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NinjaSamurai

Ground Zero Mosque

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Ian, don't expect a debate with nathan to have "closure." He's a squirrely shapeshifter that does not directly respond to arguments.

 

That is all.

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I am uncomfortable advising people where to build their places of worship/community centers. I'm certain they understand many people will be unhappy if they build it at the proposed site. But if they want to go ahead with it, what business of mine is that?

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You attempted to inappropriately group multiple arguments together--I happen to think that more transparency is important in community citing decisions.

Oh, you thought we were arguing? I see where the confusion is.

 

No, no, what happened is I called you an anti-Muslim bigot and then you proceeded to prove me right.

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It Can Be Both

Josh Marshall | August 24, 2010, 2:14PM

Throughout the controversy over the Cordoba House / Ground Zero Mosque / Park51 project, there's been a steady backdrift of criticism suggesting that, quite apart from the ideological controversies, the project just hasn't been well run. Some say that the organizers have had a poor media strategy or, frankly, have had close to none; or that they didn't canvass the idea well with the rest of the Muslim community in New York City.

 

Others point out that whatever you think about the controversy, which in some respects has become global, there's hardly even a project. What you have really is a developer who owns a building and a Imam with a non-profit and a concept. While the crazies are going on about the project being funded by the Global Anti-American Jihad, Inc., the truth is that it actually isn't funded at all. They haven't started raising money yet. These points have been made in various ways in the Times, Politico and the Post. And here's a post by Hussein Rashid at religiondispatches.org that covers some of the same ground.

 

A lot of readers who support the project to varying degrees have been angry about these pieces because they seem to focus on the faults or shortcomings of the organizers and not place the blame on the haters and xenophobes who are the ones who caused the problem, as they see it. When someone is victimized, the main problem is the victimizer, not the victim who didn't plan ahead well enough to deal with the onslaught. The shortcomings of the victims' ability to defend themselves is decidedly a second order problem.

 

But as we learn more about this story, I think it's worth having minds spacious enough to get a grasp on both realities. In the abstract, there's nothing particularly magical about the people behind this project. Certainly, in various ways, they could have planned things differently, marshaled supporters more effectively, simply run their project more competently. And in our reporting I've always tried to hold to the basic fact -- which is what I think President Obama was trying to do to -- that there's nothing magical about having an Islamic community center in that part of Lower Manhattan. When larger and more important principles come into play, it's always good to resist romanticizing the people whose actions, intentionally or not, put those principles on the line.

 

But as is often the case, things in life and politics often take on a special life and meaning of their own. So even though this is just an idea that Imam Rauf and the developers behind Soho Properties came up with, it became a focus for something much bigger. Once the project became the focus of those trying to demonize and marginalize all Muslim-Americans -- and I really have no doubt that's the aim of the people who are leading this charge -- then it became a big deal and something worth defending, even if it didn't start out that way. Not only because it's right. But because it's about who we are as a people, as a country.

 

There's nothing with holding both these concepts in our heads at once.

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My favorite part is that people who are opposed to it want to distance themselves from the overt bigots opposed to it, but have no problem lumping all Muslims together.

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Interesting point from Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/08/ground-zero-was-built-graves-slaves#

 

Ground Zero's Slave Graves

— By Jen Phillips| Wed Aug. 25, 2010 4:32 PM PDT

 

The outrage about the "ground zero mosque" has turned very ugly, as this video of this recent protest shows. People are calling Mohammed a pig. A New York City cab driver was stabbed today after his passenger asked him if he was Muslim. But I find the righteous outrage of those contending the former World Trade Center site is "hallowed ground" amusing, because they have no idea just how right they are. Before the World Trade Center was even designed (with Islamic architectural elements, incidentally), the ground was indeed sacrosanct: The bones of some 20,000 African slaves are buried 25 feet below Lower Manhattan. As at least 10 percent of West African slaves in America were Muslims, it's not out of bounds to extrapolate that ground zero itself was built on the bones of at least a few Muslim slaves. That is to say, hallowed Muslim ground.

