ChrisWeigant.com

Conservative Mosque Hypocrisy

[ Posted Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 – 15:41 PDT ]

Republicans and conservatives (virtually indistinguishable, these days) have been better at creating a narrative for their political philosophy than Democrats and liberals (at least in my lifetime). They "tell a story" about their political beliefs, and it's a story anyone can relate to, mostly invoking words like "freedom" and "liberty" but also holding sacred "private property" and severely frowning on "big government" which is perennially "on the backs" of the little guy. See, I don't even have to tell their whole story, just a few quick references, and the story pops into your mind in completion. You already know how the rest of this story goes, in other words.

But this is not an article decrying the Democrats' seeming inability to match Republican rhetoric in the public mind, as that's what we do around here on Fridays. Ahem.

Instead, I am amazed once again (even though I really shouldn't be by this point) at how adept Republicans and conservatives (but not hardcore Libertarians, I have to admit, who generally put their political philosophy above pandering to the public) are at suddenly throwing large parts of their core ideology over the side of the boat whenever something is happening (or about to happen) that they just don't agree with on a gut level. "Get the government off everyone's back!" very quickly becomes: "Get the government into your bedroom, your end-of-life decisions, or what chemicals you choose to ingest in the privacy of your own home -- and do it in a manner which we agree with!"

Now, we can add to this list of blatant hypocrisy on the grand question of what government should decide for you (where the conservatives are actually on the side of big government.... if not Big Brother) the new cause of the Right: "Give the government control over houses of worship." Again, all that talk of "private property" being a sacred right just flies right out the window when conservatives see some other type of house of worship which they don't like.

To be fully accurate, I have to coin a term here -- what we are talking about is the "Two Blocks Away From Ground Zero Mosque." Republicans have gone ballistic over this issue, because they smell an exploitable red flag to wave in front of their base. That it utterly contradicts their political philosophy seems to bother them not at all.

Stripped of all the ridiculous bombast, the issue boils down to: should you be able to build a house of worship on private property, or should the government be able to tell you that you can't? The building in question is two blocks away from the World Trade Center site. It is not "holy ground" by any stretch of the imagination, unless you want to call all of lower Manhattan "holy ground" (which, apparently, Newt Gingrich is fine with doing). This is nonsense, squared.

We do have "sacred" (even though it's kind of a misuse of the term) monuments in this country. Gettysburg National Battlefield is a good example. War sites from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War are hallowed ground. We, as a nation, have taken possession of these spots, and have a whole National Park Service set up to maintain them and inform visitors of what happened there. There are dozens of such sites (memorializing pretty much all our wars) all over this nation. The property is held by the United States government for all the people, so that private enterprise can't exploit them (or otherwise ruin them).

But the process of getting a site named a national sacred spot is a long one, and the federal government doesn't even pay to build war memorials anymore -- they graciously agree to maintain the site after private money builds it (see: Vietnam, World War II memorials, on the National Mall). This is what happened to the 9/11 crash site in Pennsylvania, by the way.

But the World Trade Center is being rebuilt. Now, the federal government could quite easily have grabbed the land (I don't like using the term "Ground Zero," as -- to me -- it should be reserved for the sites of nuclear explosions), made it the "9/11 National Memorial" and built a nice little park on it, with some monuments and plaques. But the government did not do so. Instead, construction began, to rebuild the World Trade Center. Obviously, there will be a corner of the site tucked away as a memorial, and the federal government may eventually assume responsibility for it, so you can ask a park ranger all about it.

But that's it, as far as "holy ground" goes. This is not my determination, this was the government's choice. So how can anyone decree that a site two blocks away is somehow "sacred ground" or think they can dictate what happens there in any way? That building is owned privately. The owner of the building can do anything they wish with it, as long as they follow zoning and building codes imposed by the city of New York. End of sentence.

This, I hasten to point out is what the conservative position on the issue should be. You don't even have to look past the First Amendment to see why this is so (which all those conservatives who have taken to carrying around a copy of the Constitution -- because it's the hip thing to do these days on the Right -- really should do). Freedom of religion. Freedom of assembly. Original intent. Case closed.

I bet that if you had taken a poll, before this controversy was pushed on the scene, that virtually every conservative in America would have agreed with the following: "I think the government has no business telling a house of worship what they can and can't do with their private property." But I'm being disingenuous, of course. Because most conservatives, when they hear "house of worship" immediately equate it with "church" -- and not "synagogue" or (shudder) "mosque." It's the classic human "us and them" problem. There is "us" -- however you define that (some conservatives are even quite open about proclaiming America a "Christian nation," although some hedge their bets with "Judeo-Christian"); and then there is "them" -- whoever the current spectre of fear is. Currently, "them" is "Muslims," as this whole controversy shows.

Newt Gingrich and his ilk want to have the power to tell different groups of people where they may and may not worship. And somehow, the boogieman of "big government" or even "power grab" never surfaces among a segment of the media who is usually quite quick on the trigger with those two terms and government power -- at least when Democrats are in control, that is. But that's what the controversy is all about -- wanting to dictate who may worship where.

And that is so downright un-American, it makes my teeth ache just thinking about it.

