Ground Zero Mosque

The outcry is xenophobic, racist, and profoundly unAmerican. It’s also completely predictable. Anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of American history knows that this country has passed through spasms of xenophobia, racism, and Protestant chauvinism on a fairly regular basis, from the nineteenth century anti-Romanist Know Nothings to the Yellow Peril, the KKK, and the Immigration Reform Act of 1924. Granted, we diverted enormous energies to attacks on our own native-born blacks and gays in the last few decades, but a strong Nativist strain has always lurked just below the surface of things; it manifests itself whenever the unemployment rate rises.

Predictable too are the hypocrisy and selective indignation that accompany the hysteria. Few American politicians paid a price for supporting the terrorist IRA in the past; few dare say anything positive (or merely not negative) about anything Islamic today. That’s because there were a lot more Irish Catholic voters back then than there are Islamic ones today. Only when they can field as substantial a bloc of voters as the Catholics, or as influential a bloc as the Jews, will people think of Islamic Americans as Americans of a certain faith, rather than as foreigners who don’t believe as we do.

There’s a Jewish aspect to the issue that troubles me, too. Both anti-Semites and AIPAC take it for granted that American Jews have dual loyalties, to Israel and America, and that Jewish loyalty to America is contingent on America’s unconditional support of Israel. So long as America and Israel are in perfect accord there is no conflict. Such people assume that Islam’s loyalties are similarly divided. But that creates an irresolvable paradox: unless American Islam adopts a posture of unconditional support for Israel, no AIPAC supporter can acknowledge an Islamic American’s patriotism without casting doubt on his or her own.

The only way out of this impasse is a truly American pluralism, a tolerance for difference–a stance that neither anti-Semites, Christianists or AIPAC totalists have ever been notably comfortable with.

19 thoughts on “Ground Zero Mosque

  1. That fact that a Muslim group wants to put up a Mosque on ground zero is insensitive, spiteful, and unAmerican. To want to remind Americans like that regardless of whether or not they are peaceful is in bad taste and smacks of underhanded elitism form the Muslim world.
    They can have their mosque but not on that site. That is disgusting and sick for them to even try to put it there.

  2. codecrackx15
    you sir are uneducated allow me to school you on a few things
    first it isn’t a masque but a community center containing a masque
    next it isn’t at ground zero but a few blocks away
    and to call it unamerican reeks of complete ignorance can you even begin to justify that remark as far as I know americans still have the right to religious freedom so in fact you are the one makking unamerican remarks.

    1. Let me educate you!, its called a mosque not a masque you moron , before you open your big mouth make sure you know how to spell it,lol.

  3. The proposed site is several blocks away. How far is far enough? Should Muslims stay out of that neighborhood too, out of respect for the non-Muslim dead, or only refrain from praying there?

  4. I would say (being an a-hole myself) that it all depends on a Pew Poll or a Census count on how many voters, how many donors are in what demographic. *cough-cough* That will sway the trajectory of the politician. It is merely “the job” of lip-serving the interest. If I was a NY poli-capital-repa-dema-crat and an “anonamous” donor that happened to be an affluent muslim gave me lots of…I would say, “The mosque is appropriate because of the heartfelt gestures by our Islamic culture. What better way to foil the terrorist notions they portray Americans as having by making this a shared and hallowed sanctuary of…etc.”
    I could even, if donations, er, interest came from a different direction say, “Though I empathize with certain segments of our diverse culture, I think it inappropriate to mar the sanctity of the soil here by rushing to erect a symbol of religion on a spot so many percieve as in the public sphere…etc.”

  5. Personally I think they should make the area on massive recycling/desaliniazation plant/project research thingy or a huge goverment owned Archology that provides median income based housing for workers in the city. But I realize Manhattan property is just like Vegas, nothing is so sacred it can’t be torn down and sold for millions an acre. Does anyone count vertical distance in proximity to work/home distance and time?

  6. A lot of people who don’t live in NYC have no idea how substantial its Muslim population is. It’s about 600,000 (many of them children, of course)–bigger than the whole state of Wyoming, more than twice the population of Anchorage, Alaska, and more than 100 times the population of Wasilla. These people aren’t building mosques to spite us “real” Americans, they’re building them to service their communities.

    Many Arabs live in my part of Brooklyn, including a substantial number of Maronite Christians. There are two businesses on my block operated by Muslims from Yemen; my building’s superintendent is an Albanian Muslim from Kosovo (he was a distinguished artist back home, he fled here with his family to escape Serbian persecution–not unlike my Jewish grandparents). It’s not a melting pot exactly, people retain their cultural differences, but it isn’t Road Warrior either–we muddle along. After 9/11 a Palestinian-run restaurant in my neighborhood closed its doors because they’d received threats. A bunch of neighbors–many of them Jews–booked the place for a private party to convince them to re-open.

    I’m sure there are exceptions, but in my experience, the closer people actually live to Ground Zero, the less fearful and vindictive they are.

    1. Smack!-ah…you lash with the context whip! Son-of-a…you mean distant people are real? (I should get my money back from that Beck guy…) Yes, I would have to agree that when decisions are made in that context that it is ultimately the discretion of the locals that makes the best decision. But it is, in keeping with progressive thought, important that those locals take into consideration broader views. As always I just can’t resist good conspiracy. The challenge of an integrationist culture may be in the constant redefining of “center”.

