Temples & Mosques & Zoning

August 18, 2010 | 203 comments
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Although I grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs when the Temple was being built, I don’t remember the controversy and protests to its construction, since I was just a deacon when it was dedicated. I’ve been told that there were objections from the neighbors — one of the early examples of what has become a very normal part of constructing a Temple both in and outside of the U.S.

In subsequent years protests have become more visible and more complicated, despite even Federal legislation (sponsored by LDS legislators) meant to quell most of the objections. Those against Temple construction have a litany of problems they assume will plague neighbors as a result of an LDS Temple: traffic congestion, outdoor lighting, aesthetics, property values, views from their homes, among others.

Not surprisingly, we as Church members are often defensive about this issue. Very few Church members wouldn’t want a Temple in their neighborhood and, at least in Utah, property values often rise with the construction of a Temple in a neighborhood, instead of decrease as neighbors elsewhere expect.

While our experience with opposition in building LDS Temples has, from what I’ve seen, generally meant that LDS Church members are more tolerant of construction by other Churches, I’m not sure that Mormons are any more tolerant when it come to non-religious constuction.

In New York City, where I live, we’ve seen a litany of these issues in recent years, some of which are as defensible as Mormon Temples. Developers backed by the city have tried to expand the Javitz convention center and build a football stadium on Manhattan’s west side, only to have neighbors block the proposal. A proposed basketball arena and residential development in Brooklyn is proceeding despite neighborhood opposition. And Columbia University is expanding northward into an area of Harlem that the city has ruled “blighted” despite opposition (I should note that some of these issues involve the slightly different issue of the use of eminent domain). I suspect this isn’t very different from other large cities.

All of these involve an issue I struggle with in trying to be a responsible voter and citizen: when does a neighbor have the right to control and influence how another uses property.

To me the extremes of this issue aren’t so hard to reconcile. Dust from a quarry shouldn’t blow onto neighboring residences, as long as the residences were built before the quarry. Nor should the noise and smell from a power plant or sewage treatment plant be enough to bother previously existing neighbors. I can even agree that the light from a Temple shouldn’t flood the bedrooms of neighbors with noon-day brilliance.

These seem obvious in many ways, but also somewhat nonsensical — everyone wants a sewage treatment plant, but no one is willing for it to be built in their backyard. And the current system simply pushes such projects to the “backyards” of those least able to fight against it (hardly a fair or Christian way of resolving problems).

Other complaints from neighbors make no sense to me. Complaints about loss of property value and aesthetics in particular are annoying. The first because its often a mask for what the property owner doesn’t like and a desire to avoid the normal risks associated with owning property (property looses or gains value based on many factors, most of which are outside of the property owner’s control). The second because aesthetic norms are transitory and personal, and because they enforce a majority view at the expense of the minority (if Picasso had been a house painter, he wouldn’t be able to paint houses in most of the HOAs in the southwestern U.S.).

It is likely true that anti-Mormons have also used the zoning system to oppose LDS Temples. But I’m not persuaded that the majority of complaints come from anti-Mormons. More likely the complaints simply come from fears and from a zoning system that, I suspect, has run amuck.

Now, as I’ve pondered the role of zoning and related property issues for a decade trying to figure out my own views, I’m presented with yet another situation: a Muslim group’s attempt to build a mosque near ground zero. From the news reports I’ve read it seems like none of the objections we’ve experienced at LDS Temples are being raised here. No one claims it will cause too much traffic, or lead to reduced property values or that the yet-to-be-released design will be aesthetically bad or out-of-place. No, the objections are entirely about sentiment and proximity–it is claimed that it is offensive to have the mosque so close to ground zero. Those behind the project are being “insensitive.”

SO WHAT?

Opponents of the mosque are ready to go on and on about how this move is insensitive and wrong, but no one that I’ve see has been able to explain why that insensitivity means that the mosque should be prevented, or why this means that the property owners should be dissuaded.

Like is common in politics, the issue has turned many into hypocrites. We, Americans are proud of our freedom of religion and tolerance for other views, but we’ll try to browbeat those of another faith because we think they are being “insensitive?” We’re happy to let political talk shows (on the left and right) say things that are very insensitive (so much so that Bonneville kicked several off of its stations), but we don’t want Muslims to build a mosque because that would be “insensitive.”  I don’t know about you, but I see a large qualitative difference between the insensitivity I’ve heard on some talk shows and the insensitivity of building a religious edifice.

As LDS Church members, I think we need to think very carefully about what our positions are in this case. If a mosque can be stopped merely for being “insensitive,” then I believe the Temples we may want to build in the future are also at risk, for the reasons to block buildings are flimsy indeed. And if constructing the Cordoba Center mosque is really insensitive, then we Mormons are among the most insensitive, for the Church both owns the land and constructed the memorial at Mountain Meadows.

[I had already been thinking about this post when I discovered that Max at Juvenile Instructor has posted in a similar vein. I believe this is a bit different from his post, but to the extent it isn't, I hope he will excuse me for covering similar ground.]

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203 Responses to Temples & Mosques & Zoning

  1. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 7:23 am

    If we believe in freedom of religion in this country, if we believe we’re not at war with all of Islam, if we believe in defeating Al-Qaeda, if we believe in reciprocity, then Mormons would not raise a ruckus over the building of this Cordoba House.

    If we do not believe in freedom of religion in this country, if we do believe we’re at war with all of Islam, if we do not believe in defeating Al-Qaeda, if we do not believe in reciprocity, then by all means, oppose the Cordoba House.

    As I noted at Juvenile Instructor, this particular group has resided in lower Manhattan for several decades, thus forcing them to move elsewhere takes them from their established location. Finding a new place for their overcrowded center in lower Manhattan is terribly difficult, thus I’m quite sure they were happy to get the old Burlington Coat Factory building.

    America’s conservatives need to ask themselves if they wish to be represented by bigotry, by hatred, by racism. At this point, they keep allowing themselves to fall into those very categories almost on a weekly basis.

  2. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I should add, Harry Reid is a shame to liberalism and the principles of the Democratic party.

  3. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Kent,

    You stated: “Opponents of the mosque are ready to go on and on about how this move is insensitive and wrong, but no one that I’ve see has been able to explain why that insensitivity means that the mosque should be prevented, or why this means that the property owners should be dissuaded.”

    As I understand it, opponents of the mosque oppose it BECAUSE it is insensitive to build it there. In other words, you shouldn’t build things if it is insensitive to do so (especially if your stated purpose for building the edifice is to engender dialog and tolerance). Are you looking for another reason?

    From what I have seen, every national-level politician who has opposed the mosque has recognized that the Muslims have a right to build it (i.e. that it should not be “prevented,” at least not by the government) but that they should agree not to build it out of respect for the feelings of those who lost family members or friends to Muslim extremists.

    I think your identification of hypocrisy is over-stated. There’s no requirement in life that we be sensitive to every offense equally. We’re less sensitive to political attacks and fears of real estate devaluation than we are to the feelings of those whose family members have died. That’s as it should be.

  4. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

    adam e.,

    As I understand it, opponents of the mosque oppose it BECAUSE it is insensitive to build it there

    Let’s just clarify their position somewhat. “As I understand it, opponents of the mosque oppose it BECAUSE THEY FEEL it is insensitive to build it there.” Whether it actually is insensitive or not is in the eye of the beholder, not in actual reality.

  5. Jettboy on August 18, 2010 at 8:13 am

    “America’s conservatives need to ask themselves if they wish to be represented by bigotry, by hatred, by racism. At this point, they keep allowing themselves to fall into those very categories almost on a weekly basis.”

    So long as the liberals are the ones who are throwing these accusations around, I really don’t care. These are labels given to those who don’t wish to actually argue the merits of the Conservative’s reasons and ideas. These labels are to provoke fear and hatred of conservatives, not dialogue.

  6. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Dialogue, Jettboy? Fear? The position taken by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, who DO represent conservatism, are rank with fear. Gingrich’s own position is that Islam is like Nazism. Do you agree with him? He’s probably going to be the Republican candidate for president in 2012. Sarah Palin has to invoke the horrors of 9/11, thus instigating fear and anger. You want dialogue? Tell your ideological leaders to put their hateful, bigoted, racist, fearful rhetoric aside. Then you can dialogue.

  7. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 8:20 am

    The opposition to the mosque is in every sense silly. I mean, its designed as a community center in a [lalrger] modern building development–it’s not like there will be minarets towering over the WTC site. And, from what I read, it’s supposed to be like ten blocks away. Who exactly is that offensive to, and how does it offend them? What exactly is the nature of the offense? If you can’t answer these questions, and give a real rationale, it’s like saying that Mormons shouldn’t be allowed to build stake centers in Little Rock…

  8. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 8:21 am

    And I say all that as someone who is pretty conservative.

  9. Paul on August 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

    And yet, Jettboy, you offer no merits of the Conservatives’ reasons and ideas.

  10. John C. on August 18, 2010 at 8:42 am

    To be fair, at this point, both liberals and conservatives are calling one another horrible things. It’s equal opportunity uselessness in the name of vote-mongering.

    Kent, I’m with you on this. Nothing else to add, really.