The current mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, gave a speech today on why the mosque will be built. I'm not a big fan of Bloomberg (I'm not a big enemy, either, just don't pay that much attention to him), but I have to say, he says in his speech exactly what I have been waiting for someone to say about this ugly bit of bigotry from the Right. So I'll close here with his speech, in full (or you can watch the video of his speech):

 

We've come here to Governors Island to stand where the earliest settlers first set foot in New Amsterdam, and where the seeds of religious tolerance were first planted. We come here to see the inspiring symbol of liberty that more than 250 years later would greet millions of immigrants in this harbor. And we come here to state as strongly as ever, this is the freest city in the world. That's what makes New York special and different and strong.

Our doors are open to everyone. Everyone with a dream and a willingness to work hard and play by the rules. New York City was built by immigrants, and it's sustained by immigrants -- by people from more than 100 different countries speaking more than 200 different languages and professing every faith. And whether your parents were born here or you came here yesterday, you are a New Yorker.

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.

This morning, the city's Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted to extend -- not to extend -- landmark status to the building on Park Place where the mosque and community center are planned. The decision was based solely on the fact that there was little architectural significance to the building. But with or without landmark designation, there is nothing in the law that would prevent the owners from opening a mosque within the existing building.

The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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.

This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.

Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11, and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.

For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetimes, as important a test. And it is critically important that we get it right.

On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked, "What God do you pray to? What beliefs do you hold?"

The attack was an act of war, and our first responders defended not only our city, but our country and our constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.

Of course, it is fair to ask the organizers of the mosque to show some special sensitivity to the situation, and in fact their plan envisions reaching beyond their walls and building an interfaith community. But doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our city even closer together, and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any ways consistent with Islam.

Muslims are as much a part of our city and our country as the people of any faith. And they are as welcome to worship in lower Manhattan as any other group. In fact, they have been worshipping at the site for better, the better part of a year, as is their right. The local community board in lower Manhattan voted overwhelmingly to support the proposal. And if it moves forward, I expect the community center and mosque will add to the life and vitality of the neighborhood and the entire city.

Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure, and there is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God's love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us can attest.

 

-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

63 Comments on “Conservative Mosque Hypocrisy”

  1. [1] 
    fstanley wrote:

    I find this kind of hypocrisy very annoying. It would almost be funny if such obvious discrimination did not so often lead to terrible consequences. I just hope that people with remember what America is supposed to stand for and that freedom of religion is part of those ideals.

    ...Stan

  2. [2] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Just one thing, Chris: it's not a mosque. It's a YMCA for Muslim kids and their Jewish and Christian friends. The board is even ecumenical; there's a rabbi and Christian clergy on it.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    A mosque at Ground Zero is just fine with me..

    And a synagogue in Mecca or Medina is also just fine with me..

    Too bad that Muslims aren't as open-minded as I am, eh??

    Would ya'all push so hard for a synagogue in Mecca or Medina??

    Somehow, I kinda doubt it.... :D

    Just one thing, Chris: it's not a mosque. It's a YMCA for Muslim kids and their Jewish and Christian friends. The board is even ecumenical; there's a rabbi and Christian clergy on it.

    Yea, and Ground Zero is just another construction site... :^/

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    drsquid wrote:

    If the real core ideology of conservatives were a strong defense, property rights, and anti-big-government, they would be betraying it in favor of simple tribalism. However, the real core ideology is much simpler; it's the preservation - conservation, if you will - of an aristocracy. This aristocracy is conserved by making laws that lift them up and put down everyone else. The only fight left is who exactly comprises this aristocracy.

    This ideology explains the defense of the tax cuts that only affect the top 1%. It also explains the idea that no mosque should be built anywhere in lower Manhattan. Muslims are automatically understood by conservatives as not being members of any aristocracy, so laws protecting property rights aren't seen as pertaining to them.

    Conservatives' reactions would only differ in form if it were an African Methodist Episcopal church building there. But the opposition would be the same in the end. The church is for an out group, therefore it's Not Allowed.

  5. [5] 
    drsquid wrote:

    The only way that we'd be able to push for a Jewish temple in Medina is if Arabian lands were an American colony (something that the Soldier Of Fortune crowd would like to see). Other than that, they have asserted their rights to be idiots regarding religion, and it's not our place to impose on them. The world is not an American colony, neoconservative desires notwithstanding.

    Why are conservatives so un-American?

  6. [6] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Would ya'all push so hard for a synagogue in Mecca or Medina??

    Somehow, I kinda doubt it.... :D

    I kinda doubt it, too.

  7. [7] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    The attack was an act of war, and our first responders defended not only our city, but our country and our constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.

    Unless, of course, the project is being funded by terrorists.

    Political correctness in this country is a bit over the top, for my blood. I'd like to know who's funding that thing.

  8. [8] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Stripped of all the ridiculous bombast, the issue boils down to: should you be able to build a house of worship on private property, or should the government be able to tell you that you can't? The building in question is two blocks away from the World Trade Center site. It is not "holy ground" by any stretch of the imagination, unless you want to call all of lower Manhattan "holy ground" (which, apparently, Newt Gingrich is fine with doing). This is nonsense, squared.

