Bravo: Fareed Zakaria’s Ethical Stand on Mosque

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fareed_zakaria_.jpgCNN show host and Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria has returned $10,000 and an award he was presented by the Anti-Defamation League in 2005 after ADL’s opposition to a mosque at the rebuilt World Trade Center site in New York.
This is exceptional leadership on an important moral issue that I want to salute. We don’t see people of Fareed Zakaria’s stature taking stands that often as they tend to run from risk rather than embrace it.
This from a report at Huffington Post:

“Five years ago, the ADL honored me with its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize,” Zakaria writes in next week’s Newsweek. “I was thrilled to get the award from an organization that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it. I urge the ADL to reverse its decision. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain a reputation.”

We at TWN urge Abe Foxman and ADL to change course as well.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

54 comments on “Bravo: Fareed Zakaria’s Ethical Stand on Mosque

  1. observer says:

    Steve Clemens:
    Yes, FZ did the right thing.
    Foxman is a disgrace.
    And Robertson is a man disappointed that the world has not yet been destroyed. He had been pining for it since his “700 Club” days.
    Where have the sane people in US gone?

    Reply

  2. JohnH says:

    Foxman is trying to have it both ways–being a bigot without being seen as a bigot, implying that Islam was the culprit in 9/11 while hiding behind the suggestion that it’s only people’s sensitivities, accurate or inaccurate, that he’s concerned about.
    Of course, if he was really concerned about peoples’ sensitivities, then an Islamic cultural center could have the same effect as a Jewish holocaust museum or a Jewish museum of tolerance, both of which are used to promote understanding of issues primarily of interest to Jews.
    If Foxman was really concerned about reconciliation, he could have avoided the issue and left it to the Israel Firsters to pitch their usual hissy fit. Moreover, Foxman could have embraced the possibilities for reconciliation inherent in an Islamic cultural center and worked with its leaders to assure that the goal was realized.
    Instead, he came out in attack mode, undermining any possibility of reconciliation, and showing the very human rights blind spot that Peter Beinhart discusses in his piece.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-02/the-anti-defamation-leagues-ground-zero-mosque-hypocrisy/2/

    Reply

  3. nadine says:

    Wigwag, Foxman has replied to Zakaria, and he agrees with your common sense reasoning:
    “I hope you have read our statement on the proposed Islamic Center at Ground Zero and, more importantly, understand our position. We did not oppose the right for an Islamic Center or a mosque to be built. What we did was to make an appeal based solely on the issues of location and sensitivity. If the stated goal was to advance reconciliation and understanding, we believe taking into consideration the feelings of many victims and their families, of first responders and many New Yorkers, who are not bigots but still feel the pain of 9/11, would go a long way to achieving that reconciliation.
    ADL has and will continue to stand up for Muslims and others where they are targets of racism and bigotry, as we have done at the request of and on behalf of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf.
    I am holding on to your award and check in hope that you will come to see that ADL acted appropriately and you will want to reclaim them.”

    Reply

  4. nadine says:

    I think Iranians are decent people too, and I’m all for sanctions on Iran.
    There is no way to pressure dangerous radical governments without affecting the people.
    Tell me, do all the people boycotting Israel and proposing sanctions care how the Israeli people are affected?

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  5. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, I wasn’t quoting anyone. You asked why some Muslim community would deliberately choose the site they did, and speculated on a motivation.

    Reply

  6. JohnH says:

    Wigwag fails to recognize that Bloomberg is the mayor of perhaps the world’s preeminent international city. As such, he cannot permit the perception of bigotry by his government.
    Denying Muslims a mosque that would worsen the United States abysmal standing in the world and likely cost New York City dearly both in terms of tourism, but also business.
    Unlike some of New York’s religious fanatics, who blatantly hate everything Muslim, Bloomberg has more important things to worry about.

    Reply

  7. JohnH says:

    Whew! Nadine just let out a big one! It even smells over the internet!
    If she thought that Palestinians were decent people, she would object to their collective punishment, why BTW is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
    But Nadine doesn’t object to any cruel and inhumane action by her beloved government against Palestinians. Nadine doesn’t object even when the IDF orders a large, extended familly into a house and then blows the house up, killing 23, mostly women, children and old folks. Worse, some of them were denied medical assistance and left by the IDF to bleed to death.
    Nadine’s been consuming so much hasbara that it’s affecting her digestive system.

