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In the coverage of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" have you heard many references to the fact that the spiritual leader of the project is a moderate Muslim widely respected for his firm stance AGAINST radical Islam? It is the kind of information I would like our President to highlight. Obviously the information is out there... But it is not a central part of the debate today.

If the U.S. and the rest of the modern world is ever going to "defeat" radical Islamic terrorists, it will ultimately be achieved by marginalizing that movement. And how does one marginalize extremists? You support moderates of the same faith!

Our government has paid Feisel Abdul Rauf, the Imam at the heart of the Ground Zero controversy, to go abroad and preach his moderate message in the Middle East. Our State Department has been encouraging clerics of his ilk ever since 9/11. These are credible voices in the Muslim world that accept Jews as equals and reject horrid interpretations of jihad. There should be NO debate about the wisdom of locating an Islamic Center run by moderate forces near the site of the radicals' most notorious crime. What is so hard about "stick it to the terrorists?"

I always love it when folks who are my ideological opposite agree with my point of view. In this case, I have former Bush speech writer Michael Gerson:

How precisely is our cause served by treating the construction of a non-radical mosque in Lower Manhattan as the functional equivalent of defiling a grave? It assumes a civilizational conflict instead of defusing it.

I have even found myself wondering these days why the former President himself does not come out with a public statement in support of this Center! The rhetoric around this has become white hot. What better way to cool things down than for the former standard bearer of the political right to inject some sanity into the debate.

Here's a radical notion: Let's include an interfaith gesture of some kind AT GROUND ZERO ITSELF. A bold statement that lets everybody know, especially Bin Ladin et al, that the United States is a place where freedom of religion is embraced, where violent acts do not force us to abandon our most sacred values and where moderate Muslims are encouraged to worship wherever they see fit!

Originally posted to Hy on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 03:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But Fox says he's a radical ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap

    they MUST be telling the truth.  They're fair and balanced.  Just ask them.

  •  This is what the media, not the president (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, JDsg, Ann T Bush

    should be doing. Whipping up bigotry and hatred is so much more fun though.

  •  What sort of interfaith gesture? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I fully agree they have the right to set up there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seattledoglover, stef

    But I'm curious -- why did they pick that area over all other areas?

    No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

    by dov12348 on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 03:20:04 PM PDT

    •  It is a muslim neighborhood..there are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348

      already many Muslims in the neighborhood is what I understand..just like Catholics in Little Italy..a Catholic church would be built..

      •  It's not a Muslim neighborhood (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seattledoglover, JDsg, Gracian

        It's Tribeca, near City Hall, north of Wall Street. There's no predominant ethnicity or religion there. But there are several mosques already, visited I would think mostly by the many Muslims who work in the area.

        •  Have you seen pictures of the Masjid? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JDsg, Gracian, ahumbleopinion

          It is so packed that worshippers have to be kneeling on the sidewalk outside that place. That alone tells me that there is a crying need for more mosques in that neighborhood.

          •  I just got home from there (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JDsg, Gracian

            I work across the street from the World Trade. My old office was on Barclay, about a block from Park51, the Burlington Coat Factory building. Yes I saw the pictures, and that mosque is indeed overcrowded and they need a bigger space. But you're incorrect to call it a Muslim neighborhood. Some of them may live in the neighborhood.  Probably most of them work on Wall Street, or at the World Financial Center, or City Hall, or they own small businesses, newsstands, restaurants in the area, or they're cab drivers. It's not a "Muslim neighborhood." Neither is it a Catholic neighborhood, a Methodist neighborhood, a Jewish neighborhood, etc.

            •  I work dowm the street, love (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JDsg

              It's a neighborhood that in some countries would be called a megalopolis! There's a large population who live and work downtown - some of whom are family members - who'd benefit from a mosque. (Of course, in my family, we'd need a multifaith center of some sort with an assortment of religious professionals....)

              Some of 'them.' Really?

              •  'them' referring to attendees at that mosque (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JDsg

                As referenced in the post above mine. I work there too, at the WFC. Everything in your post I think reflects what I said in mine. There is no predominant ethnicity or religion defining the neighborhood. There are many people attending the mosques who work rather than live there.  There is a need for more space for the mosques currently situated there. What exactly is your beef with me?

        •  TriBeca is definately Italian...DeNiro (0+ / 0-)

          has TriBeca Grill as Italian as you can get..historically that is on the cusp of China Town and Little Italy and I believe the Italians and the Muslims have never had difficulties.  Italians are about love.

          Zito's Bakery is nearby and Manetta's Tavern where my father shared plates of spaghetti in 1938 with Jackson Pollack..as Italian as you can get.  Wall Street can go screw itself..

    •  A lot of Muslims work in lower Manhattan (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stef, JDsg, dov12348, ahumbleopinion

      Both in the financial industry and for the federal government. There is a Catholic church right next to the federal courthouse where many of my Catholic co-workers used to go at lunchtime. I don't see why other religions can't enjoy the same type of convenience.

    •  Because there is demand for the services (6+ / 0-)

      they would provide in that specific area, and because they got it for a steal.  4 million and change, I believe...

      There are other mosques in the area, one of which has been there since before the WTC was built, so there is a demand for prayer space.  I believe one of the other mosques (the one that was there prior to the WTC being built) lost its lease and is in a space that's too small for the demand...

      They wouldn't have to have a hugely profitable business...  They just need the ongoing funding for the "community center" stuff like basketball courts, etc., (membership fees?)  I'm not sure if the culinary effort that's to be housed there will be for profit or not...

