It is concerning, or should be, to all Americans that we are so very divided– over nearly everything. But after arguing with myself about posting yet another polemical comment on my blog, I decided this: each of us has a voice. We need to use that voice, knowing that we won’t always agree. We do not have an obligation to insure that the religion spawning hatred of all things Americn all over the world gets away with its civil rights intact.
A case in point: three years ago next week I took a plea to a misdemeanor for something never proved beyond reasonable doubt. It was explained to me that since I agreed to a “conviction,” I would be viewed as a “criminal” and treated accordingly, as shocking as this might be. My right to proof beyond reasonable doubt in the event of a probation revocation hearing was stripped away and other rights that I assert are limited by the fact that I pled “guilty”.
It is impossible for those directly impacted by 9-11 to view Islam as anything other than Jihad and criminal behvavior.. Yet there are those on the Left who think that the issue before us is whether we accord unfettered freedom of religion to all Americans or not.
No one is telling American Muslims they can’t practice their religion. Asking those involved with the Cordoba Community Center in Lower Manhattan to take their business away from GZ does not deprive anyone of their First Amendment rights. Can anyone logically dispute that these are entirely special circumstances.
This mess has reached the reductio ad absurdem point but all the more important in my view, to work through where each of us stands on that issue and others that involve the right to feel and be safe. Please note that I do not condone our incursions into and occupation of other countries in which we–the U.S. — daily impact the security of others– the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lyle Daggett said:
It seems to me useful to distinguish, in our thinking and perceptions, between the reactionary fringe who act with fanaticism in the name of, or under the guise of, religious practice — a phenomenon not unknown through history — and the larger numbers of people who find themselves drawn to religious practice for more moderate or conventional reasons. This putting aside the more basic questions of why people seek out religious belief and practice to begin with…
The congressional district where I live (Minneapolis and some of the suburbs) elected, in 2008, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress. During his election campaign he advocated strong positions in opposition to the war in Iraq and in support of education and social services. I voted for him.
There are people in the office where I work who are Muslim. They’re not my enemies.
I agree that the issue here is not entirely one of religious freedom, or of freedom for all religions. (In Madison, Wisconsin, is a stone and glass building with the word “FREETHOUGHT” mounted in large letters: the headquarters for the Association for Freedom from Religion.)
I believe that at the heart of the opposition to the Muslim community center is a reactionary world outlook, the purveyors of which (or some of them) are opportunistically and cynically exploiting the genuine sorrow of many people, and the ignorant religious bigotry of many others, for whatever petty ends they might have in mind this week or this month or next month.
Would the events of September 2001 have been less horrific if the highjackers had been “Christian” fundamentalists who shouted “God Bless America?” Would there then be a cry to ban a Christian church or community center from lower Manhattan?
Speaking as a non-practicing atheist (“non-practicing,” because what is there to practice?), I don’t have strong feelings one way or another about any type of religious building being near the site of the once and future World Trade Center.
On September 11, 1973, — the other September 11 — military planes (sent by military forces supported by the U.S. government) dropped bombs on the presidential residence in Chile, an act of terrorism — one of many — in the military coup that overthrew the elected government of Chile. Is U.S. foreign policy a fanatical religion? Should the U.S. government be banned from supplying weapons to other governments? (Not exactly clear who would enforce that, but…)
“Bring to the cup of this new life,” wrote Pablo Neruda (who died in the days after the other September 11), “your old buried sorrows.”
