I first read about the ADL’s statement supporting those who would stop the building of Cordoba House, a Muslim community center modeled on the YM/YWHA’s and CA’s you can find all over New York City over at The Debate Link. In reading the statement, I was struck by these two paragraphs:
However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.
The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.
These words raise, of course, the obvious question: Suppose the building at stake were a Jewish community center and suppose the people opposed it were doing so out of “strong passions and keen sensitivities” that were analogous to what the people who oppose the Cordoba House feel, would the ADL argue that such a building in a such a place was “counterproductive to the healing process” and urge that the center be built elsewhere? More than that, though, I found myself wondering about whose feelings the ADL is being so considerate of here. As Michael Barbaro wrote on July 30th in an article on The New York Times website–the article was on the front page of the July 31st edition of the paper–attributing the point to Oz Sultan, Cordoba House’s programming director, “He said that Muslims had also died on Sept. 11, either because they worked in the twin towers, or responded to the scene.”
Sultan was responding to a statement made by Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, to the effect that the people whose feelings his organization feels ought not to be hurt by the building of center at its current location are the families of those who died in the September 11th attacks. Mr. Sultan’s response, of course, is precisely to the point, and I don’t think there isn’t much else to add to that. I do find Foxman’s reasoning, at least as it is quoted in Barbaro’s article, profoundly troubling, though:
Asked why the opposition of the [September 11th victims’] families was so pivotal in the decision, Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said they were entitled to their emotions.
“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”
It’s hard for me to know where to begin taking this apart. First, though, let me say that I do think Foxman is right about this: people who have been through trauma are entitled to their feelings about things that may force them to return to or relive that trauma, and even when those feelings are irrational, the validity of the feelings themselves should not be questioned, even when those feelings can reasonably be categorized as “bigoted.” The rest of us, however, should not be held hostage to the legitimacy of those feelings. More, precisely because those feelings can be reasonably categorized as bigoted, deferring to them in matters of public policy and discourse can end up perpetuating that bigotry in concrete ways. Witness the ADL’s statement which, even granting the most generous possible reading–and I am not sure what that would be–marginalizes Muslims simply for being Muslim.
Even more than that, though, I think it is cynical beyond belief for Foxman to enlist the moral authority that inevitably attaches to mention of Holocaust survivors, especially because he is himself a survivor, to justify the ADL’s position. It is insulting of my intelligence; trivializing of the Holocaust; it renders Muslims invisible on all kinds of levels by equating the September 11th victims’ families with the Jews; and it is, fundamentally, more about guilt-tripping the people who want to build the Cordoba House and their supporters than it is about a search for healing and that can be nothing but, to use Foxman’s own word, counterproductive.
I have not been following the Cordoba House issue very closely and so I have not read much about the questions that have been raised about some of the sources for its funding, but I would like to say this: even if it turned out that Cordoba House were being funded with money that could be tied back to the same people who perpetrated the September 11th attacks, [ETA in response to Robert’s comment below: the fact of that funding would be the reason to prevent the building of the Cordoba House anywhere; the fact of that funding] would still not justify the ADL’s position. I hope that those questions about funding, if they have been legitimately raised, are resolved positively and that the Cordoba House gets built. The controversy surrounding it convinces me that we really, really need it.
Cross posted on It’s All Connected.
Foxman’s rationale reminds me of the argument for the death penalty that goes something like this: “What if it was your daughter who’d been raped and murdered? Wouldn’t you want her killer put to death?”
Well, yes. I’d want him tortured slowly before he was killed in the most painful way imaginable. This is why we don’t put punishments in the hands of those directly victimized by criminals, but rather in the hands of a (theoretically) impartial judicial system, one that uses logic and rationality to make decisions, rather than emotion. Similarly, no matter what a given 9/11 family feels about Cordoba House, we in society have a responsibility to make sure that laws supporting free exercise of religion are applied to all people.
… you mean, suppose the Jews hijacked 2 planes and flew them directly into office towers in an attack whose explicitly religious motivation harks back to the Crusades?