    Reply

  8. WigWag says:

    “We wish to demonstrate our solidarity with our fellow-citizens; our common commitment to restoring the religious unity of our city; our enduring grief and determination to face and memorialize the victims of the 9/11 attacks, many of whom were Muslim brothers and sisters; and our faith-based belief the triumph of the peace and dominion of God over the works of sin and evil. Thus we wish to build a center for the peaceful worship of God, in the manner taught by our prophet and faith, near the very site where a handful of mad apostates committed murder in their deluded understanding of that faith, and brought calumny on the Muslim faithful. Our presence here is the best way to affirm the true spirit of our religion, as we understand it, and to give witness to our unshaken conviction in the eventual triumph of God’s peace. God is great; and the presence of our prayers will help restore the victorious word of God to a place where that word was profaned by murderers.” (Dan Kervick, presumably quoting leaders of the Mosque/Cultural Center Project)
    The problem is that the actions of the people developing the mosque/cultural center are in direct contradiction with their words. It should be self-evident that you don’t “demonstrate solidarity” with anyone by behaving in an insenstive and boorish manner. When they placed their project in such close proximity to Ground Zero, the project leaders surely knew that many 9/11 families would find this objectionable; they just didn’t care or perhaps that even made them happy. Either way, it’s a rather strange way of demonstrating solidarity with the 9/11 victims.
    They go on to say that they want to inspire religious unity; but their project has done precisely the opposite; it has riled feelings and sown disunity. The people developing this project aren’t stupid; they knew all along that that was the likely outcome. They just didn’t care. Perhaps its disunity that they are really working to inspire.
    Bloomberg’s speech was equally craven; in fact, taken as a whole, it was a non-sequitur. The gist of Bloomberg’s remarks was that the government shouldn’t entangle itself in religion or tell religious groups where or when to build. All of that is self-evidently true. What Bloomberg didn’t address was the whether buidling the project on this site was right as opposed to legal.
    There is simply no way to conclude that putting the Mosque/cultural center in this location was anything other than a defiant act deliberately designed to express disdain for those 9/11 victims (we are in some sense all 9/11 victims) who found it objectionable.
    All three Abrahamic faiths have one version or another of the old adage, “do on to others…”
    The so-called moderate Muslims involved in this situation sure have a funny way of demonstrating their moderation. What’s so moderate about treating people of other faiths disrespectfully and insensitively?

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    “If she were really interested in supporting causes of honorable men, as she claims, she would recognize that the overwhelming majority of Muslims, including Palestinians, are decent people who mostly wish to be left alone to earn enough to raise their families.”
    I do recognize it, JohnH. Trouble is, if you are ruled by kleptocrats, terrorists, and theocratic fascists, as the Palestinians are, it doesn’t matter what the majority of people want.

    Reply

  10. JohnH says:

    It’s easy to see why a supremacist like Nadine would identify with the Confederacy.
    If she were really interested in supporting causes of honorable men, as she claims, she would recognize that the overwhelming majority of Muslims, including Palestinians, are decent people who mostly wish to be left alone to earn enough to raise their families.

    Reply

  11. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m delighted to have Nadine and Carroll arrayed against me in an unholy alliance on the issue of Civil War.
    You both have been taken in by some myths that began to be woven after the Civil War had ended as part of the national healing and forgetting process, and that falsify and sentimentalize the actual causes for which the Confederate States fought a war of secession.
    But the secessionists themselves were under much fewer illusions at the time of their actual rebellion. For just one example of what those causes were, let’s take a look at “A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union”:
    “In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.”
    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”
    “That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.”
    … and what follows is a long list of complaints about northern hostility to the institution of slavery. You can read them here:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_missec.asp
    The document makes it crystal clear that Mississippi’s sole motive for secession was a desire to preserve the institution of slavery, and to thwart northern efforts to abolish slavery.
    You can also read South Carolina’s declaration which, while more theoretical and slightly less brazen, makes it clear that the central motive and cause for their separation is the north’s failure to uphold the fugitive slave law, and defend their property rights in their enslaved human chattel.
    Robert E. Lee, a temperate and conservative man, who thought slavery was a bad business, was nevertheless of the opinion that the country must wait as the chains of bondage were very slowly and gradually melted away by the providence of the Christian God. And in defending that view, he said this:
    “The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy.”
    You can read more:
    http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/Lee%20on%20Slavery.htm
    Note the pious admonitions at the end directed at northern abolitionists who sought to interfere with the “spiritual liberty” of southern slaveholders. Yes, the noble Lee positively gushes with these noble sentiments, nobly expressed.
    So while the aristocratic Lee had a snooty disdain for the ugly plebian and commercial realities of human enslavement and the trade in human beings, and for the tortures and horrors whose infliction was permitted to the possessors of human property, and while he indulged a flaccid moralistic pipe dream for the elimination of that foul business in the fullness of providential time, he conveniently thought the preservation of the institutions of human property and forced labor were justified for the present, a present whose extent was known only to the Supreme Being, and that it was not given to ordinary mortals to discern. Abolition was, he thought, a rude and impertinent interference with the course of providence.
    How tragic it is that a crass conflict over the issue of human enslavement, and mere money and property, came to vex the noble brow of this noble Christian gentleman! Oh, it’s just like Ashley Wilkes! Oh Melanie, oh Tara! … Excuse me while I make use of my hankie …
    … Better now.
    The confederate cause was an evil cause. And because Robert E. Lee, a highly educated and knowledgeable man, chose to align himself with that cause, he made himself into an evil man. We can all sympathize with dual loyalties. But when the crisis of conflicting loyalties came, and men and women were forced to align themselves with one side or another, Lee chose the side of those who believed in the right to abduct human beings from their homes, claim them as property, trade them, whip them and confine them, and impress them into labor against their wills. This was the providence of his god at work.