    That's the site of the biggest attack on the homeland in this nation's history, in which thousands of innocent countrymen lost their lives — some meeting their death by leaping from the windows. Give some thought to what it's like to make a decision like that and to actually do it.

    I totally agree with Gingrich on this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmtk30-sTaY&feature=related

  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Osborne -

    Yeah, but it's much more annoying to conservatives to call it a "mosque" so I just followed their lead... heh.

    Michale -

    The Saudi Arabia thing is what Newt's basing his hissy fit on, so allow me to address it.

    Why the heck should the United States start emulating laws in Saudi Arabia? We have our own laws, and we're supposed to be the beacon of freedom to the world, and all the rest of that sort of thing, right? So why should our laws be influenced by a theocratic government? Sure, I have major problems with many Saudi laws (like not letting women drive, for instance)... but that is why I don't live there. If I did, maybe I'd be pushing for a synagogue there (and then again, maybe I'd be in a Saudi jail... good thing I don't live there, eh?).

    drsquid [5] has it exactly right on this one.

    (Welcome to the site, by the way, drsquid...)

    Chris1962 [8] -

    Yeah, except for that whole First Amendment/Constitution thing. I thought the Tea Partiers / new conservatives were all about the Constitution? Guess not so much when it is inconvenient, eh?

    Couldn't resist, sorry.

    It's better than breaking Godwin's Law here, which I had to mightily resist against while writing this article. Here's a question for you: would you allow Muslims to visit the actual memorial (when it is completed)? What if one of them decided to pray in front of the memorial? Should that be allowed? If not, how are you going to stop it? Pass a law? Whoops, can't do that -- you'd have to pass a Constitutional Amendment to do so. Good luck with that.

    My take on this issue is: Don't want them to build a mosque there? Then you are free to buy the building and do with it what you will. That's American free enterprise. But if you don't own it, then you have no right to say what they can do with it. This USED to be a bedrock conservative position, I hasten to point out. Especially since it's two and a half blocks away from the actual site of the attack. I mean, how far is far enough? Ten blocks? Another borough? And who gets to decide this? Newt Gingrich? Or our Constitutional guarantees of freedom? I know which I'd pick.

    -CW

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    drsquid,

    First off, welcome to CW.COM :D

    Conservatives' reactions would only differ in form if it were an African Methodist Episcopal church building there.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    The only way that we'd be able to push for a Jewish temple in Medina is if Arabian lands were an American colony (something that the Soldier Of Fortune crowd would like to see). Other than that, they have asserted their rights to be idiots regarding religion, and it's not our place to impose on them. The world is not an American colony, neoconservative desires notwithstanding.

    See my point below to CW....

    CW,

    Why the heck should the United States start emulating laws in Saudi Arabia? We have our own laws, and we're supposed to be the beacon of freedom to the world, and all the rest of that sort of thing, right? So why should our laws be influenced by a theocratic government? Sure, I have major problems with many Saudi laws (like not letting women drive, for instance)... but that is why I don't live there. If I did, maybe I'd be pushing for a synagogue there (and then again, maybe I'd be in a Saudi jail... good thing I don't live there, eh?).

    Your entire concept of this commentary is tolerance.

    Why should the US show tolerance to the Muslim faith and those who practice said faith when such tolerance is not reciprocated BY the Muslim faith and by those who practice said faith??

    Put another way...

    How would many in the US feel if, in 1951, people wanted to build a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor??

    Sure, in a perfect world, we would all espouse tolerance and koom-bye-ya'ness and love and political correctness..

    However, in that same perfect world, there wouldn't have been a 9/11 anyways, so......

    Regardless of all political correctness, the goal of radical Islam terrorists is to force their religion on others, in places where it is not wanted.

    Sadly, this Cordoba initiative is making the terrorists' goals a reality..

    This is the reality of the situation..

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    How would many in the US feel if, in 1951, people wanted to build a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor??

    Or, put another way..

    How would many feel in the US if a group wanted to build a Confederacy Museum and Cultural Center down the block from a predominantly Black church were hundreds of Black Americans were brutally murdered by cowardly Kluckers??

    A tad insensitive, wouldn't ya'all say???

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Yeah, except for that whole First Amendment/Constitution thing. I thought the Tea Partiers / new conservatives were all about the Constitution? Guess not so much when it is inconvenient, eh?

    Couldn't resist, sorry.

    About that funding. We're at war, remember? And if the enemy is funding a monument to themselves at the foot of their victorious attack, I don't think there's anything in the Constitution that demands we allow it. So I think it all comes down to the funding — which, curiously, the Left doesn't seem to have much interest in exploring. A show of political Kumbaya correctness seems to be much more important, none too shockingly.

    And we wonder why, on the issue of National Security, likely voters prefer Republicans over Democrats 51% to 34%. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/trust_on_issues

  13. [13] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Why are conservatives so un-American?

    Have you heard, drsquid? We're at war. And our enemy has this cumbersome habit of funding things for the purpose of empowering their cause and demoralizing ours.