Because that’s the only way those opposed to Cordoba House would feel “analogous” passions and sensitivities about Jews building a shul at the site.
Classical liberals like me tear our hair out when those further left run reality through the multiculti gender-class-ethnicity slicer-dicer, and lop off all context.
The explicitly stated context of the attack – repeated and echoed all these years by much of the Arab world – was to (re)assert Islamic dominance/superiority over the West.
That context matters when Muslims seek to build a mosque on the site.
even if it turned out that Cordoba House were being funded with money that could be tied back to the same people who perpetrated the September 11th attacks, that would not justify the ADL’s position.
Really? There’s liberal open-mindedness – a fine thing, in moderation – and then there’s nuts. It wouldn’t be OK to oppose this if it was funded by the 9/11 terrorists? Come on.
B.D. has it exactly right; if a bunch of Jewish extremists had been the 9/11 bombers, you’re darn right we’d be casting hairy eyeballs at synagogues wanting to open near the site. Ditto Christian fundies or liberty nuts or whomever.
Robert: Poor editing on my part: there was originally a clause in the conclusion that, obviously, if the house were funded by the 9/11 terrorists–or other groups that would be similarly objectionable–that would be sufficient reason to stop the building of the center anywhere; but that would be the reason to stop it, not the reasoning put forward by the ADL. Somehow, when I read over the edited version, I inserted that clause in my head without realizing I’d deleted it.
Ben David: You’re right, context matters, and I should have put into my post the context I had in my head when I wrote this–which was not about a Jewish center at the site where they want to build the Cordoba House. If I have the chance later, I will come back and either edit into the post or put it in the comments. I would just point out that the passage you are commenting on was not the main point of the post.
@Ben David, let me make the analogous argument. In 1996, Eric Rudolph set off a bomb in Centennial Park during the Summer Olympics. The bombing killed two and injured 111. Rudolph bombed the Olympics for the same reasons he bombed gay bars and abortion clinics — to assert his radical, fundamentalist Christian viewpoint, and to try to force its acceptance as the dominant law in America.
Has anyone — and would anyone — suggest that we should ban the building of Christian churches in Atlanta? And I’m not talking about deeply fundamentalist churches — the equivalent to a Sufi community center would be a United Church of Christ-run community center. Would you support that? Would you agree to that? Would you believe that argument made any sense at all?
Of course not. It’s a ludicrous, stupid argument. Rudolph and his fellow travelers who hid and protected him are evil, evil people. But just because they did bad things in the name of Christianity, that does not mean all Christians should be forced to surrender their rights in a designated zone around the areas of his attacks.
You can hate the men who attacked the World Trade Center all you want. I certainly do. But I’m not going to become the intolerant bastards that they were. There are good Muslims and bad Muslims, just like there are good and bad atheists, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Unitarians. I will not tar a billion men and women with the actions of twenty men. We do far better to support those who are decent and kind.
Actually, I think Jeff’s example is better than the one I was going to give.
As I noted over at my place, the Egyptian government has, in fact, consistently restricted the building and usage of Jewish religious sites, justified by saying it would be inappropriate given this or that Israeli action towards Palestinians. I don’t know if the ADL has commented on those acts particularly, but I hardly think their reaction is any different from mine: that it’s a clear human rights violation, full stop. Restricting the rights of unrelated Jews based on the bad acts of other Jews (I’m giving the Egyptian government full credit here in assuming that the particular acts they’re protesting are, in fact, bad) is patently anti-Semitic. Restricting the rights of unrelated Muslims based on the bad acts of other Muslims is likewise clearly Islamophobic.
You want a real analogy? Here’s one: Should there be allowed a Jewish holy site at the Cave of the Patriarchs? Yes — and that’s true even though Hebron will almost certainly be ceded to an eventual Palestinian state. The horrific terrorism of Baruch Goldstein, religiously-inspired or no, done on behalf of Israelis or Jews or no, does not justify the restriction of the religious rights of Jews in Hebron or anywhere else.