  11. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 9:14 am

    TMD,
    You said: “Who exactly is that offensive to, and how does it offend them? What exactly is the nature of the offense? If you can’t answer these questions, and give a real rationale, it’s like saying that Mormons shouldn’t be allowed to build stake centers in Little Rock…”

    It is particularly offensive to many families who lost relatives and friends on 9/11 to the terrorist attacks. It is also offensive to many who felt attacked themselves on 9/11, even if they didn’t lose someone they knew to the attacks.

    It offends them because it feels to them akin to Muslim conquest, i.e. “we tore down what was there and now we’re moving in.”

    Yes, I know it’s not on the exact site of 9/11; yes, I know that the mosque is not to be run by Al Qaida. But feelings are not always rational, especially when feelings are associated with a strong feeling of loss. That’s why the argument is that the Muslims are being insensitive.

    Dan #4 said “Whether it actually is insensitive or not is in the eye of the beholder, not in actual reality.” But the final phrase of the sentence is an odd one. Feelings are real, they just aren’t tangible or objective. So I agree that feelings are always subjective, but that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed without consideration. Nor, I might add, should they always be catered to. That’s what this debate is, or should be about. Should the supporters of the mosque concede to the feelings of those traumatized by the 9/11 attacks who oppose the mosque or should they build the mosque in spite of those feelings, since the feelings are irrational?

    Anyway, I don’t feel particularly strongly about the mosque, but I thought that Kent did a pretty poor job of acknowledging that there may be two sides to this issue, and that it’s not exactly comparable to opposition to temple building.

    A commenter on another blog said “I wonder if Romney or Harry Reid would also oppose the building of a Mormon church or Temple near Mountain Meadows.”

    I think that’s a more apt comparison (although imperfect, since MM isn’t the same as Manhattan), and I think it would be insensitive of us to build a temple there if it was opposed by the descendants of the survivors.

  12. Mark D. on August 18, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Gingrich’s own position is that Islam is like Nazism.

    Dan, now you are the one engaging in fear. I dare you to provide a citation for that.

  13. AHLDuke on August 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I think the St. George Temple should be demolished, since it is an affront to those descendants of the MM massacre who inevitably have to pass through or stay in that area on the way to visit the memorial site. It must be horrifying for them to have to pass by a building used by the 5th-generation descendants of their ancestor’s killers to participate in the same religion that committed an atrocity over 100 years ago.

    Obviously, this is not a serious comment, but only to point out how ridiculous the anti-mosque side of this debate is.

  14. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    #13 AHLDuke, not only is your comment not serious, it does not point out how ridiculous the anti-mosque side of the debate is.

    #14 AHLDuke, Gingrich’s use of Nazis was a bad choice, since discussing Nazis has a tendency to end communication. But his point is valid: it is insensitive for a group that commit an atrocity to establish a meeting place/shrine/building at the place of the atrocity.

  15. jsg on August 18, 2010 at 9:47 am

    The Mountain Meadows memorial parallel is a real stretch: 1) Immediate relatives of MM victims are long gone. The horrific event is now a distant memory; 2) The memorial there has been established cooperatively by the state of Utah, by the Church, and by the Mountain Meadows Association. It is a memorial to the lives lost, not a Mormon house of worship. If something like MM was committed ten years ago by a gang of renegade mormons, in the name of their god, and then the LDS church tried to build a house of worship 500 feet from the very site where the massacre happened, then you have yourself an analogy.

    What if 500 feet from the site of a recent massacre by evil so-called mormons just happened to be a convenient site to build a temple? I’d fight hard to prevent this, because it is a ridiculous proposition. It would ruin the reputation of what I believe to be a peace-loving religion.

  16. jsg on August 18, 2010 at 9:58 am

    AHLDuke (#13)

    Your humorous argument actually bolsters the anti-mosque argument, by pointing out that we tolerate mosques in the US, just like we tolerate the St. George temple. I’ve never been to Mountain Meadows personally, but I’ve seen pictures, and I’m straining to see where the St. George temple is in the background. Maybe the photographer keeps his back to the temple in all the images I looked at.

    If the St George temple really was built AT Mountain Meadows, say, 500 feet from the memorial cairn, then I would in all seriousness call for its removal. Wouldn’t you? Seriously, wouldn’t you?

  17. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    jsg,
    I wasn’t referring to the MM memorial, but, as you later describe, a hypothetical house of worship. And I agree with you that it would be ridiculous to build a house of worship there.

  18. Mark D. on August 18, 2010 at 10:06 am

    AHLDuke, Gingrich did not say “Islam was like Naziism”, what he said is that:

    Nazis do not have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.

    That statement no more implies that Islam is like Naziism than it implies that the Japanese are. Islam was the declared motivation of the attackers, and that is why it is “insensitive” to build it practically next door, much as it would be to build an LDS chapel on the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Not a memorial, a chapel.

  19. jsg on August 18, 2010 at 10:09 am

    adam e.

    I know. I’m commenting on the attempted MM parallel from the original post:

    “And if constructing the Cordoba Center mosque is really insensitive, then we Mormons are among the most insensitive, for the Church both owns the land and constructed the memorial at Mountain Meadows.”

  20. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Ah, I missed it. Thx.

  21. Mark B. on August 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

    It’s two blocks, not ten blocks, from Vesey Street, the northern boundary of the World Trade Center site. But it could be ten or twenty blocks away–the point is that there isn’t a hint that the Cordoba Initiative chose this property for any reason other than that it was available and was the right size for their planned development. Only the opponents, trying to put the lie to Pres. Bush’s statement nine years ago that Islam is not our enemy, have come up with names like “Ground Zero Mosque.”

    And for all the loudmouths who know nothing more about New York than what they learned on their 3-day visit: Shut Up already.

    If families of people who died on 9/11 are upset about this, it’s only because Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and the rest of that rabble are whipping up a storm about it.

    And Mormons who oppose this, from Harry “Gutless” Reid to Mitt “I’ll say anything to get elected” Romney, have either never learned any history or they’re willfully ignoring it. Romney has to know the issues with the building of the Boston Temple–his position on this mosque is therefore inexcusable.

  22. Mark D. on August 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I seriously doubt if anyone would complain if Muslims build a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks near the World Trade Center, especially a hundred and fifty years from now. More like cheer them on.

  23. Mark B. on August 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

    It’s not “practically next door.” That’s just more tripe from the opponents who are trying to hide their anti-Islamic bigotry behind something slightly more palatable to the American people.

  24. Mark D. on August 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

    If a group of FLDS extremists committed the 9/11 attacks in the name of vengeance for the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to build an LDS temple near the site either. We would practically be insane to propose one.

  25. Stephen Hardy on August 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Mark D: The Newt Gingrich comment is, for me, reprehensible. It suggests that the those who are putting up the Mosque or Center are those people who attached on 9/11. Nazi’s committed the horrors of the Holocost. The Japanese Government planned and carried out the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those people building the Mosque/Center are not… get it?… not those people who carried out the attacks on 9/11. So, Nazi’s really should build a memorial at the Holocost Museum, and the Japanese Government really should build a memorial at Pearl Harbor. Newt Gingrich’s comparison suggests that all Muslims are terrorists. The Nazis are bad. Muslims are not. Newt’s comment is stupid, insensitive, racist, bigoted and he should know better. In fact he does. This is a comment with a political agenda.

  26. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Mark B. #22 and 24,

    Thanks for your thought-provoking and keen insights. I particularly like “Shut Up already.” Were you by chance my Sunday School teacher back in 1991? I recognize that voice.

  27. Stephen Hardy on August 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Oops: Let me re-start: (Why don’t I proofread more carefully?)

    So, Nazis really should NOT build a memorial at the Holocst Museum, and the Japanese Government really should NOT build a memorial at Pearl Harbor…

  28. Leonard W on August 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

    The parallel you tried to draw, the Church building the MEMORIAL at Mountain Meadows, is not a corollary. The local Muslim community is NOT putting up a memorial for their compatriots’ actions on 9/11. I would personally welcome that. A parallel would be if we put a temple and a community center of our own, maybe with a pageant, on the Mountain Meadows site. But we didn’t! It is not hypocritical to oppose this mosque, by any means.

  29. nasamomdele on August 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Not sure how zoning fits in here. Zoning designates “by right” development uses. It doesn’t cater to public sentiment. And rarely does it designate design restrictions. Those are entitlement issues rather than zoning issues.

    Elected/appointed officials cater to public sentiment, i.e planning commissions/zoning boards. And they have approval authority.

    So really, the issue is which public sentiment the developers and the approving officials want to be sensitive to.

    With such heat surrounding this location and this structure, it may be wise for the center to produce a PR campaign that focuses on how the center will be used as a tool to denounce radical Islam and promote peaceful worship. Or something to that effect. They really would be wise to go the extra mile.

  30. Mex Davis on August 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    It is odd that people would be worried about being insensitive to Ground Zero. I mean how far does hollowed ground cover. This new mosque is like 2 blocks away. I believe there is one currently 4 blocks away, maybe that is too close. How about that there are strip joints almost across the street. Anyway this is getting to be a very interesting topic. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out. My feelings are that someone will not be happy no matter what happens.

  31. Mark D. on August 18, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Stephen H, Mr. Gingrich was speaking off the cuff. I am sure he would clarify his wording if given a chance to elaborate. There is no reason to conclude that he thinks that Islam is like Naziism.