    Reply

  12. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m delighted to have Nadine and Carroll arrayed against me in an unholy alliance on the issue of Civil War.
    You both have been taken in by some myths that began to be woven after the Civil War had ended as part of the national healing and forgetting process, and that falsify and sentimentalize the actual causes for which the Confederate States fought a war of secession.
    But the secessionists themselves were under much fewer illusions at the time of their actual rebellion. For just one example of what those causes were, let’s take a look at “A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union”:
    “In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.”
    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”
    “That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.”
    … and what follows is a long list of complaints about northern hostility to the institution of slavery. You can read them here:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_missec.asp
    The document makes it crystal clear that Mississippi’s sole motive for secession was a desire to preserve the institution of slavery, and to thwart northern efforts to abolish slavery.
    You can also read South Carolina’s declaration which, while more theoretical and slightly less brazen, makes it clear that the central motive and cause for their separation is the north’s failure to uphold the fugitive slave law, and defend their property rights in their enslaved human chattel:
    http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html#South%20Carolina
    Robert E. Lee, a temperate and conservative man, who thought slavery was a bad business, was nevertheless of the opinion that the country must wait as the chains of bondage were very slowly and gradually melted away by the providence of the Christian God. And in defending that view, he said this:
    “The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy.”
    You can read more:
    http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/Lee%20on%20Slavery.htm
    Note the pious admonitions at the end directed at northern abolitionists who sought to interfere with the “spiritual liberty” of southern slaveholders. Yes, the noble Lee positively gushes with these noble sentiments, nobly expressed.
    So while the aristocratic Lee had a snooty disdain for the ugly plebian and commercial realities of human enslavement and the trade in human beings, and for the tortures and horrors whose infliction was permitted to the possessors of human property, and while he indulged a flaccid moralistic pipe dream for the elimination of that foul business in the fullness of providential time, he conveniently thought the preservation of the institutions of human property and forced labor were justified for the present, a present whose extent was known only to the Supreme Being, and that it was not given to ordinary mortals to discern. Abolition was, he thought, a rude and impertinent interference with the course of providence.
    How tragic it is that a crass conflict over the issue of human enslavement, and mere money and property, came to vex the noble brow of this noble Christian gentleman! Oh, it’s just like Ashley Wilkes! Oh Melanie, oh Tara! … Excuse me while I make use of my hankie …
    … Better now.
    The confederate cause was an evil cause. And because Robert E. Lee, a highly educated and knowledgeable man, chose to align himself with that cause, he made himself into an evil man. We can all sympathize with dual loyalties. But when the crisis of conflicting loyalties came, and men and women were forced to align themselves with one side or another, Lee chose the side of those who believed in the right to abduct human beings from their homes, claim them as property, trade them, whip them and confine them, and impress them into labor against their wills. This was the providence of his god at work.

    Reply

  13. rc says:

    “The message is the memory of 9/11” — would that be Chile 9/11, 1973 where the democratically elected government was ousted by a CIA inspired coup with the name Kissinger stamped all over it and President Salvador Allende shot? Would the dancing in the streets across South America after the building fell have been because they were Moslems and terrorists? Was the jet flying out some of GWBush’s hand-holding Saudi’s while everything else was grounded have been off to pick up some pizza?
    If the 9/11/2001 pilots were Iranians or North Korean then we’d never hear the end of it … but they were largely Saudi citizens I think on a Wahhabi picnic.
    The money for most Mosque projects around the world comes from Saudi Arabia and is always flavored with Wahhabi sauce. Is this any different? They own much of America anyway, so what’s the gripe?

    Reply

  14. Dirk says:

    We’ll have to see how honest and forthcoming Fareed Zakaria is in the future given his new boss at Newsweek.
    Sidney Harmon, cofounder of Harmon Kardon Inc, purchased Newsweek from the Washington Post recently. What I didn’t know was that Harmon is the husband of Likud Democrat, Jane Harmon.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/3/headlines
    as well as
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Harman

    Reply

  15. JohnC says:

    “The imam says his message is one of tolerance. But his non-transparency about his funding, and some of his past statements blaming the US for 9/11, make people suspect he is dissumulating.”
    Ironically, the American Center for Law and Justice, which is waging a futile last-ditch legal effort to prevent the construction of the cultural center, is an outfit funded by Pat Robertson, who himself blamed the U.S. for the 9/11 attacks.
    Perhaps we should investigate the ACLJ, and why they would be so “insensitive” as to get involved near Ground Zero with a legacy like that.

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    Well I am a Southerner who was raised to believe the yankees were the bad guys in the war of Northern Agression.LOL
    Can’t believe I am about to say nadine is right about something but she is correct in the way most Southerners viewed the war, and most of them didn’t own slaves. The ones that did accused the Northerners of pretense on the slavery issue because of all the indentjured servants Northerners kept. They saw it as fighting for their homes and land against the Northern industrial traders who wanted to take control and ownership of what was a wealthy area of raw commodities production in the nation.
    Near our family homeplace, which we still have to this day because the Yankees neglected to burn it down like they did some in the area, there are lots of statutes and battle field plaques to remind you of the war.
    Every time I take the ferry from the Outer Banks over to Knott’s Island in Virginia the first thing visible is a confederate flag flying just behind the boat landing.
    But basically interest in the motives behind the war is pretty much over except among the historians.
    Excellent book on the civil war called “The Cousins War”….very appropiate title.

    Reply

  17. kotzabasis says:

    Kervick
    Since you are subconsciously aware of your barren arguments and even of the effeteness of your

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    I expected this juvenile response, Dan. I too am from the North, and I too think the Confederate cause was a bad one — but it was served by honorable men who felt loyalty to their states, even though the vast majority did not own slaves and even many who did, understood the evils of slavery and wanted to get rid of the institution. That included Robert E Lee, who still felt bound to turn down command of the Union Army to serve his home state of Viriginia. That’s what makes the Civil War a tragedy.
    If you can’t see the difference between Robert E Lee and terrorists plotting the mass murder of civilians based on their medieval religious fanaticism, then you really can’t see anything.

