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It’s not often I cede the floor to a white guy, but Keith makes some good points. Bottom line, this community center everyone is trying to get you up in arms about is: A) Not a mosque, and B) Not at Ground Zero.

Oh, and one other thing: Ground Zero is not holy ground. It’s true that many people’s remains may still be there, but that does not make it holy ground nor does it make the general area off limits to houses of worship that you disagree with. Not in America, at any rate.

20 comments to There Is No Ground Zero Mosque

  • Rys

    Rarely do I see eye to eye with Mr. Olberman, but in this commentary, he is absolutely right on. Bravo.

  • John Macadam

    I think its a mistake to try to build any Islamic buildings there, nevermind a showpiece multistory monument to inter faith harmony.

    Whilst the building was formerly a clothing factory, the fact is, it was damaged as a result of the largest terIrorist act in modern history.

    It was always going to upset people. A big PR blunder

  • Rys

    Man, screw PR. We’re talking about fundamental constitutional rights. PR? How about the PR of oppressing the members of an entire religion, AMERICAN CITIZENS, in violation of their rights to assembly and worship? DO NOT claim to speak for all people (“It was always going to upset people”). Speak only for yourself. You have no legal or moral ground upon which to base your opinion. Just prejudice.

  • John Macadam

    I’m not an American and I’m also not a constitutional lawyer, but as far I can tell, people are expressing their unhappiness with the decision, not preventing it from taking place.

    Speaking as a British muslim, the first thing I thought was “big mistake”, putting a Islamic building of reconciliation on the site of a building which was damaged as a resulf of the bombings was a massive PR blunder.

    There is definitely a place for such a building in New York, however making such a statement in a building damaged by extremists who have killed in the name of Islam is just unwise.

  • Rys

    First, is it a few people, a vocal minority, who are protesting the Muslim center. The guarantee of free speech gives them the right to protest. It does not make them correct.

    Second, the center is not “on the site” of the former World Trade Center. It is 3-5 blocks away, and in no way visible from the site. Did you watch the Olberman video? The proposed center is in a rundown area which desparately needs a cultural and economic uplift.

    Third, Constitutional rights take precedence over appearances, without exception. To deny this center to the Manhattan Muslim community simply because a few conservatives start to wave the flag and proclaim their outrage, would be to give in to bullying tactics. This is not acceptable.

  • GallingGalla

    This impressed me:

    …virtually every church, virtually every synagogue, indeed every mosque built on this continent stands where a Native American lived or died or was buried or saw his world, including his religions, wiped out by us – what are we then, Mr Gingrich?

    Every one of us ought to read or listen to these words every day. And the right-wingers who seek to eliminate Muslims and Latin@s from the US ought to write them in longhand every hour.

    Also, what Olbermann said about how right-wingers had villified JFK for being Catholic, in the same kind of hateful language, barely 50 years ago.

  • John

    You know I didn’t really care about Keith Olbermann until now. Now I think I’ll watch more of his stuff. And they guys makes some really good points.

  • John Macadam

    But it is in the Burlington coat factory, which was damaged as a result of the 9-11 bombings?

  • Don’t any women here find the thought of Sharia law quite frightening? You fight so hard for your freedom and for the respect of men, and yet if Islam gets into this country any further you’re a fatwa away from being locked into your home, unable to drive, unable to leave the house except with a burkha covering your features.

    Case in point a judge last year. Muslim woman trying to get a restraining order against her ex-husband, who raped and beat her. The judge, a US judge, said, sorry, no, he’s a Muslim. In his religion he can do that to you, and its not a crime, so just deal with it, sistah.

    Fortunately (at least, I think so) that judge’s ruling was overturned a few months ago, but it’s just a portent of things to come.

    • First, cite your source on that story. Because it sounds like bullshit to me.

      Second, everything in your first paragraph is just silliness for a couple of reasons. The first one being that Islam hasn’t cornered the market on enabling patriarchal practices such as you describe. Christianity and Judaism have plenty of that in their not too distant past as well. The specific clothing or the details of the practices may differ, but it’s all the same bullshit. And of that kind of thing was going to happen in America, it would have already happened. Hell, in some cases it already did. Could women vote in this country from its founding? No. Was wearing pants once considered the sluttiest thing ever ever? Yes. And that’s just recent American history.

      Not all people of the Islamic faith feel and think the same way. They just don’t.

      But even more importantly, what in the name of all that is holy does any of what you said have to do with a community center?

      • moonglaive

        I think Caroline Miniscule may be referring to this.

        That being said, the appellate court gave her the restraining order after saying the judge was wrong.

    • Brittany Fuller

      Ugh, I hate these arguments – I hear them all the time related to France outlawing the wearing of burqa.

      First of all, the example you gave (which I agree, sounds like BS) breaks laws we have. The building of a community center does no such thing.

      Second: This kind of argument is self defeating. So you think the cultural norms and rules of Islam are inferior to Christianity’s, or the US’s, or whatever. As was pointed out already, that doesn’t seem to be the case. But fine, with that as a given, then wouldn’t you prefer they start adopting those supposedly superior “western” values? That they become “Americanized”? When in history has attacking a group of people – their dress, their buildings, their anything – made them feel like adapting to the country they’re in? All this does is make people more angry, more defensive, and more likely to hold onto these characteristics. If you don’t want these values to gain strength making them feel persecuted is not the solution.