The proposed community centre is also – this point has been extensively made, but not here, and one commenter at least seems not to understand it – NOT “on the site of the September 11 attacks”. It is two blocks away, with tall buildings in between, so that you cannot see the community centre from Ground Zero nor Ground Zero from the community centre. There are also strip clubs at approximately the same distance. Is that inappropriate?
How are ‘Christian fundies‘ the equivalent of the group that wants to open Cordoba House? Their agenda is explicitly non-fundamentalist and radically differs from that of Al-Qaeda.
I don’t know if you missed Jeff @ 2.1 but he’s dead-on – in spite of our recent history of fundamentalist Christian terrorism, there are no attempts to prevent churches (of any kind) from being established here in Atlanta. That seems like solid proof that you are wrong when you say that we’d be ‘casting hairy eyeballs’ at Christians if they opened churches near to areas where they’d committed terrorist acts.
Robert, you cannot seriously believe that if a group of Christian fundamentalists committed another act of terror, that there would be a huge popular sentiment to ban the building of a Christian community center near the site.
If this were a mosque being erected by an anti-American sect of Islam, or paid for by followers of bin Laden, that’s a different issue. But that’s not the real issue.
Another reason that this doesn’t equate with the Holocaust: it would be difficult to justify the existance of “moderate” (as opposed to fundamentalist) Nazis. While there were people in the Nazi party simply because of proximity, they were still complicit. If you want to say that all Muslims are complicit in the acts of their fundamentalists, you’ll have to extend the same courtesy to Christians.
Then I, Hershele Ostropoler, still wouldn’t be a terrorist.* People saying “it hurts me to think about people being Jewish so close to the site of this terrible tragedy” would still be wrong — not that it hurts them, but that their being hurt is or should be sufficient reason to keep totally innocent Jews from practicing and teaching Judaism nearby.
*Admittedly, it’s hard to say. Given, ahem, all the myriad ways this could come to pass, I can’t be sure that in not one of those realities would I be a terrorist; my point is thatit’s not a logical necessity.
Robert, you cannot seriously believe that if a group of Christian fundamentalists committed another act of terror, that there would be a huge popular sentiment to ban the building of a Christian community center near the site.
Why wouldn’t I believe that? I think it would be a matter of perception of identity between the parties. I would certainly be at least emotionally opposed to a white nationalist group that glorified Tim McVeigh setting up anything at all near the site of the OKC bombing. If Tim McVeigh had been an ardent, I dunno, Christian Falangist or Presbyterian, I wouldn’t like them doing something there either.
Now it is unfair that the memetic distance between the people wanting to build this mosque and the 9/11 bombers is probably pretty large; larger than a similar disparity would be, probably, in a case of a Christian group. By which I mean that Presbyterians don’t take the rap for Tim McVeigh because everybody understands that he had nothing to do with the Presbyterians; people are less cognizant of differences between Islamic groups or individuals. That’s simply because most Americans don’t know very much about Islam; I probably know more than 99% of my fellow citizens, and I don’t know very much. So Islamic believers are going to get lumped together more readily. I am not so sure, however, that this particular group has an impressive degree of separation from the more militant wing of their religion. Anybody know?
There are, I think, some contextual differences between this particular project and a generic churches-in-atlanta scenario.
1. This building was actually hit during 9/11, and damaged pretty severely. I do not know if anyone was hurt or killed on the site.
2. The project’s name is apparently deliberately provocative. (Cordoba was a major city in the Islamic caliphate that conquered Spain.)
3. One of the main project leaders is a man who has made equivocal public statements about 9/11 and terrorism.
I believe in freedom of religion but in this particular case it seems to me that the civic religion should have taken first call of this site, a building effectively destroyed on 9/11. If the building was just another lot that happened to be close to Ground Zero, I think I’d have to come down broadly in favor of their right to build a mosque wherever they bloody well like.
Given that the site is instead effectively a battlefield of the United States, I don’t think they ought to.
#2 isn’t persuasive, to say the least. If it was a major city, then it must have a lot of possible associations — a centuries old conquest of Spain (!) is unlikely to be the only possible association.