    [excerpt] The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites. For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

    Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to "symbolize interfaith cooperation" when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.
    http://www.newt.org/newt-direct/newt-gingrich-statement-proposed-%E2%80%9Ccordoba-house%E2%80%9D-mosque-near-ground-zero

    He's quite right about that. And that's why it's important to know who is funding this building.

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Especially since it's two and a half blocks away from the actual site of the attack. I mean, how far is far enough? Ten blocks? Another borough? And who gets to decide this? Newt Gingrich? Or our Constitutional guarantees of freedom? I know which I'd pick.

    As I said above, I don't have a problem with a Mosque being built in proximity to Ground Zero.

    I really don't..

    But I DO understand why some people WOULD have a problem with it. And their concerns and feelings about are legitimate..

    Of course, there are those (on BOTH sides of the issue) who are using the issue to further an agenda.. THey can go pound salt, as far as I am concerned.

    But there ARE legitimate concerns that people have. Emotional concerns to be sure, but legitimate nonetheless..

    Let me put it this way (again). :D

    How would ya'all feel about a Mosque at Ground Zero, if it was September 21, 2001???

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    You are obviously concerned about who is funding the mosque and so you should probably do some research and find out. That would be infinitely more productive, on your part, than making seriously misguided and false assumptions and posting the non-serious arguments you are making here.

    You talk about the enemy having a “habit of funding things for the purpose of empowering their cause and demoralizing ours”. It seems to me that you’re doing a pretty good job of that - demoralizing “our” cause, that is - all by yourself with your constant extremist nonsense.

  16. [16] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    How would ya'all feel about a Mosque at Ground Zero, if it was September 12, 2001???

    Liberal Piety and the Memory of 9/11
    In the plan for an Islamic center and mosque some 15 stories high to be built near Ground Zero, the full force of politically correct piety is on display along with the usual unyielding assault on all dissenters....
    http://www.chris11962.com/blog/files/df6b9d93984aa3eef7dd117597f04676-118.html

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    These are valid points that are being raised, not just a bunch of extremists with an agenda.

    As I said, consider how the Left would respond if a group bought a piece of property a block away from the
    16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16th_Street_Baptist_Church_bombing

    .... and wanted to build a Confederacy Museum and Cultural Center there.

    The Left would have a conniption fit and rightly so..

    Like it or not, there ARE legitimate sensitivities associated with this issue.

    And they need to be addressed rather than inflamed...

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    These are valid points that are being raised, not just a bunch of extremists with an agenda.

    My comments were not to be construed as a generalized statement about the validity of arguments raised over this issue or about "a bunch of extremists".

    I was talking very specifically about the constant nonsense being spewed by Chris1962 on this subject, among others, since becoming a regular contributor here.

    Just to be clear. :)

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Fair enough.. :D

    But CB does raise some of those valid points..

    Many Americans do see Islam as the enemy for several reasons, a few of which are completely valid..

    Just like an overwhelming number of Muslims view Christians or Jews as the enemy..

    It's one of the biggest beefs I have with organized religions..

    One can justify any act, no matter how horrendous, as long as one thinks they have god on their side.

    "You can't win!! I've got God on my side!!"
    -Max Von Sydow, NEEDFUL THINGS

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I can understand the sensitivites involved here and I can even sympathsize with them. Imagine that!

    With any luck at all, the building of this mosque and community centre will actually bring communities together and become an important part of making America stronger.

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    This one's for you ...

    Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.
    Abraham Lincoln

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    I can understand the sensitivites involved here and I can even sympathsize with them. Imagine that!

    Doesn't surprise me.. Yer a pretty neat person. :D

    With any luck at all, the building of this mosque and community centre will actually bring communities together and become an important part of making America stronger.

    I completely agree...

    Which is kind of my point..

    It won't bring communities and people and religions together until we can rationally discuss things and give credence to other people's perspectives...

    Yes, even CB's :D

    Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.

    And, if god turns out to be wrong, then we're all frak'd... :D

    And don't tell me god hasn't been wrong before. Look at a platypus... :D

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I can always count on you to put a big ole smile on my face. You're a mood changer, Michale! :)

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have my moments.. :D

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    With any luck at all, the building of this mosque and community centre will actually bring communities together and become an important part of making America stronger.

    With any luck at all, it won't have been funded by terrorists, which will eventuate in empowering them even further. Quite the neato thing to build a monument to one's victorious attack right on the attack site.

    People tend to forget that we're fighting a real war against a very real enemy, who didn't name that building "Cardoba" for nothing.

    "Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to "symbolize interfaith cooperation" when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest."

    How does that old saying go about those who forget history beging doomed to repeat it?

  26. [26] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Sigh.

    OK, let's try again.

    A lawsuit was just filed to block construction of the mosque.

    What do you think the chances of legal victory are for this suit? Personally, I would put them at "zero." Because there is simply NO legal rationale (not emotional pleas, but actual accordance with the Constitution) for the suit to succeed.

    So, anyone willing to bet on the outcome of the suit? 100 Quatloos says it will fail.

