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July 30, 2010

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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.

Gee, one would think finding an alternative location for the World Trade Center site would be quite controversial, but if that's what the ADL wants.

Frankly, I'm stunned. Of all the groups that should understand...

Sometimes I despair for our country.

(OT) What about the Pentagon charging Wikileaks with "Having blood on their hands"? Says the pot to the kettle...

(OT) What about the Pentagon charging Wikileaks with "Having blood on their hands"? Says the pot to the kettle...

Everyone the Pentagon kills bleeds petrol.

Everyone the Pentagon kills bleeds petrol.

Nah, then they'd really be worried about civilian casualties.

The ADL's "logic" seems to be: There's no good reason to stop the buildlng of the Muslim Center, but lots of people who don't realize that are making a fuss, and we don't want a fuss, do we? So even though there's no good reason to stop the Center -- Never mind, stop it anyway.

This is a bit like refusing to vote for a bill solely because it won't pass.

What's wrong with doing what's right?

What's wrong with doing what's right?

One would think that an organization with the ostensible mission of the ADL would put a premium on principle. I mean, that is their raison d'etre. In theory.

The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process.

Therefore, the people who are ginning up a phony controversy over this should shut their pie holes and let the healing process continue.

Krugman is shrill:

So let’s try some comparable cases, OK? It causes some people pain to see Jews operating small businesses in non-Jewish neighborhoods; it causes some people pain to see Jews writing for national publications (as I learn from my mailbox most weeks); it causes some people pain to see Jews on the Supreme Court. So would ADL agree that we should ban Jews from these activities, so as to spare these people pain? No? What’s the difference?

The message the ADL seems to be putting out is "This would be okay but there has been this horrible controversy and fuss over it that has hurt people's feelings."

The right thing to do when you think there has been too much controversy and fuss over something is to avoid contributing to it, not to pour fuel on the fire by publishing your own partisan statements. What business is it of the ADL who builds a mosque where in the United States? It's none of my damn business where anyone else builds a church or a synagogue, why would a mosque be any different?

I'm inclined to think that all the stuff about how precious freedom of worship is, and about "the healing process," is just so much window-dressing. They're just playing good cop to Newt Gingrich's bad (and profoundly dumb) cop.

But even if I were to take them at their word...

the healing process

Nine years. Nine f*cking years.

Speaking as someone who both lives and works in Manhattan, and was living and working in Manhattan on 9/11/01, I invite the ADL to insert their "healing process" into the most expedient bodily orifice and twist vigorously.

As a commenter at Hit & Run succinctly put it, this is "grief-porn" -- macabre, fetishistic wound-licking. The ugly narcissism of American exceptionalism at its worst.

I'd respect them more if they just went full Gingrich/Palin and let fly with the Islamophobia, rather than feeding us this horsesh*t.

What was noted in a blog or an op-ed that I read a few days ago, was that the mosque isn't even at the WTC memorial site. It's a couple of blocks away on a city street that's got dry-cleaners and OTB parlors and fast-food outlets. I don't stand a chance of finding the article now, but I don't see any reason to disbelieve it: basically what this argument is about is a nothing.

You know, if someone were saying "People are planning to build an OTB parlor at Ground Zero!" that would be a big deal. But saying "Hey, there's an OTB parlor two blocks away, it shouldn't be allowed!" that looks ridiculous.

It's a stupid argument. It's stupid because it's unConstitutional, and it's stupid because - exactly how far away from the WTC Memorial site are they claiming this 1stAmendment-free zone extends? Two blocks is too close? Three? Five? New York City?

Not Hit & Run -- I meant Unqualified Offerings.

As a commenter at Hit & Run succinctly put it, this is "grief-porn" -- macabre, fetishistic wound-licking.

Wasn't that a movie by David Cronenberg?

It's a couple of blocks away on a city street that's got dry-cleaners and OTB parlors and fast-food outlets.

Heh. Now I think I know where it is. Funny.

"We have strongly-held principles of non-bias and tolerance, which we've strongly decided not to observe in this case"

"We categorically reject appeals to bigotry by rolling over and asking them to tickle our tummy."

“Well let’s go with Lenin then.”

Wait, when did we start putting statues in Arlington of the leaders of countries we've invaded?

There are U.S. Muslims soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The image of Mussolini would be perfectly suitable statuary for marking the site of the
National Mausoleum For Dead Republican Demagogues, in case Gingrich, Beck, and the rest of the despicable crew are looking for a site.

