Saturday, September 11, 2010

A mosque at Ground Zero

Satire meets reality.

In this "crap I make up" piece, I mocked the media and national leaders who have demonized Muslims at the expense of American values while conveniently ignoring the dozens of followers of Islam who were also murdered by the Islamist terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. In the same vein in the New York Times today, this article reminds us of the Muslim presence at the World Trade Center back in 2001.
Fekkak Mamdouh, an immigrant from Morocco who was head waiter, attended a worship service just weeks after the attacks that honored the estimated 60 Muslims who died. Far from being viewed as objectionable, the service was conducted with formal support from city, state and federal authorities, who arranged for buses to transport imams and mourners to Warren Street.

There, within sight of the ruins, they chanted salat al-Ghaib, the funeral prayer when there is not an intact corpse.

“It is a shame, shame, shame,” Mr. Mamdouh, 49, said of the Park51 dispute. “Sometimes I wake up and think, this is not what I came to America for. I came here to build this country together. People are using this issue for their own agenda. It’s designed to keep the hate going.”
According to the same article, the closest thing to an actual mosque at Ground Zero was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks by the Islamist terrorists who took down the towers. It was a prayer room on the 17th floor of the South Tower:
On any given day, Mr. Abdus-Salaam’s companions in the prayer room might include financial analysts, carpenters, receptionists, secretaries and ironworkers. There were American natives, immigrants who had earned citizenship, visitors conducting international business — the whole Muslim spectrum of nationality and race.
It is gone now, of course.

In an age of demonization of Muslims and their faith (helped along, deliberately and by design, by those Islamist terrorists themselves), it's as if history has been rewritten so that such things as Muslims who peacefully worshipped in the WTC dying on 9/11 can be conveniently forgotten.

The result is that most Americans oppose "a mosque at ground zero" even though it's not quite a mosque and it isn't quite at Ground Zero. Would-be presidential leaders seem to want to trample the First Amendment in the rush to save our Judeo-Christian republic.

On a completely related note, I wonder how many Americans support the burning of the Koran today. Actually, I do. Well, sort of. Not exactly. But yes.

You see, I loathe the hate-mongering of the so-called pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida who planned to have a Koran-burning. As a Christian, I wonder (as do others) if he actually understands the New Testament. Jesus would kick his ass out of the temple. (And Gainesville would like to boot him out of town.) I'm glad some Christians are publicly taking a different tack.

But at the same time, I stand up for his right to do it (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't count Koran-burning as "fighting words" or some such).

After all, this is America. We have a First Amendment that is extended to hated Muslims and hate-filled duckweed supposed Christians.

So go ahead, "Minister" Terry Jones. It is your right as an American to do something so incendiary (literally and figuratively), so foolish and ignorant, and so hate-filled.

I am dismayed, however, that so many people seem to see the Florida minister and Imam Rauf (the man behind the Cordoba House that has been called "Ground Zero Mosque") as equivalents. The minister's acts are the essence of bigotry and religious animosity, while it is (many in) the Imam's opposition that is acting out of bigotry and religious animosity.

Sigh. At least President Obama got it right today:
I think I've been pretty clear on my position here, and that is, is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal; that they have certain inalienable rights. One of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. And what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.

Now, I recognize the extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11. I've met with families of 9/11 victims in the past. I can only imagine the continuing pain and anguish and sense of loss that they may go through. And tomorrow we as Americans are going to be joining them in prayer and remembrance. But I go back to what I said earlier: We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts.

And we've got to be clear about that. We've got to be clear about that because if ... we're going to successfully reduce the terrorist threat, then we need all the allies we can get.
Why does that have to be spelled out? Were Barry and I the only ones paying attention in 12th grade Civics class?

Do those who see all Muslims as enemies not realize that they are playing into the hands of Islamists like Osama bin Laden who want us to toss aside our freedoms and values and blindly join in their endeavor to create a clash of civilizations?

Whither my country?


