybear at 10:12 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


For those asking if this post is, well postworthy: I'm sure that there are other perhaps less prominent politicians making the same case as the erstwhile Democrat Bloomberg is but this defense of principles as opposed to toeing the party line is unfortunately unusual. There is a subtext here in that the Republicans, being lately adrift, have increasingly pandered to the desires of the more base members of their base. Bloomberg is a Republican so this may mark a departure. It also challenges that rural America has some special right to define what is American which has been a topic of late.
I happen to want to agree with Republicans (well, I want them to agree with me) on the terms of debate. This is a step in that direction. To that I say:

Oh - Fuck - Yes

posted by vapidave at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did you miss that whole war thingy? And that these are the people we're fighting against? And that this sort of thing gives them propaganda points and converts more ignorant tribespeople to their side? So yay for modernism and freedom of religion. But it is not an unmixed blessing.

What propaganda points? Which converts? Which muslims are we talking about again?


Yeah, I've been chewing on this one myself. I'm guessing from the caricature we're talking Pashtun tribesmen in rural Afghanistan or northern Pakistan. How would that conversation go?

Ignorant Tribesman No. 1: Assalam alaikum.

Ignorant Tribesman No. 2: Wa alaikum assalam.

IT No. 1: Do you really think the infidel pigdog knows enough about our traditions to understand we greet each other this way?

IT No. 2: Hmm. Good point. Death to America! Better?

IT No. 1: Yes. Much. Thanks. Brother, have you heard? We have fooled the infidels into allowing us to build a mosque near the site of our greatest victory.

IT No. 2: How . . . glorious.

IT No. 1: Indeed, brother. All the pieces are falling into place. When our Muslim brothers knocked down those infidel towers, their final thoughts were surely of a great mosque to be built in their vanished shadows.

IT No. 2: Yes. But of course. Because . . . wait, how does that help us?

IT No. 1: Can't you see? Once the world sees that the infidel metropolis has capitulated to Islam right on its sacred pigdog money streets, they will come to join our struggle in droves!

IT No. 2: Oh. Right. But . . . never mind . . .

IT No. 1: No, go on, brother. I am here only to help you in jihad.

IT No. 2: Okay. Well . . . weren't there mosques in the pigdog capital already? I mean, didn't we take down the towers to force the pigdogs to leave our sacred lands? Because they are godless infidel pigdogs? And wouldn't it be sort of bad optics for us if it was broadcast far and wide that you can practice our faith even in the lands where the towers once stood?

IT No. 1: No. You don't understand, brother. Those Muslims in Manhattan are false Muslims. They are tools of the infidel. That is why they too felt our wrath on glorious 9/11!

IT No. 2: Well then how is this a victory for us if they get a new mosque to practice their untrue faith?

IT No. 1: Because - listen, brother. It is confusing. Allah is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He wants us to have symbols that are strangely inconsistent with our ostensible goals. Because when the One True Faith conquers the land of the infidels, it will be helpful to have places of worship already in place.

IT No. 2: But how is that any different from a Christian church? Isn't it a bit like when the Spanish throne reconquered the lands of the Moors, and the great mosques were transformed into cathedrals?

IT No. 1: Brother, you are an ignorant tribesman. You don't think of such things. You only want houses for Allah's worship as near as possible to places we have destroyed in our glorious struggle. This convinces you and everyone you know to leave your ancestral lands and join us in the unstoppable march. Death to America!

IT No. 2: But that doesn't . . . those people aren't even our . . . how does this? . . . It doesn't make any kind of . . .

IT No. 1: It convinces you to join our struggle! Because we are doing so well! Tricking them into building mosques for us! Where we can spread our hateful creed! Right in the heart of their cities! Don't you see?

IT No. 2: But how is this . . . I mean, there were mosques there even before we attacked . . . I don't understand . . .

IT No. 1: Death. To America. Capiche?

IT No. 2: Oh. Uh. Yeah. Death to, uh, to America.

I have to admit, it's a powerful argument. If you've never been to South Asia. Or met anyone from there. Or met Muslims of any sort. Or had the slightest fucking clue what you're talking about.
posted by gompa at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2010 [91 favorites]


A relatively small number of them, however, have probably been to "Ground Zero", or even to Manhattan (New York City != Manhattan, right?). They have no idea what "two blocks" even means down here, which was the original poster's point (not that it matters).

...in twenty years I have never met a single resident of the five boroughs who has never been to Manhattan.
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2010


Did I say it was? I'm making the limited point that it's false that opposition is purely an outside New York phenomenon.

The point is irrelevant as to whether or not the right exists. It is made to point out the hypocracy of those who argue against the intrusion of non-local government when they cynically call for the federal government to stop harassing them.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:14 AM on August 4, 2010


But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win...

That would be Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and a MeFite (who shall remain unnamed), among others.
posted by ericb at 10:15 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who said anything about ads?

I did. Read the original comment. Read my response. Political ads this election are being bought and run by Republican politicians to exploit this issue. Lots of them.
posted by blucevalo at 10:15 AM on August 4, 2010


Indeed it was. That mosque wasn't being built in the U.S. where a written constitution protects religious freedom

Well, that's a whole 'nother line of derail. Interestingly, earlier this year the Pope was claiming that Britain's Human Rights policies - specifically towards gays - were threatening freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:16 AM on August 4, 2010


"It's been standing basically vacant since then because it's unusable and unsafe."

Hey, if you know better than I, then coo'. But, for the record:

In fact, DOB records show no work applications whatsoever following September 2001, indicating no major repair work was required at 45-47 Park Place.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:17 AM on August 4, 2010


The point is irrelevant as to whether or not the right exists.

Of course it's irrelevant as to whether or not the right exists! Because I wasn't discussing whether the right exists. I was discussing whether there was opposition to the project by people who've been to New York City. That's why your personal attack is entirely out of place.
posted by Jahaza at 10:17 AM on August 4, 2010


Michael Bloomberg for President.

I would be surprised if he didn't make an attempt in 2012.
posted by codacorolla at 10:18 AM on August 4, 2010


I did. Read the original comment. Read my response. Political ads this election are being bought and run by Republican politicians to exploit this issue. Lots of them.

But the comment you were responding to wasn't about ads. That GOP ads do something and Democratic Party adds don't doesn't mean that Democratic supporters don't do it.
posted by Jahaza at 10:18 AM on August 4, 2010


filthy light thief -- the Dutch Republic was remarkably tolerant, for the early 17th century. This was a time when only Anglicans were allowed to worship publically in England, dissenters were fleeing to the New World and Catholic priests were still being arrested for being there, the Dutch allowed all Protestants -- and Catholics too, I believe -- to live and worship publically. That's why the Pilgrims went to the Dutch Republic first, before going to Plymouth Rock. Even Baptists (who did crazy, scary stuff like not baptise babies and rebaptise converts in adulthood) were allowed to live in the Dutch Republic.

That their tolerance didn't extend to non-Christians is not suprising to any one who knows the 17th century. This the time of the most viscious war in European history, where different Christians were massacring each other. It's notable that the Jewish community in New Amsterdam was allowed to exist, and there was a large and significant Jewish Community in the Republic itself. Perhaps a Dutch historian could let us know whether they were allowed to have synogogues or not. But this has to be contrasted with the state of tolerance in other countries. To take the English example again, before the 1650s, there had been a law against any Jews living in England -- and even after Cromwell allowed them back in, I think it was a bit unofficial. (Edward I had expelled all the Jews in about 1295 -- I don't know whether that was by decree or act or what -- was it ever overturned officially?)
posted by jb at 10:19 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


[The post is sticking around, folks. If folks want to discuss that, there's a metatalk thread.]
posted by cortex at 10:22 AM on August 4, 2010


"It's been standing basically vacant since then because it's unusable and unsafe."

Hey, if you know better than I, then coo'. But, for the record:

In fact, DOB records show no work applications whatsoever following September 2001, indicating no major repair work was required at 45-47 Park Place.


Well, for the further record, this NYT article from shortly after the building was sold speaks specifically to the condition of the building after the attacks and when it was purchased. (I link to page 2 because that's where all the meat about the building is.)
posted by hippybear at 10:22 AM on August 4, 2010


But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

You know, it probably would never have been perceived that way if our citizens and those within our own government hadn't made such a big fucking deal about it.

If the community center had been built without all this fuss, the propaganda value would have been minimal. What are they going to say - "America is so terrible and misguided a place that they allowed us religious freedom!"?

Instead, we have a bunch of idiots railing on this, saying that if we let them build it, that means the terrorists "win". They have taken a non-issue with no negative for us (us being, those opposed to terrorism and shitty tribalism) and made it into something that can be won or lost. And they have done it in a way that almost guarantees that we will indeed "lose".

When this is built, and the building is hailed in propaganda as a blow struck against the west, the people opposing it will have only themselves to blame.
posted by tocts at 10:23 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


jb, Jews were invited back to England by Oliver Cromwell in 1655.
posted by WPW at 10:24 AM on August 4, 2010


Also, you know what else is within two blocks of Ground Zero? Just about everything, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches, a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, and even a Chicago-style pizza joint.
That's just so wrong.
posted by SillyShepherd at 10:24 AM on August 4, 2010


Misteral: I think you vastly overestimate the impact of a local zoning dispute, even as a proxy for a wet firecracker religious war, on the entire world.

I think you vastly underestimate it. BBC News has been covering this debate quite avidly. I don't think they would cover any other local zoning dispute quite this intently.

Jahaza: But the comment you were responding to wasn't about ads. That GOP ads do something and Democratic Party adds don't doesn't mean that Democratic supporters don't do it.

The comment was about the fight over religious freedoms, and no, it was not about ads. But I think the ads are relevant. If you don't, so be it. This election cycle, Republicans are exploiting the fight over religious freedoms for political gain, and not just in ads, but in speeches, fundraising efforts, and so forth. Republicans, I can guarantee, are doing this exploitation far more frequently and far more loudly than Democrats are. If you can find a Democrat who has advantage to gain from exploiting this issue and is doing so, I'd love to hear about it. Saying that "Democratic supporters don't do it" proves nothing.
posted by blucevalo at 10:24 AM on August 4, 2010


I was hoping another chance to discuss this would come up.

sometimes when you think that someone is a hateful bigot, they are merely uninformed about the issue in question. I know it's really really empowering to join the group and accuse someone of being a hateful, unredeeming, bigoted demon-person, we all do it-- but I can tell you from personal experience on this very issue:

I, too, was against the "mosque" being "at" the Ground Zero site, until I got a lot more information about it right here on MeFi. Now, when someone on 'my' side of the aisle mentions it to me with potentially mal-informed outrage, I can fill them in.