I mean, if Mexico said that something named “York” was offensive, since New York was a major city in the US when the US beat Mexico in a war, I’d find that a rather strained and dubious connection.
#3 — could you please provide a link?
Sorry, it’s OK to lump all Muslims together unless this particular group manages to show an “impressive degree of separation”? Not following. Unless there is an issue where this particular group, or the goals of the community center, have to do with the particular strain of faith or sect that was behind 9/11, this is “wharrrgarbl OMG MUSLIMZ”.
If a Tea Party group wanted to erect a monument to the Boston Tea Party in Oklahoma City, you know perfectly well that anybody who objected would be accused of being dishonest lefties exploiting a tragedy to oppress speech they didn’t like blah blah blah.
The explicitly stated context of the attack â�� repeated and echoed all these years by much of the Arab world â�� was to (re)assert Islamic dominance/superiority over the West.
I don’t think so. Bin Laden’s first response apparently denied responsibility; his second response included the usual ‘this bad thing is OK because you were bad in the past’ combined with ‘look what I made! I big boy now!’
More generally, Al Qaeda seeks to exert or ‘restore’ dominance of the Muslim world on behalf of a particular sect of Islam. Dominance of the US, if it matters at all to them, takes place in an imaginary realm where they’ve achieved their primary goal (and chiefly serves to point out the differences between that realm and the non-Wahhabi-ruled Muslim world that allowed us to put soldiers in their holy land). This next bit seems like the fundamental premise one needs to grasp in order to have a relevant opinion about any political issue, item of world news or theological-dispute-on-the-Internet:
They weren’t thinking about you. They don’t even know you.
People in the Muslim world think about the Muslim world (or their own homes) first and foremost. Those who think about the US will tend to do so through the prism of what they think the US has done to the world they think about most — the local one they live in — just as we tend to think of the Muslim world as the place that supplies us with oil, terrorists or what have you.
#1: The wonder of the Information Age is that if one actually cares to obtain information, one can. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Robert_Rudolph
#2: By “apparently”, do you mean that the center’s organizers have admitted that they are trying to be provocative, that the name is so obviously provocative that no denial is plausible, or merely that people looking for “provocation” can invent one?
#3: This is the only potentially relevant and non-silly point, if true, and if “equivocal” means something other than “although most of the people involved in this flatly condemned 9/11, this one guy said something we didn’t think was vehement enough”.
I’m not even sure what the heck you mean by ‘the civic religion’.
Would anyone suggest building a church on the site of Rudolph’s bomb attack?
There are plenty of mosques in New York.
This mosque, on this site – resonates.
We could turn this around: if the context is so inconsequential, why can’t the mosque be built a few blocks away? Is there even a Muslim community in this district of office towers?
Of course, Al Qaeda did want to look strong next to the United States. But even in this respect, they didn’t want to establish Muslim or Islamic superiority. What would be the point of that? The quote says they wanted to establish the power of their own little group in the eyes of other Muslims.
But they spent months planning an attack halfway around the world from their soil, on our soil, against us.
Planning that involved “getting to know” us and our culture quite intimately.
Sorry – this is exactly the kind of empty, pious sloganeering that makes mainstream liberals crazy.
It’s also patronizing and back-handedly racist- as if the people who planned and executed these attacks (including learning to fly planes) couldn’t possibly have a global worldview, or modern educations, or deep national/cultural/religious motivations beyond the ken – or approval – of PC apologists.
This is where multiculti winds up infantilizing those it claims to champion.
People are saying: “It hurts me that an Islamic group with radical, rejectionist history is building a provocatively named mosque so close to the site of a terror attack that had the same explicit agenda of Islamic supremacism.”
There are 9 churches within 1 mile of the Centennial Olympic Park, and 5 YMCAs, which are a more accurate comparison. There is a baptist tabernacle church within 500 hundred feet of the Centennial Olympic Park. Do you honestly think that a single person would have objected to even the most conservative congregation of Christians starting another church in the neighborhood?
In any case, this cultural center (not a mosque) is supposed to resonate. It is consciously intended to be a voice for reconciliation and peace between Islam and the West, an explicit rejection of the violent extremism of Al Qaeda.
