Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In reply: The Mosque at Ground Zero, or "A muslim isn't an extremist; A mosque isn't a terrorist cell"

In reply to a facebook conversation I've been having about the following local news item:

Landmarking status could complicate plans by Muslim groups to build a mosque at the former site of the World Trade Center.

(07/13/10) NEW YORK (AP) - Dozens of opponents to a mosque planned near the former site of the World Trade Center have attended a raucous hearing about whether the building should become a New York City landmark.

Rick Lazio - the Republican candidate for governor - was among the witnesses testifying Tuesday in support of landmark status for the building near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

He said the building was "a place of deep historical significance" because it was struck by airplane debris on Sept. 11.

Landmarking status could complicate plans by Muslim groups to develop a community center and mosque at the site.

Nearly 100 people attended the hearing in Manhattan.

The city's Landmark Preservation Commission was not expected to rule Tuesday on whether the building should become a landmark.
The story has generated many comments, almost all of which support blocking the mosque. Here's a representative sample:
Good. Let's throw the legal loopholes out there. Why don't they ask the relatives of the people who died there if they want a mosque there.

There is NO WAY a Mosque should be built anywhere near the World Trade Center. We are only asking for more trouble. Not that they are all bad, BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Building a Masque there would nothing else but a mockery. I am praying that this does not get done.

A slap in the face to the over 3000 casualties of that awful day!

On Sept. 12, 2001, the USA should have flown overseas to those sandbox countries & eliminated all the evil that exits over there. Then this 'mosque' proposal b.s. would not be an issue today.

Disgusting. I seriously feel a little sick right now. Is this what we've come to? Are we going to allow the people who planned and executed the attack on the WTC to build a mosque on the site, so they can sit inside and laugh at us while they plan the next attack? Really??

B.V.: Good. It should not be built there. Take a good look at the man who wants the site built. He believes that Sharia (sp?) Law can easily be implemented in the United States and stand alongside our own laws. Scary stuff, people.
(I marked that last one because he is one of the people to whom I responded, in particular.)
And yes, there were other comments (15, up to the point of my first reply) all expressing similar thoughts.

My initial reply:

I'm obviously in the minority here, but I seem to recall that there were many innocent muslim Americans who died at the site on that day, as well... I would no more wish prevent a mosque near ground zero than I would a temple or a church. (In fact, I think it would be good to have as many--and as many different--houses of worship near this hallowed site as there were people of those faiths/sects/denominations killed or injured on that day.)

There's a difference between "Muslims" and "extremists," and we're not true to the ideals that founded this country if we fail to recognize and at the very least, take a "live and let live" attitude toward our fellow citizens who practice the muslim faith, unless and until one of them gives us a reason to react differently toward that individual "extremist" muslim. (But to treat ALL muslims based on the bad behavior of that INDIVIDUAL muslim... ...well, there's a word for people who make those kinda sweeping generalizations about whole groups of people, based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc... 'nuff said...)

Some more color, and two replies specific to me and my point of view:
And let me guess....the Mosque, since it is a house of worship, then qualifies for tax-exempt status???? So they pay no taxes on the property and it comes off the tax rolls??? Or doesn't it work that way in NYC??? Personally, I think they should re-build both towers exactly as they looked before. Then Osama Bin-Farten and all his Tali-Bananas can say.... WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

why do they even want a mosque there??? dont they know what hatred their religion has shown us??? Its very spiteful and vengeful... I hope it gets burned down, or someone flys a plane into it, if they do get permission to build one.

what are you fucking kidding me...send em ALL back where they belong get all of them outta here.

T.K.: ‎@[repsac3] - We all remember that some Muslims died in the attack. We also remember that it was Muslims who carried out the attack. We understand that 90% of Muslims are NOT extremists and don't agree with terrorist attacks. BUT THAT MEANS THAT TEN PERCENT OF THEM DO. There are an awful lot of Muslims in the world. Ten percent is a lot of people, and they're the ones running the mosques. It's all very well and good to say, let's be tolerant of Muslims. But that ten percent are not tolerant of any of us, not even a little bit. Are we not allowed to protect ourselves? Are we not permitted to say, these people are bad and we don't want them here, spitting in the faces of the 9/11 victims' families by building one of their cells on the site where those people lost their lives?

B.V.: No, it's not 'enough said'. I urge you all to read this and then decide what you think about the WTC Mosque:

A Shrine to Sharia
My second reply:

‎@T.K.: I don't know where you got your percentages from or whether they are correct, or why, even if they are, you believe that it's the extremists rather than the moderates running the mosques here in the US (where I would have to assume that even you'd agree the percentage of extremists in the American muslim population is lower than it likely is worldwide), but I do know that discrimination against 100% of US muslims based on the behavior of even 10% (again, assuming that number is even accurate, in the first place) is still discrimination.

America was in part founded on the right to practice one's religion free of government intrusion. I don't have to like or agree with anyone who doesn't practice the religion I do, but my right to worship as I choose is built upon your right to worship as you choose, and her right to worship as she chooses, whether you're a hassidic jew, I'm unitarian universalist, that guy over there is a sikh, she's an atheist, or the guy in the coffee shop is a muslim. Saying that this house of worship cannot be built there because "that" faith has no right to worship on "that ground" is flat out discrimination. (While I'd still be opposed, it'd be slightly different if the argument was that no houses of worship should be built there... But the argument so far seems to be that only THIS one faith should be forbidden.

