Update: very unfortunately, those speaking out against the Mosque are being blamed for the stabbing last night of a Muslim NYC cab driver. See the video ad up from agenda.org– I won’t link to it. I disagree with the message of this ad; this kid was responsible for his own behavior.
There is little to do for any of us except to exercise our freedom of speech. We cannot blame Gingrich or Palin for extremist right wing behavior. All of our arguments need to depend on logic and we should not commit the very sins we point out in others. I consider last night’s stabbing a hate crime, and the attack upon us on 911 as the ultimate hate crime. I stand by my view that to build a mosque at or near GZ pours salt on a wound and is an unnecessarily inflammatory thing to do.
Blogger’s note: After writing a short post/essay on Tuesday about the Mosque issue and getting good comments, doing more thinking/feeling/speculating, I’m following up….
An unfortunate outcome of the nation-wide debate over the Islamic Community Center’s proximity to Ground Zero is the painting of those in disagreement with one’s position with a very broad brush: this from Dick Cavett last week in the New York Times:
“I remain amazed and really, sincerely, want to understand this. What can it be that is faulty in so many people’s thought processes, their ethics, their education, their experience of life, their understanding of their country, their what-have-you that blinds them to the fact that you can’t simultaneously maintain that you have nothing against members of any religion but are willing to penalize members of this one? Can you help me with this?”
Sure, Dick. I’ll help. First of all, you ask the reader to agree with you that those opposing the location of the Center have faulty thought processes, ethics, education, life experience, patriotism…. in short, are defective as thinkers, Americans and human beings. Is it demonstrably true that those who think this whole thing is a very bad idea are just a bunch of right wing nut jobs?
Wow. Here’s some food for thought, not meant to be a broad brush, but to place things in a larger perspective:
Yesterday, numerous Iraqui citizens, members of the peace-keeping force and local police,– were killed by insurgents– Suni Muslims– proclaiming an Islamic State in Iraq– all of this in the wake of U.S. combat troop withdrawal. Also on the news: that Al Quaeda— the Islamic terrorist network– remains up and running in Yemen and that we should be alert. In other incidents over the past year, we saw the nabbing of a Middle Eastern kid holed up in Aravada, CO who was about to blow up the NY subway system— a Muslim, a massacre at Ft. Hood by a Muslim psychiatrist, an attempt to blow up a plane Christmas Day by a Muslim. Last month, 44 American troops with the grave misfortune to be in Afghanistan, taken out by Muslims– the Taliban. Two days ago, “The Ambassador of Death” unveiled (that’s what Amanejinidad called it)— Iran’s new bomb-laden drone, brought to you by a nation of Islam. Israel, our ally, under constant threat from Palestinian Muslims.
I’m sorry, but you want me– and everyone else– in the face of a host of incidents all leading back to Islam to believe that Islam is about love, tolerance, peace? That numerous declarations of holy war against the U.S. have not been issued by Muslim clergy and their followers? That the very Imam in question re the Cordoba Center never said of 9-11 that the U.S. had it coming? That each and every one of the aforementioned incursions into our peace of mind and our national security is an isolated incident on the part of the most extreme members of Islam?
The “there are terrorists and there are the millions of peace-loving Muslims” argument might have worked for one or two terrorist attacks affecting US citizens. But violence has bred fear and to call everyone’s fear “Islamophobia” as if it had no basis is to diss and diminish the sane and real concerns of many, many Americans. I do not, nor does any true humanist dispute that the United States of America itself has dirty hands when it comes to our treatment of others. I deplore that we ever went into Iraq and that we are in Afghanistan. We should be minding our own business.
I arrived at my point of view with my faculties up and running, Mr. Cavett. I am educated and I have good ethics, and I am a civil rights advocate with first-hand experience of exclusion and discrimination. I never in a million years thought I would link to Andrew Breitbart’s blog, but he posted Bill O’Reilley’s interview with the most cogent Muslim I have heard on the issue. For once, in his exchange with her, O’Reilley sounds semi-sane himself.
For a super-cogent, reasoned post by author Lauren B. Davis on the opposing point of view– that by moving the Center we are discrimating against Islam and Muslims and feeding a mob mentality– click here. And, my viewpoint is paralleled in another succinct take on the issue –from Irshad Manji for the Wall Street Journal.
Thinking Americans aren’t happy with this debate: no one wants to violate anyone else’s First Amendment rights– However, why, after 9-11, still at war with Muslim extremists, braced for another terror attack, another suicide bomber, Bin Laden still at large, should anyone be faulted for being wary of Islam and those who practice it? We should all watch the videography from that awful day. Anyone remember the footage of thousands of Muslims celebrating in the streets throughout the Middle East when this happened?
What about the rights of the survivors and the families of the dead–conceivably, freedom of religion for those people means to be able to pray on Ground Zero without having to look at a mosque— surely understandable when one considers that the hijackers shouted “Allah is great!” in their final seconds. Respecting and validating the anguish of the 9-11 survivors by gladly relocating a community center is something that peace-loving, tolerant, humanity-loving members of a religion might do– to rebuild trust in the alleged nonviolent practitioners of the faith of Islam.
In any event, since we live under the ongoing threat of more terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists, that the wing-nut Amadenijad will pull something, that at any moment more Muslim underwear bombers will board more jets and more explosive-clad Muslim would-be martyrs will board a subway car or blow themselves up in a super mall, the American citizen’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness went out the window a long time ago— something the pretty-talking mayor of NYC and liberals all gaga over the First Amendment seem to overlook. We are polarized and divided as it is. We can’t afford to go weak in the knees to appease Islamic extremism. Nowhere in this post do I contend that we do not have among us Muslims who deplore terrorism. I’m saying that it is unreasonable to expect the victims of terrorism to embrace Islam and be o.k. with a mosque/community center at GZ.