Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hurray for Ground Zero Mosque

When I first heard about the "Ground Zero Mosque" a few weeks back, all the controversy made me think there was a plan to build a Hagia Sophia type structure right where the trade center stood. Turns out it's some sort of community center (gym, swimming pool, theater and a mosque) two blocks away from ground zero, planned by a Sufi (read: peaceful, Buddhist-like) Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf, or whatever). Never mind that there is already a mosque four blocks away and that lower Manhattan was originally a very muslim community (back in the late 19th century it was called Little Syria) - why is it that the very people who like to get all outraged on behalf of the constitution are forgetting it's very first amendment?

I know why, of course. It's because most Americans and certainly most conservatives, like to think of America as a christian nation. They like to throw their bible into political arguments (gay marriage? no way - it's an abomination!). More importantly, they have found themselves a nice little enemy in islam. What used to be a multifaceted religion practiced by nearly a third of the world's population, is now equated with intolerant governments and terrorism. The idea that islam is a violent religion is now somehow taken as a fact. And this I also understand. We all need an "other" to hate or put down. I myself have an "other" in conservatives and all religious fanatics, christian and muslim alike. Still, it is the intolerance and bigotry that piss me off the most when it comes to my "others" and so I've decided that it would be an excellent idea to build and actually mosque, with minarets and all, right there next to where the trade center stood, to symbolize the hope for tolerance and peace.


PS: Nearly 20% of Americans think that Obama is a muslim. This is once again interesting because clearly being a muslim is bad, and Obama is a bad president (why exactly? I'm not sure I understand this part). I wonder if it's the same lot that believe he was born in Kenya, and that he is a communist/socialist. The fact that Obama is just another moderate Democrat is somehow lost on these confused souls. Oh well... Wish that Obama were muslim. I would feel less embarrassed when I speak with my muslim American friends, and think of the muslim troops fighting on our side in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives for the ignorant masses back home.




Vent over. I now leave you with a picture of a favorite religious zealot and this cute kitty:


















UPDATE:
Links to news stories about other mosques around the country being protested and denied permission here and here. Story about some construction worker being harassed by Ground Zero Mosque protesters cause they thought he was a muslim here.

8 comments:

Catherine said...

besides the fact that over 70% of Americans don't want this thing and that alone should be respected, let's first remember that the first amendment includes the freedom of religion. by that, it means, the freedom to practice. by THAT it mean the Muslims are allowed to practice without having their heads chopped off.
the Muslims are already free to practice--as you've said there is already a mosque 4 blocks away. so this clearly isn't a first amendment issue (BTW, there are plenty of mosques to practice in Manhattan alone).
this "peaceful" Imam has been quoted by foreign papers that America got what it derseved on 9/11. not to mention Obama has been using taxpayer dollars to send this guy back and forth to the middle east to drum up support, which is in clear violation of the constitution.
this is about symbols of conquest. The Muslims took down a huge symbol of western power, and now they want to erect a symbol of Muslim power. if i am wrong, then you would agree we should erect a statue of liberty at Hiroshima.

BTW, that many people think Obama is a Muslim because you only need to see his leanings, who he grew up with, his influences. No i don't believe he is a Muslim, at least, not a true practicing one. but he certainly seems to have mroe respect for them than his own citizens.

Paulina said...

The Imam quote you are referring to is from his 60 minutes interview, in which he condemned the attack of 9/11, said that fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam, but also that America was partially responsible for what happened because it had supported Osama bin Laden (referring to the CIA support of mujahadeen in 1979/80). You can read the interview here: http://www.islamfortoday.com/60minutes.htm

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has long been a great proponent of improving the relations between the West and the muslim world. I don't see what the problem is with his traveling to the Middle East to give talks about tolerance and getting along (sponsored by the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs). He has done it in the past, and twice under Bush mind you. You'll have to explain to me what is so unconstitutional about it.

As for the symbol of conquest - I couldn't disagree with you more. To equate al Qaeda with all muslims, and with Feisal in particular, is the very definition of ignorance that I was writing about. Muslims did not attack America, al Qaeda did. On the other hand America attacked Hiroshima, and not an American terrorist group. In fact, this misunderstanding is the very reason I think we should have this center built near ground zero. Perhaps it would help stop the vilification of islam in this country.


You'll have to tell me more about these Obama leanings and his disrespect for the American citizens. What are muslim leanings anyway? He's just a democrat, and a conservative one at that. No different than Clinton before him, really. I just don't get the vitriol.