No bigotry or hate here-- I was just initially fed the story from a sensational angle that distorted virtually all aspects of it, and that's how my opinion was formed until I learned more.

We'll always think differently; what I love about spending time on MeFi is that we have the chance to show each other little things like that as long as we don't blow our tops (which I definitely do sometimes as well (comments I post after midnight when I oughtta be sleeping, that usually get deleted) (not making a resolution there-- just a disclosure :) ))

Above all, be thankful for the freedom of speech and all of our amazing liberties. We bicker plenty, & always will, but goddammit, we're free.

P.S. And most of all, I hope the settling of this issue will actually further common awareness of the perpetual, irreconcilable difference between 'Muslim' and 'fringe-human terrorist lunatic.' Please remember that when someone sounds like an insane bigot, that is what they are ignorant of, and maybe, in some cases, you can somehow clue them in. Less fun, but much more productive.
posted by herbplarfegan at 10:25 AM on August 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


"...in twenty years I have never met a single resident of the five boroughs who has never been to Manhattan."

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a significant percentage of New Yorkers who haven't been to the WTC site. People are amazing homebodies. I live in a small city bisected by a pair of rivers. There are some people who never venture across the bridge to the north half of the city. And another big chunk of people wouldn't have ventured across if they didn't have to to access the airport. It's mind blowing.
posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on August 4, 2010


Ah, I misread your question. This might be the answer.
posted by WPW at 10:26 AM on August 4, 2010


I wouldn't be surprised if there is a significant percentage of New Yorkers who haven't been to the WTC site.

This part I agree with. Hell, I didn't go there until I had to show someone around the city and certainly haven't been back unless I was just passing through. But the "never been to Manhattan" part is sort of absurd.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on August 4, 2010


Pretty much everything I know about the actual Taliban &c, I know doing research for Internet arguments and from reading Three Cups of Tea. (Which, btw, is sort of irritatingly chatty in its narrative style, but a really compelling book nonetheless.) But even I know that the vast, vast majority of the Taliban not only does not give two shits about this center, they don't even fricking know about it. The activities of American Muslims simply aren't on their radar.
posted by KathrynT at 10:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


a Chicago-style pizza joint.

Yeah, apparently not really. Don't worry, you're still safe from our scary pies.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:30 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great speech.

My thought on the matter is: if "two blocks away" is "too close", what's next? Four blocks? Six? Five miles? Ten? People need to chill, and stop sending out the FUD-filled emails saying the center is going to be built ON Ground Zero.
posted by mrbill at 10:31 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

These enemies of modernism would repudiate a Islamic community center dedicated to improving Muslim-West relations, would they not? This is a blow struck against "their brand of Islam."
posted by desuetude at 10:35 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I think you vastly underestimate it. BBC News has been covering this debate quite avidly. I don't think they would cover any other local zoning dispute quite this intently."

The BBC is covering Tiger Woods indiscretions quite avidly and keeps us informed with up to the minute stories about the latest development in Lady Gaga's life. Their coverage isn't a metric of importance.
posted by Mitheral at 10:35 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


My thought on the matter is: if "two blocks away" is "too close", what's next? Four blocks? Six? Five miles? Ten?

Reminds me of the quote from And the Band Played On movie. Just give us a number so we can stop annoying you...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:37 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Things two blocks from my apartment in NYC:

A laundromat that serves 24 flavors of soft serve

A waste treatment plant with open lagoons of sewage

A lot where hundreds of off-duty yellow cabs are parked

An organic supermarket

A gay-friendly Colombian restaurant

A Polish-owned novelty store with a blow-up doll displayed in the window

A "ghost bike" commemorating the death of a local cyclist

Seventeen fancy new high-rise condominiums

A clinic specializing in care for low-income young women

A video rental store specializing in rare art films

A Salvation Army store

A butcher shop

A gay bar

A warehouse where all the Mister Softee trucks are docked at the end of the day.
posted by hermitosis at 10:38 AM on August 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


> Well, for the further record, this NYT article from shortly after the building was sold speaks specifically to the condition of the building after the attacks and when it was purchased. (I link to page 2 because that's where all the meat about the building is.)

The article mentions a patched-up roof seen on the kind of property tour that wouldn't be allowed to happen if collapse was imminent. 45 Park Pl is fine, just fine.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:39 AM on August 4, 2010


Their coverage isn't a metric of importance.

Not to you, perhaps. Your view of what is a metric of importance isn't a metric of importance, either.
posted by blucevalo at 10:39 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hermitosis, I started thinking for a minute about how to put that list to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Which would be sweetly ironic.
posted by bearwife at 10:40 AM on August 4, 2010


Things two blocks from my apartment in NYC:

My apartment in Atlanta is two blocks away from the bar owned by that guy who built a remote control robot to shoo away homeless people and later got arrested for pistol whipping one of his own patrons.

Take that, terrorists.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:43 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


So much for geese a-layin' though, right NYC?
posted by hermitosis at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


From that Quinnipiac poll:

Opinions about the proposed mosque range from 46 - 36 percent support among Manhattan voters to 73 - 14 percent opposition in Staten Island ... . "Liberal Manhattan accepts the mosque and trusts Islam. Staten Island, where there's controversy about another proposed mosque, is more skeptical," Carroll added.

It would be interesting to see a map of the data. I suspect it may show the strongest support near the area actually attacked, with the opposition growing more intense the further away people are from the old WTC site.
posted by maudlin at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


WPW -- Yes, I mentioned that Cromwell allowed them back in in the 1650s -- thank you for the link with the details. Notably, this was an informal permission and it didn't stop the persecution of Jews later (making them pay fines as if they were aliens, instead of citizens, as noted in your link). Some hundred years later, the parliament passed an ,a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_England#Jew_Bill_of_1753">act to try to give Jews living in Britain citizenship, but it was repealed a year later. At any point in the 100 years after Cromwell invited them back, Jewish English people could have been summarily expelled.

My point was that, in comparison to most of its contemporaries, Dutch New Amsterdam was tolerant, compared to most early 17th century countries. They didn't tolerate Quakers -- almost no one did, even in the British colonies -- and they didn't allow the Jewish community to build a synagogue (though they allowed them to live and to trade). Even 45 years later, France expelled ALL of its protestants.
posted by jb at 10:46 AM on August 4, 2010


Sorry - I should have previewed. The first messy link should be to here.
posted by jb at 10:47 AM on August 4, 2010


I wouldn't be surprised if there is a significant percentage of New Yorkers who haven't been to the WTC site.

I used to lived about 12 blocks north of WTC, right on the West Side Highway. A couple of months after 9/11, I remember walking up Greenwich Street with my shopping bags, when a station wagon pulled up next to me - there was a big family inside, clearly out of state, and the wife sitting passenger asked me for directions to "Ground Zero" in a really thick, Midwestern accent. Like it was some kind of tourist destination.

That's when I first realized that the country's experience of 9/11 was different than what the city went through. You'd think New Yorkers would have the biggest chip on their shoulders and that was never my experience. I remember the hip-hop station I listened to dedicated a couple of hours each night for people to share their experiences over the radio, sort of like group therapy.

I miss the warmth of that city.
posted by phaedon at 10:49 AM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Generally I liked his speech, but I was annoyed at the lazy assertion that "they hate our freedoms". Yes they hate our freedoms, if by our freedoms you mean our foreign policy and actions direct and indirect we take in their homeland. But since this is a 6 minute speech about building a community center and not a paper on Al Qaeda I'll let it slide.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:50 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you vastly overestimate the impact of a local zoning dispute, even as a proxy for a wet firecracker religious war, on the entire world.

Yes. If that were all this is, you would be right. I wonder how you might characterize the incident of the young woman who was denied access to her prom because she was lesbian? A regional PTA issue? And what of the Gulf Oil Spill? Certainly that should be understood as nothing more than a drill column issue.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:52 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes they hate our freedoms, if by our freedoms you mean our foreign policy and actions direct and indirect we take in their homeland.

You expected an AlterNet disquisition on the geopolitics of Western imperialism from Michael Bloomberg?
posted by blucevalo at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2010


I attempted to locate conservative support for the community center. The results were, well, disappointing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2010


I really enjoyed how he correctly uses "repudiate" near the end of the speech. It's a nice little smack on Ms.Palin's face.
posted by montaigneisright at 11:03 AM on August 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


jb, I saw that I had misread your comment and tried to correct myself in a subsequent comment. I think we're both pretty much on the same page.

On the question of the East London mosque, which some people have brought up, I can say as someone living in the East End that it got quite a bit of media attention - mostly about the campaign against it, rather than the proposal itself. It was a hugely complicated controversy, though, not really similar to the battle over Cordoba House. The London mosque was opposed by all sorts of racist elements, but also by some Muslim groups opposed to its conservative backers.
posted by WPW at 11:05 AM on August 4, 2010


...in twenty years I have never met a single resident of the five boroughs who has never been to Manhattan.

Fair point and true. Mitheral made my point with less hyperbole -- many NYC residents have never been to Ground Zero and don't know the location of the proposed cultural center at all. As someone mentioned up-thread, it's not even visible from the WTC superblock and it will be less so once Fort Awesome (or whatever they are calling the tower now) is actually built. So I don't think it would really be an issue -- even for those who claim to be "offended" by religious freedom -- if they actually went to the site.
posted by The Bellman at 11:06 AM on August 4, 2010


It's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York (who's, granted, not unambigiously a politcal right-winger, for instance on immigration) gave qualified support to the downtown project. (Part of this was in the context of another mosque project on Staten Island that involved the sale of Church land and was ultimately dissaproved by the parish's board of trustees, but that's somewhat off the topic, because it raises different issues.)
posted by Jahaza at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2010


I thought I should point out that the architect modeled the site of the WTC after the layout of the shrines in Mecca, which was one of the reasons it became a target for Islamic radicals. They were offended by this appropriation of their symbols for a center of commerce.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


...in twenty years I have never met a single resident of the five boroughs who has never been to Manhattan.