    Reply

  19. Dan Kervick says:

    Hmmm … I don’t know about you, Nadine, but I’m a Yankee. We were raised to believe the Confederates were the BAD GUYS, and that Robert E. Lee, while certainly a cordial and chivalrous gentleman and resplendently lovely soldier, was the leader of an Army of evildoers hellbent on preserving a a monstrous system based on the literal OWNERSHIP of millions of human beings by other human beings. We also acquired the notion that when these evildoers faced increasing legal pressure from their fellow countrymen to end that repulsive system, they instead chose to betray they country rather than change their evil ways.
    So yeah, hundreds of thousands of Union dead in a crusade to preserve the right to enslave Africans vs. 3000 dead in a single terrorist attack? Seems worth comparing to me.

    Reply

  20. Dan Kervick says:

    And as-salamu alaykum to you too, Kotz. Have a blessed Ramadan.

    Reply

  21. nadine says:

    “And yet there are Confederate monuments on that battlefield, despite the fact that armies from the Confederate south killed thousands of federal soldiers there, soldiers who died defending the Union the southerners were attempting to destroy.”
    Dan, are you seriously comparing the Confederate Army to Al Qaeda, and Robert E. Lee to Osama bin Laden? Have you no feeling for America at all?

    Reply

  22. kotzabasis says:

    What a laughing stock Kervick is becoming! It is the imam behind this Muslim Cultural Centre that demolishes his

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    “The Democrats are in big trouble and the worsening economy and employment situation is clearly the cause. I’m still doubtful that the Republicans will find the right candidate to beat Obama in 2012; time will tell.” (Wigwag)
    Clearly the economy is the main driver of Obama’s unpopularity; ‘blame Bush’ has reached its expiration date; but the sense that ‘Obama just does not get it’ is growing. Both Susan Estrich and Peggy Noonan just wrote columns to that effect – that we are being ruled from a new Versailles, and the peasants are revolting. Obama took, what, eight vacations this year already? In the “Great Recession”? And not one of them on the Gulf of Mexico? What kind of a politician is he, anyway?
    As for 2012, it’s eons away. By the time three-quarters of America understands that Obama is an empty suit and the Left has gone nuts, dull white-bread competence may look good by comparison.
    “I do think that the recent decision out of California on gay marraige (which I support) and the building of this Mosque (that I think is legal but wrong)have the potential to hurt Obama and the Democrats badly.
    Have you noticed that Schumer, Gillibrand and most of the New York congressional delegation has been quiet as church mice about the Mosque/cultural center? That’s because they know that even in New York building it in this location is quite unpopular.”
    I agree. And have you noticed that President Obama, Mr. Muslim Outreach himself, is also quiet?
    Both cases put elite sneering at the feelings of the majority on full display.
    In the California case, the (gay) judge said, in so many words, I’m for gay marriage, so I will make up some legal rationale for it, and as for the expressed democratic will of the Californians, it counts for nothing. I declare that elections only count if they produce the ‘right’ answer.
    In the New York case, not only does Mayor Blumberg refuse to address the concerns of 9/11 relatives, he lectures them for being bigoted.
    This could prove as bad for Obama as it was for Gordon Brown, when he was caught on an open mike calling a voter an “awful, bigoted woman” just because she had expressed some concerns about immigration. People understand when they have legitimate concerns, and don’t appreciate being called racists or bigots by politicians who don’t want to answer legitimate concerns.

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    Nadine just can’t seem to wrap her head around the significance of the Anti-Defamation League and the Museum of Tolerance both coming down squarely on the side of intolerance. It seems that supremacists are all for tolerance–as long as they’re the ones being tolerated.
    But tolerance as a universal value? Such a concept simply does not compute in the supremacists mind.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Lets not forget that these same pieces of shit raising hell about this mosque being built on “hallowed ground” are the same pieces of shit blocking ill first responders to 9/11 from getting adequate care and compensation.
    Its really quite eye opening seeing people that market themselves as being ultra-patriotic stray so far from the ideals that SHOULD signify patriotism. Listening to Limbaugh today, I couldn’t help but wonder if he wouldn’t rather see a mega-pharmacy go up “at Ground Zero”.
    And uh, if we used some Bag Balm, you think maybe Kotz’s dictionary could be crammed up…..
    Oh, never mind.

    Reply

  26. Dan Kervick says:

    “Just like the message of the battlefield of Gettysburg is the memory of the battle of Gettysburg, and the Gettysburg historical associations have fought hard to keep perfectly inoffensive development away from the battlefield.”
    And yet there are Confederate monuments on that battlefield, despite the fact that armies from the Confederate south killed thousands of federal soldiers there, soldiers who died defending the Union the southerners were attempting to destroy.