Wonderful quote, Lyle. I meant for my inclusive comments to make a point; of course not every Muslim is a terrorist. But I feel strongly that we need to take care of our trauma survivors and minimize further trauma. The facts are that we were attacked and continue to be threatened by Islamic extremism, which does appear to have a grip on hearts and minds. Any U.S. involvement in any coup is wrong, too. It feels to me that discerning and sensitive Muslims would never dream of building a community center housing a mosque near Ground Zero. They would see how polarizing it would be, and the anguish it would cause. No one ever said that the feelings of the GZ families are rational, or constitutional– they are human. It seems to me that Bloomberg and company are covering their political tails.
i am a christian who used to be a muslim, here’s the deal i am an african american women who’s a republican, talk about triple negative minority. I was in NY on 911 and think that any religion that wants to push their political and religion view ABOVE the feelings of those who died is WRONG. Obama is wrong I don’t care what color he is and i am darker than he. He is wrong not because they dont or shouldn’t have the right to practice their religion, he is WRONG (along with Bloomberg) because he is blind to the fact that the muslim religion is opposed to views and philosophy of the United states, which is FREEDOM. Women are not free, Christians most definately are not free and ppl seem to forget that the imam has a problem with US policies and the people that FLEW into the trade center were living and taking advantage of being in the US that is what enabled them to do so. If you think that they are going to change their ideology simply because they are in the us, many are sadly mistaken. If ANY thing it is a plant and a victory mosque, Islam is not nor has it ever been a peaceful religion in regards to christianity and judiasm so if Obama thinks he’s going to change that with his words he is sadly mistaken. To worship Jesus is a cardinal sin and there are suicide bombers to prove that. the fact that i cannot even speak freely against Islam in the country without fear should be enough to tell you that they shouldn’t build there, but yes they are “FREE” to do what they please. But, how is it fair to the construction workers in NY who may have lost family to build a mosque in honor of a religion that killed possibly ppl in there fam. would i make a man build a coffin for his killer, heck no. Like a man said when i can build a church in mecca freely then maybe we’ll talk, til then, they should build somewhere else.. (they still haven’t rebuilt the church that was destroyed down in wall street by a key point in the trade center) or another commentator said they are coming for the saturday ppl first and then the sunday ppl, (that’s me..i hope that doesn’t sound bad it is about the sabbath, which i celebrate) now this is NOT to justify any discrimination, all men are free, but Obama needs to open his eyes and wake up this is not about black or white, it is about Allah and anybody that opposes that is a target sorry. betta act like you know. thanks. signed, Black women who’s free and would like to keep it that way.
I was away and didn’t realize you’d commented, Lis– thank you for stopping by and for your thoughtful comments! xxJenne’
AND in response to the above writer, 1) if a christian blow up the trade center, it would be opposed to the bible because it says do not kill, ( i can’t even pray in school because somebody atheist doesn’t agree, so my rights are taken away DAILY) so the ppl blowing it up may SAY they represent Christ, but that is not Christ no where in the bible does it justify killing folks. 2) Jihad on the other hand is a tenet in Islam therefore it is considered a tenet of the religion. Suicide bombers etc..martyrdom 3) no one would allow a Christian church to be build, not aleast until the time was over, you can’t do certain things in regards to the holocaust out of respect, why does the ppl who died get not respect. I was there so if you were somewhere watching on TV,….well sorry for you. THINK IE the catholic church in Aushitz, they didn’t build out of respect? so they were sensitive to the ppls wishes. 4) if the Imam was peaceful and didnt have SUCH STRONG political views opposing the US then i would say fine, but he doesn’t it is very mostly likely a political move and people are very blind. How are you going to let ppl come here, pimp the resources and country and not have any allegence what so ever..the way i see it, the native americans own this land, then the europeans who settled here, then my folks b/c we didn’t have a choice and were brought..sides it’s not like i can go back to Africa(HMPH) then everybody else, this land is my land…
So lastly,If you don’t know when someone in your house is going to steal from you, well, like a mamma would say…shame for you for being a fool. Peace out.