Catherine said...

from the 60 minutes interview:
"Bin Laden and his supporters were, in fact, recruited and paid nearly $4 billion by the CIA and the government of Saudi Arabia in the 1980s to fight with the mujahadeen rebels against the former Soviet Union, which had invaded Afghanistan."
we gave Bin Laden money to help Afghanistan 30 years ago. I don't see how this qualifies us as an accessory to 9/11.
but there is also this to consider from Mr. I-don't-believe-in-religious-dialog:"Throughout my discussions with contemporary Muslim theologians, it is clear an Islamic state can be established in more than just a single form or mold. It can be established through a kingdom or a democracy. The important issue is to establish the general fundamentals of Sharia that are required to govern. It is known that there are sets of standards that are accepted by [Muslim] scholars to organize the relationships between government and the governed."
to speak of Imam Feisal as a peaceful, non-religious man is just plain ignorant.
ok, i take that back, he is a peaceful man. he simply wants to bring Sharia law to the west by infecting us from the inside out. no violence needed. but surely he thinks the fatwa against selling land to a Christian who wants to build a church is just silly, i'm sure.
if you want the average ignorant American to stop equating regular Muslims with muslim extremism, then tell your Muslim-American friends to speak up. their silence tells us they condone this mess.
And Obama spending US tax dollars to drum up support for a mosque violates separation of church and state.
the bottom line is this "cultural center" doesn't need to be placed on an open wound. it would be more of an anti-coagulant than a band-aid. and it certainly doesn't need to include a mosque. or better idea, it could include a mosque, a Jewish temple, a Christian church...
and it can just as easily be somehwere else, if his intentions are a pure as he would have us believe.

Paulina said...

Why is the CIA thing important? Because they trained Osama and his mujahadeen who later became al Qaeda. More importantly, how do you read in this interview that Feisal blames America for 9/11?

As for the other quote, which if I am correct comes from his interview with Hadielislam.com, transcript here : http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2010/08/ground-zero-iman-calls-for-return-to.html, he talks about Muslim governments and their church/state separation issues, and his hope that muslim nations will follow the western model of being a democracy, and not a kingdom. Who are we to say that other countries can't have a democratic government that "reflect the spirit of Shariah" if that's what they want? And he IS talking about muslim countries here, not the introduction of Shariah law into the US.

I said he was peaceful, I did not say he is not religious. He is an Imam, is he not? Not to mention that he is American, and is speaking up as you would have Muslim-Americans do for tolerance and understanding. "Infect us", honestly...

Feisal is not being paid tax dollars to drum up support for the mosque. That doesn't make any sense. He is going to the Middle East to drum up support for the US. And he wants to build a mosque, which is a separate issue all together.

I state again, that the reason we need a muslim center over there is specifically so that this idea that muslim=terrorist can be dealt with. Incidentally, who are these "us" that my muslim-American friends should be reassuring? "us" as in non-Muslims? Why are my friends muslim first and American second?

And on another note, this sort of crazy shit is the very reason that I hate all religions equally and wish that they would all bugger off. It's time for the human race to get over their powerful guy in the clouds mythology and focus on bettering themselves for the sake of being better people.

DCE said...

We’re told we must be tolerant of other beliefs, primarily Islam. However the reverse isn’t true, as seen every day by the likes of the media, academia, the government, and the multi-culti proselytizers.

Those of us of Judeo-Christian beliefs must not be tolerated because, after all, It’s-All-Our-Fault. The Muslim community in New York has shown great insensitivity to the feelings and beliefs of those who lost loved ones on That Terrible Day. It is they who are showing intolerance, not those protesting against something they see as a slap in the face.

Paulina said...

DCE - I disagree with you on several points. Firstly I think all Abrahamic religions, that is Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have been told by their scriptures to NOT be tolerant of the other. In America, at the very least, the call for tolerance of other religions applies equally to all. Muslim intolerance of Christians is just as disgusting as it's counter part in my opinion. (All this fighting over the big dude in the sky just reinforces my personal dislike for all religions, btw. What a waste of breath...)

Secondly, and I think far more importantly, you seem to be falling into the trap of assuming 9/11 was a Muslim attack on Christians. Or that Muslims were not affected by the attack. This is the very reason that Osama's attack on 9/11 was such an unfortunate success. It has really polarized the world, the west (America and Europe alike) are turning against Islam, and making whatever moderate muslims are out there fearful, resentful, and eventually hateful. So instead of pushing Islam into the 21st century and getting them to chill out, instead of winning hearts and minds, we are just making them angrier. Somebody has to be the bigger person here, and I think it ought to be Americans.

DCE said...

I didn't even imply that 9/11 was "a Muslim attack on Christians." What I stated was that tolerance must be in both directions.

The decision to build the community center misnamed the Ground Zero mosque was not in itself the wrong thing to do. It was the manner in which it was made public. I'm saying it was insensitive of them to do it that way. Given that, is it any surprise the reaction from New Yorkers was negative? Ground Zero is an open wound, emotionally speaking, and New Yorkers are seeing it as an affront to the memories of those who died there. There are times when emotion will outweigh logic and law. This is one of those times.

Is it right for people to let their emotions override their logic? Conversely, is it right for others to ignore the wounds of those around them and, by their actions, make them worse? By doing so they are winning no friends and instead creating animosity, even if their actions had good intentions.

This was not a well thought out project, at least in regards to how the public would perceive it. And in the end it is the perception by the public of "a slap in the face" that rules, regardless of the truth. If this project is rammed down the throats of New Yorkers it will do as much damage to the image of Muslims in America as did the aircraft used as weapons by Muslim terrorists on 9/11.

Paulina said...

My apologies for misinterpreting you. I felt that was part of your points in paragraph two. As for the origin of the whole story and how it all went down, there is an excellent time line article at salon.com (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/16/ground_zero_mosque_origins/index.html). If it weren't for Pam Geller, the whole thing would probably just have been another project.