I break ground tomorrow on the structure. My dog would mark it, too, if I had one.

The ghosts (if you believe in ghosts) of Muslim financial analysts from Cantor Fitzgerald, Muslim airline passengers, Muslim
waiters from the WTC top-floor restaurant, and I believe of a Muslim fetus traveling with his/her mother on one of the flights haunt the site, looking for a Muslim community center in which to rest.

All hail Marx and Lennon!

[hi there, everybody]

It's a couple of blocks away on a city street that's got dry-cleaners and OTB parlors and fast-food outlets.

The proposed site is two blocks away, in a former Burlington Coat Factory building.

I don't really know that neighborhood that well but it's likely that you can't even see the mosque site from ground zero.

For whatever that is worth.

They should have not announced anything and just built it. Nobody would probably even have noticed.

this is "grief-porn"

This, and thank you.

The most meaningful and useful response I know of to the 9/11 attacks was by a woman in my town, whose physician husband was a passenger on one of the planes that flew into the WTC.

She donated his medical library to a hospital in Kabul. She worked out the logistics through Mortenson, the "Three Cups Of Tea" guy.

I wish they wouldn't build anything at the WTC site. I wish they would plant some grass, put in some nice benches, and a memorial with the names of the people who died there.

And let it freaking be.

The dead are dead. I wish folks would just let them rest in peace and stop pimping their memory for the outrage of the week.

The proposed site is two blocks away, in a former Burlington Coat Factory building.

I don't really know that neighborhood that well but it's likely that you can't even see the mosque site from ground zero.

If it's where I think it is, then it's on Church, south of Rector (with the famous Trinity Church standing on the northeast corner of Rector and Church - Trinity Church is where Alex Hamilton and Robert Fulton are buried).

No direct view, but if the buildings are tall enough, perhaps you could crane your neck, but only if you walk out the front door or look out a window, as the WTC is a few blocks up on Church.

This is shameful for the ADL. Absolutely shameful.

Amen.

an ideology opposed to America comparable to the ideology that powered the Soviet Union

I know this is absolutely off-topic, but I'm always surprised when someone intelligent like Matt Y throws out something like this about the USSR.

The USSR was not "powered by hatred of the US". It was powered by Communism, which in the Cold War period was devoted to three goals: the defense of Russia, improvement in living standards, and technical advancement to support the first two goals.

Russia was understandably paranoid about defense since it had just fought a punishing war in which it lost 24 million people, 14% of the population. The US lost less than half a million, 0.3% of its population.

So, when it comes to occupying Germany and everything in between it and Russia, I can't say I approve, but we've been occupying Afghanistan for 9 years over the loss of 0.001% of the US population in 2001, so I'm not sure we're in a position to criticize.

Russia was especially paranoid about the US, since the US had just demonstrated that it was able to fight a war with two major industrial powers at the same time without breaking a sweat. Oh yeah, and the US had just dropped two nuclear bombs on cities full of civilians. Oh, and the US was forming an alliance with all the other countries in Western Europe - including Germany, the country that had just invaded Russia. Oh, and the US and most of those other countries had invaded Russia in 1918 to fight the Bolsheviks. Can't think why they'd be concerned about the prospect of another war.

Communism failed miserably, the Soviet Union was brutal and oppressive, I'm glad it's gone. But it's too bad that even fairly smart & well-informed observers like Matthew still buy the idea that the USSR was really hell-bent on the total destruction of the United States.

The ADL's mission statement says it is dedicated to opposing "anti-Semitism." But that's no problem, because Muslims, especially Arab Muslims, aren't Semites...uh, wait a minute....

Hmmm, perhaps they need to revise that part of their mission statement.

(I might be overstating his opinion a bit based on one sentence. But it's Friday and I feel like arguing with someone who's not here over opinions they may not have that are not at all relevant to the topic at hand, thus saving everyone a lot of time over the back-and-forth.)

But it's too bad that even fairly smart & well-informed observers like Matthew still buy the idea that the USSR was really hell-bent on the total destruction of the United States.

Khrushchev's infamous "We will bury you" was, of course, misunderstood: it wasn't "We will destroy you," but rather, "You will destroy yourselves, and we'll be there at your funeral." Big difference.

If it's where I think it is, then it's on Church, south of Rector

It's on Park Place, between Church and West Broadway. There's a map, and a little description of Cordoba House here. So, yeah, it's not at the WTC site at all.