I visited an elementary school in Red Hook in 2003. Out of the three classes I spoke to, each with about thirty students in them, there were 14 students who had ever been to Manhattan.
posted by decathecting at 11:11 AM on August 4, 2010


My new canned ask-a-question-to-answer-a-question reply is most certainly, "Because they are godless infidel pigdogs?"
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 11:12 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's right next door from the Dakota Roadhouse. I suggest all the opponents of the new mosque get all slobbered there just to piss of the Muslims.
posted by monospace at 11:13 AM on August 4, 2010


"Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But..."

But?? I'm an American Muslim. That means I have the same rights as you. There is no but when it comes to exercising my rights. Because I'm not a fucking second class citizen. Why dont you read up on Japanese Americans and WWII so as to get a clue about what happens when you put a "but" after the rights of a group of people..

And seriously: "ignorant tribesmen in far off lands." Did you get your info on terrorism from Disney's Alladin?
posted by MXJ1983 at 11:15 AM on August 4, 2010 [35 favorites]


It's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York (who's, granted, not unambigiously a politcal right-winger, for instance on immigration) gave qualified support to the downtown project.

Good for him! Excellent.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on August 4, 2010


WPW -- yes, we're posting past each other and saying the same thing : ) But, alas, my efforts to derail every thread into a discussion of 17th century history hass once again failed, as we two seem to be the only ones on it.

As far as the modern situation is concerned, I have little to contribute, as everything Bloomberg and other supporters have said is right and opposition to this centre is simply an expression of intolerance. Knocking down older buildings does give me pause; I fully support the repurposing of existing structures and/or facades when possible and feasible. But sometimes one can't save everything.
posted by jb at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2010


And seriously: "ignorant tribesmen in far off lands." Did you get your info on terrorism from Disney's Alladin?

In fairness, if what we're dealing with is Wahhabiism, it stems mostly from author Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, who hailed from what was essentially a suburb of Riyadh, and a lot of contemporary Muslim fundamentalism likewise has its roots in Riyadh. Al Qaeda, as an example, and, of course, Osama bin Laden, who was born there. And what are we dealing with when addressing Riyadh but some backward desert village, far from the modern world we know. I mean, look at it. Just look at it!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:35 AM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I heard some of the clips from this speech yesterday, and it struck me how totally wrongheaded the debate about this, both for and against, has been.

Those opposed to the mosque basically don't want them dirty mooslims in the neighborhood because 9/11 patriotism Christian nation. So, that's dumb, we can all agree right?

But Bloomberg's triumphant speech on the approval of it is equally retarded:

"On that day, 3,000 people were killed because some murderous fanatics didn't want us to enjoy the freedom to profess our own faiths, to speak our own minds, to follow our own dreams and to live our own lives."

Public thought like this is why Americans are ignorant. The attacks on 9/11 had nothing to do with us "speaking our own minds." They were intended to weaken the cozy relationship between the american government and american oil interests and the House of Saud. I.e. they had virtually nothing to do with the american people, our beliefs, our freedoms, or our way of life except insofar as our way of life involves sucking up stupendous amounts of petroleum and propping up dictatorships in other peoples countries.

But how many of your neighbors know that? Ask some folks what the intent of the 9/11 hijackers was, in their opinion. Mostly you'll get utter driveling nonsense like Mayor Bloomberg's above.

The reason we're ultimately going to lose the war in Afghanistan, if we haven't already, is that we appear to be unable to fathom the idea that people in other countries have legitimate goals and beliefs and proceed to act logically based on those goals. No, they're just terrorists and madmen, and they hate our freedom.
posted by rusty at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2010 [15 favorites]


Also, you know what else is within two blocks of Ground Zero? Just about everything, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches, a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, and even a Chicago-style pizza joint.

Just try to finding a fucking decent sex shop, though. Freedom of religion, my ass!

I attempted to locate conservative support for the community center. The results were, well, disappointing.

To be fair, your search was pretty weak ("in" as a search term?) I didn't spend much time either, but I found this argument in favor of the mosque from Muslims for Bush founder Muhammad Ali Hasan (what an unfortunate name!)

Yeah, yeah, not a surprise, but still strongly put:
As an American, a Republican leader, and a practicing Muslim, the issue of building a mosque near New York's Ground Zero is of natural interest to me. For the record, I deeply support building this mosque. To my fellow conservative leaders who say they are against this project, yet claim to not be bigoted, I have news for you: you are a bigot.
But yeah, that's all I could find.

(Also, I think a lot of people missed a nice, juicy Postroad Hamburger. Maybe I'm wrong ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:42 AM on August 4, 2010


New York's Two Loudest Democrats Dead Silent on Ground Zero Mosque
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on August 4, 2010


Rusty, the attacks on us had to do with AQ's ideology, which is this craziness:

The principal stated aims of al-Qaeda are to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia; destroy Israel; and topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East. Bin Laden has also said that he wishes to unite all Muslims and establish, by force if necessary, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs.

According to bin Laden's 1998 fatwa (religious decree), it is the duty of Muslims around the world to wage holy war on the U.S., American citizens, and Jews. Muslims who do not heed this call are declared apostates (people who have forsaken their faith).

Al-Qaeda's ideology, often referred to as "jihadism," is marked by a willingness to kill "apostate" —and Shiite—Muslims and an emphasis on jihad. Although "jihadism" is at odds with nearly all Islamic religious thought, it has its roots in the work of two modern Sunni Islamic thinkers: Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Sayyid Qutb.


And if destroying the U.S. and American citizens (and Jews) isn't an attack on the freedoms -- including that right to be alive -- on which this country was founded, dunno what is.
posted by bearwife at 11:48 AM on August 4, 2010


New York's Two Loudest Democrats Dead Silent on Ground Zero Mosque

I'm surprised Anthony Weiner's not spoken out for it. His wife is a religious Muslim who was a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton.
posted by zarq at 11:50 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


A couple of months after 9/11, I remember walking up Greenwich Street with my shopping bags, when a station wagon pulled up next to me - there was a big family inside, clearly out of state, and the wife sitting passenger asked me for directions to "Ground Zero" in a really thick, Midwestern accent. Like it was some kind of tourist destination.

It was, and is, a tourist destination. So is the Vietnam war memorial, and Nuremburg, and lot of other places where people died or are acknowledged for having died. I don't see what's so bad about tourists wanting to see the WTC site. (Also, do you expect midwesterners to speak differently when they visit NYC?)
posted by brain_drain at 11:52 AM on August 4, 2010


How about a map, with street view, of the property in question?
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:59 AM on August 4, 2010


I thought I should point out that the architect modeled the site of the WTC after the layout of the shrines in Mecca, which was one of the reasons it became a target for Islamic radicals. They were offended by this appropriation of their symbols for a center of commerce.

You mean the original World Trade Center, designed by Minoru Yamasaki? I've heard various interpretations of his design aesthetic being a marriage of Japanese and European elements, but never a reference to shrines in Mecca.
posted by desuetude at 12:03 PM on August 4, 2010


I thought I should point out that the architect modeled the site of the WTC after the layout of the shrines in Mecca, which was one of the reasons it became a target for Islamic radicals. They were offended by this appropriation of their symbols for a center of commerce.

I heard this theory floated shortly after the attacks by someone who appeared to pull it out of their ass. Is there any actual evidence of OBL or any of the other planners on record saying this is why the targeted the WTC?
posted by rocket88 at 12:03 PM on August 4, 2010


OK, now that we're 160+ comments in, I can say this without worrying about derailing the thread:

It's currently impossible to make create a post about the Cordoba Initiative outside the context and uproar about this community center/mosque. But they're doing interesting work, and really do seem to be devoted to increasing visibility and understanding about a number of issues, including women's rights in the Islamic world.

Their beliefs and work are quite different and far more enlightened than Al Queda's intolerant religious extremism. Blazecock Pileon touched on this a bit in his original post. I'd even go so far as to say they'd make a nice subject for an FPP in the future when all of this has died down.
posted by zarq at 12:04 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd even go so far as to say they'd make a nice subject for an FPP in the future when all of this has died down.

2017 it is then.
posted by nanojath at 12:14 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dammit, homunculus, if there'd been a stronger warning ("NSFReasonablePeople") I wouldn't have clicked on that link, and I never would've seen the phrase "9/11 Victory Mosque," and I wouldn't be stuck here imagining the death panels convened in the 9/11 Victory Mosque where cap-and-tax revenue is used to nurse anchor babies or whatever the bullshit fuck.
posted by gompa at 12:22 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would think that "ignorant tribesmen in far off lands" was a reference to the theocratic hand/nose/ear/etc. cutting-off Yay Stoning types. That's not to say I agree with Standek's position - like others have pointed out, the US & Co. have done plenty more to radicalize otherwise neutral parties and bolster its enemies positions than the establishment of Cordoba ever could - but it seems pretty disingenuous to take his comment as being a blanket statement of all Muslims or to think that the results of a thirty second GIS for pictures of Riyadh's skyline is anything more than an embarrassing bit of glibness. Perhaps Deera Square would have made your slideshow if they added a bit of neon, glass, and steel to it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:29 PM on August 4, 2010


I heard this theory floated shortly after the attacks by someone who appeared to pull it out of their ass. Is there any actual evidence of OBL or any of the other planners on record saying this is why the targeted the WTC?

Not hard evidence, but there's this.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:36 PM on August 4, 2010


it seems pretty disingenuous to take his comment as being a blanket statement of all Muslims

No, I took it as a blanket statement about Muslim extremists. Are you arguing it wasn't?

I guess I am not clear on the point you are making.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:36 PM on August 4, 2010


But perhaps you are not clear on the point I was making either -- that fundamentalism doesn't of necessity emerge from ignorant masses in third-world countries, which seems to be the popular perception of Jihadists (and one that seemed to be reflected in the "ignorant tribesman" comment), but that it can take root in modern cities. I do not see how mentioning Deera Square refutes that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:40 PM on August 4, 2010


Yes they hate our freedoms, if by our freedoms you mean our foreign policy and actions direct and indirect we take in their homeland.