    -CW

  27. [27] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    I notice nobody answered my question, either:

    Here's a question for you: would you allow Muslims to visit the actual memorial (when it is completed)? What if one of them decided to pray in front of the memorial? Should that be allowed? If not, how are you going to stop it? Pass a law? Whoops, can't do that -- you'd have to pass a Constitutional Amendment to do so. Good luck with that.

    -CW

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Of course, Muslims should be able to visit the memorial. They should also be included in the entire concept of it ... as should everyone else.

    As for the lawsuit, that sort of thing doesn't even bother me anymore ... mostly because I have no time to waste on people like that.

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    I see you have taken my advice and have done some research into who is funding this mosque.

    Would you care to share any of your analysis with us and why you have reached the conclusions you have?

  30. [30] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    But CB does raise some of those valid points..

    Many Americans do see Islam as the enemy for several reasons, a few of which are completely valid..

    No, people don't see Islam as the enemy; they see radical Islamic terrorists as the enemy. Because they are. And we need to recognize them when they present themselves to us — particularly right on our own homeland. They're seeking to gain as much strength and to kill as many Americans as possible. People need to remember that. This politically correct Kumbaya stuff is fast becoming an actual threat to this nation's security, IMO. Actions by terrorists seem to be the very last thing that occurs to anyone, e.g., Fort Hood (he was just a disturbed individual); the underwear bomber (he was just a disturbed kid, acting alone); the Time Square bomber (he was disturbed because he had lost his job and was experiencing marital woes, poor dear).

    There is a difference between Muslims and radical Muslim terrorists. And the fact that no one's too terribly concerned about finding out who's funding this building is beyond disturbing to me. Perhaps it's because I'm a New Yorker who watched the second plane hit the tower. Maybe people have to see suicide bombers blow themselves up in shopping malls in the Heartland before they get it. Me? I already get it. And I highly recommend that people fire up their foresight abilities and do a little thinking about what complacency and peace-love-and-Kumayaism can and will cost this country. You don't think it can happen in your own home town, but it can. The terrorists certainly haven't become complacent. And a Cardoba-esque monument to their fabulous victory at the foot of the now-missing WTC — which took them two tries to achieve — is very empowering, indeed.

  31. [31] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Sigh.

    Does that seem, to you, like just some crazy coincidence that the building was given that name, CW? Do you think the notion of that building being funded by terrorist groups is outside the realm of feasibility? I'm not understanding what this "sigh" is all about.

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962

    Why do you continue to insist on calling this mosque " a Cardoba-esque monument to their fabulous victory at the foot of the now-missing WTC"?

    What do you know that the rest of here do not?

    And, you still can't make the simple distinctions that you complain the rest of us can't make. It's getting awfully tiresome and incredibley boring.

  33. [33] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    A lawsuit was just filed to block construction of the mosque.

    What do you think the chances of legal victory are for this suit?

    It depends on the grounds of the suit. (I haven't read about it yet.) If they're asking to halt construction until such time as the funding is identified, and show evidence that funny money is behind it, I would like to think that a judge would seriously consider it. I do believe the Patriot Act would cover that kinda thing.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Why do you continue to insist on calling this mosque " a Cardoba-esque monument to their fabulous victory at the foot of the now-missing WTC"?

    My guess is because it's the "Cordoba Initiative" that is funding the building of this mosque..

    This being the case, it appears to be logical to call it "Cordoba-esque"....

    Given the history that the term "Cordoba" has within the Islam religion, I think it's a legitimate concern...

    When I was young and stoopid, I was on the front lines during the MX Missile Protests at Vandenberg AFB.. The running "joke" amongst us cops was, "REMEMBER KENT STATE!!"...

    Pretty offensive stuff, isn't it??

    Why is it that the Left is so damn skittish about offending a religion that actually BEHEADs people who simply draw a picture of their god??

    Why does the Left demand absolute tolerance for a religion such as that??

    These are all legitimate questions....

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "...Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has insisted the project he's spearheading is meant to build bridges between Muslims and other religions, but so far he has not been able to cite any specific sources of funding.

    But in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Rauf told the newspaper that funding would come from Muslims in the United States and from overseas.

    "Imam Abdul Rauf . . . told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Islamic center will be financed through contributions from Muslims in the US, as well as by donations from Arab and Islamic countries," the newspaper reported.

    Rauf did not return a call for comment.

    In interviews with US media, Rauf has insisted funds would be raised here...."
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/foreign_mosque_money_OSkAG6ucmWz6yPAJU61cTO

  36. [36] 
    Chris1962 wrote:
  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Interesting information on the history of the CORDOBA term vis a vis Islam...

    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/127499.html

    One quote particularly stood out...

    "We must remember that a practice associated with conquering Islamic armies was the construction of a mosque at the location where their triumphant battle was won. Thus, this modern Islamic organization is seeking to build a mosque at the site of 9/11 attack—an attack which was carried out by 19 Muslim hijackers who considered their mission holy war."

    Once again, it appears that those who are against a mosque at the 9/11 attack site DO have some legitimate concerns..

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    My guess is because it's the "Cordoba Initiative" that is funding the building of this mosque..

    This being the case, it appears to be logical to call it "Cordoba-esque"....