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  27. nadine says:

    Oh boy, those progressives can ridicule, when it comes to their fellow Americans. And they can talk nonsense about things they nothing about just like you do, JohnH.
    The Museum of Tolerance was built on a parking lot. Some Muslim groups tried to claim that the parking lot was part of the Mamilla cemetary, which was strange, because both Jews and Arabs had been parking their cars on it for 50 years. The Muslim groups took the case to the Israeli Supreme Court, and lost:
    “… the Supreme Court of Israel unanimously concluded:

    Reply

  28. Dan Kervick says:

    “Actually there was a synagogue of sorts close to Golgotha before Golgotha meant anything.”
    So if there was a mosque in the World Trade Center *before* some Muslim fanatics crashed planes into it, the Muslims get to build their new mosque?
    “Unless the developers of this project can come up with a credible explanation for why they chose this location, the only thing left to conclude is that they are being deliberately provocative.”
    Well, I imagine one credible reason would go something like this:
    “We wish to demonstrate our solidarity with our fellow-citizens; our common commitment to restoring the religious unity of our city; our enduring grief and determination to face and memorialize the victims of the 9/11 attacks, many of whom were Muslim brothers and sisters; and our faith-based belief the triumph of the peace and dominion of God over the works of sin and evil. Thus we wish to build a center for the peaceful worship of God, in the manner taught by our prophet and faith, near the very site where a handful of mad apostates committed murder in their deluded understanding of that faith, and brought calumny on the Muslim faithful. Our presence here is the best way to affirm the true spirit of our religion, as we understand it, and to give witness to our unshaken conviction in the eventual triumph of God’s peace. God is great; and the presence of our prayers will help restore the victorious word of God to a place where that word was profaned by murderers.”
    You don’t have to believe this kind of reason makes sense; or even believe that people who articulate it are right about what is or is not the “true spirit” of Islam. You just have to recognize that it represents the sincere religious beliefs of some people, and thus that those people might have a perfectly dignified and intelligible reason for wanting their mosque very close to Ground Zero.
    In the end, I think these folks just want to be part of New York and its most important and venerated places, and not excluded from those places.
    Are they trying to be provocative? Perhaps. I imagine they would like to provoke people to re-examine their feelings toward Islam, and provoke them to repudiate the notion that because some Muslims committed murder on behalf of Islam at Ground Zero, that means that Ground Zero now possesses a special kind of sacredness for which the very presence of other Muslims represents some kind of unclean sacrilege.
    Religious people are always being provocative. Some of them stand on soapboxes in public parks and call people sinners to their face as they walk buy, and then entreat them sternly to accept Jesus, or some species of doctrine. That’s what exercising one’s religion means. It doesn’t just mean doing things in private that never offend anybody’s sensibilities.
    I’m not religious, so I am surrounded by many things that I find extremely annoying, frustrating, insensitive and provocative. But that’s America; you get over it.

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    Josh Marshall’s TPM joins in the ridicule: “‘Museum Of Tolerance’ Director Opposes Mosque But Built Museum On Muslim Cemetery.”
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/museum_of_tolerance_director_opposes_mosque_but_bu.php?ref=fpb
    Such groups are fast becoming laughing stocks, as their mission of tolerance gets exposed as nothing more than advocacy of acceptance for Jews and intolerance towards others.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warned Obama today about letting Netanyahu lead the US into a war with Iran. They note that widespread anti-Semitism could be part of the blowback from an Israeli initiated fiasco.
    I guess Wig and Nadine will be advocating for a freeze on synagogue construction when that happens…

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    Wigwag, free exercise of religion means you aren’t forced to convert or pay extra taxes if you’re the ‘wrong’ religion.
    It does not mean, and has never meant, that you can plunk down a huge church just anywhere you happen to have a piece of property. Zoning commissions can and do take the feelings of the community into account.

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  32. JohnH says:

    I love it when supremacists like kotz have the chutzpah to talk about devaluation of values. Of course, their only value is Israel uber alles.
    Fealty to the supreme Zionist entity is nowhere on anybody’s list of values but theirs!
    All that the rest of us ask is that the ADL practice what it preaches and stop engaging in bigotry.

    Reply

  33. WigWag says:

    Wigwag – a political scorekeeping question. I’m sure you’ve seen how Obama’s numbers held level for months at a rough tie at about 47% to 47% approve/disapprove. In mid-July, they took another dip. Now it’s about 45% to 50%. It looks quite striking on RealClearPolitics chart. What was the trigger for this last dip in your opinion? There isn’t one event you can point to. (Nadine)
    The Democrats are in big trouble and the worsening economy and employment situation is clearly the cause. I’m still doubtful that the Republicans will find the right candidate to beat Obama in 2012; time will tell.
    I do think that the recent decision out of California on gay marraige (which I support) and the building of this Mosque (that I think is legal but wrong)have the potential to hurt Obama and the Democrats badly.
    Have you noticed that Schumer, Gillibrand and most of the New York congressional delegation has been quiet as church mice about the Mosque/cultural center? That’s because they know that even in New York building it in this location is quite unpopular.
    Throughout America the Rasmussen poll shows 54 percent of Americans oppose building the Mosque in this location. Here’s the link,
    http://www.myfoxny.com/dpps/news/local_news/manhattan/Rasmussen-Poll-Most-Oppose-Mosque-Near-Ground-Zero_8789239
    In New York City, 52 percent of residents oppose building the edifice in this location. Here’s that link,
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-01/new-york-city-voters-oppose-mosque-near-ground-zero-poll-says.html
    Of course, thank goodness, the free exercise of religion isn’t subject to popular opinion in the United States. Nevertheless, the polling does suggest that most Americans think placing this Mosque/cultural center so close to Ground Zero is just wrong.

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  34. nadine says:

    “On the other hand, I sometimes wonder whether the whole point of this organized and manufactured ruckus is to goad Obama into some sort of dramatic public defense of perfectly conventional constitutional principles, just so that defense can then be used against him by all of the birthers and other conspiracy cranks who dog his steps.” (Dan Kervick)
    Obama hasn’t said a thing about this proposed mosque, has he? Now isn’t that curious? When it comes to the Cambridge police or college basketball, Obama dives in with instant comments, but here is this proposed mosque, and Mr. Muslim Outreach suddenly clams up? Why is that?