    There are a couple of things the organizers could do to soften opposition to this site – one of them is to forthrightly condemn Islamic terrorism everywhere, and on a regular basis. Condemning honor killings and the death penalty for apostates and homosexuals would help too. Unfortunately, one gets the impression that it isn’t quite politically correct to criticize terrorist organizations like Hamas in the Muslim world. Is the funding for a project like this going to dry up if the organizers condemn the attacks or if they excoriate Islamic terror groups?

  32. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Adam e wrote…

    “It offends them because it feels to them akin to Muslim conquest, i.e. “we tore down what was there and now we’re moving in.” ”

    A belief that it feels akin to Muslim conquest???? I feel like Apu when Homer told him about the civil war re-enactment in ‘the sweetest apu’…I don’t even know where to start.

    Also, there are “9-11 families” who support the construction of the mosque. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/nyregion/11mosque.html?pagewanted=2 How many must oppose it before the mantle of “9-11 families oppose X” can be invoked? What if just one mentally unbalanced one ‘felt opposed’? Would that be justification enough for invoking it? And who are all these other people claiming to be “traumatized” because they “felt attacked themselves on 9/11, even if they didn’t lose someone they knew”? This stikes me as just a way of claiming undeserved victim status. I mean, it was 9 years ago. Do you also ‘feel attacked’ every time you get into a Japanese car, or every time you eat in a Chinese restuarant (don’t forget their suprise attack during the Korean War!)

    As to feelings being “irrational,” that’s frankly not true. Actually, feelings are pretty rational things: they are predictable responses to situations with particular sets of perceived structures. (See for instance Frijda 1986, Richard Lazarus 1991, and George Marcus in the 2003 Handbook of Political Psychology, among many.) Indeed, the emotional response is actually a pretty good indicator of an individual’s underlying beliefs.

  33. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 11:06 am

    And how about all the memorials and even temples we’ve put up in IL and MO, which label the local residents’ ancestors as mobbers and martyr’ers. That must really offend some of the locals–particularly since lots of their ancestors probably weren’t. But I’m sure that Mark D and others are also upset about that and very alert to the locals’ their feelings and fears of conquest.

  34. Stephen Hardy on August 18, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Mark D: Newt is a seasoned, smart, calculating, life-long politician. He loves to “stir the pot.” He knew what he was doing and what he was saying. I agree that he wasn’t saying that Muslims are like Nazis at all. He was saying that Muslims are terrorists. That’s worse.

    I am also hopeful that the Center could be handled in some way to help differentiate the 9/11 terrorists from Muslims in general.

  35. AHLDuke on August 18, 2010 at 11:26 am

    To jsg and others, nobody seems to have done a close reading of my #13. I never said the St. George temple was at MM. It is miles away, but in the sparsely populated West, distances are relative, compared to lower Manhattan. Point is, anybody traveling to MM from the south or east, will inevitably have to pass by the St. George temple on their way to MM. Many of them will likely stay in St. George hotels and eat at their restaurants since MM is in the middle of nowhere. But it would be foolish to say that we cannot build a temple at some distance from the site of an atrocity, simply because some folks who have strong feelings might pass by there. The planned community center is not AT Ground Zero, as has been pointed out about a billion times. If you want to go to Ground Zero, you do not have to pass by there.

    In addition, I think there is a much stronger link between the perpetrators of MMM and Mormonism than between the 9-11 terrorists and Islam, given the centralization of Church power in Utah at that time and the blurring of the lines between civil and ecclesiastical authority. In comparison, Islam in the 20th and 21st century is an incredibly diffuse and diverse religion, which cannot be said of late-19th century Mormonism in Utah. And I say that as one who does not buy into the Will Bagley theory that BY ordered MMM. The more apt comparison is the one proposed by Mark D at #25– if FLDS terrorists committed some atrocity, I would have no problem with the LDS church building anything nearby the site. They are not us, and do not represent us, even if we share some historical link.

  36. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 11:30 am

    TMD,

    You said “As to feelings being “irrational,” that’s frankly not true.” Irrational may be the wrong word, but if you try real hard, you can get my point. People may feel certain things even if you, or even they, know that it does not make logical sense for them to feel that way. I may feel hurt by the 9/11 attacks, even though I was not present and did not know anyone there. I may feel that a mosque near ground zero is a show of Muslim arrogance and insensitivity, even if the actual Muslims involved are very humble and generally very sensitive. These seem irrational to me, but maybe illogical or nonsensical are better words to use. In any case, just because feelings do not make sense to you, does not mean you should ignore the feelings or that the feelings do not exist. We should address them and either accede to them or reject them, which is what the debate is about.

    And you state that some 9-11 families support the mosque. So what? No one is arguing that some people are not offended by the mosque. The debate involves whether the mosque proponents should be sensitive to the feelings of those who do not want the mosque to be there. (And the side debate seems to be whether a person can oppose the mosque without being a bigot or a hypocrite)

    You state: “How many must oppose it before the mantle of “9-11 families oppose X” can be invoked?” I don’t know. Something more than one and less than all, I suppose. But it’s not just 9-11 families who oppose the mosque. Americans all over the country oppose the mosque.

    You state: “What if just one mentally unbalanced one ‘felt opposed’?” Then it wouldn’t be in the news.

  37. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

    To build on AHLDuke’s point, the imam associated with Park51 is a Sufi. AlQ types hate the Sufis, and routinely attack their mosques in places like Pakistan. This is literally like mistaking Mormons for the Serbian Orthodox. It is indicative of a profound ignorance of Islam, which is no more a monolith than Christianity is.

  38. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 11:37 am

    adam e., Because there is such a connection between beliefs and perceptions of the world, when people have feelings that, as you say, ‘even they’ ‘know that it does not make logical sense for them to feel that way,’ it is because their beliefs are causing them to feel that way. They may not wish to admit it, but their emotions are giving them away. If the beliefs do not admit respect, the feelings they produce do not merit respect, either.

  39. Adam Greenwood on August 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

    We aren’t building a temple at Mountain Meadows, are we? if we were, we would rightly be criticized.

    On the Mosque issue itself, I side with the Anchoress: its only an issue at all because in our dysfunction we still haven’t rebuilt the WTC.

  40. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

    TMD #39, you said: “If the beliefs do not admit respect, the feelings they produce do not merit respect, either.”

    If an organization’s goal is to promote harmony, then it will respect, in the sense that it will take into consideration and address, feelings of individuals who disagree with the organization, even if those feelings are based on erroneous beliefs. On the other hand, if the organization’s goal is only to be right, or to do what it has a right and the power to do, then your assertion holds true.

    Since the supporters of the mosque have stated that one of its purposes is to promote harmony, then it should address the feelings of those opposed to its location. Some commenters above have presented some ideas as to how to address those feelings, such as denouncing radical Islam, etc.

  41. jsg on August 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    AHLDuke (36):

    You have presented the point of contention nicely:

    “But it would be foolish to say that we cannot build a temple at some distance from the site of an atrocity, simply because some folks who have strong feelings might pass by there. The planned community center is not AT Ground Zero…”

    The question being debated is all about distance. I understand a piece of landing gear careened into the proposed mosque site on 9/11. That’s pretty close.

    I wonder if the debate would be so hot if New Yorkers had already rebuilt an in-your-face-terrorists! monument at the WTC site. I think not. Many Americans can’t believe there is still a crater there, and the idea of a 15-story mosque going up 500 feet away just seems like salt in a wound.

  42. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    adam e, shouldn’t those who are offended, particularly those who would articulate their offense publicly and try to burden another’s ability to live their religion, at least be responsible for the correctness of their offense? When the offense is based on such profoundly incorrect, mis-informed beliefs, articulated and re-articulated by people with a great ability to amplify their ideas, is there realistically anything that a single congregation can do?

  43. Mark B. on August 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    The fact is that a whole lot of people who’ve never met a Muslim in real life, who don’t know lower Manhattan from Santaquin, who could care less about landmark status for an old discount clothing warehouse, and who are simply trying to score political points, have made a controversy where none existed. And the whole world would be better off if they would close their mouths and go back to eating their lunch at Applebee’s and stop trying to score cheap political points.

    And for Mormons who should know better about the objections that are forever being raised to the building of meetinghouses and temples, joining in the anti-mosque rabble is inexcusable.

  44. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    TMD #43, you said: “shouldn’t those who are offended, particularly those who would articulate their offense publicly and try to burden another’s ability to live their religion, at least be responsible for the correctness of their offense?”

    If my goal is to be right and to show other people they are wrong, then the answer to your question is “yes.” If my goal is to promote harmony, then my answer is, “not necessarily.” To be fair, most organizations have both goals and the goals may conflict. The supporters of the mosque need to decide how sensitive they should be to their opponents’ feelings or whether to ignore them. But to ignore their opponents’ concerns is a mistake if they truly are intent on promoting harmony.

    “…is there realistically anything that a single congregation can do?”

    This particular congregation has the national spotlight. See #30, #32, and #35 for what they could do to address concerns without changing locations. Alternatively, they could change locations. Anything they do will receive national attention, so they can do quite a bit to affect how the nation views Muslims, at least in the short term.