    Given the history that the term "Cordoba" has within the Islam religion, I think it's a legitimate concern...

    The "Cordoba" House groundbreaking is scheduled for September 11, 2011: the tenth anniversary of the attack. All a big coinkydink, I'm sure.

  39. [39] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    One quote particularly stood out...

    "We must remember that a practice associated with conquering Islamic armies was the construction of a mosque at the location where their triumphant battle was won.

    Yeah, how 'bout that. And "Cordoba" House will begin construction on September 11th next year. And the Iman refuses to reveal where the money is coming from. But, hey, this is only about healing relations, don'tcha know.

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    >>> Why do you continue to insist on calling this mosque " a Cardoba-esque monument to their fabulous victory at the foot of the now-missing WTC"?

    My guess is because it's the "Cordoba Initiative" that is funding the building of this mosque...

    You focused on the wrong half of my comment ...

  41. [41] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "Thus, this modern Islamic organization is seeking to build a mosque at the site of 9/11 attack—an attack which was carried out by 19 Muslim hijackers who considered their mission holy war."

    Also, this building was hit by the landing gear of the first plane. So that, too, would make it attractive to terrorists looking to build a Cordoba-esque shrine to their great victory. This whole thing stinks on ice.

  42. [42] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    The current mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, gave a speech today on why the mosque will be built. I'm not a big fan of Bloomberg (I'm not a big enemy, either, just don't pay that much attention to him), but I have to say, he says in his speech exactly what I have been waiting for someone to say about this ugly bit of bigotry from the Right.

    It's not about Muslims or any of the other red-herring arguments being raised by the Left, CW. It's about whether this mosque is being financed and built as a Cordoba-style monument of victory by the very enemy seeking to wipe Americans — including you — off the face of this earth. Yet anyone who dares to find out where this money is coming from is immediately branded a bigot by the Left.

    Bloomberg, incidentally, is a lifelong liberal Democrat who changed parties for political expediency when the Mayoral gig opened up, and then changed parties again, for the same reason. So I'm not too shocked to find him perpetuating the spin that it's all about religion instead of what it REALLY is all about: the funding of "Cordoba" House, which despite its having been hit by the landing gear of the first plane, still holds no historic significance, as far as Bloomberg's hand-picked panel can find. How terribly convenient:

    "...Brown and thousands of Americans who have signed a petition are being represented by the Christian law firm American Center for Law and Justice. International operations director Jordan Sekulow stated that, "I really think this is playing politics with landmarking. And when you look at the history of what this (New York City Landmarks Preservation) commission has done and landmarked, it truly shows how politicized the process has become."

    Some specific examples to which Sekulow referred included, "a building where a Weather Underground bomb went off – (that was) Bill Ayers' group…(Planned Parenthood founder) Margaret Sanger's clinic…Stonewall (Inn), which was part of the gay rights movement."

    Sekulow added, "There was wreckage from the aircraft; the landing gear. So a small explosive goes off in the Weather Underground (and) that's a landmark? But landing gear hits this building and it's not? I mean that gives you right there the politics of this commission, which I think is very unfortunate because it’s not a place for that."

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio has testified to give the building landmark status because of the damage from the plane debris in relation to the 9/11 attack, and has demanded an investigation into the funding of the Mosque, according to a http://www.foxnews.com article last week. He stated that the building has become, "a place of deep historical significance and a reminder of just what happened on New York’s darkest day...."
    http://www.examiner.com/x-16044-Christianity--Politics-Examiner~y2010m7d22-Citizens-challenge-911-Mosque-plans

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    You focused on the wrong half of my comment ...

    I did indeed..

    Allow me to rectify my error...

    monument to their fabulous victory at the foot of the now-missing WTC"?

    As was posted above, Islamic armies will build mosques at the sites that have been conquered, as epitomized by the Cordoba history...

    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/127499.html

    Therefore, when an Islamic group called the Cordoba Initiative wants to build a mosque on the site of the largest terrorist attack on US soil, an attack committed by, in their minds, Islamic soldiers...

    Well, you put all these facts (and make no mistake, these ARE facts) together and it doesn't paint too pretty a picture...

    Now, having said all of the afore, I see the point that CW is trying to make.. And it IS a valid point.. If it's private property, then there really isn't anything that can be done about what people want to do with their property...

    This is the law as far as it goes and I agree with that.

    However, I point out that the reality is quite different..

    If this Cordoba Initiative wanted to, blatantly and obviously (instead of (ostensibly) surreptitiously) build a shrine in honor of of the 19 Hijackers and their "glorious" {gag} deed, you can bet that some way would be found to stop it...

    While the law is the law, public opinion sometimes holds more sway....

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    While the law is the law, public opinion sometimes holds more sway...

    Thankfully, not in California. :)

  45. [45] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    If it's private property, then there really isn't anything that can be done about what people want to do with their property...

    There is if that property is purchased with funds from terrorist organizations.