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  35. kotzabasis says:

    Clemons, and his senseless and insensitive cohorts on this thread, may well

    Reply

  36. JohnH says:

    I love it when Nadine goes on hysterical rants. It show how desperate Jewish Supremacists are becoming as their long dominant narrative crumbles.
    Peter Beinhart has a piece that talks about how the ADL lost its principles: “For a long time now, the ADL seems to have assumed that it could exempt Israel from the principles in its charter and yet remain just as faithful to that charter inside the United States. But now the chickens are coming back home to America to roost. The ADL

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  37. nadine says:

    “Nor do I understand at all Nadine’s complaint that the cultural center sends out a “competing message”. Competing with what? The message of Ground Zero? Ground Zero has a message?” (Dan Kervick)
    Yes, Ground Zero has a message. The message is the memory of 9/11. Just like the message of the battlefield of Gettysburg is the memory of the battle of Gettysburg, and the Gettysburg historical associations have fought hard to keep perfectly inoffensive development away from the battlefield.
    “I’m sorry that some 9/11 families are pained by either the existence of Muslims, or just the existence of Muslim practice so near the vicinity of Ground Zero.”
    A Muslim chapel is Muslim practice. A 13 story mosque is a statement. Furthermore, you just made a BIG assumption – that the cultural center will be nothing but innocent quiet Muslim practice. This imam blames America for 9/11 and refuses to say that Hamas are terrorists. He refuses to say who gave him the money, which plainly isn’t his own. How do you know he doesn’t plan to dedicate the center to the “heroic martyrdom operation of 9/11”, as al Jazeera might put it? How do you know the center isn’t planned as an expression of Islamic triumphalism?
    Shouldn’t we be unPC enough to check these things? On second thought, wouldn’t be a lot more prudent and sensitive to the feelings of New Yorkers to tell him to move a few blocks off?
    How come progressives will stand on their heads to be sensitive to minorities or non-Westerners, but think the feelings of their fellow Americans are worth less than nothing?

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  38. WigWag says:

    “Is it sort of like building a synagogue so close to Golgotha? A lot of people are very sensitive about all that business with Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.” (Dan Kervick)
    Actually there was a synagogue of sorts close to Golgotha before Golgotha meant anything. It was a Temple and the man whose death made Golgotha meaningful prayed there with some regularity. In fact, he had such affection for the place that when he thought it was being misused he became quite irritated. The Temple was standing and in constant use for centuries before anything of consequence happened at Golgotha.
    But your metaphor is a wise one, Dan, you just get the players wrong. The religion that makes a habit of celebrating its victories by converting the sacred spaces of other faiths into its own houses of worship is Islam.
    Not only was the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque built by the conquering Muslims on the site of the Jewish Temple Mount, upon their victorious arrival in Constantinople, one of the first things the Muslim invaders did was convert one of the largest and most important churches in Christendom, the Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. Given the lack of a Muslim community living near Ground Zero and the tiny number of Muslims who work in close proximity to the area, many people believe that the only reason to place the Mosque/cultural center at that site is to recapitulate Muslim triumphalism.
    Unless the developers of this project can come up with a credible explanation for why they chose this location, the only thing left to conclude is that they are being deliberately provocative.
    Do they have the legal right to be deliberatively provocative? Absolutely.
    Does it make their behavior anything other than reprehensible? Absolutely not.
    The irony is that people who defend the plan to build this edifice in that spot are not defending tolerance; they are defending intolerance, insensitivity and arrogance.

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  39. Carrol says:

    ROTFLMAO
    There may be hope for the USA still.
    American Muslims are realizing that they too are entitled to the same rights to religion and property as other citizens and are exercising those rights and are being supported in their rights.
    The only people who ‘care’ where that mosque is built and they don’t really care-care, it’s just a excuse to demonize, are the same people that wanted to make Islam, Muslims and Arabs America’s enemy.
    We won, the losers lost, things are looking up for the land of the free.

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  40. nadine says:

    “Fareed Zakaria is one of the two or three finest main stream journalists in the United States. He is smart, fair-minded, objective in his reporting and his work is always informative. Professionally speaking he is what every journalist should strive to be”
    Oh really? He swung from right to left when Obama was elected. If the Republicans take Congress, watch him swing right again. He follows the fashions.
    “Is it possible to exhibit greater vanity than is exhibited by self-righteous progressives who are convinced that they’re the ones being tolerant while those who object to developing this site could only be motivated by bigotry or ignorance? Doesn’t this actually turn bigotry on its head? Is it any wonder the much of America looks at progressive people as if they were monsters from an alien world?”
    I agree. This feeling is real. Most of America is seething at what they perceive as an out of touch ruling class. They also see that they are being systematically lied to about Islam.
    Now Americans have respect for religious freedom in their bones — we saw that by the lack of attacks on Muslims after 9/11 — but they also understand that certain strains of Islam are the root of 9/11. They want to know for SURE that this mosque isn’t going up on Ground Zero to send the message “We Won. You Lost. Get Over It.” — and they very much resent being lectured by their “betters” about what bigots they are to have such concerns.
    Wigwag – a political scorekeeping question. I’m sure you’ve seen how Obama’s numbers held level for months at a rough tie at about 47% to 47% approve/disapprove. In mid-July, they took another dip. Now it’s about 45% to 50%. It looks quite striking on RealClearPolitics chart.
    What was the trigger for this last dip in your opinion? There isn’t one event you can point to.