  45. Jeremy on August 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I just can’t even believe we’re having this discussion in 2010. It’s so obviously an attempt to pander to people who are freaked out by the economy; I mean, we get xenophobic EVERY TIME there’s a period of economic uncertainty. It’s practically a law of physics.

    “Ground Zero Mosque” belongs in the American Hall of Shame, right along with Death Panels, Birthers, and Freedom Fries.

  46. Jeremy on August 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Also, I just do not buy the “insensitivity” argument. Hundreds of muslims were killed on 9/11 too. Al Queda has killed more people of the Islamic faith than of any other faith. If something hurts your feelings because you’re uninformed, whose fault is that? And if its about the 9/11 victims’ families, why are rightwingers all of the sudden trying to stop the building of mosques elsewhere around the country?

    It’s precisely BECAUSE of the things we do when we’re emotional that we have carved-in-stone principles like the Bill of Rights.

  47. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Adam e (3) wrote:

    As I understand it, opponents of the mosque oppose it BECAUSE it is insensitive to build it there. In other words, you shouldn’t build things if it is insensitive to do so (especially if your stated purpose for building the edifice is to engender dialog and tolerance). Are you looking for another reason?

    Why does insensitivity mean that it shouldn’t be built? That is the question. I’m not looking for another reason. I am looking for why insensitivity gives pundits that don’t even live nearby the right to try to use public opinion to oppose something merely because THEY think it is insensitive.

    Personally I don’t think it is insensitive. SO, to convince me, you need to convince me first that it is, in fact, insensitive, and then convince me that insensitive means it shouldn’t be built.

    As I indicated above, talk show talking heads say insensitive things all the time. Should they therefore not be on the air?

  48. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Adam e (3) continues:

    I think your identification of hypocrisy is over-stated. There’s no requirement in life that we be sensitive to every offense equally. We’re less sensitive to political attacks and fears of real estate devaluation than we are to the feelings of those whose family members have died. That’s as it should be.

    I don’t think I said that there was such a requirement. I’m sure that the talk show guys say things that are equally insensitive to building this mosque. [Actually, I'm pretty sure that its the same critics of the mosque who are among those saying equally insensitive things].

    If you claim that this is about insensitivity, isn’t it just like a speech issue? If you complain about someone’s insensitivity, you are complaining about how they communicate — so apparently the reason for opposing the mosque is that the opponents don’t like the speech or communication that it makes!

  49. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    adam e, there would be harmony if the offended were not falsely offended and insistent on not terminating their own ingnorance. With such people, no amount of press releases identifying the obvious, well-known, centuries old differences between their beliefs and practices and those of AlQ supporters. The “solutions” you point to are an awful lot like expecting every LDS bishop to send our regular press releases every time the FLDS–or for that matter, a christian of any sort–does something disagreeable.

    At a certain point, people have to grow up, recognize and address your own ignorance, and have the integrity to say that you may have been offended because of they are ignorant. Blaming others for being disharmonious, for “offending you” when the offense is entirely imaginary, is inconsistent with these basic pricniples of being a responsible adult.

  50. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    John C (10) said: “To be fair, at this point, both liberals and conservatives are calling one another horrible things. It’s equal opportunity uselessness in the name of vote-mongering.”

    Exactly. I tried to be very careful to not make this a liberal or conservative issue.

    To me it is all about when you have the right to influence or control what your neighbor does with his property. [And I think using public opinion to browbeat the property owner, as is being done here, isn't very different from government control.]

    Having said that, so-called “liberals” are part of the problem because they are very cavalier with the rights of their neighbors to use their property as they see fit. And so-called “conservatives” are likewise ignoring their own claims of supporting property rights all because someone is being “insensitive”!

    Both sides need to look at their ideology and be a bit more consistent in this case!!

  51. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Adam e (11) wrote:

    It is particularly offensive to many families who lost relatives and friends on 9/11 to the terrorist attacks. It is also offensive to many who felt attacked themselves on 9/11, even if they didn’t lose someone they knew to the attacks.

    This is an issue particularly annoying to New Yorkers. Our own feelings about 9/11 are generally ignored in favor of those making political hay over the event. We get attacked, and the rest of the country uses it as an excuse to start a war, feel patriotic and wave the flag at the drop of a hat. If you want to talk about insensitive, the post-9/11 political dialogue about the tragedy is what is really insensitive.

    I know the country as a whole was attacked. But its not in your face every day the same way. My office was less than 10 blocks away. What gives others who weren’t here the right to prattle on insensitively about what it means?

  52. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    To the extent that you believe proximity is an issue, I think we should keep in mind the nature of lower Manhattan. Manhattan is not suburbia. A 15 story building two blocks away usually can’t be seen in lower Manhattan.

  53. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    nasamomdele (30) wrote:

    Not sure how zoning fits in here. Zoning designates “by right” development uses. It doesn’t cater to public sentiment. And rarely does it designate design restrictions. Those are entitlement issues rather than zoning issues.

    I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know the details of these kind of laws. My point was simply that zoning and other restrictions are just that, restrictions by neighbors and the community on how a property owner can use their property. In my very limited experience reading about these issues, it seems like they involve everything from preventing the sewage treatment plant from being put in a neighborhood, to sometimes aesthetic issues, like what color houses can be painted in certain special zones. [Such as the Phoenix metro area's mania with keeping all the buildings looking like they are constructed from adobe -- although I don't know the source of that requirement.]

    I think this is relevant to the Mosque debate because it is about whether or not and how the community can influence and restrict what is built on a site. In this case it is more of a public browbeating than a zoning restriction, but what is the difference?

  54. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Mex Davis (32) wrote: “How about that there are strip joints almost across the street.”

    Are there? I don’t remember, but it doesn’t seem likely, IMO.

  55. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Adam e (37) wrote:

    No one is arguing that some people are not offended by the mosque. The debate involves whether the mosque proponents should be sensitive to the feelings of those who do not want the mosque to be there. (And the side debate seems to be whether a person can oppose the mosque without being a bigot or a hypocrite)

    I agree that this is the issue.

    Please provide the evidence that indicates exactly who is offended and why! Would they have been offended if politicians from outside of New York who have an agenda in the fight hadn’t brought it up? [I heard it discussed on local radio at least a week before it came up nationally - so they could have known already.]

    More to my point, please explain why this is any of the business of these national politicians or anyone outside of New York City! Will any of these people be passing the mosque on their way to the World Trade Center site? (since the propose mosque site is, I believe, mid-block parallel to the north side of Ground Zero, I doubt anyone will be passing by it on the way to Ground Zero).

    What oar do you have in this issue? At least I live here!!

  56. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Adam Greenwood (40) wrote: “its only an issue at all because in our dysfunction we still haven’t rebuilt the WTC.”

    While I’m not sure that our failure to rebuild the WTC is the only reason this is an issue, I do agree that the failure to rebuild is a disgrace.

    Perhaps we should bring back someone like Robert Moses, once almost dictator of New York City, to rebuild the center in the way Moses did — by fiat.

  57. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Kent,

    Being sensitive means being aware of and responsive to the feelings of others. 67% of New Yorkers and many other Americans feel that having a mosque this large this close to ground zero is offensive. So, if the mosque-builders ignore those feelings or are irresponsive to those feelings, then they are, by definition, insensitive.

    So assuming we can agree that ignoring the feelings of the opponents, whether pundits or otherwise, is insensitive to the feelings of the opponents, then we come to your question in #48: “Why does insensitivity mean that it shouldn’t be built?”

    The answer depends on whose point of view you are asking from.
    To the government, it is not a reason for the mosque to be stopped. Everyone concedes that the builders have a right to build the mosque.
    To the opponents, their offense is sufficient reason for the mosque not to be built. (You stated that “I’m sure that the talk show guys say things that are equally insensitive to building this mosque.” Perhaps this is true for you, but apparently not for the opponents to the mosque.)
    To the builders of the mosque, maintaining harmony with the public may be enough reason for the mosque not to be built.

    In #52, you said: “I know the country as a whole was attacked. But its not in your face every day the same way. My office was less than 10 blocks away. What gives others who weren’t here the right to prattle on insensitively about what it means?”
    Not your best work.

  58. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    jsg (42) wrote:

    The question being debated is all about distance. I understand a piece of landing gear careened into the proposed mosque site on 9/11. That’s pretty close.

    I wonder if the debate would be so hot if New Yorkers had already rebuilt an in-your-face-terrorists! monument at the WTC site. I think not. Many Americans can’t believe there is still a crater there, and the idea of a 15-story mosque going up 500 feet away just seems like salt in a wound.

    No, I don’t think it is “all about distance.” Distance is a factor. BUT, remember that the mosque site can’t be seen from the WTC because of intervening buildings. Landing gear falling from the sky are one thing. Line of sight is very different. And even from a rebuilt WTC tower, the mosque is likely to be so small from that height that it isn’t noticeable.

    As for an “in-your-face-terrorists! monument” at the WTC, what makes you think that is what New Yorkers want? In my view, that is what NON-New Yorkers want, especially the conservatives. Yet another attempt to co-opt the tragedy for political purposes.

  59. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Adam e (58) wrote:

    In #52, you said: “I know the country as a whole was attacked. But its not in your face every day the same way. My office was less than 10 blocks away. What gives others who weren’t here the right to prattle on insensitively about what it means?”
    Not your best work.

    Hmm. Why isn’t it my best work?