Another thing I find incredibly irritating about this whole "controversy" is the "mosque" framing. More about the Cordoba house here at the Cordoba Initiative blog:

A community center, much like the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) or the Jewish Community Center, is where people from any faith are allowed to use the facilities. Beyond having a gym, the Cordoba House will house a pool, restaurant, 500-person auditorium, 9/11 memorial, multi-faith chapel, office and conference space, and prayer space. After speaking extensively with the residents of lower Manhattan, we found that these were some of the most vital needs for the community.

Beyond having a community center in its traditional form, the auditorium and conference space creates a platform for lectures and meetings that magnify voices for peace and collaboration. Also, it will house prayer space needed for Friday prayers that nearby mosques are unable to host.

So, along with the Islamic prayer space, and a bunch of other cultural resources, there will be a "multi-faith chapel", and the facilities will be open to people of all faiths.

I understand the Palins and Gingriches calling it a "mosque" to generate the maximum phony outrage, but I can't help but wonder: (i) if they'd drop their opposition if the prayer space was removed, and (ii) if the demagoguery wouldn't be much less effective if people were informed what the actual plans for the space are.

"I've read this about five times now, and I still don't see how they get from the premises in paragraphs 1 and 2 to the conclusions in paragraph 4."

The ADL's statement reminds me of a kind of Talmudic hair-splitting, only more tortured.

There's is no reason, absolutely none, except for cry-baby kvetching, that the mosque-community center has to be built there.

It certainly doesn't restrict the freedom of Muslims to worship their god if they're praying six or ten blocks further north or east of the ground zero location. A substantial number of New Yorkers, and Americans all over the country, don't want them to erect the mosque-community center there. If you want to initiate a healing process, you don't do it by rubbing people the wrong way.

And Eric, by what elevated sense of self-righteous pomposity do you color everyone who disagrees with you on this as bigoted and divisive and ignorant? If you're carrying a smartphone to the Mets game and access this comment, why don't you get up on your chair at the 7th Inning Stretch and yell out that anyone who isn't in favor of the mosque location is an ignorant bigot, and let's see what kind of warm welcome you get from the New Yorkers there at Shea, the majority of whom DON'T want it in such close proximity to ground zero.

Your attitude is what's shameful. As you well know, the majority of New Yorkers who want the mosque somewhere else are NOT anti-Muslim, overall they have a favorable view of it, nevertheless you keep making the same kind of pejorative blanket statements, painting them as bigoted and stupid -- one of those pot-and-kettle responses this site has become infamous for...

And by the way, for the community center part of the proposed Cordoba House building, what are the membership requirements?

Are they consistent with other religious sponsored NYC community centers, like the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, which according to it's website welcomes "all people, regardless of religious affiliation and practice," and the Vanderbilt YMCA, which according to its website is an "open and inclusive organization and welcomes all without discrimination to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, citizenship, creed, religion, age, abilities, sexual orientation or income."

Is the Cordoba House going to be open to all people, regardless of their religious affiliation and practice, including atheists and polytheists? Are gay kids going to be able to swim in the pool and use the gym too, non-Muslim and Muslim alike? The Murfreesboro Mosque you posted about the other day doesn't appear to encourage openness at its community center - their website doesn't mention an open welcome to other creeds or sexual orientations.

Is the present Cordoba facility in NYC open to others to the same degree as the JCCs and the YMCAs? Or are they just as insensitive to those issues as they are the feelings of the majorities of New Yorkers who think they should reconsider the placement of it...

It certainly doesn't restrict the freedom of Muslims to worship their god if they're praying six or ten blocks further north or east of the ground zero location.

Ah. So the No-First-Amendment Zone around Ground Zero extends five blocks out. Or possibly nine.

Doesn't that mean St. Paul’s Chapel has to go, too? If it's not allowed to worship their God within nine blocks of the WTC, well, it's the same God that gets worshipped in St. Paul's Chapel...

Communism, which in the Cold War period was devoted to three goals: the defense of Russia, improvement in living standards, and technical advancement to support the first two goals.

And crushing all opposition together with any freedoms which might allow such opposition to exist.

MS: And crushing all opposition together with any freedoms which might allow such opposition to exist.

Well, yeah. I believe that was generally filed under "defense", though. Enemies domestic & foreign, and all that.

We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry. But since our opposition is based on plain common sense without even a smidgen of bigotry, we're fine with it, and you should be too.

