Posts tagged ‘Mosque’

March 3, 2011

Islamophobia Watch

by Vince
September 28, 2010

Hard Journalism

by Vince

Anderson Cooper is the man in the above interview with Renee Ellmers. He follows up with each assertion and gives the Ground Zero mosque debate proper and mature treatment.

September 16, 2010

Islam in Alaska

by Vince

I read this and am proud to see our country not be as homogeneous as many theocons would like to portray it (or wishfully hope):

On the radio on the drive over to Fairview, I’d been listening to a story about the pastor from Florida who had been threatening to burn Qurans and controversy over a planned mosque and community center near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Earlier in the week, I interviewed Jobarteh and Obeidi at Jobarteh’s grocery, among the coolers of halal meats and shelves of grains and spices. The television was tuned to CNN. They said there are now more than 3,000 Muslims in Anchorage–an estimate that has tripled since 2005–including highly educated professionals after jobs in the oil industry and newly arrived refugees. They had been called by television stations wanting them to comment on anti-Muslim sentiment in the Lower 48. They didn’t want to be part of polarized conversations like that, they said.

“Our positive experience (in Anchorage) far outweighs our negative experience,” Jobarteh said.

But as we talked, it was clear they were aware, and not happy with, the portrayal of Muslims as un-American. “I have two boys that are born in Alaska. Providence Hospital,” Obeidi said.

“My wife is in the military and she loves this country,” Jobarteh added.

They believe Islam is being misrepresented, and they’re trying to correct that by setting a good example in Anchorage, they said, welcoming of people with different religious beliefs, doing good work in the community.

“We want to spread the true word of Islam,” Obeidi said. “Not Fox News Islam.”

I then wonder next what Sarah Palin thinks of this.

Dali Osmane, an information technology specialist from Algeria, told me that during prayers, he had been thinking of the time when Anchorage Muslims would have their own masjid, or mosque, a space where they can worship that wasn’t also a gym with basketball nets. He thought of all the religious communities in town that have churches.

“And they are way smaller than us,” he said.

Uphold the 1st amendment and treat them fairly.

September 11, 2010

From a 9.11 Widow

by Vince

Alissa Torres is a widow whose husband died on 9/11. It was his second day of work and she was pregnant at the time:

What did I think about the decision to construct a “mosque” this close to ground zero? I thought it was a no-brainer. Of course it should be built there. I sometimes wonder if those people fighting so passionately against Park51 can fathom the diversity of those who died at ground zero. Do we think no Muslims died in the towers? My husband, Eddie Torres, killed on his second day of work at Cantor Fitzgerald while I was pregnant with our first child, was a dark-skinned Latino, often mistaken for Pakistani, who came here illegally from Colombia. How did “9/11 victim” become sloppy shorthand for “white Christian”? I wish someone would put out a list of all the ethnicities and religions and countries and economic levels of the victims. For all the talk of “remembering 9/11,” I wonder if we’ve missed the patriotic message entirely. So, in short: No, I did not think it was “a bad idea.”

August 28, 2010

The Commonplaceness of Prejudice and Hyperbole

by Vince

For the important part of Newt Gingrich’s interview, tune to the 3:00 mark.

Newt makes a few comments that have been replayed and analyzed countless times. Newt calls the group that wants to build this mosque radical Islamists (no proof to back that up), they have no interest in reaching out to the community (no proof to back that up, and the essence of the mosque being a community center contradicts Newt outright), they are trying to make a case about supremacy over America (no proof to back that up), and he finishes up with the unintelligent hyperbole comparing how we would never let the Nazi’s put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum, therefore these “radicals” shouldn’t build their mosque. MJ doesn’t know half of the nitty gritty details about this and when I told her that comparison, she knew right away that Newt was talking about two different things.

I gave this a lot of thought while I was on vacation. Beyond Newt’s unfounded demagogic assertions, I see at the core of this the utilization of hyperbole and prejudice. In Newt’s comparison, the victims are the Jews and Americans while the persecutors were radical Islamists and the Nazis. The problem with this comparison is that Newt twists the facts and blurs the lines between radicals and moderates.

I am not very knowledgeable on contemporary Nazism but I would guess there are not many moderates within that party. Within Islam, there seem to be many moderates and the mosque push is headed up by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was utilized under the George W. Bush presidency. Rauf is seen as a radical because he sees America as partly to blame for 9/11. Do you become a radical terrorist sympathizer when you point out a blatant flaw in America?