    This is a very real feeling among many of us here in NYC. Those outside try to declare what we feel based on their political assumptions and viewpoint.

    Why is this even your business? Are you going to be near the mosque or ground zero regularly?

  60. Mark B. on August 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I’d agree to a new Robert Moses only if I had direct control over all his decisions. Or if I were the guy. Then things would be done right!

    (Like moving the Pussycat Lounge and the New York Dolls strip clubs farther away from the WTC site. Three blocks is definitely insensitive!)

    What Kent says about location is of course accurate. None of the gawking tourists making their way to Ground Zero or the Statue of Liberty ferry terminal in Battery Park or walking down lower Broadway to see the names of all the people honored in ticker tape parades, or going into St. Paul’s chapel on Broadway and Vesey, or to Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall or to any other place that any tourist even goes intentionally will ever see the Cordoba House. And, if there’s an observation deck somewhere at the top of some new building that finally gets built down where the WTC was, you wouldn’t be able to spot the Cordoba Center from that without a guidebook and binoculars.

  61. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Kent,

    Are you serious?

    “What gives others who weren’t here the right to prattle on insensitively about what it means?”
    The First Amendment gives us the right. 9/11 gave us the reason.

    Do you think 9/11 was just a New York thing and that ground zero is just a hole in New York? You claim to know that “the country as a whole was attacked,” but you talk as if you don’t believe it. Ground zero isn’t yours, it’s all of ours.

    Why is it even our business? Because we all went numb as the terrorists flew the planes into the buildings. You may have been covered in dust, but we all felt the shock. We remember and we care. A lot.

    I do not care whether the mosque is built there, but I understand the feelings of those who do, and your latest arguments that this is just a New York thing and should only matter to those who work nearby is absurd.

    That’s why it wasn’t your best work.

  62. Cameron Nielsen on August 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Two muslim leaders recently wrote an article in a northeastern (Canadian) newspaper about how it was a purely provocative gesture. There is a difference between religion and fascism/terrorism disguised as religion.

    Also, Adam e. in comment #62 directly above me points out the inconsistency in your argument.

  63. Ardis E. Parshall on August 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Why is this even your business?

    If it isn’t in some way our business, why raise the issue here?

  64. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    “Ground zero isn’t yours, it’s all of ours.” What does that even mean? In what sense can one ‘own’ an attack? And why would one want to, except to weakly claim victim or affronted status? But surely such things are not normatively desirable (although, for some, claiming such status may be pleasant? or perhaps give them, in their minds, justification to break rules?) I mean, I don’t think the French claim the fall of Sedan in 1870 as something they own. It’s something that happened; it’s an embarassment. Same thing with Chosi Resevoir. Same thing with 9-11. For those who do not have a concrete private grief, claims to victim status are clearly invented, and to me at least, neither becoming nor desirable.

  65. TMD on August 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Chosin Reservoir, that is.

  66. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Where is the anger and cries for “insensitivity” for the mosque INSIDE the Pentagon?

  67. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    TMD,

    #65,

    “Ground zero isn’t yours, it’s all of ours.” What does that even mean? In what sense can one ‘own’ an attack? And why would one want to, except to weakly claim victim or affronted status?

    This is a common experience among American Christians. The victim mentality. It’s a strange thing, but American Christians like to be defined by the traumatic events in either their lives or the history of Christianity.

  68. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Cameron,

    #63,

    Two muslim leaders recently wrote an article in a northeastern (Canadian) newspaper about how it was a purely provocative gesture. There is a difference between religion and fascism/terrorism disguised as religion.

    Do you have a reference for that? Because this group has actually resided in lower Manhattan for several decades. They’re overcrowded in their current location and have wanted to expand for a while. I’m not sure how familiar you are with lower Manhattan, but real estate is very difficult to come by. That the Burlington Coat Factory building became available was not some subversive plot to have them put yet another mosque in lower Manhattan (again, not sure if you are familiar with the fact that there already exists another mosque not four blocks away from Ground Zero) to stick it in the eye of American Christians and proudly claim victory for Islam over American infidels. What utterly ridiculous poppycock.

  69. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Adam e (62) wrote:

    Kent,

    Are you serious?

    “What gives others who weren’t here the right to prattle on insensitively about what it means?”
    The First Amendment gives us the right. 9/11 gave us the reason.

    Do you think 9/11 was just a New York thing and that ground zero is just a hole in New York? You claim to know that “the country as a whole was attacked,” but you talk as if you don’t believe it. Ground zero isn’t yours, it’s all of ours.

    You misunderstand me. I’m talking about how many of us in New York feel. This happens not because it isn’t a national issue, but because the rest of the country takes over the attack as if New York is a desert where no one lives, where the attack happened to happen. Somehow New Yorkers are a stereotype that feel just the same way as everyone else. No one needs to figure out how we feel, they can just prattle on as if we don’t exist, saying things that are insensitive and ignorant.

    I know that New Yorkers don’t “own” the 9/11 tragedy. But the rest of the country acts like they DO “own” it, regardless of what those in New York feel.

    Its our neighborhood. Shouldn’t our feelings be a bit more important than those who don’t live here?

  70. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Adam e (62) wrote:

    I do not care whether the mosque is built there, but I understand the feelings of those who do, and your latest arguments that this is just a New York thing and should only matter to those who work nearby is absurd.

    You say you don’t care, but you sure have an opinion.

    Hmmm.

    FWIW, I don’t think that 9/11 is just a New York thing. I do think that New Yorker’s opinions on many issues about 9/11 do matter more, because we are the ones that have to face it on a regular basis.

    What gets built two blocks from (and largely out-of-sight of) ground zero is, IMO, almost exclusively a New York issue.

    And, Ardis (64), I brought it up because it is already in the public sphere. Someone needs to point out that this is a local issue. The political pundits weighing in on this should stop trying to once again make political points out of something that doesn’t concern them.

  71. adam e. on August 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Kent said: “You say you don’t care, but you sure have an opinion.”

    I have a strong opinion about people who either refuse to see or cannot see another’s point of view. I don’t believe blogs are echo chambers for those who agree with us, and I know I have learned a lot from fellow bloggers. So I tried to present a better argument for why people may oppose the mosque other than bigotry or hypocrisy. Your initial post was devoid of any understanding of the alternative point of view, and that ignorance makes meaningful communication difficult or impossible. Even though your position on whether the mosque should be built has not changed (and I really don’t care one way or the other), I hope you at least understand that there is a valid alternative point of view.

  72. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    adam,

    I hope you at least understand that there is a valid alternative point of view.

    What is this valid alternative point of view that is devoid of bigotry or fear?

  73. Tim on August 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Dan,
    One that is ignorant. There are a lot of people out there, after all, who are entirely ignorant about the diversity in the Muslim faith.

    I don’t think we can blame people’s negative reaction to this on just bigotry or fear, although those are certainly evident. The sad truth is, a lot of people are just plain stupid. They don’t realize that Muslims are not the enemy. They can’t separate the millions and millions of good Muslims from the handful of evil ones.

  74. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Adam, I do see that there is another point of view. Actually, this post opens the possibility that it is about trying to control what happens on someone else’s property, doesn’t it?

    Of course I recognize that some people are offended or insulted by the mosque being within a few blocks of ground zero. But I don’t agree that that feeling is enough to justify browbeating those trying to build the mosque into starting from the beginning trying to find a site elsewhere.

    And I certainly don’t believe that national pundits and talk show hosts who don’t live here in NYC should be listened to on this issue. Its something for us in NYC to work out.

  75. DavidH on August 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Here is an interesting explanation of how the opposition to mosque (and Islam) are part of American-izing Islam, in the same way Mormons and Catholics have been American-ized by the helpful persecution and discrimination of WASPs. Really.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/opinion/16douthat.html?_r=1&ref=rossdouthat

    Here are some important observations from the piece:

    “There’s an America where it doesn’t matter what language you speak, what god you worship, or how deep your New World roots run. . . .But there’s another America as well, one that understands itself as a distinctive culture, rather than just a set of political propositions. . . .

    “. . .The first America welcomed the poor, the tired, the huddled masses; the second America demanded that they change their names and drop their native languages, and often threw up hurdles to stop them coming altogether. The first America celebrated religious liberty; the second America persecuted Mormons and discriminated against Catholics.

    “But both understandings of this country have real wisdom to offer, and both have been necessary to the American experiment’s success. . . .

    “…. The steady pressure to conform to American norms, exerted through fair means and foul, eventually persuaded the Mormons to abandon polygamy, smoothing their assimilation into the American mainstream. Nativist concerns about Catholicism’s illiberal tendencies inspired American Catholics to prod their church toward a recognition of the virtues of democracy, making it possible for generations of immigrants to feel unambiguously Catholic and American.

    “. . . . [Muslims] need leaders, in other words, who understand that while the ideals of the first America protect the e pluribus, it’s the demands the second America makes of new arrivals that help create the unum.”

    In other words, thank goodness for the opposition to the mosque, so that Muslims, like Mormons, Catholics and other religious groups, can be encouraged to assimilate to Anglo-Saxon protestant norms.

  76. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    David,

    Yeah? Mormons are supposed to assimilate to Protestant norms?

  77. Mark B. on August 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I think David was being ironic.

    But, Douthat is on the Newshour right now. And is as wrong there as he was in the Times.