Yes, and the people saying that don’t know shit about the Cordoba Initiative or its goals. They are just making up lies to stir up anti-muslim prejudice.
On the name “Cordoba House:” The time during which the Muslims ruled Spain (roughly 700-1492) was one of the most–not perfectly, but one of the most–multi-cultural, religiously tolerant, highly cultured periods the Europe has ever known. Science, literature, philosophy, architecture, theology–all of it flourished, and Jews and Christians participated in that flourishing. Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in relative peace and harmony, and for many Muslims, certainly for those who have chosen the name Cordoba House for the community center we are discussing, this time period represents the kinds of tolerant, just society that they believe Islam stands for.
Now, it is also true that Jews and Christians lived under religiously imposed restrictions during this time; it is also true that Muslim tolerance was not perfect–there were, for example, anti-Jewish pogroms in Cordoba; and I know there are other examples (and, of course, there is the basic fact that the Muslims conquered Spain in the first place)–and if the people looking to build Cordoba House were looking to reinstate the caliphate, that would be a serious, serious problem. But symbols evolve, as people do, over time. When the Constitution of the United States was written, many of the people who signed that document owned slaves, nor was the document understood to apply to women, or a whole host of other people now included in the document’s meaning. Yet, in current discussions of the constitution that fact is often “forgotten.” Muslims are at least as entitled as we are to reinterpret their history, their symbols, in light of present day reality, and if they, by whom I mean the people wanting to build Cordoba House, look to Cordoba during Muslim rule as an example of the kind of tolerance, etc. that is possible between Islam and the West, I think it is unfair to insist that our understanding of their symbol–i.e., as per Robert’s implication, that the name Cordoba is supposed to suggest a reinstatement of the caliphate–is more accurate and therefore the one that they should accept for themselves.
Link, please. Thanks.
So would I. Does the Cordoba Initiative glorify OBL or the hijackers? “Equivocal statements” doesn’t cut it.
Pingback: Morning Constitutional – Tuesday, 3 August 2010 - Verities and Vagaries
Exactly right. And moreover, the fact that those religious liberties aren’t granted by, say, Egypt, is not a reason to abridge religious liberty in America. Newt Gingrich’s argument that America should restrict the building from mosques because Saudi Arabia restricts the building of churches is effectively an argument that America should adopt a Saudi approach to religion — and that would be horrific.
You’ll be waiting a long, long time, given that there’s as much proof that the Cordoba Initiative is a hotbed of Shari’a Law as there is that I am in fact the King of France.
‘Cordoba’ was a name given to the city/region by the Romans, so clearly the Cordoba House project is an attempt to glorify Italian imperialism and reinstate the Roman empire.
No, seriously, what the fuck? They name it after a city in Spain and that’s some kind of oooh-errr stuff?
I don’t know, how about the total lack of evidence of any restrictions, or pressure to create restrictions, on Christian institutions in OKC or Atlanta?
Robert, you are once again responding to a real situation as if it’s an abstract one. Christian terrorism is not a hypothetical, so why are you treating it as such instead of referencing real recent history? We all know how terrorist attacks carried out by Christian fundamentalists reflect on non-terrorist American Christians; that is, not at all. This is not a matter of hypothetical argument; it’s a repeated fact of modern American history. If your opinion of American Christian institutions/buildings is not inherently affected by the acts of American Christian terrorists, and yet you refuse to extend the same unquestioning generosity to American Muslims, then you are holding Christians and Muslims to wildly different standards and that is not remotely okay, not remotely moral, and attempts to enforce those standards via city planning permits would be not remotely Constitutional.
The association *meant* by the name of the Cordoba Initiative (I used to work for them, by the way… and I’m Jewish) is that under the caliphate there was a rather markedly high degree of inter-religious cooperation between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Which is a far cry from ‘Fools! We shall rule you all! Bwahahahahaha!’
No, no, Córdoba was where all sorts of homoerotic poetry got written, so clearly the project is part of The Gay Agenda!