I wrap this up with the inner workings of prejudice. In one way or another, many citizens of America have been hurt by 9/11. Some who have been hurt by what radical Islamists committed on 9/11 still hold that hurt today. That isn’t what I am addressing. I see that when we are hurt by a certain person, we respond by placing them within a larger homogeneous grouping. Take Muslims for example. They are only a few thousand around the globe that will turn their religion into jihad. There are 1.57 billion Muslims in the world (23% of the total global population). Look at the damage a few bad apples have done. As we place this certain person into its homogeneous group, we not only lie to ourselves about who they are but insert hate into the equation. I feel we react this way only out of self-protection. We are afraid of this person/group because they hurt us and in a way to take away our feeling of vulnerability, we make ourselves think that they are simpler than they are. This gives us the one up on them and ends any conversation and ultimately any chance of redemption. An dated version of this that I am currently reading is the view of African Americans in Atlanta during the beginning of the 20th century.

This all is right up Joe’s alley when he said how powerful our minds truly are.

August 28, 2010

How Arabs View the Anti-Mosque Showdown

by Vince

Several Arab commentaries describe the Muslim world’s opinion on America’s inner conflict over building a Ground Zero mosque. This is helpful to read to see how those in the East view the rise of hate and Islamophobia in the US and the repercussions that could come from all of this.

August 28, 2010

Hyperbole Watch

by Vince

Don’t you love when unknown demagogic groups make nonsensical statements for millions of viewers to be washed over by?

When will the white Right accept that they do actually have partial blame for 9/11?

August 26, 2010

Animated Islamophobia

by Vince

This documents in animated form the annals of recent Islamophobia.

August 25, 2010

The Lure of Demagoguery

by Vince

You may have heard some disparaging or supportive comments pertaining to the proposed building of a mosque near Ground Zero. A few outcomes are generated from the discourse related to this topic:

  1. Deciding on the place of Muslims in America
    “The question is whether they should be presumed to be terrorists unless proven otherwise — hence the constant, suspicious demands to find out where the money behind the putatively innocent project is coming from — or whether they should be afforded the same general presumption of innocence enjoyed by other religions”,  Jonathan Chait
  2. The differing stances within the GOP on the mosque and questioning if they are meant to boost a candidates potential
    “The project is opposed by many of the leading GOP officials in Congress, from John Boehner to Eric Cantor to Mitch McConnell. What’s more, the battle over the Islamic center has actually become a litmus test for the 2012 GOP hopefuls, with Sarah PalinNewt GingrichMitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty all trying to out-demagogue each other on the issue.
    Meanwhile, on the other side, the Republicans who have stepped forward to support the project are largely former Bush officials who are no longer in positions of power or aren’t running for office anytime soon. In other words, the Cheney-ite line has become the required position of thise with actual influence within the GOP — or those who are currently in the process of seeking it”, Greg Sargent (emphasis added by me).

The first point on the benefit of doubt given to other religions except Islam is clear as day. The actions and emotions on 9/11 are still fresh as they approach 9 years since the day the planes were hijacked. As Stephen Budiansky notes perfectly, “it is hard in this age of endless memorialization to even express  this view (getting beyond sacred ground) without sounding callous.”  The crimes committed by the Protestant or Catholic churches, at least as of late, have been attempted to of been covered up (see child molestation in the Catholic church) or ambiguously wrapped in innocuous religious-political stances (aka euphemisms) such as “state building” via carpet bombing innocent civilian villages in hopes of rooting out terrorists or conducting “enhanced interrogation techniques” such that can be found in great description here and here; these two links are essential to having a solid understanding of contemporary torture (in my opinion).

My second comment above alluding to the blood shed in killing innocent foreign denizens or in torture chambers is not meant to directly link American foreign policies to the Protestant church. Far from that, I am looking at that in terms of an religious influence referenced by many government officials (by any means necessary) and many Christianists when supporting nation building or the ticking time bomb theory.

Not to sound doomsdayish, but Sargent’s point is wrapped up with an auspicious outlook for the House and Presidency in the coming general and mid-term elections should the GOP swoop in.

August 24, 2010

Insensitivities and Religious Discourse

by Vince

Stephen M. Walt at ForeignPolicy brings up an ironic note within the “discourse” over erecting the Mosque (community center with multiple different facilities included in it) near Ground Zero:

Critics of the proposal are aware that their views contradict the principle of religious tolerance on which the United States was founded, so they have fallen back on the idea that building the community center here is “insensitive” to the families who lost loved ones back in 2001. (Presumably it’s not “insensitive” that the same neighborhood contains strip clubs, bars, and all sorts of less-than sacred institutions). And notice the sleight-of-hand here: first, demogogues raise an uproar about a “Mosque at Ground Zero,” thereby generating a lot of public outcry, and then defend this bigotry by saying that they’re just trying to be “sensitive” to the objections they have helped to stir up.