      I guess it’s dumb of me to be willing for an argument’s sake to accede points such as westernization being a necessarily positive force, because I don’t believe that at all. But these kind of internally irrational points really irritate me.

  • what’s your point john? you are equalizing the doings of 9/11 to those of islam and that is a horrible shame. the two are not relate in the way that you keep insisting. as a muslim you truly should know better than to try to perpetuate a self-hating agenda. ugh.

    • John Macadam

      I am not equating them at all. And to accuse me of self hatred is disguisting, contemptible and cowardly. Its my experience that when people of the same race or religion or culture accuse you of self hatred its because unpalatable truths have been raised and they don’t know how to deal with them.

      One terrorist incident, no matter how bad, can be written off. However the salafist nightmare seems to be everywhere both in muslim and non muslim countries. I live in a non muslim country, where the people don’t really know that much about Islam and they don’t really have to. Its my responsibility to adapt to the people, place and culture, I am in. It becomes harder if every time they seem the word muslim or Islam in the press it is followed by terrorist or bomb or murder.

      As muslims we should be sensitive to the fears of non muslims and not go out of our way to antagonise them.

      I’m sure when I’m in a dark alley being beaten up by thugs it will be very useful to call out” why are you equating islam with terrorism?”

  • nojojojo

    John Macadam,

    Your objections are straw men. All of New York was damaged by 9/11 in some way. The building is up for sale not just because it was damaged, but because that whole area suffered financially for months after the towers fell. The only businesses that came out of it in good shape were the financial services companies on Wall Street. So if the group bought a different building, it too would’ve been damaged by 9/11 in some way — its property values would have taken a hit, thus making it affordable by this group. Or if they hired a construction company to build it from scratch, they’d probably get good rates because the entire construction industry of the city has been in a tailspin since before 9/11, though 9/11 added insult to injury. They might even be able to get away with paying lower wages, since half the workers will probably be suffering from the lingering health problems caused by breathing the toxic dust at Ground Zero when they helped with the cleanup or just worked in the area. (That dust is still down there, note; no one’s sure if it’s still doing harm.)

    So basically, to build this facility to your satisfaction — not touching in any way on any site or group that’s been damaged by 9/11 — the people behind it would have to not build it in New York. Which I suspect is what you’re really trying to say.

    But wait! There’s already two actual mosques in that area alone, let alone the dozens that exist in New York already. Should we boot them out too, since they’re also trampling all over 9/11′s legacy by their existence on this “hallowed ground”? Maybe we should boot all mosques out of the country, since I don’t think anyone can deny that the entire US was psychologically damaged by 9/11. Oh, but wait, then we started the War on Terror and shared the pain with the whole damn world. So maybe we should just hunt down Islam everywhere and wipe it out.

    That’s not what you said, certainly. But that’s where the slippery slope you’re trying to tapdance on can lead.

  • john macadam

    nojojo,

    I think you missed the message where I explained I was a British muslim, so no I’m not keen on finding muslims everywhere and killing us all. I’m not also recommending that any mosques be closed. Your attempt to extrapolate from my concerns the desire to close all mosques and commit genocide againist all muslims is ludicrous.

    Its one thing for a business to be damaged by the financial effects of 9-11, quite another for it to be physically damaged. No matter how you shade it, this was a building seriously damaged by one of the two planes.

    There is a world wide war going on against extremists of Islam, which has been gong on officialy since 2001 and war going in within Islam since the 1970s, and within that 2nd war, the moderates have had 30 years of retreat and defeat. If you want the first war to end, the 2nd war has to be won by the moderates. Why is any of that relevant, because I what happens if there is a 2nd attack in the US or a third or a campaign, in my worst nightmares, I imagine something similar happening in the UK and the turning of the country against the muslim community.

    In countries which dislike and distrust you how do you turn things around? Well people could join the armed forces, that always helps, but donating money, giving to charity work, public acts of kindness are important, this Islamic community centre should have been an example of that. By screwing up the PR so badly they damaged the only real purpose it had – to show the people of New York and other americans that muslims were crazed psychopaths

  • Brittany Fuller

    Ugh, this whole situation makes me so angry. Everyone I know from NYC (myself included) doesn’t see the creation of such a building as that significant, and that includes people I know who lost friends and family that day. (Maybe that is because the average New Yorker knows a Muslim person or two, and doesn’t really associate them with 9/11, something I don’t believe is necessarily is true of the people complaining country-wide). That is not to say that there aren’t people here who disagree, many who also lost people, and while I strongly believe that they are accusing the wrong people, at the same time I cannot even begin to imagine what they are feeling. But Sarah Palin? Newt Gingrich? I can absolutely imagine what they’re feeling – “hmm, August is a slow news month. Let’s manipulate a tragedy for political means.” We need a good sex scandal to divert the masses, because it seems like the fervor is just getting stronger, and that’s really scaring me.

  • A&E

    Thanks for this

    I posted it on my blog. This is one guys that absolutely nails the topic from different angels. Love this.

  • Lesley

    I just saw on the news that some church in the States is planning on burning a Koran on Sept. 11th…. :-(

    • John

      I heard about that too. I can’t believe they would do something so horrible and dangerous- no wait I can believe it.

      I mean what the hell are they thinking? Let’s give extremists more reason to recruit people to hate America why don’t we?