Don't see how these are mutually exclusive. From what Bin Laden has said over the years, he seems to have at least three distinct "issues" with the United States:

A) Our presence in and influence over Saudi Arabia, which contains the holy cities of Mecca and Medina (our troops' arrival in Saudi Arabia in the lead-up to the first Gulf War was one of the turning points in his disenchantment with the Sauds, if I recall correctly)

B) Our relationship with Middle Eastern regimes that don't fit his definition of "proper" Islamic regimes, including brutal authoritarian dictatorships, multicultural (aspiring) democratic states such as Lebanon, and the state of Israel, the latter being especially infuriating due to both humanitarian concerns (bad treatment of Palestinians, invasions of neighboring states) and purely religious issues (occupation of Jerusalem)

C) The existence of the United States as a multicultural, secular state (not sure what he thinks of the whole "Christian nation" idea floated by right-wingers) - I don't think he's ever sounded out against democracy as such, but he'd probably only approve of it within the boundaries set by the Koran, and he certainly seems interested in the vague "new Caliphate" concept that's been floated by various extremist groups over the years.

Reading Bin Laden and his compatriots as defenders of the downtrodden purely motivated by the brutalities of American and Israeli foreign policy in the region is as facile and simplistic as painting them as "ignorant tribesmen" or slavering monsters. These people have a set of ideas that lead them to oppose both what we over here see as the negative (killing and looting overseas, cozy relationships with dictators and our own corporate warlords) and the positive (secularism, toleration of gays and minority religious groups, rights for women, democracy and rule of law unencumbered by religious caveats) aspects of the USA.

They're complex people - complex enough not to like our foreign policy or many of our freedoms either. And they're doubtless amused by the incapacity of the average American, left or right, to comprehend who they are and what they mean outside of the cardboard cutouts our political culture had taught us to feed upon exclusively.

/derail

Anyway, as to the matter at hand - build the damn thing. To hell with what sort of "propaganda" people will make out of it. Whether this building is constructed or not, propaganda will be made - by foreign militants, by the religious Right and Palin's people, by Republicans and by Democrats. This will be spun, that can't be prevented. What can be prevented is the victory of fear and bigotry over the basic rights of citizens to speak and worship as they please, and to build what they want on their own damn land. That'd be so even if this were a mosque, which it isn't.
posted by AdamCSnider at 12:48 PM on August 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


My Dad worked in the World Trade Center during the first, underground bombing attempt. He survived that. He was also working there on September 11th, 2001. He survived that. He thinks a mosque is okay.
posted by meehawl at 12:48 PM on August 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


that fundamentalism doesn't of necessity emerge from ignorant masses in third-world countries

Judging from personal experience, all it seems to require is ignorant masses. The wealth of the country doesn't appear to matter.
posted by rusty at 12:52 PM on August 4, 2010


Reading Bin Laden and his compatriots as defenders of the downtrodden purely motivated by the brutalities of American and Israeli foreign policy in the region

I apologize if that's what it seemed like I was doing. Not by any means. I have no sympathy with Bin Laden's goals at all -- he would like to establish a pan-Arabian fundamentalist theocracy, which is about as far as it is possible to be from my beliefs.

I merely wanted to point out that Al Qaeda has goals, which emerge from a coherent, if nauseating, philosophy that mainly is concerned with people in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general, and is not very similar to the solipsistic American idea that they attack us because they are sitting around in the Afghan caves just hating our freedom and liberty.

They're complex people - complex enough not to like our foreign policy or many of our freedoms either.

I entirely agree. But disliking the idea of a secular liberal democracy is not (it seems to me) motivation enough to fly three jetliners into some of its buildings, nor was it in fact the motivation. The way it consistently gets painted as the sole motivation by our leaders is, I'm arguing, entirely a way of both painting al Qaeda as inhuman terrorist monsters void of any reason whatsoever and of covering up what their primary motivating gripes actually are.

I'm saying that the lie consists in leaving out the greater part of the truth, here.
posted by rusty at 1:02 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


I guess I am not clear on the point you are making.

The 'blanket statement' part of my comment was a response to Ironmouth which I did indeed misread. My fault for not reading it properly in the first place, and then not making it clear to whom I was responding.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:06 PM on August 4, 2010


Freedom of religion aside, I think it's pretty safe to say that if Sarah Palin's agin it, I'm-a gonna be fer it.

In fact, Obama should give her a cabinet position as Secretary of Do-The-Opposite-Of-Whatever-The-Fuck-I-Say.
posted by fungible at 1:10 PM on August 4, 2010


FWIW, Bloomberg, if he runs for president, will have to run as something other than a republican. He doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting the republican nomination. He could win a republican senate seat, though—and would quickly be written off as a RINO by the kill-em-all wing(s) of the party. I mean, vast wealth is the only republican asset the dude has anymore...
posted by Mister_A at 1:16 PM on August 4, 2010


I apologize if that's what it seemed like I was doing. Not by any means.

Fair enough. I just found it difficult to read this


Yes they hate our freedoms, if by our freedoms you mean our foreign policy and actions direct and indirect we take in their homeland.

as anything more than simplifying bin Laden et al down to reaction against US foreign policy. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
posted by AdamCSnider at 1:20 PM on August 4, 2010


And thanks for the opportunity to vent. I love to vent.
posted by AdamCSnider at 1:21 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I heard this theory floated shortly after the attacks by someone who appeared to pull it out of their ass. Is there any actual evidence of OBL or any of the other planners on record saying this is why the targeted the WTC?

Not hard evidence, but there's this.


Huh, I'd love to hear someone more versed in Yamasaki's work weigh in on that Slate article.

It seems to me that having established that his design of King Fahd Dhahran Air Terminal intentionally incorporated Islamic design, the author reads all of Yamasaki's design through that lens. It strikes me as odd that she would invalidate the notion of Gothic inspiration by noting that pointed arches were borrowed from Islam in the middle ages. What, Notre Dame is merely derivative rather than being a source of inspiration because the shape of the arches were innovated by a different culture?

Anyway, I'm not saying that Yamasaki's work wasn't inspired by Islamic elements. (And I'm unsurprised that the amount of work he did in the Middle East is not emphasized in most brief biographies I could find online, not only because of anti-Arab sentiment but also the common notion that commissions for the wealthy Saudis represent a sort of selling-out.)

But the author seems a bit literal-minded in her analysis, and the speculation as to Osama bin Laden's thoughts on the matter is a bit rich.
posted by desuetude at 1:30 PM on August 4, 2010


(I should probably have said something like "the 9/11 attacks were motivated primarily by a desire to provoke a change in American and western policies toward what AQ regard as their own lands, and a destabilization of the Saudi regime. Secondarily, American targets presented good symbolic value, in that our self-image as liberal, secular, and tolerant is the opposite of what they stand for." I meant not that their actions were a simple reaction to our foreign policy, but that our foreign policy was perceived as a roadblock to their goals, and our provokability was assessed to be a weakness they could exploit, which indeed it has proven to be.)
posted by rusty at 1:31 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I haven't read this whole thread, but I was particularly impressed by the complete and utter ignorance demonstrated in this comment:

Endure bigotry compared to whom? Historically, religious and ethnic bigotry in the US has resulted in lynchings, murders, unjust arrests and prosecutions, legally backed job discrimination, social discrimination, legal barriers to residence, business discrimination ... I'm pretty sure American Muslims got some dirty looks after 9-11, but it is an insult to real victims of US bigotry to describe a few incidents of discourtesy "shit end of the stick." Muslims have a long way to go before they get as shitty an end of the stick as African-Americans continue to get today, as Chinese (discriminated against in admissions to higher education) are today, as Jews and Catholics have gotten in the past. A little historical perspective here, please.

First of all, since 9-11, Muslim and South Asian Americans have been experienced a lot worse than dirty looks--basically systematic profiling, detention and deportation by the government, not even counting the civilian population. I can think of two well-respected multi-book poetry professors off the top of my mind who were questioned or even arrested just for looking brown. I mean this whole thread is about how most Americans think it's unquestionable that we should deny people basic civil liberties.
-- Many were rounded up immediately after the attacks, pretty much only based on race--at least 1,200.
-- Very large increase in hate crimes against South Asians--as much as 20% from 2000 to 20001. There was just a Sikh taxi driver killed last year by skinheads in California.
-- Detentions and deportations of South Asians, predominantly men, have resulted in broken families and displacement of homes and businesses. In the post-9/11 environment, the largest number of detainees were from Pakistan. After special registration (the policy that required nonimmigrant males 16 years and older from certain countries to register with immigration authorities) ended, 13,000 of the nearly 83,000 men who complied were set to be deported, and 35 percent of those were of Pakistani descent.
You get the idea. It would be easy to keep going.

Second, I thought it was really strange when, in your greatest hits list of American atrocities, you mentioned the Jews and the Catholics (?), but never mentioned the Native Americans, whose genocide was basically the necessary condition for manifest destiny. Additionally, the historical discrimination that the Chinese have experienced wasn't so much affirmative action, but, you know--the actual LYNCHING, anti-Chinese hysteria, discriminatory legal regimes, and mass nativist riots they experienced in the 19th Century?
posted by johnasdf at 1:41 PM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Shepherd: "How many buildings are within two blocks of Ground Zero? Serious question. I was in New York in January, and it seems like there are hella buildings on every block. Part of the right-wing hand-wringing over this is the "only! two! blocks!" element (which is being parsed as "at" by the usual frothmouths), but shit, there's a LOT of stuff within a two-block radius of Ground Zero, isn't there?"

There is a whole lot of stuff within 2 blocks, and you can count it all!
posted by Xoder at 1:42 PM on August 4, 2010


Bloomberg, if he runs for president, will have to run as something other than a republican. He doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting the republican nomination. He could win a republican senate seat, though—and would quickly be written off as a RINO by the kill-em-all wing(s) of the party. I mean, vast wealth is the only republican asset the dude has anymore...