And here I thought that Cordoba was all about soft Corinthian leather.
That’s rich Corinthian leather to you.
Sorry, this was meant to be a reply to Jake Squid @14.
Nope. It’s soft Corinthian leather.
I thought the same thing, so I went and checked on it.
Link – the quotes I’ve heard came from a 60 Minutes interview. I can’t find a neutral transcript (OK, I didn’t look very hard) but there’s a written report of the interview (among other things) here: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/70234 That’s an editorial, but I’m assuming that he’s accurately reporting quotes.
Persuasiveness – “York” wouldn’t be a comparable analogy. You may be largely ignoring it, but there’s a well-established, somewhat irredentist Islamic supremacist movement in the world, Amp. “Cordoba” means something to them, even if it doesn’t mean much to you, in much the same way that “Ruby Ridge” means something to some people and nothing at all to others. York has no particular resonance to anyone AFAIK.
@1 – OK, so he’s a “Christian dominionist” or somesuch, and calls himself a Catholic on abortion. Well? If the Catholic Church wants to buy one of the bombing sites and turn it into a shrine, I’m probably going to say that’s inappropriate and insensitive.
@2 – It seems like a provocative choice to me. A white supremacist group might call itself American Heritage; that seems like an effort to be non-provocative. Or they might call themselves “Pure Whites Eliminating The Racial Stain”. That seems obviously provocative. In this case, they could have called it the “Park Avenue Islamic-American Friendship Center”, but they went with a reference to a time of Islamic dominion over a historically (and currently) non-Islamic state.
@3 – See the link I provided to Amp.
Re: “civic religion”. As you say in @1, isn’t the Internet great? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civic_religion
@1 – Cordoba House is buying the WTC site and turning it into a shrine?
@2 – “Pure Whites Eliminating The Racial Stain” = “Cordoba House”? That seems like a bit of a stretch.
It *is* a few blocks away, which has been pointed out repeatedly.
“this is exactly the kind of empty, pious sloganeering that makes mainstream liberals crazy”
This is your second such remark in this thread. Knock it off now.
“While there were people in the Nazi party simply because of proximity, they were still complicit.”
I don’t agree with this. My father’s high school math teacher, forced out into a war he was unlikely to survive as a thirteen year old with ragtag equipment, was victimized at the least.
I’ll be damned.
Ya know, if I were an Islamic irredentist and supremacist, I wouldn’t be calling anything “Cordoba” with an eye to indicating my claim of dominion over territories and religious groups. Seeing as how the irredentists of the 11th century (when the Caliphate of Córdoba broke up and Christian-ruled kingdoms started picking the pieces off one by one) were pretty sure that this change was the result of the rulers in Córdoba having been too lax in their observance and too supportive of religious minorities. And considering that the Almoravides (late 11th century) and Almohades (mid 12th century) who reunified the Muslim-majority parts of the Iberian Peninsula never made Córdoba a capital.
I mean, I suppose its possible that the Cordoba House Project is being run by really stupid irredentists who are unaware of their own history. But otherwise, they would surely call the place “Granada” something (which would be an appeal to lost-causers) or “Andalusia” something (which would be an appeal to a vague golden age of Muslim rule and the hegemony of Islamic culture) rather than choosing a name that is so specifically associated with inter-religious harmony.
Yes, I know what the phrase means. I wanted to know what you were using the phrase to mean. Usually I hear it in the context of defending a government endorsement of religion by somebody who doesn’t want it barred by the First Amendment.
The idea that “Cordoba” is a Sekrit Muzlim Message is laughable. As somebody has already pointed out, the name is supposed to refer to a time of interfaith cooperation, not to an ominous dominance by evil Muslim groups.
Robert, you keep posting stuff on this that even you admit is based on what you’ve sorta kinda heard but aren’t sure about. Why?
And the planning commission involved noted that simply having being hit by debris from the 9/11 attacks doesn’t, by itself, automatically make a building historically important.
Imagine that people “just wanted to build a mosque,” whatever that means. Those people should be allowed to build a mosque, just like they should be allowed to build anything else. If you challenged their non-political desires in the political arena it would be wrong.