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “New York has, I believe, 100 mosques already, though I hear the burgeoning Muslim populations in Queens and Bronx are short of space. This new center could have gone either place without the least fuss. Instead they want to build it on Ground Zero where there is almost no congregation”
    The type of ignorance so clearly demonstrated in Nadine’s comment is hard to fathom.
    Its private property. The owners of the property, if adhering to zoning laws, have a right to use the property for ANYTHING THEY WANT.
    The United States of America, has as its very foundational essence, FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
    We are either what we claim to be, or we aren’t.
    If Nadine has her way, everything we once stood for will be buried under an especially odorous and fowl pile of bigot shit.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    “As the ADL and many others have pointed out, the decision to place the Mosque/cultural center so close to Ground Zero while not illegal, is an insensitive act that may very well be deliberatively provocative.”
    Is it sort of like building a synagogue so close to Golgotha? A lot of people are very sensitive about all that business with Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.
    This isn’t a question of dueling “sensitivities”. Free exercise is regarded in constitutional law as a fundamental right, not a mere liberty interest. The right to practice one’s religion on one’s own property does not have to meet a test of sensitivity balance.
    Nor do I understand at all Nadine’s complaint that the cultural center sends out a “competing message”. Competing with what? The message of Ground Zero? Ground Zero has a message? And how does the mosque’s message conflict with it, if one is not to say that the very existence of Islam and practicing Muslims is somehow in conflict with the message of Ground Zero. Is the message of Ground Zero that the lower part of Manhattan is now a Muslim-free zone?
    I’m sorry that some 9/11 families are pained by either the existence of Muslims, or just the existence of Muslim practice so near the vicinity of Ground Zero. On the other hand, some of my Irish Catholic ancestors in New England were discriminated against mercilessly by the Protestant Brahmin overclass. My brother discovered a small unmarked cemetery near the Connecticut River, one of many where Irish canal workers, little better than slaves impressed under Yankee slavemasters, dropped dead of exhaustion and hunger as they dug canals throughout the northeast.
    And yet there stands a the Congregational Church in my home town along that very canal. The audacity! The insensitivity!
    I have noticed that since Obama became president, the social tolerance for expressions of extreme intolerance toward Islam, which have almost reached the point of treating it as a distinct phenomenon, not covered under the usual protections offered toward other religions, has grown even worse than it was under Bush. I’m afraid this is because the ever-diffident Obama has allowed all that Drudge campaign business to get under his skin, and is now afraid to defend Muslims just so he can prove that his middle name doesn’t mean anything, and that he is not a closet Muslim.
    On the other hand, I sometimes wonder whether the whole point of this organized and manufactured ruckus is to goad Obama into some sort of dramatic public defense of perfectly conventional constitutional principles, just so that defense can then be used against him by all of the birthers and other conspiracy cranks who dog his steps.

    Reply

  43. JohnH says:

    If Wig and Nadine were at all attuned to people’s sensitivities, there would be no synagogues built in ethnically cleansed parts of Israel and the Occupied Territories…

    Reply

  44. WigWag says:

    Fareed Zakaria is one of the two or three finest main stream journalists in the United States. He is smart, fair-minded, objective in his reporting and his work is always informative. Professionally speaking he is what every journalist should strive to be. Nevertheless, this decision, while his to make, is ethically unintelligible.
    As the ADL and many others have pointed out, the decision to place the Mosque/cultural center so close to Ground Zero while not illegal, is an insensitive act that may very well be deliberatively provocative. Moderate Muslims demand respect, as well they should, but at least as far as this incident goes, it suggests that some moderate Muslims (the ones involved in the effort to place the Mosque in this location)are unwilling to offer others the respect that they want for themselves.
    Placing the Mosque/cultural center in this location is every bit as insensitive as displaying a cross at Auschwitz or ridiculing Muslim women who choose to cover their faces or whole bodies with garments. The fact that is permissible doesn’t make it wise, tolerant or decent.
    The institution in question is not a monument to tolerance but a monument to insensitivity, ethnic and religious hostility and division. Of course this could have been avoided by moving the Mosque/cultural center a few blocks north or to another neighborhood entirely. The fact that the developers chose not to do this is strong circumstantial evidence that provocation was their actual intent and if it was not their intent than it is evidence of their blatant lack of interest in the passions of others. Those who expect their own passions to be accommodated should think twice before being so hypocritical.
    Susan Jacoby gets it exactly right in today’s Washington Post,
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/spirited_atheist/2010/08/ground_zero_mosque_protected_by_first_amendment–but_its_still_salt_in_a_wound.html?hpid=talkbox1
    What’s more revealing than the imbroglio itself, is what it reveals about many (but not all) of the progressive defenders of placing the Mosque/cultural center in this location. How full of hatred, bigotry and intolerance these so called “progressives” are. What does it say about them that they rush to defend the sensibilities of the moderate Muslims who want the Mosque/cultural center built there, but are callous towards the sensibilities of families who lost loved ones (of all religious faiths and no religious faith) at the World Trade Center site?
    One argument made very frequently by defenders of locating the Mosque/cultural center in this location is that Americans need to support the type of moderate Muslims involved with this project in the effort to marginalize more extreme Muslims. Could anything be more patronizing to Muslims than the argument that the West needs to help reform Islam by supporting exactly the kind of Muslims who seek to build this institution?
    Is it possible to exhibit greater vanity than is exhibited by self-righteous progressives who are convinced that they’re the ones being tolerant while those who object to developing this site could only be motivated by bigotry or ignorance? Doesn’t this actually turn bigotry on its head? Is it any wonder the much of America looks at progressive people as if they were monsters from an alien world?
    Is it perfectly legal for the Mosque/cultural center to be located two blocks from Ground Zero? Of course it is and it should be. Is it a cruel, unnecessary and provocative act? Absolutely.
    I don’t know if Fareed Zakaria has ever won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting; if he hasn’t, he should. As for his Hubert H. Humphrey Prize from the ADL; it’s good he’s giving it back because anyone as morally obtuse as Zakaria never should have gotten it in the first place.