You throw this together with the straw man group known ambiguously as the families related to 9/11 victims and you have some fallible arguments. Look for a longer essay from me soon on the psychology behind our exaggerations within prejudicial views. It will surely tie in to demagogic comments related to this.

August 23, 2010

Ted Olson on the Ground Zero Mosque

by Vince

Here you have a real example of someone who had a family member die on 9/11 and is speaking about their views on building a mosque near Ground Zero. As one person noted, this “straw man” group known as the “families related to those who died on 9/11” is an arbitrary group that has not been polled on this issue and is automatically assumed to of taken the stand against the mosque proposition. Money quote by Olson:

And that we don’t want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith. And I don’t think it should be a political issue.

August 23, 2010

Giving Dialogue a Chance

by Vince

Glenn Greenwald sees the building of the mosque near Ground Zero as an opportunity to dissect the our feelings surrounding this debate:

My argument is simple. This center may be intended as a bridge or a healing gesture but it will not be perceived that way unless a dialogue with a real attempt to understand each other happens. That means the builders have to be willing to go beyond what is their right and be willing to talk about feelings whether the feelings are “justified” or not. No doubt the Republic will survive if this center is built on its current site or not. But I think this is a missed opportunity to try to have an open discussion about why this is a big deal, because it is a big deal to a lot of Americans who are not just right-wing politicians pushing the hate button again. I think those people need to be heard respectfully, whether they are right or whether they are wrong.

Of course it will be brought up that this debate can happen without building this mosque and crossing the line for many 9/11 families, et al. I just don’t see the debate ever coming about if we look at it that way. This mosque can stand on it’s mission of being a real life example of cooperation and moderation just a few blocks from one of religion’s biggest inflictions on mankind.  If the mosque doesn’t go through, which wouldn’t ruin my day, it will continue to provide opportunities to delve into the annals of religious bloodshed.

August 22, 2010

Polling the Views on Mosque Building

by Vince

The Economist has some charts:

Does this look like a double standard? The next chart depicts an average of 11.6% of pollsters know a “great deal” about Islam. That doesn’t seem like enough “knowledge” to hedge out a religion in the form of a double standard. I feel for moderate Muslims who for many years will be demonized for the irrational behavior done by the fringe sect.

Jon Stewart describes the deadly “guilt by association” game.

August 15, 2010

Right Back At Ya

by Vince

Mark M sees irony in the dispute over placing a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero:

Just as Al-Qaeda Muslims lump all Americans into one world-destroying pile (conveniently labeled “infidels”), some American’s want to do the same thing to Muslims. We equate the God-fearing, peace loving Muslims of America with the militant nut cases duct-taping bombs under their button downs. By resorting to simple fear and ignorance, we end up denying Americans the same rights the terrorists tried to destroy. President Obama said it pretty well. In reference to the first responders on 9/11, he stated “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.”

This is a short post but packs many punches. I liked how Mark mentions the other mosques near Ground Zero that have so far gone unscathed.

This has obviously ended in a clear case of anathema for some of the critics. It has lead some to act out of emotion and not with reason. How sadly ironic is it that some are responding in ways similar to the Jihadists? Take away the planes into buildings and look into the thought process – fringe, emotional, sometimes uneducated, and there you have it.

August 14, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque: Notable and Quotable

by Vince

One side of the coin:
“An enormously complex and emotional issue — but ultimately the right thing to do. A president is president for every citizen, including every Muslim citizen. Obama is correct that the way to marginalize radicalism is to respect the best traditions of Islam and protect the religious liberty of Muslim Americans. It is radicals who imagine an American war on Islam. But our conflict is with the radicals alone.” -Michael Gerson, former top adviser to George W. Bush

The other side:
“There’s no denying the elephant in the room. Neither is there any rejoicing over the mosques proposed for Sheepshead Bay, Staten Island and Ground Zero because where there are mosques, there are Muslims, and where there are Muslims, there are problems.” -Shavana Abruzzo

These two quotes are very strong in different ways. The second is obvious in its wide brush appeal. That will catch the ear of many talk radio listeners. The other quote is in my opinion the more “patriotic” than the first. It is directing the “war” against the right people: the nihilist jihadists. Barack Obama is protecting all citizens and covering for the Muslim citizens killed on 9/11.