  7. You are extremely funny. And what you say about the “constant redefining of ‘center'” is very much to the point. The political center has tracked very far to the right in this country over the past three decades. At the same time, the cultural center (gay rights and feminism, birth control, tolerance of premarital sex, religious diversity, etc) has moved substantially leftward. It’s highly stressful and indicative, I think, of an economic/historic watershed, which I suspect is the end of the so-called American century.

  8. (Spotted the following while I was webbing away)

    GROUND ZERO MOSQUE & BLOOMBERG

    Mayor “Napoleon” Bloomberg and his backstabbing cronies must have a $tupendou$ rea$on which they can’t reveal for wanting a sharia-hugging mosque near Ground Zero!
    But the sharia “cobra” they’re toying with can quickly grow its fangs and then say “Smile, you’re on Candid Scimitar and will soon be buried in a scimitary, ha ha ha!” – proving that one good backstabbing deserves another!
    God-haters and America-haters may not realize how high the collective temperature has now risen in the hearts of true American patriots – many of whom are now willing to die for America right here in America if they get pushed completely over the line!
    Since the nation’s headquarters for treason is the White House, readers can enjoy related material if they Google “Obama Avoids Bible Verses” & “Obama Supports Public Depravity” and also Google “Sandra Bernhard, Larry David, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher, Sarah Silverman” in addition to Googling “Obama…destined to become a black-slavery avenger.”
    And by all means visit Googleland and type in “Government-Approved Illegals” and “Un-Americans Fight Franklin Graham.”
    I hope Mayor Bloomberg, dressed as Napoleon, will thoroughly enjoy his mosquerade party!
    PS – Since Jane Fonda still loves leftist causes, here’s a one-liner I penned during the Vietnam War era that the big Kansas City paper ran: “I’m not Fonda Jane; her Laosy remarks Hanoi me!”
    PPS – Interestingly, many conservative evangelicals have lately given up belief in a “pretribulation rapture” (the 180-year-old, fringe-British-invented, escapist-and-thus-subversive theological aberration behind the rapture bestsellers by Lindsey, LaHaye etc.) and now believe they will be on earth, standing against evil, during at least a portion of Antichrist’s diabolical reign. Widely read Google articles like “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” have helped to bring about this “pretrib” mutiny.

    A Kansas Patriot

    1. This is all over the Web, but not usually with the Pretrib Rapture PPS (which has also been all over the Web, including this site). What a strange piece of writing–sort of like Ed Anger Meets Henny Youngman.

  9. LOL, I love goldie. I miss the old comments on AOL. They have toned them down. I’m like, “Tell me how you really feel, hoss!”

  10. I understand the organization behind this $100 million dollar Mosque is called the Cordoba Initiative. The Mosque is to be called the Cordoba House. Where did the name come from? The Cordoba region of Spain, that’s where. When the Muslims conquered Spain they took a huge Christian cathedral and turned it into the Cordoba Mosque. So the very group planning this Mosque at Ground Zero is named after a Mosque built at the scene of a pervious Muslim conquest.

    There are other such mosques:

    When Muslims conquered they built the Al-Aqsa Mosque
    When Muslims conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul) they transformed the St. Sophia Basilica into a Mosque
    There are reports that our wonderful Muslim friends plan to open this Mosque next year on September 11, 2011? The 10th anniversary of their murder of 3000 people. Now that’s some rather incredible timing, don’t you think? Wait for another 9/11 and open a Mosque.

    This Mosque will be nothing less than a symbol to Muslims of their supremacy over the people of New York and America … a reminder of a great victory and a promise of more victories over the infidels to come.

    1. You’re problem (or one of them, at least) is treating all Muslims as one monolithic “THEM,” rather than a diverse group of people with different aims. The people proposing to build this center have no more to do with Al Queda than most American Christians do with Eric Rudolph. (Far less, actually, since Rudolph was American.) The neighborhood approved the project – all the hand-waving is coming from the usual national politicians with a vested interest in keeping the faux-populist outrage machine running at Condition Red.

  11. Arthur:

    Few American politicians paid a price for supporting the terrorist IRA in the past…That’s because there were a lot more Irish Catholic voters back then than there are Islamic ones today.

    True, tho to be fair, the IRA never attacked the US. Not saying that’s the only factor, but it’s understandably easier to forgive/forget about terrorists bombing other countries (even Britain).

  12. Agreed. It occurs to me to wonder how many Christian churches have been built within 2 blocks of Olympic Park, the Murrah Building site in OK City, or other sites of terrorist attacks perpetrated by right-wing Christians? Think Sarah & Newt would be outraged over that?

  13. It wouldn’t bother them at all, because Sarah at least believes that America is a Christian nation. Eric Rudolph and Tim McVeigh were aberrations because Christianity is a religion of love; Islam is a conqueror’s cult. That’s what I read anyway, in this very string.

    1. Funny how people positing a moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam in the last several years always seem to point to the same incredibly tiny cast of characters: Eric Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh.

      Now, leaving aside the fact that McVeigh wasn’t acting in the name of Christianity, let’s focus on the far more relevant one that — if you are keeping score at home — the ratio of violent acts committed in the name of Allah vs. Jesus in the last twenty years is, I am guessing, something like 500 to 1. The fact is undeniable.

      And no, sorry, the Afghan and Iraq wars are not religious ones, so if you’re talking about violence committed in the name of God in 2010, Islam is by far the worst offender.

      Just to repeat, you can speak about a moral equivalence until you are blue in the face, but me, I prefer non-fiction.

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