    Reply

  45. nadinen says:

    Fareed Zakaria is an intellectual tailor, who cuts and shape all his opinions to fit the current political fashion.

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  46. nadine says:

    “I have been working on a paper on the debates on Islamic cultural expressions in Europe (Burqua ban debate in France, minarets ban in Switzerland, the debate on Jyllands-Posten cartoons). In each case, it’s disappointing to observe extremist parties and candidates get great amount of popular support. Now the infection is making its way over the pond.”
    The “debate” on Jyllands-Posten cartoons? Isn’t that the “debate” where people keep trying to kill the cartoonists? And you complain about burqua-banning as extremism?

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    “The two funny things that stand out are 1) it’s not a mosque, it’s a cultural center with a prayer space and 2)it’s not at Ground Zero, it’s a couple of blocks away with no mutual visibility. (see Nate Silver for confirmation)”
    questions, it’s part of the Ground Zero site. The building that is being replaced was damaged by plane parts landing on it.
    Here’s another funny thing: don’t you usually put Muslim culture centers where there are Muslims to use them? There are few that far downtown, and far fewer at night since it’s not a big residential area.
    This is about sending a competing message. As to whatever the imam is saying now about his purposes, as long as he won’t disclose his funding, who knows what will wind up in the building? This imam already blames America for 9/11. Five’ll get you ten his money is all from Saudi Salafi sources, who already hold the mortgages on half the mosques in America. If this imam builds his “cultural center”, and sets up a shrine inside it to the 19 martyrs of 9/11, what are you going to do then? Talk some more about his freedom of religion?

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  48. nadine says:

    New York has, I believe, 100 mosques already, though I hear the burgeoning Muslim populations in Queens and Bronx are short of space. This new center could have gone either place without the least fuss. Instead they want to build it on Ground Zero where there is almost no congregation.
    The fuss isn’t about building a big mosque in New York. It isn’t about prejudice against Muslims. It isn’t about freedom of religion. It is about the imam trying to preempt space that is sacred to the sensibilities of New Yorkers and Americans – Ground Zero – to send out a competing message. The imam says his message is one of tolerance. But his non-transparency about his funding, and some of his past statements blaming the US for 9/11, make people suspect he is dissumulating.
    This is like the case where Jewish groups objected to Carmelite nuns setting up a convent in Auschwitz. The Jewish groups were not prejudiced against the Carmelites. They just didn’t want a convent right there, not where a million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Pope John Paul II understood and pulled the nuns back.
    The Catholic Church, in recent years, has come to understand that sensitivity is a two-way street. Islam, on the contrary, has a long history of planting mosques in other people’s sacred places to send a message of the superiority of Islam. Like the mosque of Umar in Bethlehem overshadowing the Church of the Nativity.
    Steve, what is wrong with you that you don’t understand this? If this imam wanted to build an enormous Salafi mosque with minarets right on top of the site of the two towers of the World Trade Center, would you be okay with the symbolism of that?

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  49. questions says:

    The two funny things that stand out are 1) it’s not a mosque, it’s a cultural center with a prayer space and 2)it’s not at Ground Zero, it’s a couple of blocks away with no mutual visibility. (see Nate Silver for confirmation)
    Oh, and 3) according to Huff Po, there’s a mosque-like space at the Pentagon…..
    It reminds me of Joe the plumber who was not “Joe” and was not a plumber.
    How do things that aren’t what they are become so big when they are so small?
    It boggles the mind.

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  50. Stage Coach says:

    Bravo indeed!!!
    Fareed for his actions and Steve for sharing/supporting it!

    Reply

  51. JP Singh says:

    I agree with you assessment, Steve, and applaud Fareed Zakaria for the conviction with which he points out ADL’s intolerance on this issue.
    I have been working on a paper on the debates on Islamic cultural expressions in Europe (Burqua ban debate in France, minarets ban in Switzerland, the debate on Jyllands-Posten cartoons). In each case, it’s disappointing to observe extremist parties and candidates get great amount of popular support. Now the infection is making its way over the pond.
    We need more people to stand up in the middle and take a well-reasoned stance.

    Reply

  52. Dan Kervick says:

    Well done by Zakaria.
    It should also be noted that Michael Bloomberg gave an exceptional speech on this topic earlier this week – and one that I believe may prove historically memorable. Bloomberg is not a compelling speaker; but his words were compelling.

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  53. samuelburke says:

    kudos to Mr Zakaria. maybe he will lose his job now, and certainly
    he will not be invited to anymore washinton soires.

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  54. Carroll says:

    Admirable.
    Are we seeing more people standing up for the right principles on the American stage?
    I think so I hope so.

    Reply

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