Sorry one more thing, many muslims who don’t have radical views that some have in Islam don’t even READ the QURAN, it’s like ppl who say they’re a christian because they’re momma was, but they never go to church. c’mon. They don’t even have a choice in their country what religion they will b..what u gonna be..a christian? hmm no. sorry try again. I wish ppl would read…So anyway no more posts. Thanks. no prob if you can’t post i understand.
one more thing..sorry the imam thinks it’s justified b/c from what i heard on the radio they think many ppl in the middle east died, so in other words its ok that those ppl died during 911. i wish they would really report the news, b/c you NEVEr see what’s really going on and Obama is a christian i just think he’s backslidden. Peace.
barach(k) meanings blessing, it is a biblical name, i believe God is using this man to bring us together in peace..finally have a blessed one, sorry about the anger.
i just saw a program on cnn (inside africa) about an area in egypt where coptic Christians and Muslims live in peace. probably not a coicidence, good even.
Penny Suess said:
The idea of religious commemorations other than Jewish at Holocaust sites interested me. I had read about controversy over one such site, outside a concentration camp, but couldn’t remember the name. A quick, very superficial Google search turned up a surprising number of Christian (mostly Catholic) shrines and churches near camps. Here are links to some information:
Church of the Mortal Agony of Christ – Dachau (1960)
Crosses memorial and Catholic church at Auschwitz (may be gone now)
Memorial at Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Admittedly, not the same issue as with the mosque at GZ. Also admittedly not free of controversy. But there are such non-Jewish memorials. I guess I’m trying to say that it’s unfortunate that some people feel entitled, by virtue of their personal pain, their chosen religion, their citizenship, their politics, or whatever, to deny a right to others. I am deeply uncomfortable with saying even that sensitive Muslims would stay away from the site out of respect. I am not religious. I knew no one who was a victim. I hope that the mosque is full of Muslims who deplore the 9-11 attacks. I don’t find that hard to imagine. At the Nazi sites mentioned above, many Catholic priests, Protestant clergy, and others were interned and killed. Sometimes we forget that no one has a monopoly on suffering. No one. It is something we all must share, no matter how far removed from the source.
hi Penny– thanks for commenting! I will also check out the link. If the community center were a clear attempt to commemorate what happened at GZ, that would be wonderful and no one would object, one hopes. It feels to me that it is immensely unfair to ask survivors to forget that radical Muslims attacked us. Because we have a right to do something doesn’t mean we should do it. I agree that no one has a monopoly on suffering, but to me to impose further suffering on the victimized for the sake of the civil rights of those who have declared war on us is out of the park. xxj
Penny Suess said:
I guess I was trying to say also that it seems unlikely to me that the congregation of Muslims who will use the Islamic center in NYC have declared war on us. And if denied, they will be new victims. And on the cycle goes. Do understand that I am not criticizing your right to say what you believe. And I am listening. In fact, I look at this site every day!
Lyle Daggett said:
Responding here to Lis’s second comment above, just to clear up one point —
You can certainly pray in school, whether or not “some atheist” or anyone else disagrees. The law of the United States of America doesn’t prohibit anyone from praying in school. It only prohibits (thanks in part to legal actions pursued by, among others, some atheists) requiring anyone to pray, or engaging in public or organized prayer or other religious activity, in a school that is supported by public tax dollars.
You shouldn’t have to support my religious activities or beliefs (if any) with your tax money; and I shouldn’t have to support your religious activities or beliefs (if any) with my tax money. That’s the law (and not merely what “some atheists” decided.)
Also, it seems to me that if we’re going to raise the specter of Jihad, then we should (in the interests of fairness and balance, to say nothing of accuracy) also speak of Crusade — a word and a concept that carry a resonance in much of the Islamic world, similar to the resonance that the word and the concept of Jihad appear to have, currently, in some precincts of the non-Islamic world.
Earlier this evening I came across comments by Dick Cavett (the former T.V. talk show host, in recent years a columnist in the online New York Times) concerning the controversy over building the mosque/community center. I found his comments insightful. It’s here.
Also, in case it might be of interest, in the website of the PBS T.V. series Frontline, the text of an interview (from 2002) with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, discussing the religious and philosophical tenets of Islam, and the position of Islam and Muslim populations in the world today. It’s here.
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