I wish they wouldn't build anything at the WTC site. I wish they would plant some grass, put in some nice benches, and a memorial with the names of the people who died there.

And let it freaking be.

Here's what I wish they had done at the site: rebuilt the WTC exactly as it was before, and nothing else.

To the extent possible the exact same design, the exact same floor plan. The same building materials. Precisely the same structural flaws. If the old buildings had asbestos, put it in the new ones in the exact same places. And instead of a memorial, maybe a bronze plaque labelled "Dedicated to Al-Qaeda" could have been placed at the bottom of one of the urinals.

And other than that, nothing.

No global war on terror. No "Patriot" Act. No Guantanamo Bay, no Abu Ghraib, no torture. Not even a single other statement from the government about the attack. No increase (or decrease) in intelligence or defence spending. No full body scans. No no-fly list. And certainly no no-mosque zones.

We should have just rebuilt, with the patience of a parent changing a diaper, what the a**holes destroyed. And then moved on to more important things.

But Duff... according to Helene Hanff (Apple of My Eye) New Yorkers mostly didn't even like the Twin Towers? They were just tall, but dull: "the box the Chrysler building came in", I think she quoted someone else as saying.

Other than that, particularly the idea for the urinals, I think your plan is sound.

There's is no reason, absolutely none, except for cry-baby kvetching, that the mosque-community center has to be built there.

Right, I'm sure they can just find another appropriate site a few blocks away with no problems, acquire it at little to no cost, and re-submit plans without incurring any delays. Simple as that.

But of course the best reason is one of principle: to not give in when you're in the right.

It certainly doesn't restrict the freedom of Muslims to worship their god if they're praying six or ten blocks further north or east of the ground zero location.

Do you really think the Gingriches of the world will stop calling it the "Ground Zero Mosque" if it's six blocks away from the WTC site?

By the definition of "mosque" that's being used - a building where Muslims hold prayer services from time to time - there's already a mosque there, and has been for over a year. Funny how the outrage didn't surface until the announcement that it would be fashioned into a center for the whole community to enjoy.

And Eric, by what elevated sense of self-righteous pomposity do you color everyone who disagrees with you on this as bigoted and divisive and ignorant?

By what lack of reading comprehension did you infer the above? Here's Eric's actual statement: "why should we choose to give priority to those responses informed by divisiveness, bigotry and ignorance". I don't know how you jump from "informed by" to "everyone". ADL acknowledges as much as Eric claims, and doesn't have the fortitude to defend the multi-faith chapel-community center. I can't speak for him, but I suspect that's what he's really objecting to, not to any opposition to the Cordoba House whatsoever.

Is the Cordoba House going to be open to all people, regardless of their religious affiliation and practice, including atheists and polytheists?

As I noted above, "people from any faith" will be welcome, so polytheists would certainly be included. But you're on to something; the wording was probably a sneaky way of saying "No Atheists Allowed", rather than a reflection of a spirit of inclusion.

Are gay kids going to be able to swim in the pool and use the gym too, non-Muslim and Muslim alike?

I don't know. Why don't you find out? Or should we just presume that Muslims are bigoted until proven otherwise?

The Murfreesboro Mosque you posted about the other day doesn't appear to encourage openness at its community center - their website doesn't mention an open welcome to other creeds or sexual orientations.

Hey, there may (or may not) be a Muslim community center somewhere in the US that isn't a perfect model of pluralism and tolerance. That totally discredits the Cordoba House!!!!!!!1

Well, if Gingrich&Co would have to drop the 'mosque' part, then it would be a 'terrorist recruiting station', a 'disguised madrassa' (like the one the not-America-born pretender in the WH attended in Moooslim Indonesia) or something like that. If nothing else works it will be "They do not preach hate there? That is just what they want you to believe!".

Well, a real good clue that you're a bigot is that you think Muslims worship a different god than Christians and Jews. It takes a constant flow of lies to keep believing that 9 years after we started paying attention to Islam.

Duff: I'm conflicted, it's a nice idea but I really never liked those buildings at all. They weren't just boring-- I found them kind of scary, something about the sheer size combined with being so featureless and having two things exactly the same-- it made me not want to walk near them. That's just me, but I did know a lot of people who just didn't care for them in general, although that was probably also just because the area was kind of badly planned.

If it has a prayer space, it's a mosque; if it doesn't have a prayer space, it's a secret mosque. (See also "if they run, they're Viet Cong; if they stand still, they're well disciplined Viet Cong.")

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