  46. [46] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    "...As National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy has documented, Rauf’s book, published in the West as What’s Right with Islam Is What's Right with America, had a significantly different title abroad: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. "Dawa" means Islamic proselytizing, a process that ends in the imposition of sharia. The book was published abroad with the assistance of the Islamic Society of North America and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which are two appendages of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization behind much of the world's murderous Islamic terrorism. The Islamic Society of North America was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case. The co-founder and president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Awani, was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami al-Arian terrorism case..."
    http://www.chris11962.com/blog/files/ffecb798eb6b9d3f5a37f0c26b917eff-123.html

  47. [47] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Chris1962 -

    Not to be disrespectful, but you seem to keep reinforcing my main point, which is: "Isn't it amusing how conservatives throw that whole 'rule of law' thing out the window when the law says something they don't like?"

    Your argument breaks down into two parts. The first is: dark intimations (with no evidence whatsoever other than sinister rumors) of terrorist money. Well, two points. Firstly, I don't get to examine the books of a megachurch that wants to build a huge house of worship, do I? Neither does the government, for that matter, since they aren't taxed. Back to the Bill of Rights again. Secondly, it is the FBI's job to track terrorist money, and don't you think they'd have had something to say by now if that money DID come from terrorists? Or do you think they just "missed" it? Again, it's up to the FBI to determine that, not outraged citizens. As guaranteed by the Constitution.

    The second part of your argument is sheer emotionalism: "Tain't right!"

    Again, let's get back to the Constitution and the rule of law. You haven't bothered to answer this, because there truly is no answer. It's cut and dried. First Amendment.

    The Bill of Rights, remember, is there to protect the rights of the MINORITY, not the majority. And, together with a few other fun Amendments like the Fourteenth, this guarantees that everyone is treated equal under the law. No exception is given for an annoyed majority screaming "tain't right!" None.

    THIS is the freedom the terrorists hate, supposedly. So we've all got to stand up for these freedoms, even when we don't like the person or group exercising those freedoms.

    It's the old saying about "your right to say what you want." I'm no fan of the KKK, but I'd be just as adamant about their right to march through the streets or build a headquarters anywhere they chose to. Freedom doesn't always mean "the freedom not to be offended." Actually, it NEVER means that. EVER. No matter if the vast majority of America is offended or not.

    It's just like flag burning, in other words. The Supreme Court says I have a right to burn an American flag any time and any where I feel like (as long as it's safe, I should qualify). This pisses off almost everyone else, but that has NOTHING to do with my right to do so, should I feel the urge. Because of the First Amendment.

    Give me some shred of a legal reason (without evidence-free theories about where the money came from) why these folks should not be allowed to build a mosque, please. Because, so far, you have not. I've got the "rule of law" on my side, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. You have "Tain't right!"

    At least, that's how I see this discussion at this point.

    -CW

  48. [48] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Your argument breaks down into two parts. The first is: dark intimations (with no evidence whatsoever other than sinister rumors) of terrorist money. Well, two points. Firstly, I don't get to examine the books of a megachurch that wants to build a huge house of worship, do I? Neither does the government, for that matter, since they aren't taxed.

    CW, we're at war. The guy doing the purchasing and building, which is estimated at $100M dollars, has stated, on record, that part of the money is coming from overseas Muslim groups. And while you may not get to examine the books, this country has a little something known as the Patriot Act, which is there (among other reasons) to follow money suspected of coming into this country from terrorist organizations. And this guy has ties to a couple of questionable groups. So, yes, evidence does exist, and laws exist, and this situation can be investigated; hence, the reason elected officials are calling for it. Specifically, elected NY representatives, one of whom holds a senior position on the Homeland committee.

    Back to the Bill of Rights again. Secondly, it is the FBI's job to track terrorist money, and don't you think they'd have had something to say by now if that money DID come from terrorists? Or do you think they just "missed" it?

    We would have to ask a certain Eric Holder about that. He would be the guy who says yay or NAY to what the tasks the FBI undertakes. (Y'know, the same Eric Holder whose Civil Rights department has been ordered not to prosecute voter intimidation cases wherein the victim is white and the perp is black. Seems Holder's FBI guys aren't free to do anything they please. They follow orders.)

    Again, let's get back to the Constitution and the rule of law. You haven't bothered to answer this, because there truly is no answer. It's cut and dried. First Amendment.

    I didn't bother answering this because it's not applicable to an investigation into terrorist money being funneled to a group inside the USA.

  49. [49] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Whoops, I'm mixing my FBI with my JD. I've gotta eat some dinner. Then I'll readdress that point.

  50. [50] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    The Bill of Rights, remember, is there to protect the rights of the MINORITY, not the majority. And, together with a few other fun Amendments like the Fourteenth, this guarantees that everyone is treated equal under the law. No exception is given for an annoyed majority screaming "tain't right!" None.

    Again, it's about ascertaining whether terrorist groups are funding this. That's a legal issue, not a religious one or an emotional one. So your "tain't right" defense is another red herring.

  51. [51] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    It's the old saying about "your right to say what you want." I'm no fan of the KKK, but I'd be just as adamant about their right to march through the streets or build a headquarters anywhere they chose to.

    We're not at war with the KKK. We're at war with radical Islamics, who are known to ILLEGALLY funnel money into this country to fund their agenda. So tell me why we shouldn't be investigating where this $100M for "Cordoba" House is coming from.

