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  •  I've got mixed feelings (1+ / 0-)
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    Of course, the First Amendment prevents any government from considering the religious aspect of the project in any way in determining whether or not it will go forward, but I also think that it would be decent for the backers of the mosque to voluntarily agree to move it to another location further away, were one to be made available.

    I know many, many Muslims, have traveled in the Muslim world, can relate directly to Obama's statement that the sound of the call to prayer in the evening might just be the "prettiest sound on Earth". I don't harbor any prejudice towards individual Muslims, every one of whom that I've known personally have been great people who make valuable contributions to society.

    On the other hand, I'm very much aware that the crimes of 9/11 were done in the name of a very specific religion, and that religion is Islam, and so I do think that putting an Islamic cultural center so close to the site where so many were killed in the name of Islam is somewhat questionable.

    •  okay, it's an honest answer (0+ / 0-)

      and I give you all the credit for that.

      I can agree with a lot of it, and maybe have some questions on the rest.  

      and if I may, I would like to ask, if you know the answer, is to how do any of the Muslim people that you know feel about this issue?  I don't know if you've had a chance to have contact with such, but just curious if you've had any such experience, and what feedback you got and how you felt about it.

      Just a lot of curiosity on my part, that's all...

      •  From what I understand there are mixed feelings (0+ / 0-)

        on their part also. On the one hand, they see the Islamophobia stacking up against it and they don't like that. The more politically progressive ones probably end the discussion there. Others, however, will also focus on the fact that they don't necessarily see a particular need to have an Islamic center in that particular location, and why deal with the negative backlash?

        •  okay, but have you spoken (0+ / 0-)

          personally with anyone?

          •  . . . I've spoken to a few of my Muslim (0+ / 0-)

            friends since this thing has started, but I'm not going to press too hard one way or the other. I don't challenge Jewish people too hard about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians if they're not open to that discussion, and I parse my words with my Hispanic friends about AB 1070/illegal immigration as well. If people are open to debate, then sure, I'm all for it, but I'm also not in the business of making enemies out of friends because of political issues that neither of us are directly involved in.

            For myself, I don't get personally offended by anything political, and being black and Jewish, there are surely plenty of things that I could be offended about. I can have a reasonable discussion with someone who thinks affirmative action is a bad idea, or that Jews are too sensitive about alleged anti-Semitism. But I've found that a lot of other people aren't like that; when the issue is one that involves their personal identity, they get offended if someone holds an opposing view to theirs.

            •  hmmm? this is puzzling in a way (0+ / 0-)

              that at least personally, when I talk or speak with people I don't necessarily "challenge" or "debate" or want to be in a position of "someone holds an opposing view." I consider conversation just mostly listening, and I'm often surprised at the number of things people tell me, anything from their sex lives to extreme world views. Some of this stuff I usually don't really want to hear, but I get it anyway.  We all have our own style, I guess.  

              But okay, I thought that maybe you could have a sense of how this is affecting those who are Muslim.  And my sense from personal experience is that there exists a big unease with this, even to the point where there's this prevalence of being scared.  And for what?  These Muslims that I know are by far most decent people, and there can be some things that I don't agree with a few of them, (but I don't know any two people that agree with everything) more times than not we can find more areas where we agree, rather than oppose of debate.  And at present, and even going back a while, this underlying fear that I sense is scarring me as well - and fear can be disruptive in many ways when hitting to close to home.  

              So that's why I asked you, if you had this same experience.  It would sort of be hard for me to imagine that your Muslim friends lack these same sort of composition that I've experience, but I don't know for sure. But if any sort of fright exists, and if they are your friends, and if you do care about them as such, I just wondered if you think this whole issue with the community center is worth having your mixed feelings about this?  Or when it affects any group or groups of law abiding peaceful people who are being singled out and made unfavorable for the simple reason of political gain by prejudice?

              And it's sad when a community is quite content with an honorable resolution only to have those who are (I don't know a nicer way to put this but) completely ignorant of the situation on the ground, creating the loud noise of prejudice, division, and fear.

              I guess that I could go on with more, and in different aspects, but I'll just leave it at this right now.


              •  Yes, I do agree that the protests against (1+ / 0-)
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                the GZM do create a certain amount of fear amongst the Muslims that I know and I also agree that sometimes it's best to just listen to folks, rather than to try to debate, which is what I said I mostly do once I determine that someone's personal identity is so intimately connected with a particular political position.

                That said, however, I mentioned above that I also don't happen to agree with my Jewish friends and family members on matters related to Israel/Palestine. Now, they also have quite a bit of "fear" about what may or may not happen if Jews didn't have a state, or if the Palestinians did have one, or if Iran has a nuclear weapon. I can recognize that fear as perfectly legitimate based on the very real history of the Holocaust, and continuing anti-Semitism, or even just the geopolitics around Israel, but I still may radically disagree with them about Middle East policy.