      The building, once a Burlington Coat Factory had a piece of debris from 9/11 fall though the roof.  It's not easily salvageable and, since it's in the "hallowed" area around "Ground Zero", is not a great commercial space because that area is still relatively depressed.  Many closed shops, etc.

      If this comment isn't acceptable without supporting links, let me know and I'll find time to dig up sources.

      True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. -------------------------------------------------------Clarence Darrow

      by Leroy the Roadie on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 03:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Congregation is already located in neighborhood (5+ / 0-)

      The current location is on W. Bway at Chambers. They have been there for 20 years. That is about 9 blks north of the World Trade. They got this building for less than $5M - people pay more for an apartment in Manhattan. And because:

      A presence so close to the World Trade Center, “where a piece of the wreckage fell,” said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, “sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.”

      “We want to push back against the extremists,” added Imam Feisal, 61.

      ***

      The location is not designated a mosque, but rather an overflow prayer space for another mosque, Al Farah at 245 West Broadway in TriBeCa, where Imam Feisal is the spiritual leader.

  •  I feel that this issue is just seized upon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, Shahryar

    to rake muck.  We never hear this kind of nastiness when say the Scientologists build a mega Scientology brain washing center .. now do we?

    We just had one built here in Seattle and it is weird..the people are weird..all dressed in black..kind of creepy if you ask me.

    But not a peep out of anyone.  

    Let the Muslims try to build a mosque and all the politicians seize the issue to get face time on TV..

    Patterson even suggested they move the mosque to state owned land..where is the separation of church and state in that?  Does anyone really want to see the government intruding in on peoples' places of religiosity?

    •  big difference (0+ / 0-)

      when you equate this mosque to Scientology,
      No people in the name of Scientology flew planes into occupied buildings killing thousands.
      Because of that fact, and the chosen location, this is a unique circumstance. By all means they have the law on their side, but is it a smart choice? will it promote understanding or resentment?
      Just doesn't seem to be a wise choice of location IMHO

      Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

      by curious bob on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 05:09:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, It's Two Blocks Away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seattledoglover, JDsg

    from the former World Trade Center site.

    Here's a radical notion: Let's include an interfaith gesture of some kind AT GROUND ZERO ITSELF.

    The only relevant point is that this sort of issue can be used to stir up the bigoted base of the Republican Party.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 03:24:14 PM PDT

  •  Talk of "Moderate Islam... Extremist Islam" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, socalmonk, Hy

    ...is part of a Big Lie. The truth is, Islam in no shape of form, was never behind Bin Laden's motivation for 9/11.

    We talk in terms of Islam and Muslims because that's what we've been told to do, but we should also look at other stuff that might be outside the box we're told to stay within.

    Getting a kidney transplant when the problem is in our lungs, not in our kidneys, is not going to help us get better.

  •  The amount of sheer ignorance on this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stef, JDsg, beltane, socalmonk, ahumbleopinion

    is breath-taking.

    Firstly, on the "is it a Mosque?" question is very, very, very, stupid. The Koran's only requirement for a mosque is that it be a "clean, quiet place".

    In workshops all over the Arabian Gulf small mosques are formed by a set of office dividers in one corner. In airports all over the planet prayer rooms serve as mosques. At a small grouping of roadside cafes and shops on the road outside of Hawiyah in KSA a tiny old trailer serves as the mosque for the small band of merchants.

    It's an Islamic Community Center, of course there would be some place to function as a mosque. They're modeling it on the terrifically successful Jewish Community Centers, where I, as a Southern Baptist member, was absolutely welcome but was not compelled in any way to participate in any of the religious activities offered.

    MY favorite memory of the JCC in Houston: Watching Moses Malone vs. Hakim Olajuwon play one-on-one basketball.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel written by Alan Greenspan's dominatrix.

    by Inventor on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 03:42:04 PM PDT

  •  The Imam's wife is on the 9/11 Memorial Board (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, Gracian, ahumbleopinion

    NYT

    Imam Feisal’s wife, Daisy Khan, serves on an advisory team for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, and Lynn Rasic, a spokeswoman for the memorial, said, “The idea of a cultural center that strengthens ties between Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds is positive.”

  •  I agree with your view but not your case (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stef, JDsg, ahumbleopinion

    Following Jon Stewart, let' say it was a proposed Catholic school. Let's say the proponent was someone known to strongly oppose child abuse. Would that be assurance enough to parents?

    The problem here is that the opponents, mostly non-NY-ers, view all Muslims as a threat. Native NY-ers know better, especially those who have ever been in a cab.

    Cultural centers are the best way to help a group be part of the melting pot. It is a place we can deliver messages, either in support or in protest. We should welcome such centers for all immigrant groups. That is certainly the New York City way and such centers do much to fight stereotypes and prejudice.

    I recall escorting a Soviet (old days, now Israeli) chess professional around SF, He kept bugging me to take him to that Castro district he had heard so much about. I obliged, and his only remark was "I expected something different, this looks completely normal!" The best way to get along with minority groups is to let them live their lives like anyone else. Though I have been on the Left Coast for nearly two decades I think I retain some of my natural NYC instincts about how minorities are best integrated and welcomed.

    Build your cultural center and start holding some chess tournaments there to prove that you are not under the inluence of that Sistani fellow!

    Is it not written "There's a lot goes on we don't get told."? (Lu Tze)

    by MakeChessNotWar on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 04:09:03 PM PDT

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