We are certainly permitted to point out and do everything in our power, legally, morally, and every other way, to prevent individual extremist muslims from getting a foothold here in our country or to commit bad acts. But stopping the building of mosques and preventing muslims from gathering and worshiping isn't the way to do that, IMHO... A muslim isn't an extremist; A mosque isn't a terrorist cell...

Mr V, sir: Respectfully, I do understand where Frank Gaffney is coming from and the brand of thinking he represents, and because of that, I don't see him as an honest and dispassionate broker of information. I'm not saying the facts he presents in that TownHall article are absolutely not accurate, but I'd prefer to read them from a person and a site less biased...

Muslims, like all other religions should have a place to pray, but.... NOT DOWN AT THE WTC SITE....

Mosques should be built at the foot of every important monument in the United States. Then maybe terrorists won't bomb those sites. Problem solved.

what ever muslim stands there should be shot in the head ! or better yet decapatated

B.V.: [repsac3]; I agree with you that we should not say that ALL Muslims are extremists. However, the reason I chose THAT article is to show that this particular Imam - in my and others opinion - is not to be trusted. The reason I chose that article is because of the website I found it on. That website is not a Right (or Left) wing website. That is why I urged you all to read it, because if the Assyrian people agree with this writer, then it deserves some thought.
To which I replied:
@Mr V.: So you're saying you'd be ok with a mosque being built near the site, as long as it was run by an imam with no hint of controversy? If so, I believe that that is a more defensible position to take, though I fear that saying so puts you far closer to the position of Larry and I than your fellow patriots here might think appropriate. (and the next thing you know, they may find you too controversial to hire to do your job...)

The article was written by Frank Gaffney, a well-known American neocon, and first appeared at Both that gentleman and that site are far from unbiased.

AINA is a news source for Americans of Assyrian descent, based in Chicago. While the site seems to be unbiased (except perhaps toward Assyria and Assyrians), the article is not. I don't agree that the fact that the article was reposted on that site in any way says or suggests that ANIA endorses or agrees with what Mr Gaffney wrote, any more than Facebook or News12 necessarily endorses or agrees with my (or your) position on the subject at hand, just because our thoughts appear at this post on this site. Rather, I see it as more of an opinion piece, posted to generate thought and reflection, both for and against. (How many times have we seen controversial or outright contrarian (to the general tilt of the publication/site, I mean) opinion pieces printed at both unbiased and at partisan sites and publications, for exactly that purpose? It's far from uncommon.)

Again, I'm not saying Mr Gaffney's opinions or facts are necessarily wrong, but I would like to see reporting on this imam and his connection to this project in general done by people with less of a partisan axe to grind. Taking any single source as gospel fact is a bad idea, and sometimes (such as when you know the bias of the writer) it's an even worse idea.

In the meantime, I welcome your seeming admission that it isn't the mosque itself or it's location to which you're opposed. That is a small step toward greater tolerance, which is what I've been advocating, here... I'm all for preventing terrorism and rooting out extremists, but I just don't believe one does that by opposing the building and use of mosques (or any other houses of worship, for that matter...)

One more exchange (as of now, anyway)
TDD says: I'm so happy to see people uniting together about this-and although some comments made are slightly offensive, I think we have moved from worrying about beling politically correct in the interest of self -preservation-that is preserving what America stands for and what we as Americans believe in. Its Un-American to build these places of worship at the site-because a TRUE AMERICAN who understands and felt the pain of the horrible devastation on 9/11 would not approve of this. ONE NATION, UNDER GOD!!!!!! I don't care who its run under-imam, umam, obama, whatever-NO MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO!!!!
To which I replied:

‎"...preserving what America stands for and what we as Americans believe in." - except perhaps for those pesky Muslim Americans (but then, are they really TRUE AMERICANS like the rest of us, anyway?) - and of course, those like me who believe that America was in part founded on and based upon the freedom not to have the government interfere in mine, yours, or anyone else's religious faith (say, by passing statutes against building a particular kind of house of worship at a particular location, because the majority does not approve of "that" faith at "that" location). I mean, isn't protection from "the tyranny of the majority" and simple mob rule the reason the founders rejected direct democracy in favor of a republic, when forming our system of government? Are there not some God-given/natural and inalienable rights too important to be put to a simple majority, winner take all vote?

And while some may feel all too comfortable questioning the patriotism or "American-ness" of those who simply worship according to a different faith or interpret what the founders intended and the Constitution says about religious freedom differently, I find that kind of behavior pretty shameful. Dissent (whether your opinion from mine, mine from yours, or either of ours from our elected government) is another founding principle and everlasting ideal that makes our country the greatest on earth, and I would not so casually claim that those with whom one disagrees politically or socially are in any way less American than you are yourself.

I'll update this post, should there be any further exchanges...

1 comment:

ex DLB said...

I'd like to say to any Muslim who reads this that I, as an American, do not feel responsible for the deaths of Iraqis during both Gulf Wars and during the intervening years as a result of the sanctions. I do not feel responsible for the deaths of Muslims and others in a variety of other countries as a result of imperialist actions of the US government. I do feel guilty, though.

Frank Gaffney, OTOH, does have blood on his hands. It still amazes me that any of these people sleep at night. It's likely in a coffin.

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