Bloomberg has always been a RINO - he switched to the repubs before running for Mayor. Dems in NYC tend to run minority candidates for Mayor because of how the voter pool in the primary breaks down.
posted by JPD at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2010


Shite. Bad link. Good link to 2 block radius map.
posted by Xoder at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm... College of Insurance is just outside the 2-block radius...
posted by Mister_A at 2:00 PM on August 4, 2010


Freedom of religion is a good thing and the center should be built. But make no mistake, enemies of modernism (i.e., ignorant tribesmen in far off lands whose world-view is very unlike Westerners) will perceive this as a win for their brand of Islam.

So imagine you're a Methodist, minding your own business, and you hear on the news that the government of Saudi Arabia has approved the building of a Methodist church on the outskirts of Mecca. Yeah, sure some of the extremist locals were angry about it being built on their "sacred land" but the Saudis stood firm and approved it in the name of fairness and tolerance.

Think quick! Would this (a) raise or (b) lower your opinion of Saudi Arabia?

Think quick! Do you think Saudi Arabia would ever, ever condsider doing this, and what does this teach you about the values of your own country in relation?
posted by Jimbob at 2:06 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anytime you're removing a perfectly sound 152-year-old building from Lower Manhattan you're doing it wrong. Adapt. Reuse. Build with, build on, build around. Stop demolishing the cities that I love brick by brick for your ego trip du jour.

Its a city not a museum. Preserving every building over 75-years-old sends the message, "The best years and ideas are behind us, so don't change anything."
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:10 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I attempted to locate conservative support for the community center.

It's out there, among those who don't think conservatism is simply synonymous with nativism or fundamentalism:

Former G. W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, in a blog post entitled "Refudiate the 9/11 Mosque Boycott", might worry that the Cordoba House may have murky sources of funding, but he nonetheless comes down on their side: "But the rights guaranteed by the Constitution do not belong only to nice people. And whatever we may wonder about the mosque promoters, we should also remember the mosque's users: the thousands of Muslims who work in lower Manhattan, every single one of whom is as entitled to pray as any member of Marble Presbyterian or Temple Emanu-el. {...} If there's proof that the mosque promoters have failed to 'demean themselves as good citizens'* – bring it on. If not … these angry calls to mob action by those who call themselves 'constitutionalists' are sad 'refudiations' of their own professed creed."
* quoting George Washington's Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport

And the conservative magazine The American Scene writes, "But the really sad thing is that people who call themselves conservatives — Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin — should be crying out for apparatuses of the state to limit and police voluntary religious association. {...} The approach Gingrich and Palin take to the proposed lower Manhattan mosque has nothing to do with conservatism in this {Burkean} sense. It is neither conservative, nor liberal, nor anything else worthy to be called 'political thought.' It is an infantile grasping after a fleeting and elusive cultural dominance."

(Meanwhile, back on the nativist-fundamentalist front, Florida televangelist Bill Keller has announced his Live Prayer organization will build a $1 million "911 Christian Center". Keller has called Islam a "1,400-year-old lie from hell".)
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:12 PM on August 4, 2010


Its a city not a museum. Preserving every building over 75-years-old sends the message, "The best years and ideas are behind us, so don't change anything."

That's why Europe is in ruins. All those centuries-old buildings. Everything's anarchy over there.

*sigh*

Preserve something. Why the hell not? New != better.
posted by grubi at 2:26 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Honest question (and I may have missed an explanation somewhere in all the links and threads about this, and there seems to be nothing on the website) - does anybody have a decent explanation as to why its called the Cordoba house/initiative? That name does seem a little off given the history behind it.
posted by loquax at 3:19 PM on August 4, 2010


I remember when several little girls died in Alabama, and 22 more were injured, because someone planted some dynamite under the steps to their church.

That was 47 years ago. Why is it that instead of learning, the hate just moves on to a different target?

When WILL they ever learn?
posted by Twang at 3:22 PM on August 4, 2010


Honest question (and I may have missed an explanation somewhere in all the links and threads about this, and there seems to be nothing on the website) - does anybody have a decent explanation as to why its called the Cordoba house/initiative?


Here you go:

The Cordoba Initiative is an organization whose very name makes reference to what was, 1,000 years ago, one of the world’s most advanced cities, Cordoba, Al-Andalus (Spain). This was a city that was politically and religiously dominated by Islam, and a city that was conquered by jihad (holy war).

“History is usually interesting, but always relevant.”- AmericanAngle

Cordoba, Spain was rich with grand mosques and for centuries Spain endured Muslim tyranny, only to be replaced by even more radical Islamic regimes. That was until the Reconquista finally wiped out memories of those dark centuries when Spain had its identity subsumed by being a colony of the Muslims. Not only was Spain reborn, so was a New World.

Imam Faisal’s Cordoba initiative may restore some of Islam’s lost glory.

posted by bearwife at 3:30 PM on August 4, 2010


Here you go:

Well, yes. So why choose Cordoba as the name when it's symbolic of conflict between the West and Islam? More specifically, Islamic conquest of the West?
posted by loquax at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2010


Well, I don't know which is the revisionist history and which isn't, but according to CNN:
The name Cordoba House, though, is particularly fitting -- an evocation of the rich interactions of Christians, Muslims and Jews in Medieval Spain. Medieval Spain was not often a paradise of tolerance and peace. But where peoples lived together, the understanding spawned by that coexistence gave the lie to the notion that Muslims, Jews and Christians must by nature be opposed, and created a more cohesive, fecund, peaceful and plural society.
I haven't done deep research on this, so maybe others have more information.
posted by hippybear at 3:47 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


jb: "115filthy light thief -- the Dutch Republic was remarkably tolerant, for the early 17th century. [...] the Dutch allowed all Protestants -- and Catholics too, I believe -- to live and worship publically."

Sorry, you're wrong about that.
posted by brokkr at 3:59 PM on August 4, 2010


Just to follow up on that one-liner, here's a pertinent excerpt from the Dutch wiki:
Er heerste weliswaar 'gewetensvrijheid', maar godsdienstvrijheid was alleen weggelegd voor de calvinistische Gereformeerde kerk. Verder konden alleen buitenlanders en als buitenlanders beschouwde personen, zoals de Joden, hun godsdienst vrij uitoefenen. Nederlanders werden geacht over te gaan tot de Gereformeerde kerk.
Basically (as far as my understanding of Dutch will take me) Dutch citizens were only allowed to worship in the Calvinist church, while them dirty furriners - a.k.a. Jews - were left to do as they pleased. Lutherans, Catholics, Remonstrants and Mennonites were reduced to worshipping in these stealth churches.
posted by brokkr at 4:21 PM on August 4, 2010


There's a Wikipedia article "History of Religion in the Netherlands" which covers much of this ground. The tolerant atmosphere of the Netherlands in the early 17th century was such that they fought a religious civil war, not Catholics vs. Protestants, or Lutherans vs. Calvinists, but Orthodox Calvinists vs. Liberal Calvinists.
posted by Jahaza at 4:29 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch!
posted by Talez at 4:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


About the Cordoba name: no one seems to know exactly why the Cordoba initiative took that name, though plenty of right wing folks like the one I quoted above think it is somehow sinister.

I think the name simply refers to a Western (Spanish) city with a very proud and deep rooted Islamic tradition, but hey, I tend not to see the bogeymen a lot of right wingers do.
posted by bearwife at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2010



Well, yes. So why choose Cordoba as the name when it's symbolic of conflict between the West and Islam? More specifically, Islamic conquest of the West?


Since the great Cordoba Mosque is currently a Catholic Cathedral, it's not a great symbol for Islamic conquest, now is it?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:49 PM on August 4, 2010


Am I the only one that is amazed that Bloomberg's speech came out of... well... Mayor Bloomberg? I always thought he was a dick. Well, I still think he's a dick. But I can praise the message without praising the messenger.
posted by Splunge at 5:06 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised Anthony Weiner's not spoken out for it. His wife is a religious Muslim who was a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton.

Yeah, I kinda got the impression that Weiner was keeping mum for fear of seeming too close to the matter, via his wife. Schumer, on the other hand, I half expected to come out against the Cordoba house.
posted by Amanojaku at 5:41 PM on August 4, 2010


Since the great Cordoba Mosque is currently a Catholic Cathedral, it's not a great symbol for Islamic conquest, now is it?

So it's a symbol of a great defeat? Either way I'm not sure why the name was chosen. On both "sides" the word Cordoba carries a lot of baggage. Anyone hoping for the return of the caliphate is not remembering the peaceful interaction between Jews, christians and Muslims in medieval al andalus, nor would history-mindful westerners think of anything but the "reconquista" and the explusion of the Moores from Europe.
posted by loquax at 6:06 PM on August 4, 2010


I have no problem with the building of this place at that site. I do though like for my own satisfaction of mind like to look at what those opposed--not the nujtters but rational people--have to say in opposition. So here:

http://www.nationalre…..arthyhttp://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/07/terror-finded-ground-zero-mosque-imam-raufs-bin-laden-link.html

Did you just link to Pamela Geller and refer to her as a non-nutter?!

(For future reference, she's a birther, among other things)
I would be surprised if he [bloomberg] didn't make an attempt in 2012.
The billionaire ex-wallstreeter, eponymous founder of Bloomberg news? That would be... entertaining, in this environment.
posted by delmoi at 6:10 PM on August 4, 2010


Thank you for the correction; Catholicism was not tolerated in the 17th century Netherlands (the hidden church was a Catholic one). But if I read the english-language site correctly, I was right that the Dutch were still relatively tolerant in a limited seventeenth century sense, in that they "practiced certain forms of tolerance towards people of certain other religions and opened its borders for religious dissenters (Protestants and Jews) from elsewhere, while maintaining its persecution and later discrimination against native Catholics." (all quotes from the English wikipedia link here).

After the religious civil war in the 1610s, "Calvinism became the de facto state religion and political offices could only be occupied by Calvinists (and in some cases, Jews). Other Christian religions were mostly tolerated, although discriminated, but were not permitted to practise their religion in public. Judaism was allowed in public, Lutheranism only in larger cities on the condition of maintaining Calvinist church interior styles, without crucifixes as known in Scandinavian cathedrals." This is tolerant by 17th century standards, though not as tolerant as they had been. Interestingly, apparently the more liberal provinces of Holland and West Frisia left the republic during this civil war; the article doesn't say when they rejoined or whether they were conquered by the winning Orthodox Calvinists.

