As an atheist I think all organized religions are dangerous nonsense. But some things are more dangerous than others and one of those things is the bru ha ha over the Islamic Community center near ground zero in New York. Thanks to FOX – the black/brown people are coming to get you network – uninformed white people see all Muslims as evil. An unlikely source, Jefferey Goldberg, sets us straight:
This seems like such an obvious point, but it is apparently not obvious
to the many people who oppose the Cordoba Initiative’s planned mosque in
lower Manhattan, so let me state it as clearly as possible: The Cordoba
Initiative, which is headed by an imam named Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an
enemy of al Qaeda, no less than Rudolph Giuliani and the Anti-Defamation
League are enemies of al Qaeda. Bin Laden would sooner dispatch a
truck bomb to destroy the Cordoba Initiative’s proposed community center
than he would attack the ADL, for the simple reason that Osama’s most
dire enemies are Muslims. This is quantitatively true, of course
— al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates have murdered thousands of
Muslims — but it is ideologically true as well: al Qaeda’s goal is the
purification of Islam (that is to say, its extreme understanding of
Islam) and apostates pose more of a threat to Bin Laden’s understanding
of Islam than do infidels.
I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I’ve spoken
with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York
about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a
Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of
Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western,
non-Muslim country. Bin Laden wants a clash of civilizations; the
opponents of the mosque project are giving him what he wants.
That’s right, al Qaeda sees imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as a greater threat than all the Christians and Jews in the United States. But the greater threat of the opposition is that it is contrary to all that is American. So says none other than Michael Bloomberg.
Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost
in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government
attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship
on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen
in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.
And Bloomberg wasn’t finished and gave opponents a history lesson:
“We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That’s
life. And it’s part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we
also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your
neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of
openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11, 2001.
“On that day, 3,000 people were killed because some murderous
fanatics didn’t want us to enjoy the freedoms to profess our own faiths,
to speak our own minds, to follow our own dreams, and to live our own
lives. Of all our precious freedoms, the most important may be the
freedom to worship as we wish. And it is a freedom that even here — in a
city that is rooted in Dutch tolerance — was hard-won over many years.
“In the mid-1650s, the small Jewish community living in lower
Manhattan petitioned Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant for the right to
build a synagogue, and they were turned down. In 1657, when Stuyvesant
also prohibited Quakers from holding meetings, a group of non-Quakers in
Queens signed the Flushing Remonstrance, a petition in defense of the
right of Quakers and others to freely practice their religion. It was
perhaps the first formal political petition for religious freedom in the
American colonies, and the organizer was thrown in jail and then
banished from New Amsterdam.
“In the 1700s, even as religious freedom took hold in America,
Catholics in New York were effectively prohibited from practicing their
religion, and priests could be arrested. Largely as a result, the first
Catholic parish in New York City was not established until the 1780s,
St. Peter’s on Barclay Street, which still stands just one block north
of the World Trade Center site, and one block south of the proposed
mosque and community center.
The hate mongering of FOX and the Republicans is not only a threat to all the United States stands for but an actual threat to the security of this country. One of the most harmful things George W. Bush did was to refer to the war on terror as a crusade. Those in the middle east remember the crusades when over a hundred thousand men women and children were massacred in Jerusalem by soldiers of the Pope – that included both Muslims and Jews. Opposition of the Muslim community center in New York will only increase the perception that the United States is pursuing a new crusade against Islam and create a new generation of anti American terrorists.
Why do FOX “News” and the Republicans want to endanger America.
Cross posted at Newhoggers