  78. Kent Larsen on August 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    It is beliefs like Douthat’s that continue to alienate me from my conservative roots. I can’t agree with people that spout the need for freedom and democracy and then preach that it is a good thing that we have forces that persecute others for being different, or that claim that only those that happen to be born here or that speak English are better than everyone else.

    How are the ideas of freedom and democracy that we aspire to in the U.S. and that make up an important part of LDS doctrine compatible with the desire to control what our neighbors do on their own property?

  79. Dan on August 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    and here is Karl Rove equating Muslims with Nazi skinheads:

    ROVE: The vast majority of the American people believe there is freedom of religion in our Constitution and that right of freedom of expression would be best exercised by not building it here. Look, in that same first amendment there’s a right to freedom of speech. Who believes that skinheads should show up at a Black sorority convention and scream bigoted remarks? Who believes there’s a right of freedom of assembly. Who believes Neo-Nazis should show up at the B’nai B’rith hotel and have their meeting in the next meeting room? There are rights everyone has that we think it’d be prudent to not exercise them at certain times.

    Karl Rove, like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, is not some conservative blogger in his mamma’s basement who shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  80. Fred Gedicks on August 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Suppose a group of radical Christian reconstructionists blows up a Muslim mosque in lower Manhattan, killing thousands of Muslims, Christians, Jews, and unbelievers.

    Then years later, a conservative evangelical church decides to build a worship and community center two blocks away.

    Does *anyone* get exercised about evangelical insensitity”?

    Just askin’.

  81. Mark D. on August 19, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Dan, making a comparison or an analogy is not “equating”. Also, with regard to Muslim opposition, I refer you here.

  82. Chino Blanco on August 19, 2010 at 1:20 am

    How did this even become a topic of national discussion? Now I’m thinking back to my NYU days and some of the conversations with my Pakistani roommate and suspecting he was more correct than I allowed at the time re my supposed naive idealization of America. Holy crap. In any case, whether this is what the country has become or simply who we’ve always been, how does this brouhaha accomplish anything beyond convincing one-half the country and the entire rest of the world that we’re a nation of bigoted, frightened buffoons.

  83. Mark D. on August 19, 2010 at 1:20 am

    More Muslim opposition:

    “What the citizens of the U.S. fail to understand is that the battle against the 9/11 terrorists is not their battle. It is a Muslim battle – one whose flames are still raging in more than 20 Muslim countries… I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers, nor do they want a mosque that will become a shrine for the haters of Islam… This has already started to happen: [the Islamophobes] are claiming that a mosque is being built over the corpses of 3,000 U.S. citizens who were buried alive by people chanting ‘Allah akbar’ – the same call that will be heard from the mosque…”

    That is Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, writing in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, August 16, 2010. See here.

  84. Mark D. on August 19, 2010 at 1:34 am

    How did this even become a topic of national discussion?

    I think President Obama has something to do with it.

  85. Chino Blanco on August 19, 2010 at 1:44 am

    @85: Ah, silly me. I should’ve known. And there I was thinking it might be the kind of three-ring circus one gets these days when the polling comes back showing just how many Americans really, really don’t like Muslims. People vote their fears. Days like these, I wish I could vote to replace our Senate with a House of Lords.

  86. Susan Wyman on August 19, 2010 at 3:25 am

    There seems to be a lot of mean-spirited commentary on this topic. Can we try to get rid of the emotion and think logically about the proposal?
    I, for one, cannot understand Nancy Pelosi’s desire to investigate the funding of opposition to the mosque, yet not want to investigate who is actually funding the construction! Many in opposition are those like the Anti-Defamation League, the Families of 9-11 victims, etc. I do not think that their opposition is suspect at all. On the opposite side of the coin I hear “rumors” that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are behind the funding for the mosque. If true, then I do indeed believe it is meant as a monument to their compatriot’s hate-filled, inhumane actions on 9-11. Let’s get to the truth before forming an opinion.

  87. Niklas on August 19, 2010 at 4:23 am

    #87, Getting rid of the emotion and thinking logically is good idea.
    Spreading rumors is not. Your willingness to spread such rumors suggest that you have already formed an opinion.

  88. Tim on August 19, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Susan asked for it. May I present: Truth.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MOSQUE_FACT_CHECK?SITE=UTSAC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    And I’m scared out of my wits that Gingrich might become the next president. Someone who says something as outrageous as “There should be no mosque near ground zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. … America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization” should be laughed at and scorned. Unfortunately, many Americans support this kind of fear-mongering, and if it continues, things do not bode well for the religious freedoms or the physical safety of Muslims in the U.S.

  89. Chino Blanco on August 19, 2010 at 4:38 am

    I second Ted Olson’s logic but am even more (pleasantly) surprised to find myself agreeing with Gov. Christie: “… this should not be in the political, partisan marketplace.”

  90. Chino Blanco on August 19, 2010 at 5:11 am

    After reading #89′s link, I’m going to suggest that, in addition to replacing the Senate with a deliberative body capable of actual deliberation, the AP style guide be updated to require scare quotes around “potential 2012 presidential candidate” whenever that job description happens to be the only reason a source is being quoted.

  91. Mark B. on August 19, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Re: #85

    Obama had something to do with it? Are you serious?

    Three weeks or a month after Palin and Gingrich began spewing their ignorance, after B’nai Brith showed that they believe in the free exercise of religion for themselves, certainly, but not for Muslims, the President makes two statements–one a clear declaration of principle and the second a mealy-mouthed retreat–and you’re blaming him for making this a topic of national conversation?

    Mayor Bloomberg has made us proud. And all the folks who live in the benighted State of New Jersey can be proud–their Governor Christie has shown more backbone and intelligence on this issue than nearly any other politician. Otherwise the whole pusillanimous lot should be pushed off the stage onto the ash heap of history where they belong.

  92. Dan on August 19, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Mark D.,

    I think President Obama has something to do with it.

    I know that Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich embarrass you, and you never really want to defend or quote them, but they are the de facto leaders of the Republican/conservative movement. They made this a national issue (amplified by all their friends in the media) long before Obama weighed in. Com’on dude, give credit where credit is due. Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are working hard to try and best represent the madness found on the right these days. Where’s the love?

  93. TMD on August 19, 2010 at 6:33 am

    #87, Susan, the truth is easily available and straightforward. Al Queda hates Sufis and Sufism, which is a family of sects within Islam who, among other things, worship saints and seek a direct communication with God. Al Queda, the Taliban, and others beleive that they are perverting the truth of Islam. They conduct suicide operations agaist the Sufis, like the attack in Pakistan against the Data Darbar, which killed scores of Sufis while at worship on 1 July. The imam associated with Cordoba House is a Sufi. Al Queda would never, ever, ever fund a Sufi place of worship. None of this is exactly hard to find information.

  94. Chino Blanco on August 19, 2010 at 7:34 am

    The fact that we’re talking about this at all shows P.T. Barnum was right.

  95. adam e. on August 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

    From the NY Times today:

    “Speaking during an impromptu news conference at Covenant House, a Catholic shelter in Manhattan for homeless youth, Archbishop Dolan invoked the example of Pope John Paul II, who in 1993 ordered Catholic nuns to move from their convent at the former Auschwitz death camp after protests from Jewish leaders.

    “He’s the one who said, ‘Let’s keep the idea, and maybe move the address,’ ” the archbishop said.”

    Although no analogy is perfect, I believe this story illustrates well the idea that sometimes to maintain harmony, it is better for us to give up something we have a right to rather than hurt the feelings of others, even if we believe those feelings are unreasonable. Pope John Paul II showed great sensitivity and wisdom.

  96. Dan on August 19, 2010 at 7:47 am

    adam e.,

    Here is from the NY Times in June. Make no mistake at who is NOT interested in dialogue:

    But just 20 minutes earlier, as Bill Finnegan stood at the microphone, came the meeting’s single moment of hushed silence. Mr. Finnegan said he was a Marine lance corporal, home from Afghanistan, where he had worked as a mediator with warring tribes.

    After the sustained standing ovation that followed his introduction, he turned to the Muslims on the panel: “My question to you is, will you work to form a cohesive bond with the people of this community?” The men said yes.

    Then he turned to the crowd. “And will you work to form a cohesive bond with these people — your new neighbors?”

    The crowd erupted in boos. “No!” someone shouted.

    So it is clear. The anger, fear, and hatred are not found among Muslims but American Christians.

  97. Dan on August 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

    adam e.,

    Let’s just think about this for a moment. If the Park51 guys decide to cave and agree to move, where do you think they could move to? How about one block to the north? What will be the reaction of the hateful bigots to that? Will they say, “nope, that’s not far enough.” How about four blocks away from Ground Zero? Oh wait, there’s already a mosque four blocks away. Will the hateful bigots say, “nope that’s not far enough.” Okay, how about five blocks? How about ten blocks? Let’s say they find a spot in SoHo, one mile to the north of Ground Zero. Do you really believe the hateful bigots will suddenly get silent, or do you think they will smell blood and go for the jugular? After all, I’m sure one of the families who lost one of their loved ones lives in SoHo. The idiot New Gingrich had indicated that maybe next to Central Park, about three miles to the north, would be a better location. Of course, there’s already a mosque up there near Central Park. Of course there are also a lot of Jews in the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. We wouldn’t want to be insensitive to Judaism, so we should move it somewhere else. Maybe we should just shove this mosque over in Little Korea in Flushing. Koreans, after all, aren’t Christian or Jewish. They’re part of the “other”. Maybe that’s a safe enough location to be “sensitive” to the victims of 9/11. Of course, there could be a Korean family in Flushing who may have lost someone on 9/11. So maybe that won’t work. How about if we just don’t have any mosques in America. Maybe that might be sensitive to the victims of 9/11. After all, America is the TRUE victim of 9/11…

  98. Chino Blanco on August 19, 2010 at 8:25 am

    My #95 aside, I appreciate this post.