But after 1648, more toleration was granted; the borders now included the Catholic provinces of North Brabant and Limburg - the article doesn't discuss the full legal position of Catholics within the Republic - another (not very clear) article on Roman Catholicism in the Netherlands notes "Historically In the old days, Catholics like all the other non-Protestant religions have been treated as second class citizens as they formed a minority in the dominant Protestant Netherlands. In turn Catholics treated Protestants as second class citizens in those areas where Catholics were the majority." But they were allowed to live there, and their priests weren't prosecuted as criminals. Which is better than England before 1778, or France's treatment of protestants after 1685. It's notable that the Dutch Republic had hidden churches, while England had "priest-holes" to hide the priests from even being found to be in the country.

So they were less tolerant towards Catholics than I had known, but more tolerant towards Jews (allowing non-Christians to hold any public office is shockingly tolerant for the 17th century; it was a political battle fought elsewhere in the 19th century). It does make one ask why the governor of New Amsterdam would not allow the Jewish citizens to build a synagogue, when they were allowed to worship openly at home.

My point was that this all has to be put into a seventeenth century context: the Dutch republic was (eventually) forced by its own diversity to be relatively tolerant, for the time period. (In England, non-Anglican Christians were not allowed their own meeting houses, no matter what they made the outside look like -- it took the 1689 Act of Toleration, and that didn't apply to Catholics who had to wait until the eighteenth century for similar levels of toleration).
posted by jb at 6:40 PM on August 4, 2010


Well, let's talk about toleration in England. I grew up in (very) Roundhead country in the 1960s-70s and Catholics were regarded there pretty much as Muslims are in the US today. As a kid I was scared of them. The hangover from the Civil War, still alive and well and kicking.

Forty years later, no-one gives a shit.
posted by unSane at 7:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]



So it's a symbol of a great defeat? Either way I'm not sure why the name was chosen. On both "sides" the word Cordoba carries a lot of baggage. Anyone hoping for the return of the caliphate is not remembering the peaceful interaction between Jews, christians and Muslims in medieval al andalus, nor would history-mindful westerners think of anything but the "reconquista" and the explusion of the Moores from Europe.


It's a name symbolizing the interaction of the Muslim and Western worlds, encompassing the good and the bad and hoping to encourage more of the good.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:11 PM on August 4, 2010


So why choose Cordoba as the name when it's symbolic of conflict between the West and Islam?

The thing is that Cordoba wasn't a symbol of conflict between the West and Islam. Rather, it was a simply of being a crossroads of the west and Islam. After the Battle of Tours or thereabouts, the Caliphate of Cordoba pretty much stopped having particularly expansionist ambitions, and Cordoba was a fairly open, tolerant, and prosperous city. After the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba, the city under the rule of the Almoravids and Almohads was considered less tolerant, and the city had definitely passed its intellectual/cultural peak, but the point being that "Cordoba" is supposed to evoke Muslim culture associated with tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and a wordly outlook.
posted by deanc at 8:40 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, "Cordoba" is a pretty name.
posted by zennie at 8:50 PM on August 4, 2010


It's also a conspicuously non-Arabic name that can be easily read and pronounced by English-speakers. They aren't calling it Qurṭuba House.
posted by desuetude at 9:00 PM on August 4, 2010


I dunno, Cordobas get pretty awful mileage.
posted by mendel at 9:13 PM on August 4, 2010


But they have Rich Corinthian Leather.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:35 PM on August 4, 2010


Yeah the problem is the name of the place. Since we already figured out that the place itself is not a problem. Then we'll decide that the name isn't the issue but it's the shade of the paint that is used on the front. Then we'll decide it's not the paint that's the problem but the painter. But then it won't be the painter but the guys that mixed the paint.

Call me when we get down to the hairs on the brush used to paint the eyes on the angels on the head of the pin.
posted by Splunge at 9:41 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


From what Bin Laden has said over the years, he seems to have at least three distinct 'issues' with the United States

Excerpt from Michael Scheuer's Imperial Hubris:
America is hated and attacked because Muslims believe they know precisely what the United States is doing in the Islamic world. They know partly because of Osama bin Laden's words, partly because of satellite television, but mostly because of the tangible reality of U.S. policies. We are at war with an al Qaeda-led, worldwide Islamic insurgency to defend those policies -- and not, as President Bush mistakenly has said, "to defend freedom and all that is good and just in the world."

Keep in mind how easy it is for Muslims to hate the six U.S. policies bin Laden repeatedly refers to as anti-Muslim:
  • U.S. support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the Israelis' thrall.
  • U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.
  • U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • U.S. support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants.
  • U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.
  • U.S. support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments.
Bin Laden has repeatedly cited liberating Palestine as a reason for declaring war on the US. A two-state solution with strong guarantees of both states' security would be in the national security interest of the United States.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:07 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Gingrich-Bin Laden alliance
posted by homunculus at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2010


The Republican Gov. Candidate Paladino is planning on running a disgusting ad against Cordoba House
posted by rosswald at 2:03 PM on August 5, 2010


Also: Jewish leaders rally for Cordoba House, stand against ADL
posted by rosswald at 2:05 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Siena Research Institute Poll (release) (crosstabs) finds 61% of New York State residents and 56% of New York City residents "oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a 15 story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan 2 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center."
posted by Jahaza at 3:23 PM on August 5, 2010


I'm extremely tired, so if I missed this in the press release I apologize. But could you please point out where in the press release or crosstabs it says that "56% of New York City residents oppose"? I see the 61% of New York State residents -- which as we all know is no surprise: Upstate is mostly Republican and Conservative.

But I can't find that 56% stat anywhere.
posted by zarq at 4:37 PM on August 5, 2010


And the crosstabs are for NY State only.
posted by maudlin at 4:38 PM on August 5, 2010


The cross tabs are only for NY State because the poll was only for New York State. But it breaks it down more than that.

The release says: "“Large majorities of all New Yorkers, every party, region and age give a thumbs-down to the Cordoba House Mosque being built near the Ground Zero site,” according to Dr. Don Levy, SRI’s Director."

New York City is one of the regions broken out in the crosstabs (apologies for borking the previous link w/an extra parentheses). See page six.
18. Do you support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a 15 story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan 2 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center?
                                       Region
                      Residents     Voters       NYC   Subs     Upst
Support               26%             27%        33%    21%     21%
Oppose                61%             61%        56%    66%     64%
Don't know/Refused    13%             12%        12%    13%     15%

posted by Jahaza at 5:07 PM on August 5, 2010


Is this a problem with the siting of Cordoba house? Or would the numbers be similiar if the poll was "Do you support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a 15 story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan?"
posted by Mitheral at 5:55 PM on August 5, 2010


Did everybody notice that he used the word "repudiate" in his speech, at about 6:30?
posted by planetkyoto at 2:16 AM on August 6, 2010


Did everybody notice that he used the word "repudiate" in his speech, at about 6:30?

Look up!
posted by defenestration at 2:34 PM on August 6, 2010


Do you support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a 15 story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan 2 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center?

The wording of that question is obviously designed to elicit "oppose" answers.
posted by rocket88 at 2:43 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


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.
posted by futz at 2:59 PM on August 6, 2010


Opponent Of Cordoba House Is Building A Museum On Top Of A Muslim Cemetery In Jerusalem
posted by homunculus at 5:43 PM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


You left out the part where the opponent considers the WTC site to be a cemetery which is why he is opposed to the house being built "near" it.
posted by Mitheral at 6:30 PM on August 6, 2010


Fareed Zakaria returns his prize from the ADL, saying:
The ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” But Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, explained that we must all respect the feelings of the 9/11 families, even if they are prejudiced feelings. “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted,” he said. First, the 9/11 families have mixed views on this mosque. There were, after all, dozens of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. Do their feelings count? But more important, does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they’re victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?

Five years ago, the ADL honored me with its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. I was thrilled to get the award from an organization that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it. I urge the ADL to reverse its decision. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain a reputation.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:25 PM on August 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


Jahaza, do you support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a 15 story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan 2 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center?

Most links stolen from Fark
posted by dirigibleman at 12:01 AM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yale Graduate Student Dismantles Newt Gingrich's Fear-Mongering Over Ground Zero Mosque.
posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Most links stolen from Fark
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:14 PM on August 7, 2010


ericb - the history in your link is fascinating. For those who haven't clicked, it's all about the 8th and 10th century politics behind the building of, and then expansion of, the mosque in Cordova. Funny enough, I mentioned this controversy to someone who had not heard of the proposed mosque/community centre in NYC, but has visited Cordova -- and her reaction was: "Cordoba/Cordova [in speech, they sound very similar]? I went there -- that the city where the Christians built their cathedral in the middle of an old mosque."

Also, the Statue of Liberty is CLEARLY a large, shapely middle finger from the English to Dutch. Anyone with brain can see that.
posted by jb at 9:43 AM on August 8, 2010


Study: Contemporary Mosques Are A Deterrent To The Spread Of Terrorism
posted by homunculus at 10:04 AM on August 8, 2010


Across nation, mosque projects meet opposition.
posted by ericb at 12:05 PM on August 8, 2010


Across nation, mosque projects meet opposition.

Wow. That article makes me want to cry.
posted by naju at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2010


In other news: German police have shut down the Hamburg mosque where the 9/11 hijackers met before their suicide attacks on the US in 2001.
posted by homunculus at 12:20 PM on August 9, 2010


In related "fucked-up" news:
Pastor Terry Jones: Why I'm Burning Qu'rans on 9/11.
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2010


The New Know-Nothings
posted by homunculus at 6:11 PM on August 9, 2010


You left out the part where the opponent considers the WTC site to be a cemetery which is why he is opposed to the house being built "near" it.

Yeah, he must be terribly upset by this news: Israel bulldozes Muslim graves in Jerusalem
posted by homunculus at 9:18 AM on August 11, 2010


"Why Think When You Can Just Feel?"
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on August 11, 2010


Poll: 68% of Americans Oppose 'Ground Zero Mosque'
posted by homunculus at 1:21 PM on August 11, 2010


"Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country. And today, I want to extend my best wishes to the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world – and your families and friends – as you welcome the beginning of Ramadan."

- Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan


Also,



Jon Stewart kicks some ass

posted by CunningLinguist at 2:40 PM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I missed this. I recently had to beat some friends over the head (figuratively) with the Constitution in an argument about this. I'm glad for Bloomberg's principled stand.
posted by thesmophoron at 9:26 PM on August 13, 2010


Glenn Greenwald: Obama defends "ground zero mosque"
What makes this particularly commendable is there is virtually no political gain to be had from doing it, and substantial political risk. Polls shows overwhelming opposition to the mosque nationwide (close to 70% opposed), and that's true even in New York, where an extraordinary "50% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans, and 52% of 'non-enrolled' voters, don't want to see the mosque built." The White House originally indicated it would refrain from involving itself in the dispute, and there was little pressure or controversy over that decision. There was little anger over the President's silence even among liberal critics. And given the standard attacks directed at Obama -- everything from being "soft on Terror" to being a hidden Muslim -- choosing this issue on which to take a very politically unpopular and controversial stand is commendable in the extreme.
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on August 14, 2010


Fox Hosts Agree With Obama’s Defense Of Mosque: ‘He Has To Stand Up For Our Constitution’.
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2010


CNN Contributor Erickson Compares Building of Mosque To ‘Human Sacrifice’.
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on August 14, 2010


That analysis by Glenn Greenwald is simplistic and naive. The fact that a majority of Americans oppose the mosque does not automatically make it in Obama's political interest to take a stand against the mosque.

It's not a just a matter of what percent of all Americans would agree/disagree with him -- it's about how specific interest groups could use his statements against him. Also, people may be willing to state their opposition with the anonymity of a political survey, but that doesn't mean Obama would look good giving a speech against the mosque. In fact, that would have looked very unseemly, and he would have been criticized for his transparent pandering.

There are many issues where the stances of most politicians are out of sync with popular sentiment, yet this is still in the politicians' political interests. For instance, race-based affirmative action is unpopular with the American public, but most politicians support it. This isn't because they're so bold and principled. It's because they don't want to be subject to the attacks that would be made against them if they stood up and said they were against a policy that's perceived as helping racial minorities.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:23 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think Greenwald was suggesting Obama might have spoken out against the mosque, just that he could have remained silent on the issue and tried to avoid it altogether. That would have been the safe thing to do.

But now, according to Greenwald's second update, it sounds like Obama is trying to walk back from it. Oh well.
posted by homunculus at 4:19 PM on August 14, 2010


I don't think Greenwald was suggesting Obama might have spoken out against the mosque, just that he could have remained silent on the issue and tried to avoid it altogether. That would have been the safe thing to do.

Oh, I don't think he would have had the luxury of staying silent. It's become such a big national issue -- he had to express an opinion about it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:12 PM on August 14, 2010


But now, according to Greenwald's second update, it sounds like Obama is trying to walk back from it. Oh well.

No, he's not walking back from anything. He's just reiterating what he said the first time. His original statement did not say it's a good idea to put the mosque there. He just said people have a legal right to do it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:14 PM on August 14, 2010


"The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama's defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party's posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.
Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush's post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace."
- Politico
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:49 AM on August 15, 2010


So the Republican Party seems to have decided that Muslim-Americans are yet another group of Americans whose votes they are not interested in. If their intention was to be known as the intolerant racist cracker party, well, Mission Accomplished! But once you've whittled your base down to white, Christian, non-urban, non-Hispanic voters, you're not really left with too many people to vote for you.
posted by octothorpe at 7:53 PM on August 15, 2010


My question since this whole thing came up has been: How the hell did this even get to be an issue? Salon has done some of the leg work in this article by Justin Elliot.
posted by Trochanter at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2010


Dammit America, if we want to protest something, let's protest the way Salon makes you click that stupid "Continue Reading" button! In this case, you had to "Continue Reading" for the last two stinking paragraphs of a thirteen paragraph piece!
posted by Trochanter at 7:48 AM on August 16, 2010


Trochanter: "let's protest the way Salon makes you click that stupid "Continue Reading" button!"

AutoPager
posted by meehawl at 9:39 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks meehawl. I can't get it to install right now, but I'll keep trying.
posted by Trochanter at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2010


Newt Gingrich: Ground Zero Mosque Is Like Nazis Putting a Sign Next to the Holocaust Museum

Rush Limbaugh: Barack Obama Is "Our First Anti-American President"
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on August 16, 2010


This just in: Apparently under pressure from opponent Sharron Angle to take a stand on the issue, TPM and The Hill report Harry Reid has spoken publicly against the Cordoba House Islamic Cultural Center project.
posted by aught at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2010


Jeez, sorry about the bad sentence. Obviously it's Reid who's under pressure, not the publications. I give myself a C for grammar.
posted by aught at 12:58 PM on August 16, 2010


I give Harry Reid an F for his understanding of the United States of America.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2010


Obama really stepped in it. He has no ear for America. As Ed Rollins said, this is the stupidest thing done in Presidential politics since Dukakis came out for the right to burn the flag.
posted by AdmiralAdama at 2:09 PM on August 16, 2010


It's an emotional issue, but blocking the Ground Zero mosque is just what the terrorists want.
"...I cannot help feeling that if we block this mosque we will not only be doing what Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh want, we will also be doing exactly what Osama Bin Laden wants.

On the day it murdered Mychal and Pat and Terry and Dennis and so many others, Al Qaeda was looking to hijack more than jetliners. The killers' ultimate goal was and is hijacking Islam itself. And to do that they need us to make them into more than what they are.

Without us elevating them into enemy combatants in a war on terror, they would be just a couple of hundred murderous losers.

... We have glorified Al Qaeda ... but to reach its ultimate goal, it still needs us to convince the majority of Muslims that the war on terror is really a war on Islam.

We are only helping the bad guys if we declare that the religious freedom at the core of our democracy does not apply to a mosque too close to Ground Zero."
posted by ericb at 2:25 PM on August 16, 2010


Why Building THE Mosque is GOOD for America!
"Allowing the Muslim Community Center to be built where it is being proposed represents the best of America -the idea that the United States is a special place in the world, a beacon of fairness that welcomes and protects the rights of all it's people. Too many have sacrificed their lives for these sacred rights to say that certain Americans should not enjoy them simply because of their religion.

As our Declaration of Independence famously states: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...' and it is my belief that they should be treated equally as well."
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on August 16, 2010


As Ed Rollins said, this is the stupidest thing done in Presidential politics since Dukakis came out for the right to burn the flag.

Many others disagree, like former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon and former GOP House Representative Joe Scarborough.

Former Bush Adviser Mark McKinnon Rips GOP’s Stance On Mosque: ‘We’re Reinforcing Al Qaeda’s Message’
"On Morning Joe earlier today, a pair of leading Republicans — host Joe Scarborough and former Bush strategist Mark McKinnon — blasted the GOP for its xenophobic and unconstitutional stance against American Muslims’ right to build a new Islamic center in lower Manhattan.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has claimed that the new Islamic center project 'would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.' Referencing that quote, Scarborough expressed angry disdain at Gingrich’s intolerance. 'I don’t know where to begin,' Scarborough said. 'To suggest that someone trying to build a tolerance center for moderate Muslims in New York is the equivalent of killing six million Jews is stunning to me.'

McKinnon then chimed in, arguing that the debate surrounding the Cordoba House project is contrary to his party’s principles. 'We may get our membership [by the GOP] revoked,' McKinnon joked. 'Screw ‘em,' Scarborough responded. McKinnon then said that the GOP’s stance is 'reinforcing al Qaeda’s message':
McKINNON: Usually Republicans are forthright in defending the Constitution. And here we are, reinforcing al Qaeda’s message that we’re at war with Muslims. So we’ve got this issue; then we’ve got the 14th Amendment issue, where Republicans are saying you’re not welcome here, when we were the architects of the 14th Amendment. So, I see a bad pattern where we’re headed as a Republican Party.
McKinnon said he believed President Obama has 'done the right thing in stepping forward at this time on this issue.' He added, 'Tolerance means tolerating things you don’t like, especially when you don’t like them. … I respect the President for making this move.'" [Video 04:03]
posted by ericb at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2010


GOP's 'Ground Zero Mosque' Rhetoric Prompts Pushback From Muslim-American Republican Operatives.
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on August 16, 2010


Michael Gerson, former policy adviser and chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush:
" ... A president does not merely have opinions; he has duties to the Constitution and to the citizens he serves -- including millions of Muslim citizens. His primary concern is not the sifting of sensitivities but the protection of the American people and the vindication of their rights.

By this standard, Obama had no choice but the general path he took. No president, of any party or ideology, could tell millions of Americans that their sacred building desecrates American holy ground. This would understandably be taken as a presidential assault on the deepest beliefs of his fellow citizens. It would be an unprecedented act of sectarianism, alienating an entire faith tradition from the American experiment. If a church or synagogue can be built on a commercial street in Lower Manhattan, declaring a mosque off-limits would officially equate Islam with violence and terrorism. No president would consider making such a statement. And those commentators who urge the president to do so fundamentally misunderstand the presidency itself.

... How precisely is our cause served by treating the construction of a non-radical mosque in Lower Manhattan as the functional equivalent of defiling a grave? It assumes a civilizational conflict instead of defusing it. Symbolism is indeed important in the war against terrorism. But a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy's victory; it is a prerequisite for our own.

The federal government has a response to American mosques taken over by advocates of violence. It investigates them, freezes their assets and charges their leaders. It does not urge zoning decisions that express a general discomfort with Islam itself.

Here again, this debate illustrates a gap in perspective. A commentator can speak with obvious sincerity of preventing American hallowed ground from being overshadowed by a mosque. A president not only serves Muslim citizens, not only commands Muslims in the American military, but also leads a coalition that includes Iraqi and Afghan Muslims who risk death each day fighting Islamic radicalism at our side. How could he possibly tell them that their place of worship inherently symbolizes the triumph of terror?