  1. I am dismayed, however, that so many people seem to see the Florida minister and Imam Rauf (the man behind the Cordoba House that has been called "Ground Zero Mosque") as equivalents. The minister's acts are the essence of bigotry and religious animosity, while it is the Imam's opposition that is acting out of bigotry and religious animosity.

    I'll let that characterization of the opposition to the GZ Mosque slide for now and simply point out that there are quite a few false equivalents being made:

    And as I said on my blog, the Good Reverend --- loathsome as he may be --- has already made his point. He did this to prove that Muslims are violent, and the response from Obama, Gates, Petreas and just about anyone else who matters simply shows proves what we already knew: that for Muslims, it's all murderous outrage, all the time:

  2. Perhaps I was unfair to suggest that all people opposed to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque are doing so out of bigotry and religious animosity.

    But when even the most reasoned arguments, such as what you wrote in an earlier post at TMH, are that they shouldn't build it there because "Islam is not particularly popular in the West" and "emotions are still raw" and that means the location is a poor way to build bridges. These basically boil down to associating all Muslims with the acts of a very minuscule percentage.

    It is demonization of the highest order, not unlike the way other groups, from the Indians to the Blacks to the Irish to the Japanese and now to the Muslims have been demonized at various times in American history.

    And I did read that Michelle Malkin article a few days ago. She does much the same thing: taking the fringe, the angriest, the most vocal, and painting them as representative of all.

    Deliberately burning a holy text is fighting words, and it's not a surprise that (a) angry protests would erupt because of it, and (b) many people in places where we are trying to make nice with the locals (e.g., Afghanistan, Pakistan) might wonder why they're supposed to be supportive of a country where some of its citizens would do something so incendiary, which is more in tune with what the US military leadership was talking about.

    It's not really quite the same thing, but I suppose if I went to a small town in the Bible Belt wearing a kufi and started to make a bonfire out of the New American Standard (the Bible, I mean), there's a good chance that my demonstration would be met with violence. Yeah, it's a hypothetical, and I could be completely wrong, but I think I'm right on that one.

    But hey, why are we judging a billion people based on the dozens or hundreds who manage to get their face in front of a news camera? I am dorm neighbors with dozens of Muslims, no small number with whom I talk about this and other topical issues quite a lot, and murderous violence is nowhere near the reaction I got.

    Michelle Malkin has apparently never heard of Tahir ul-Qadri, the prominent Muslim cleric who issued the fatwa against terrorism. Or maybe she has, but has kept him out of her posts because he doesn't fit in to the big picture she's trying to paint.

  3. It is demonization of the highest order, not unlike the way other groups, from the Indians to the Blacks to the Irish to the Japanese and now to the Muslims have been demonized at various times in American history.
    As far as I know, blacks and Irish didn't have as their goal the establishment of theocratic law in the United States. As opposed to, say, "moderate Muslims" like Imam Rauf, who, to be blunt, makes Pastor Jones look like a paragon of tolerance:

    Deliberately burning a holy text is fighting words

    So is, say, depicting Christ fantasizing about getting laid, or taking a photo of a crucifix in a cup of piss. Yet, as far as I know, nobody every got killed from any of that, let alone the justice systems of any Western nations handing down criminal sentences. What's more, Muslims have a notoriously wide definition of what constitutes "fighting words," from burning Qurans to cartoons to unwisely named teddy bears. And no, that's not associating an entire religion with a tiny minority --- not when you have the IOC telling you straight out that the Western idea of human rights is incompatible with Sharia and trying to impose restrictions on free speech in the West:

    PS: Tell Mr. Peace and Understanding Iman Rauf to please, for the love of God, stop using the name "Cordoba Initiative" for his group. Frankly, it's representative of the complete failure of even well-meaning (in his own mind, anyway) Muslims like the Imam to reflect on their religion's past. Only in a civilization with no knowledge of its own history could he get away with something like that. God knows I'd probably get slapped upside the heard if I went around his native Kuwait building churches as part of the "Kingdom of Jerusalem Initiative," even though, dear Kushibo, I'm sure I could come up with specific times in Crusader history where the Kingdom of Jerusalem did resemble the multicultural fantasyland that Muslims paint Andalusia to have been.


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