    My roommate Farouk paid his way through City College by driving cab and wound up landing a scholarship to Yale to pursue his engineering studies. The last time I saw him was twenty years ago at his place in New Haven. I remember that day because I remember feeling so proud that my country’s ideals had played a part in making that day possible.

  99. TMD on August 19, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Adam e,

    The analogy does not work. The polish convent was AT Auschwitz. Not nearby, but on the property itself, in a building used to store the poison gas. The proposed mosque would be in a currently disused Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse, on a street parallel to the site but blocks away. Given the unfounded and frankly ignorant nature of the “feelings” here, what exactly should be the dimensions of the “no mosque” zone that you would have them generate? What else shouldn’t be allowed in the neighborhood? THere’s a ‘UNiversity of Phoenix’ facility; should they be allowed to offer sub-par education just a few hundred yards away from the 9-11 site? (I find them to be far more offensive than the Sufis, and so isn’t that insensitive to the memory of 9-11?) And don’t say that it’s a question of “rights” but how people should act. You are saying that by failing to respect the feelings of the ignorant the mosque organizers are showing themselves to be insensitive and therefore the bad actor in the situation. So who else is a bad actor who should be driven out of the area by the pressure of ill-informed public opinion?

  100. adam e. on August 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

    “The analogy does not work.”
    I did admit that the analogy was imperfect, as all analogies are. But the principle applies.

    “Given the unfounded and frankly ignorant nature of the “feelings” here, what exactly should be the dimensions of the “no mosque” zone that you would have them generate?”
    I would not have “them” (Muslims? NY?) generate a no mosque zone.

    “What else shouldn’t be allowed in the neighborhood?”
    Whatever people don’t want in the neighborhood, as evidenced by zoning laws (and/or violent mobs).

    “There’s a ‘UNiversity of Phoenix’ facility; should they be allowed to offer sub-par education just a few hundred yards away from the 9-11 site?”
    Quite a compelling argument. I have seen the light, and you are at its center, pouring down streams of wisdom directly into my brain.

    “And don’t say that it’s a question of “rights” but how people should act.”
    OK.

    “You are saying that by failing to respect the feelings of the ignorant the mosque organizers are showing themselves to be insensitive and therefore the bad actor in the situation.”
    Well, if by “bad actor” you mean, “could have handled this better” actor, I agree. But many of the anti-mosque protesters have been worse actors, so I think it’s inaccurate for you to characterize the mosque organizers as “the” bad actor.

    “So who else is a bad actor who should be driven out of the area by the pressure of ill-informed public opinion?”
    I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head.

  101. adam e. on August 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

    TMD,

    re: “I have seen the light, and you are at its center, pouring down streams of wisdom directly into my brain,” I apologize. I have a pretty wry sense of humor and this may have been obnoxious or rude.

    In all sincerity, the U of Phoenix argument strikes me as absurd, so I won’t address it. Perhaps it was your attempt at humor.

  102. TMD on August 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I can’t imagine that any Mormon who has any sense of the Mormon experience in America would say


    “What else shouldn’t be allowed in the neighborhood?”
    Whatever people don’t want in the neighborhood, as evidenced by zoning laws (and/or violent mobs).

    like it was a good thing or in any sense valid thing to say. I mean, we’ve been active (and successful) proponents of Federal laws to overcome just these sorts of objections. We’ve had temples and meeting houses delayed for years by these kinds of objections, which are quite often veiled anti-Mormonism. (I was in a unit that had a meeting house approval delayed for 2 years by a local community board, until legal action was pursued; that was 5 years ago in the Midewest; that’s not a rare occurence.)

    And yes, the university of Phoenix is absurd.

  103. adam e. on August 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

    TMD #103,

    Well, w/r/t zoning laws, they’re subject to the First Amendment of the Constitution and the will of the people as reflected by their elected representatives, so with those caveats, I stand by the statement (of course violent mobs was tongue-in-cheek). In other words, as long as the zoning laws are consistent with the federal and state constitutions, they are the only way to legally determine what should and should not be built. Since you ordered me to avoid the distinction between “legal rights” and “the right thing,” I did not opine upon whether there was a difference in this case between what the mosque organizers have a legal right to do and what the right thing is for them to do.

  104. H. Ross on August 19, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Dan, I don’t see your attacks in this thread as helping the discussion. You should reconsider your tone. People that disagree with you should not be denigrated.

  105. Adam Greenwood on August 19, 2010 at 10:48 am

    ” [And I think using public opinion to browbeat the property owner, as is being done here, isn't very different from government control.]”

    I’m not at all sure about this.

  106. nasamomdele on August 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Kent, TMD,

    It seems that your argument could be narrowed down to the idea that a mosque near ground zero is a by right use, so therefore the public, especially the national public, even in the discussion of a National Memorial site, should not have involvement in the application of the zoning code. Especially because they are conservative, ignorant, and hyper-sensitive.

    I’m not sure how this argument works in a Democracy. Example:

    The comments about ground zero or even New York being your neighborhood is like saying Disneyland is Anaheim’s neighborhood. Or Malibu Beach is Malibu’s neighborhood.

    That argument is an expression of public ownership of a collection private property, as a community. You have a right to speak for it, but no right to the property itself.

    Interestingly Kent, you voiced your own feeling about what goes on in “your” neighborhood.

    Just as the majority of Americans are NIMBY about the mosque at a National Memorial site, you have just NIMBY’d the conversation about “your” neighborhood.

    Hooray for public sentiment.

  107. Dan on August 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

    H. Ross,

    Dan, I don’t see your attacks in this thread as helping the discussion. You should reconsider your tone. People that disagree with you should not be denigrated.

    I’m sure you have evidence of you counseling Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin to tone down their rhetoric, and that they ought not to denigrate those who they disagree with. Perhaps you told this to Ezra Taft Benson who denigrated those he did not agree with when he was an Apostle. Politics is a contact sport. Our Founding Fathers have done it. Prophets have done it. I will do it.

  108. TMD on August 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

    nasamomdele

    I’m really quite conservative. But I’m also educated, and opposed to idociy, particularly when it’s on ‘my side.’

    Your comments unfortunately don’t make any sense. The Cordoba House project already has zoning approval. The only involvement of Federal authorities in zoning comes when there is a violation of, for instance, the First Ammendment. Moreover, it is very much the case that Disneyland is situated in a municipality which regulates it. Further, Disneyland is part of a private for-profit corporation, so I don’t know what collective public ownership you are talking about. (Unless you are a Marxist with plans…) In most states, sea shore is state property, though some elements of regulation are sometimes delegated to municipalities for regulation. This is also different from the case at hand.

    Also, rather importantly, there is no “National Memorial Site.” Ground 0 itself owned, as was the case before the incident, by the Port Authority of NY/NJ. The property in question, blocks away, is currently privately owned. No one that I am aware of is proposing purchasing either the site or the property around it for miles around for use as a “National Memorial Site.”

  109. DSmith on August 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Reminds me of the time Joe Smith’s followers moved into Missouri and threatened to swing the vote to the abolitionist crowd. Terribly insensitive to slaveholders.

    Bloomberg should take a page out of the Missouri playbook and learn how to deal with those insensitive religious fanatics.

  110. DavidH on August 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    “Reminds me of the time Joe Smith’s followers moved into Missouri and threatened to swing the vote to the abolitionist crowd. Terribly insensitive to slaveholders.”

    I think Archbishop Dolan would have mediated this dispute by moving the Mormons to a more hospitable place–maybe Illinois, or if that did not work, to the Great Basin. In his infinite wisdom, he would say, “Keep your religious community, my Mormon friends, just change your address.”

  111. DavidH on August 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “Reminds me of the time Joe Smith’s followers moved into Missouri and threatened to swing the vote to the abolitionist crowd. Terribly insensitive to slaveholders.”

    I think Archbishop Dolan would have mediated this dispute by moving the Mormons to a more hospitable place–maybe Illinois, or if that did not work, to the Great Basin. In his infinite wisdom, he would say, “Keep your religious community, my Mormon friends, just change your address.”

  112. adam e. on August 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    #110 “Reminds me of the time Joe Smith’s followers moved into Missouri and threatened to swing the vote to the abolitionist crowd. Terribly insensitive to slaveholders.”
    That’s a really good point. I like your succinct analysis of what happened early in our Church and the spot on comparison to what’s happening in NY today. Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

    #111′I think Archbishop Dolan would have mediated this dispute by moving the Mormons to a more hospitable place–maybe Illinois, or if that did not work, to the Great Basin. In his infinite wisdom, he would say, “Keep your religious community, my Mormon friends, just change your address.”’
    Totally witty and insightful. Thanks DSmith and DavidH.