Now imagine that the same people “wanted to make a political and social statement by the construction of a mosque, whatever that means.” You can oppose them in the political arena, even though their method of making a statement happens to be mosque-building, and even though that same act, in a different context, might not provide ethical grounds for a challenge.
Both sides here seem to be hiding the truth. Some significant segment of the opposition is probably motivated by a general anti-mosque sentiment, in addition to whatever anti-mosque-politics sentiments they may possess. It is equally likely that the mosque builders were deliberately making a political statement and/or seeking a political confrontation: now that they have the dispute they wanted, they can’t claim to be surprised by it or claim that all their opponents are anti-mosque.
Jeff, my secret ami:
I really find this assumption weird. How do you know this is likely? And even if you’re right (and I’m not aware of any evidence that you are), doesn’t it matter what political statement they were making?
I mean, “we will wipe out everyone in the US” is a very different political statement than “we can all live in peace and harmony in the US.” If you assume they’re making a political statement, what statement do you think they were making?
@Ben David: What the flimmity-flam are you talking about?
You said the 9/11 attacks had an explicit agenda of Islamic supremacy over the West. I said: no they didn’t. Al Qaeda killed those people for reasons that have to do with the Muslim world and Al Qaeda’s crazy goals for it. Show me I’m wrong.
Never mind Cordoba, show me an “explicit” quote from Osama bin Laden saying he planned the attacks with the goal of ruling the West or asserting superiority over us. That shouldn’t take long, if your argument has any validity whatsoever. You can start here.
Sorry, that should read “Muslim superiority”. Certainly he wanted to assert the superiority of his own little group over all sorts of people. This however seems wholly irrelevant to Cordoba House. Show me an agenda of general Muslim supremacy.
You said the 9/11 attacks had an explicit agenda of Islamic supremacy over the West. I said: no they didn’t. Al Qaeda killed those people for reasons that have to do with the Muslim world and Al Qaeda’s crazy goals for it.
What makes these two contradictory? Al Qaeda’s crazy goal is for their brand of godbothery to take over the Muslim world, and for the Muslim world, now properly led, to then dominate the earth. It seems uncontroversial to say that Islamic supremacy is part of their worldview and goalset.
Al Qaeda’s crazy goal is for their brand of godbothery to take over the Muslim world, and for the Muslim world, now properly led, to then dominate the earth. It seems uncontroversial to say that Islamic supremacy is part of their worldview and goalset
There are (so far) less effective Christian groups with the goal of making their brand of crazy the dominant form of Christianity then carrying out a holy war that will destroy all non-Christians. Does that make this the goal of the majority of Christians?
Who said they were? It was merely said that one of them was Al-Qaeda’s stated goal and the other had never been stated as one of their goals. Two things do not have to be contradictory in order for only one of them to be true here in the really real world that is not purely made of logical abstracts. So how about some evidence that Al-Qaeda want to propagate Muslim rule over the West? You know, evidence? That stuff that proves things are true in the really real world and not just in the abstract space inside your head?
The mosque builders are not idiots. They have high level supporters, a lot of money, and a good PR team.
They presumably knew that 9/11 had happened.
They presumably knew that there was a significant amount of politicalization of the entire 9/11 area.
They deliberately chose to build a mosque there.
They chose the composition of their group, the name of their mosque, and their publicly stated goal.
Unless you really they’re idiots–and I don’t–then how could you possibly come to the conclusion that they didn’t have some idea about what would happen, and that they aren’t attempting to make a political statement? The decision to build a mosque is just as calculated as have been almost all of the other proposals to do things at or near the 9/11 site, from memorials with political goals to “empty space,” also with political goals.
If they wanted a nonpolitical place to build a mosque in peace, they would have chosen to build one in the other 99.999% of Manhattan.