There are many reasons to criticize Obama's late, vacillating response to the Manhattan mosque, and perhaps even to criticize this particular mosque. But those who want a president to assert that any mosque would defile the neighborhood near Ground Zero are asking him to undermine the war on terrorism. A war on Islam would make a war on terrorism impossible."
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


As Ed Rollins said, this is the stupidest thing done in Presidential politics since Dukakis came out for the right to burn the flag.

Based on your brief posting history and the contents of it, this comment smells like troll. But hey, $5 is $5.

Anti-racism and anti-nationalism are two very different things. The latter will still get you run out of town, but the former is viewed by most Americans as a pro, not a con.

Obama knows what the fuck he's doing. I don't agree with him on a lot of things, but he definitely knows which way the wind is blowing.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2010


and gee, I wonder why Ed Rollins would say that. HA. consider the source ...
posted by mrgrimm at 2:59 PM on August 16, 2010


this is the stupidest thing done in Presidential politics since Dukakis came out for the right to burn the flag.

Read my lips.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:01 PM on August 16, 2010


Fox News Contributor and Conservative Personality Laura Ingraham To Co-Founder Of Ground Zero Mosque In December 2009: ‘I Like What You’re Trying To Do’.
posted by ericb at 4:27 PM on August 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


New York Congressmen Jerrold Nadler Dismantles Right-Wing Arguments Against Mosque: ‘We Do Not Put The Bill Of Rights…Up To A Vote’.
posted by ericb at 4:28 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"My question since this whole thing came up has been: How the hell did this even get to be an issue? Salon has done some of the leg work in this article by Justin Elliot."

Glad to see their in depth, two page analysis boils down to my previous statement that this is an overblown zoning dispute.

"Newt Gingrich: Ground Zero Mosque Is Like Nazis Putting a Sign Next to the Holocaust Museum"

Uh, several of the Nazi Concentration Camps have been turned into museums with the original Nazi sign age in place: "In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, which by 1994 had seen 22 million visitors—700,000 annually—pass through the iron gates crowned with the infamous motto, Arbeit macht frei ("work makes you free").
posted by Mitheral at 4:39 PM on August 16, 2010


...this is the stupidest thing done in Presidential politics since Dukakis came out for the right to burn the flag.

Um, no.
Mission Accomplished.

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

And ... oh, the list of stupid things done by Bush and his administration is very long!
posted by ericb at 4:43 PM on August 16, 2010


...the list of stupid things done by Bush and his administration is very long!

The Bush Years!

Previous FPP.
posted by ericb at 4:56 PM on August 16, 2010


Hallowed Ground: Other things two blocks from Ground Zero.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:13 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as political missteps (since Dukakis and the tank, or whatever), I'd have to go with Bush I and Read My Lips (vomiting on the Japanese prime minister second).

Bush II was far worse, but he got re-elected (regardless of what the final vote(s) might have been).

This mosque thing is nothing. We'll see, I suppose...
posted by mrgrimm at 11:00 PM on August 16, 2010


Bush II was far worse, but he got re-elected

I suppose we can all hope that the GOP nominates as big a douche as John Kerry.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2010


Retired General and Bush Official Blast Mosque Opposition
posted by homunculus at 9:31 AM on August 17, 2010


Daily Show: John Oliver says Muslims are allowed to put a mosque near Ground Zero, just like Catholics can build a church next to a playground.
posted by homunculus at 9:41 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I have hope the tide is gonna turn here, or else the hatred just dissipates ... the people with a lick of sense realize how Muslims around the world would view any official US religious restrictions. See: mass baptism of Marines and "the power of religion to inflame military conflicts" ...

You think Obama's response was disastrous? Just imagine if he said the Cordoba center shouldn't be built. He would be crucified. (Literally. :p)

John Oliver says Muslims are allowed to put a mosque near Ground Zero, just like Catholics can build a church next to a playground.

A not-bad analogy.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:01 AM on August 17, 2010


Conservative Muslim-Americans' Letter To GOP Leaders: Don't Bring Mosque Debate Into Elections
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2010


Jahaza, I realize this is a little late, but thank you for pointing out where that statistic was located. Much appreciated.
posted by zarq at 10:42 AM on August 17, 2010


Good to see you back Zarq.

There's an interesting Canadian article by Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah: "We Muslims know the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation"

Though the authors clearly don't get the role of "community centers" in New York like the 92nd Street Y.
posted by Jahaza at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2010


Good to see the liberal wing of Islam is as fractious as any other liberal wing.

Also, zarq:
ברוכים השבים
posted by Trochanter at 11:45 AM on August 17, 2010


Former President Bush won't comment on Ground Zero mosque.
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on August 17, 2010


N.Y. governor may propose relocating Muslim center.
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on August 17, 2010


One thing that strikes me is: I live in a pretty small city, but two downtown blocks away is a long way away. Like, a different place. Maybe it's different in New York?
posted by Trochanter at 2:59 PM on August 17, 2010


Jahaza, thanks. :)

Trochanter... I had to look that up. Heh. Thank you. :)
posted by zarq at 3:01 PM on August 17, 2010


Trochanter, in much of Manhattan, N/S blocks are about 1/20th of a mile. E/W blocks are usually about 1/10 of a mile. Downtown, distances are shorter. At two blocks away, Cordoba House would be about a tenth of a mile from Ground Zero.

The distance is irrelevant, really.
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on August 17, 2010


Former President Bush won't comment on Ground Zero mosque.

Good. He can't help the situation by speaking out.

Traditionally, ex-Presidents showed respect for the current Oval Office-holder by not second-guessing them in public.
posted by zarq at 3:17 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The distance is irrelevant, really.

I mean in terms of perception. Up here, 7th avenue and 9th avenue are different places. But, our downtown area is, like, twenty blocks across, so it could feel different.
posted by Trochanter at 3:24 PM on August 17, 2010


The distance is irrelevant, really.

I disagree. Most of the non-New Yorkers talking about this seem to be portraying it as being built on the very WTC site. But look at my previous link. It's a world away.
So far, in fact, that a planned protest on 9/11 at the old Burlington Coat Factory is not expected to be seen or heard by the families marking the day at ground zero.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:26 PM on August 17, 2010


In following the Huffpo link zarq provided, I see Matt Sledge has quoted a NYT piece by Clyde Haberman. He's talking about whether the proposed thingy is 'at' ground zero. The piece contains this sentence:
Nobody, regardless of political leanings, would tolerate a mosque at ground zero.
Huh?
posted by Trochanter at 3:53 PM on August 17, 2010


I disagree. Most of the non-New Yorkers talking about this seem to be portraying it as being built on the very WTC site. But look at my previous link. It's a world away.

We agree. My point was simply that distance in this case is a meaningless metric and cannot be used by critics as a reasonable argument. They obviously do not care that the Cordoba House will not be in sight of Ground Zero. (Or about the First Amendment for that matter.) Have conservatives against the building announced how close or far it would have to be in order to ensure no one is offended? Four blocks? Fifty? Should they remove all other mosques from Manhattan Island, just to be sure?
posted by zarq at 3:54 PM on August 17, 2010


The latest right-wing talking point I keep hearing is: "they have the right to build the mosque, but it's an insensitive and foolish decision." Obama's speech on Saturday basically said as much.

What about the law of return? Not to devolve this into another I/P discussion, but is this a valid parallel to draw? Is taking by force and holding a position in the most hostile-to-your-religion territory on Earth the right of the Jewish people, and is it an insensitive and foolish decision for them to exercise that right?
posted by aydeejones at 4:51 PM on August 17, 2010


American Family Association: "No More Mosques, Period".
posted by ericb at 4:54 PM on August 17, 2010


"Taking by force" might be the wrong way to put it, but they sure had to defend themselves to the death after declaring independence. Earth is the rock, and the hard place. How do we reconcile?
posted by aydeejones at 4:58 PM on August 17, 2010


What about the law of return? Not to devolve this into another I/P discussion, but is this a valid parallel to draw?

I'm probably not the best person to ask. I vote no.

Is taking by force and holding a position in the most hostile-to-your-religion territory on Earth the right of the Jewish people, and is it an insensitive and foolish decision for them to exercise that right?

Islamic extremists didn't fly two planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3000 people because they were trying to establish a foothold in downtown Manhattan. Nor were they doing so with UN approval.

Also, the people building Cordoba House are not extremists or terrorists.

...the most hostile-to-your-religion territory on Earth...

To surviving Eastern European Jews post-WWII, that would have been anywhere the ghettoes and Concentration Camps had been located. The places they were escaping from.
posted by zarq at 5:04 PM on August 17, 2010


"We Muslims know the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation"

Jahaza's link kind of stops me in my tracks. Is it bullshit? Self promoting sensationalism? It should become a huge story, shouldn't it?
posted by Trochanter at 7:23 PM on August 17, 2010


Why America is going to regret the Cordoba House controversy
posted by homunculus at 2:33 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


Franken calls opposition to mosque near Ground Zero ‘one of the most disgraceful things that I’ve heard.’
posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on August 19, 2010


Rep. Blunt pulls down campaign ad using graphic 9/11 imagery to attack his opponent and Park51.
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on August 19, 2010


Wait, the group hasn't even bought the property yet?

WTF.

Almost seems like the whole thing was just ginned up for publicity.
posted by cell divide at 12:22 PM 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 12:36 PM on August 19, 2010


Almost seems like the whole thing was just ginned up for publicity.

Yep ... by Republicans (e.g. Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, etc.) fabricating a wedge issue for the upcoming elections.
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2010


While Demanding Muslims Be Sensitive To 9/11 Victims, Sarah Palin Defends Dr. Laura’s Racial Insensitivity.
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on August 19, 2010


It's not about the mosque -- it's America's war on "the Other".
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on August 19, 2010


While Demanding Muslims Be Sensitive To 9/11 Victims, Sarah Palin Defends Dr. Laura’s Racial Insensitivity.

So. She indignantly attacked David Letterman for using the word "retarded." Now she's defending Dr. Schlesinger's right to use the "N" word.

She's sinking to new depths of hypocrisy.
posted by zarq at 12:54 PM on August 19, 2010


The irony is that Dr. Laura was never a big fan of Palin.
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on August 19, 2010


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