 

For some time, activists, historians, and city officials have been working together to excavate and preserve the bones of the slaves buried under present-day lower Manhattan. A recent excavation of a 14,000 square foot section of the six-acre burial ground found that 92 percent of the 419 skeletons were of African descent, and 40 percent were children under 12. The bones of the 419 slaves were eventually reinterred.

 

African slaves couldn't be buried in New York City itself, so they were put to rest along the city's then-northern border, near present-day Chambers Street. The exact borders of the burial ground are fuzzy, and experts say that without test digs, they won't be able to tell how far it extends. The area they've excavated so far ends just a block or two from ground zero, but with the huge number of African slaves that lived and died in New Amsterdam, I find it hard to believe the burial grounds didn't extend further.

 

At any rate, some of the slaves' belongings were definitely at ground zero: About 100 boxes of artifacts from the African graves were stored at 6 WTC, which was crushed by the North Tower on 9/11, but thankfully archivists were able to recover them. A few of the items were strings of blue beads found buried with the slaves...which some think could be Islamic prayer beads.

 

Park51 won't even be at ground zero proper (across from Brooks Brothers or the Century 21 department store). But if it were, it would still be perfectly defensible. In fact, since WTC was likely built over the centuries-old bones of Muslim slaves, it would be a downright blessing.

 

Jen Phillips is an assistant editor at Mother Jones. For more of her stories, click here or follow her on Twitter, @the_hip_hapa.

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Talking about great Jon Stewart segments, I watched this bit this morning:

 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-august-25-2010/tennessee-no-evil

 

The mosque should be built, not owing itself to freedom of speech (though that's certainly a component), but for the US to make it a symbol of understanding, in that we know the radicals in the planes are nothing like muslims and to group them would be neither a fair nor reasonable representation of Islam.

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I think this where I've finally come down to - the benefits of the mosque outweigh the detriments to the mosque. If Ali Soufan says it will help us with national security, then I'm on board 100%.

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If Beck can "restore honor" (didn't know we had lost it) in the same location on the same date as MLK Jr's speech, then I think a mosque shouldn't have restrictions on proximity toward any place that people feel is special. Both are 1st admendment issues (right to assembly and right to religion). Both are being attacked for being in bad taste.

 

Less people should be concerned what is surrounding the area where the WTC was, and more people should be concerned that 9 years later it is still a hole rather than being rebuilt. 10% of America is unemployed including a lot of people who used to build houses but there is no market for that now. Perhaps they should be put to work building something, anything where there is still a hole that does more to symbolize the attacks than any mosque would in the area.

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Things like this make me mad. Even for the bigots, this should be a non-issue when compared to abortion (in their minds, anyway, since my understanding of the conservative position is that it is tantamount to genocide - not that I agree), factory farming, poverty, exploitation, human trafficking and the like. Just another instance of how The Media has the privileged position of selecting which issues become politicized. No one should even be talking about it; it matters that little.

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However this "ground Zero Mousque" makes you feel, it will be built regardless. It is in the constitution that you can build religious buildings on private property and no one can stop you. Its called freedom of religion. So for anyone to oppose this building, is going directly against the constitution.

 

Editorial: I think this is building just a slap in the face, I mean COME ON!!! YOU KNEW THIS WOULD START CRAP! BUILD IT SOMEWHERE ELSE JERKWAD! I get that not all muslims are the same, but they knew this would cause uproar...thats just disrespectful.

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However this "ground Zero Mousque" makes you feel, it will be built regardless. It is in the constitution that you can build religious buildings on private property and no one can stop you. Its called freedom of religion. So for anyone to oppose this building, is going directly against the constitution.

 

Editorial: I think this is building just a slap in the face, I mean COME ON!!! YOU KNEW THIS WOULD START CRAP! BUILD IT SOMEWHERE ELSE JERKWAD! I get that not all muslims are the same, but they knew this would cause uproar...thats just disrespectful.

First, the constitution (in relevant part) only prohibits government restrictions on speech and religion, so private actors are free to support or oppose whatever they wish. But second, how is opposition reasonably directed at the organizers when there is already another islamic community center, closer to Ground Zero that actually predates the world trade center towers?

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Perhaps I just wasn't clear, my bad. I didn't mean opposing this was unconstitutional I just meant that if the government denied this building, then that is unconstitutional.

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