Any political statement is and should be subject to challenge, whether it is “Promote harmony through acceptance of God,” “Save the heathens through Christ,” “Teach everyone about Mohammed,” “Kill all the puppies,” “Save the Whales,” or “Eat More Beef.” Certainly, “Alter public perception of Islam,” and/or “try to lobby for certain conclusions regarding Islam and Islamic terrorism” are political goals, as are the equivalent goals regarding Judaism. Those goals are subject to challenge.
Religion doesn’t get a pass.
If they wanted a nonpolitical place to build a mosque in peace, they would have chosen to build one in the other 99.999% of Manhattan.
You clearly have absolutely no idea about the layout of Manhattan. It’s an island that is maybe 20 square miles in diameter. I haven’t calculated the numbers, but strongly suspect that the building in question is 0.001% of Manhattan. Certainly if you ban mosques from lower Manhattan you’re talking about more like 15% of the island than 0.001%.
The proposed mosque is in an area that isn’t even considered to be the same neighborhood as the WTC site. (Yep, it’s in Tribeca, the WTC is FiDi.) Two blocks is an enormous distance in Manhattan. The site that is being considered is EMPTY! It is next door to a grocery store and an overly fashionable clothing store. Next door is a perfectly non-WTC related apartment complex. They’ll also be a block from a stripper’s and 2 blocks from a church.
Then there’s Manhattan real estate. Ok, it wasn’t what it once was, but finding a site that is appropriate in size and zoning and within the bounds of what the group can afford is non-trivial. Adding further harassment simply because you feel uncomfortable with Islamic people is ridiculous. Don’t like the mosque? Stay away from it. You can get to the WTC site without ever having to go down the block it’s on so you won’t even have to avert your eyes.
If the mosque shouldn’t be built so close to the WTC, what about the church down the street? It’s a Catholic church, situated within 3 blocks of an elementary school. A few Catholics have committed horrible crimes against small children. Isn’t an insult and a danger to the children to have a church so close to them? In fact, it’s worse because while the vast majority of Islamic groups, including the one building the Cordoba project, condemn the WTC attacks, the Catholic church has protected and excused guilty priests making them a continued threat.
I might be mistaken, but I don’t think gin-and-whiskey is defending the “oh noes Islam!” side of the debate. I think ze is just pointing out that the organizers surely knew it would cause a stir. This may have been one of their goals to get people talking about it to promote inter-religious dialogue, which is precisely what’s occurring here.
A reliable source who had no prior notice of my intending to quote him pointed out that the money isn’t coming from terrorist organizations or their supporters. As of yesterday, in fact, the money hasn’t come from anyone. It seems a bit premature to condemn them for funding sources they haven’t yet tapped or said they plan to tap. It’s almost like you’re saying all Muslim groups are terrorist organizations.
Park Place. Though it is closer to Park Avenue than to Cordoba.
Good heavens, I actually agree with Robert about something controversial, sort of; I’m not prepared to defend the claim that this is al-Qaeda’s goal, but I agree we’re justified in acting as though it is.
That does not make the Cordoba Initiative connected to al-Qaeda in any way, of course.
Tell me more about this money.
And a block from a different church (I assume you’re referring to St. Paul’s, across the street from the WTC, but there’s also St. Peter’s, by the Post Office). Trinity might be the same distance from the WTC as the proposed Cordoba House, but you have to actually pass St Paul’s and St. Peter’s to get to the one from the other.
It doesn’t seem “controversial” to say that Bin Laden wants the power to define what counts as true Islam. (I don’t think it should arouse controversy to say that in his dream world, the people behind Cordoba House and others who speak of cooperation with Jewish people and infidels during [insert grievance here] would risk death by doing so. But baby steps.)
Al Qaeda does not support the generalized propagation of Islam within the US in any meaningful way if it turns out that they regard populations who practice the wrong kind of Islam as mortal enemies. This seems particularly true if they oppose the sort of Islam that has the most chance of spreading here.
From the Cordoba Initiative website: “Cordoba Initiative (CI) aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.”
OMG!!!!11! It’s totes Islamofascism!!11! ELEVENTY.
Or, you know, they could be just the sort of people that would piss Osama Bin Laden off:
That last comment by Sheelzebub was very informative. It’s too bad so many people are missing the point.