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    If your only concern is where the funds are coming from for this mosque, then allow me to set your mind at ease ... the Treasury Department is all over this.

  53. [53] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Give me some shred of a legal reason (without evidence-free theories about where the money came from) why these folks should not be allowed to build a mosque, please.

    I didn't say they shouldn't be allowed to build a mosque. I said that the source of the funding should be ascertained to ensure that this isn't being footed by terrorists. THAT would be illegal, CW. As for evidence: a statement, on record, that overseas Muslim groups are funding it;a second statement contradicting the first; a refusal to name the source of the funding; ties to radical organizations; and the name "Cordoba" and the historical significance thereof. Exactly how much evidence do you think the government needs to look into this?

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me ask a question of CW and Liz and whoever else wants to chime in.

    *IF* it can be proven or even supported, that the funding for the Cordoba Initiative comes from terrorist groups and/or funding, would that change your mind about the issue???

    It's the old saying about "your right to say what you want." I'm no fan of the KKK, but I'd be just as adamant about their right to march through the streets or build a headquarters anywhere they chose to. Freedom doesn't always mean "the freedom not to be offended." Actually, it NEVER means that. EVER. No matter if the vast majority of America is offended or not.

    It's just like flag burning, in other words. The Supreme Court says I have a right to burn an American flag any time and any where I feel like (as long as it's safe, I should qualify). This pisses off almost everyone else, but that has NOTHING to do with my right to do so, should I feel the urge. Because of the First Amendment.

    That's what I like about you, CW... You stick to your position even in "what if" situations where you know it would be extremely unpopular to do so.. :D It's logical.. :D

    But you can bet that, in my "what if" about the Cordoba House becoming a shrine for terrorists in general and the 9/11 hijackers in particular, the people of New York, INCLUDING Bloomberg, would not respond as logically and rationally as you have.

    And I would be hard pressed to blame them...

    Michale.....

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    Good WaTimes editorial on the subject.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/27/the-911-mosque/

    While CW is right about owners of private property being able to do what they want with it (as long as they obey a whole crap-load of city, county and state ordinances) there is nothing to say that the US Government must allow overseas funding from unknown sources..

    Even in Bloomberg's speech, he allows that a "special sensitivity" is (and should be) in place, due to the nature of the area...

    Determining funding can, and SHOULD, be part and parcel to this "special sensitivity"...

    Michale.....

  56. [56] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Bloomberg would fight it to the bitter end. He wants/needs the jobs and revenue.

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bloomberg would fight it to the bitter end. He wants/needs the jobs and revenue.

    I dunno...

    If it is shown that there is ANY kind of connection between the Cordoba Initiative and terrorist groups, Bloomberg would be hard pressed to get behind it, even it if cost the city jobs and revenue..

    Michale.....

  58. [58] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I agree that if a funny-money connection should be made, he'll ultimately be forced by public opinion to give it up. But my point is that he'll fight and spin it for as long as he possibly can. Look how long he hung in supporting the terrorist trials in NYC.

    Meanwhile, I'd love to know where they're gonna find the construction workers to do the building.

  59. [59] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    <>

    Well, that's the whole point. If this is being funded by terrorist organizations, that's illegal and, thus, the end of the project.

  60. [60] 
    dsws wrote:

    "That it utterly contradicts their political philosophy seems to bother them not at all."

    No, it doesn't. Not in the slightest. They're authoritarian to the core: they just favor some forms of authority over others, and are willing to go all-out lying to delegitimize the ones they don't like. All it contradicts is the dishonest rhetoric they use to make some of their positions sound good.

  61. [61] 
    dsws wrote:

    "I thought the Tea Partiers / new conservatives were all about the Constitution?"

    Absolutely. They'll put it on a pedestal, worship it, the whole nine yards. Saves having to actually agree with it.

    It's sort of like how "you can't pick and choose what part of the Bible to believe". That's the unvarnished truth, once you provide the correct emphasis: "*You* can't pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe." In each case, the actual document is basically irrelevant, and authority is based on tradition.

    I could say something snarky about precedent in legal interpretation of the Constitution. But that gets a bit far afield, because I actually support precedent so I would have to go through both sides of the statement.

  62. [62] 
    dsws wrote:

    "I don't like using the term "Ground Zero," as -- to me -- it should be reserved for the sites of nuclear explosions"

    For real sticklers, it's only for bombs that explode in the air: "ground zero" on the surface is distinguished from "zero point" where the bomb actually exploded.

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    dsws,

    No, it doesn't. Not in the slightest. They're authoritarian to the core: they just favor some forms of authority over others, and are willing to go all-out lying to delegitimize the ones they don't like. All it contradicts is the dishonest rhetoric they use to make some of their positions sound good.

    You mean the kind of ironic hypocrisy that has the hysterical left promote violence against people who simply have a different political viewpoint??? :D

    Or maybe you mean the ironic hypocrisy that has the Left censor comments that they don't like??? :D

    Of course, nothing like that happens here at CW.com...

    Once again, CW is the exception that proves the rule...

    Michale.....

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