August 14, 2010

Answering Many Ground Zero Mosque Questions

by Vince

Tobin Harshaw has a blog post that is highly linked and delves into the many complexities and commentaries surrounding the Mosque near Ground Zero. This is worth a read.

August 10, 2010

Deradicalization Thanks to Mosques

by Vince

A cited study:

A two-year study by a group of academics on American Muslims and terrorism concluded that contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism. The study was conducted by professors with Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina. It disclosed that many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts.

This still won’t deter all of the radical thoughts related to Islam. A while back, my mom had a boss that heckled us for going to an Indian restaurant because he said the restaurant owner funded terrorist groups. Where I currently live is far, far away from any organized mosque (I think?) In the end, I believe you will always have a radical fringe in any religion – no matter what any study reports is on the upswing. It amazes me how much time many Christian churches and political leaders spend on worthless causes: burning copies of the Koran, holding protests at military funerals, vying for action in Israel to bring us closer to prophetic times / the rapture, and the many other fruitless discrepancies that in many cases turn away people from believing in Jesus Christ and even radicalize disbelievers/church haters.

July 25, 2010

The Ground Zero Mosque Ctd.

by Vince

Scott Wheeler was interviewed by CNN recently over the ad he created. Watch the interview yourself here.

His ad fires up citizens across the country but all without any evidence. Wheeler says that the new mosque is tied to al Qaeda but can’t prove it. Wheeler says that the new mosque will be a “military barrack” but can’t prove it. He poorly tries to construct an argument that the media has given us proof that the mosque is tied to al Qaeda before he starts to crumble in his attempt to make a point. I commend you Allen Chernoff for asking thought provoking questions and getting at the root of Wheeler’s claims.

In the end, this has 52% of New Yorkers not wanting a mosque built 2 blocks from Ground Zero. It may just be too close to the heart of many peoples pains.

July 23, 2010

The Ground Zero Mosque Ctd.

by Vince

Above is the TV advertisement playing the “they” card.

Daniel Larison responds to the “they” comment:

Anti-jihadists keep making the same errors over and over. Instead of exploiting differences between jihadists and non-jihadists, among different kinds of Islamists, and between different groups of jihadists, anti-jihadists have been perfectly content to roll all of them into a single “Islamofascist” menace. That artificially inflates the strength of actual jihadist enemies by lending credibility to their propaganda, and as a result it makes jihadist causes more appealing. In this case, anti-jihadists are compounding their error by confusing the equivalent of Muslim ecumenists with hard-line Islamists. That is exactly what Gingrich does when he claims that the project is a “a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites” in the face of demands from aggressive Islamists. It’s not just that anti-jihadists are conflating any and all Muslims together here, but they are vilifying as aggressors some of the least aggressive Muslims around.

Anti-jihadists such as Sarah Palin are ignorant to the reality that all Muslims do not in fact want to be suicide bombers or take time to sing, dance, and sing praises when Americans die.

D. True mulls over this topic:

Still, why not begin with an appeal to reconciliation? The mosque is intended to be a symbol of our refusal to be alienated from one another by the terror, hate, and fear. Why then, allow ourselves to be divided by our deepest and most sacred convictions? Indeed, wherever we find meaning and purpose, don’t many of us believe in the path of reconciliation and peace? What could be more American?

July 23, 2010

The Ground Zero Mosque…and Strip Club?

by Vince

Conor Friedersdorf bounces back the arguments condemning a mosque being built near Ground Zero:

You’ve probably heard about “The Ground Zero Mosque,” an Islamic community center planned in Lower Manhattan. But I bet you haven’t heard of The Ground Zero Strip Club.

As yet, I haven’t heard anyone wonder why our political class is silent as the sex industry operates on sacred ground. It would be a bizarre complaint: It’s Manhattan, where you can find anything mere blocks from a given location. The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club.

But it makes no less sense than naming an Islamic community center “The Ground Zero Mosque”–as much of the media have done–because it’s going to be located a couple blocks away.

As an American in good standing, I’d like to be heard–and to make sure that James Madison, a colleague of mine in citizenship, is heard too. The fourth president of the U.S. once wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It’s a line that National Republican Trust neglects to remember. Perhaps “the political class” isn’t doing anything to stop the construction of an Islamic community center because the Constitution forbids it.

Although Conor’s argument on the strip club is debatable, he makes good points later in the Forbes post about the wording often included in this: “they” declared war against us. “They”?