                Now, it's also true that the third holiest site in Islam, the al Aqsa Mosque, is built on top of the holiest site in Judiasm, the site of the original Jewish Temple. The millenia-long dream of the Jewish people is to rebuild that Temple on its original site, and in fact, that is a precondition for the return of the Jewish Messiah. They have the legal right to do that, but it would also be a profound disrespect to the Muslim world, and might even set-off a religious war like we've never seen in human history. So should they? Probably not.

                All that is to say that these issues are not cut and dry, and what can be done legally is clearly not always what should be done morally and ethically, and religious sites and symbols clearly have meaning that has to be considered before actions are taken.

                •  okay, thank you for the clarification that (1+ / 0-)
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                  I thought maybe missing, at least from my POV.

                  As for the I/P issues, I've learned a long time ago to avoid as best I can these discussions, because they soon and very easily go beyond the discussion phase.

                  Back to the community center, I don't know if you've ever been in NYC, or spent any time here.  If you did the latter, you would know how space is at a premium.  Suppose they took a compromise and decided to move to another location?  Besides the time, money, paperwork and every other logistic to move to another place, how do we know this other place isn't going to be too close to a school, or bridge, or power plant, or...?
                  More protests?  More compromise?  Move to another site not so near something?  Hmmmmm? Maybe the middle of North Dakota, or Nevada?  No, I'm sure there's something near there as well.

                  Maybe I'm overboard a slight bit, but I think you understand the premise.  Yet, the local community board voted 29-1 in favor of the community.  I would think that they have the best sense of their community, and most of them probably lived through the horrors of 9/11.  And whose protesting?  A lot of people from Staten Island, miles away and separated by a big body of water.  

                  So, between the elected officials in office voted into office by the residents of the city, the administrators in place basically because of the elected officials, and the local community board with influence into this matter, and by default knowing what's in the best interest of their community, after open public meetings, decide overwhelmingly in the best interest of the community to support the community center.

                  I find it rather difficult to accept those who, besides the outright display of despicable bigotry, would know better than to get involved in local matters, especially since these groups overtly pontificate the gospel of total local jurisdiction of these matters.  Just sheer hypocrisy, and with the sinister political goal of promoting division and bigotry.    

                  And again, Ground Zero is one thing.  And if one is familiar with NYC, unless one knows and would really look for this community center, one wouldn't even know it's there if visiting the WTC site.  

                  So yes, I do find it sad and even hitting that place inside of me of resentment fomenting that those who haven't a clue resort with blatant hypocrisy to disrupt, divide, and spread fear and hate. But that seems to be that standard mode of operation for these batsh*t brain lunatics, and pathetically enough, it's almost expected.  But what is really more disappointing to the point of being very scary is that a lot of basically, decent, thoughtful, intelligent people are with compromise, or mixed feelings, and in apparent disregard for a victimized community acting in it's best interest.  

                  •  From what I understand the whole issue around (1+ / 0-)
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                    the "29-1" vote is kind of blown out of proportion. 98% of people on all sides of the political spectrum agree that it's not the role of government to make a determination based on the religious character of a proposed project, and so a "29-1" vote of a governmental body to that effect would seem par for the course.

                    The same would hold true for any other government entity in the City of New York. It's not their role to get into the pros and cons of the religious nature of the project.

                    I acknowledge that an alternative space may be difficult to find. That's why my statements were appended with "were one to be made available".

                    I find arguments to the effect that it's not "really" at Ground Zero not particularly compelling. The building was functionally destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. Would you really feel any different if it were actually on the WTC site itself? If so, why?

                    I don't really see the Muslim community as being any more or less victimized than any other group in America. There are typically ten times more hate crimes against Jews on an annual basis than Muslims, but we don't really call Jews a "victimized" group in America.

                    I would suggest that you take the fact that "basically decent, thoughtful, intelligent people" have "mixed feelings" about this project as an indication that there may be sides to the story that you haven't fully considered.  

                    •  Okay, so why are those (0+ / 0-)

                      who know it's not the government's role to determine the religious character of proposed projects so opposed when the community supported the project?

                      Also, if there is an ambiguity here, my apologies, I meant the community that is living around the WTC site.  They too were victimized by this.  I'm sure most experienced firsthand the devastation of the event. It wasn't a picnic to have their bags searched two or three times for cameras etc, by security of national guard and such to get to their homes which they haven't been to for a  few days while still smelling the burning remains.  

                      As for any religious sites on or within the WTC, personally, I would prefer none.  But if any one is allowed, all need to be allowed. Right?

                      And lastly, I've considered all of the sides, and there can be many views, and still am disappointed in a number of people.

                      And just as an FYI, I had a friend today, an elderly sweet lady, who shocked me with her view about this whole thing,  She thought that they should move the center (from her, yes shocking when she said it) but then her reason was because she thinks that with all of the commotion now about this, she's afraid someone is going to get hurt there and it's going to become a target for bad things to happen.  I didn't quite know quite what to say, so I let it go.  I'll sleep on this and maybe continue with her later....

                      and with you, later......

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