  113. Mark B. on August 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    “Hooray for public sentiment.”

    Unless, as Mosiah said, “the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you.”

    Or, unless you’re a sheep out with two wolves and an election is held to choose tonight’s dinner menu.

    If indeed the majority, even in this city, are opposing this mosque, then:

    We need a national lesson on the Bill of Rights, so the people can learn that the Bill of Rights was adopted precisely to protect against majoritarian tyranny

    We need other lessons:

    To the non-New Yorkers who are making the most noise–quiet down, and learn some simple geography lessons: the mosque is not at Ground Zero, cannot be seen from Ground Zero, is not on a street leading to Ground Zero, will not be passed by any tourist on his or her way to Ground Zero (except for those who are lost), and is not within some sort of memorial area.

    It would also help for the people who have never attempted to put together a parcel of Real Estate in New York City to stop and realize that it is not easy–in fact it is damnably difficult–to find in the city a parcel of suitable size and and price, one that is not subject to zoning or landmarking or other restrictions on use that would preclude its use.

    It wouldn’t hurt for people to remember that there are nearly 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, and that they’re no more monolithic than Christianity. And that public reaction to this mosque is likely to make more of those Muslims believe that we really are engaged in a fight against Islam, rather than a fight against Al Qaeda or terrorists.

  114. manaen on August 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I did not originate this context but I heartily endorse it; the most-relevant LDS scripture is:
    .
    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, WHERE, or what they may. — AoF 11

  115. DSmith on August 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    manaen: You’re wrong. You missed the proviso at the end:

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, WHERE, or what they may; provided, however, that if the exercise of such privilege hurts some people’s feelings we reserve the right to deny such privilege.

  116. Bart on August 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Very good article. Thank you. Personally, at first I had a problem with it being there. In my heart I didn’t want it, but in my mind I knew I had to accept it because it is the constitutionally guaranteed right for them to do so. For those conservatives who preach the sanctity of the constitution, you cannot oppose it being built, or else your constitutional rhetoric is just that, empty rhetoric.

  117. Bart on August 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I also see in the neighborhood a “gentlemen’s club”, ahem, and I doubt that classifies as hallowed ground.

  118. Geoff B on August 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Kent, I agree with your take on this issue.

  119. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    rather see a strip club built there than a mosque…

  120. Brad Kramer on August 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    I saw a guy with a megaphone at temple square telling patrons that they’d be better off going to a strip club than entering a Mormon temple. Good thing the gut instincts of total jerkwads aren’t enshrined in the Bill of Rights…

  121. kurofune on August 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

    There have been inaccurate claims, promulgated here and elsewhere, that this is really a distant and unrelated site. ‘Ground Zero’ is certainly the land where the twin towers stood but this site in question was part of the damage in the attack (search for word ‘roof’ to find that landing gear from one of the planes stuck the original building) so this IS PARTICULARLY CLOSE:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/nyregion/14center.html?_r=1

    Second inaccuracy that keeps popping up: opponents are interrupting unrelated worship. In actuality, the Cordoba Initiatives plans were designed FOR this location. The connected being drawn to 9/11 attacks was NOT unfairly generated by opponents but was implicit.

    Neither of these clinch opponents’ arguments but they do point out factual inaccuracies often used for defense. I agree that there is likely no governmental force that can be justly used to block construction BUT those that cry anti-religious freedom hypocritically forget the purpose of freedom of speech and seek to shout down with trumped up claims of bigotry that which is a VALID concern.

    I would love a cultural center, a memorial, or anything of the like EVEN if it were apologetic of the Muslim community as a whole but the creator (Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf) has exhibited in his defense and actions the opposite of the bridge building he claims. This hurts the cause overall and this project is a mistake. I did appreciate Kent’s thoughtful and fair if one-sided article.

  122. Brian Duffin on August 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Brad, surely this gentleman jests! The strip clubs in SLC are pathetic! Now, next time you see him, send him down to AZ and let him compare the quality of the clubs. I am confident he will leave SLC and move to Phoenix. ;-)

  123. kurofune on August 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Inaccuractely understanding your opponents’ views only lead to bad debate.

    A third persistent inaccuracy for defenders: That opponents want to BLOCK construction and/or constitutional religious freedom implies not VOCALLY opposing construction:

    Bart:”…conservatives who preach the sanctity of the constitution, you cannot oppose it being built, or else your constitutional rhetoric is just that, empty rhetoric.”

    This is a nuanced argument. The sanctity of the constitution is important and that’s why NO major conservatives to my knowledge (even the kooky fringe if you can believe it) have suggested that their RIGHT to build should be denied. Rather, this is a movement of public NONLEGAL pressure, which is perfectly defensible for those who believe that this building is wrong for non-religious reasons. I share this belief, generally, without hating Muslims; in fact some Muslims agree with me:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080603006.html

    PLEASE NOTE: opposing this construction does not prove or even imply hatred or bigotry relative to those who practice Islam.

  124. TMD on August 20, 2010 at 11:36 am

    kurofune: when you say “opposing this construction does not prove or even imply hatred or bigotry relative to those who practice Islam.” you are at best over generous and likely incorrect. The site is two largely undamaged blocks away on a parallel street. It would be catacorner from a “university” of pheonix. It’s an urban area with urban uses. The kinds of muslims involved are Sufis, a group who are attacked and killed by Al Queda types.

    As a mormon, you should have some sense of what being the target of public pressure is like, and you should oppose it being directed against any other faith, so that when the time comes (how quickly people forget the protestors outside our CA temples after Prop 8 passed)–and it will again–we have friends, allies, and precedents on our side.

  125. manaen on August 20, 2010 at 11:38 am

    (Pondering “fair if one-sided”).

  126. nasamomdele on August 20, 2010 at 11:59 am

    TMD,

    Federal authorities have nothing to do with zoning except in interpretation of specific cases in the Supreme Court or in legislative or executive land designations. Otherwise there is only a Federal Enabling Act that provides local authority for land use designation. And that zoning can only be challenged on the basis of the 5th or 14th amendments. These focus on due process and equal protection.

    And I don’t believe I said that the mosque site was public property. But then ownership of ground zero is a mixed bag as far as the latest I’ve heard. I think there are multiple owners/leasees if I’m not mistaken, some public, some private.

    Nevertheless, the point is not one of who owns it, it is a point of who has input into hat goes in the neighborhood of the site.

    The WTC site has a national memorial under construction. It is a national site.

    I don’t oppose the mosque at all, but frankly, I see the argument that dismisses the need for sensitivity or dismisses the acceptability of non-local outcry for whatever reasons as the most ignorant.

    I think the Cordoba Center needs to do more PR, just like I think Walmart needs better PR for their sites they propose next to Nation Historic Civil War Battlefields in the South.

  127. kurofune on August 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    manaen@126: While his coverage of the opposing viewpoint was limited he wasn’t unfair (inaccurate) about it. It’s okay and normal for opinion pieces like this to be one-sided.

    TMD@125: “you are at best over generous and likely incorrect”. I stand by the previous statement and don’t feel over-generous. Your paragraph following the quote didn’t support or demonstrate you belief about my statement. I’ll say it again: “opposing this construction does not prove or even imply hatred or bigotry relative to those who practice Islam.” and I believe that this is plainly evident.

    Still TMD@125: I am Mormon. “you should oppose [public pressure] being directed against any other faith”. I disagree. Public pressure is free speech and while I may DISAGREE I wont oppose the action of free speech, just the content. Additionally your statement seems to imply that ALL public pressure directed at any faith is bad. This is incorrect at first glance: Pressure on Catholic Priests regarding recent controversy was (in certain cases) appropriate, the Westboro baptist church has rightly received backlash and public pressure for its unconscionable protests: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12071434

    I believe that this Cordoba project is an example where public pressure is recommendable. Public pressure DOES NOT imply hate, bigotry, extra-legal enforcement or any of the like. Simply the voicing of an opinion, if loudly. This works with my assertion that opposition of the Cordoba Mosque is non-religious, soundly considered and free of hate. It is sad that religious motives were ever assumed of the opposition.

  128. Tim on August 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    A single block in Manhattan can house thousands of people and a huge variety of offices, churches, schools, restaurants, etc.

    Banning mosques from every building within a few blocks of ground zero is like banning mosques from all of Provo.

  129. TMD on August 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    128: See the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (2000).

    When the offense relies on ignorance to be an offense, then the best you can say is that your advocacy of public pressure reflects willful ignorance. If not worse.

    Public pressure is speech protected by the constitution (in that sense, ‘free’). But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. I think it’s rooted in, at best, ignorance (no one has yet given a reason for it that doesn’t rely on misunderstandings of the site, the Sufi nature of the group, or the stupidity of the people who are offended). As mormons, I think it’s bad policy if not hypocritical because pretty much every argument that’s been advanced could be used against our actions, here and elsewhere.

  130. kurofune on August 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Tim@129: please note 124 as well a numerous posts above. No one is advocating a ban. That’s just a straw man argument. The parallels to Provo might not hold under scrutiny.

    TMD@130: I certainly agree with the idea that not all speech is a good thing (note that I said one can disagree with content in the post to which you were responding).

    I also agree with the idea that action based on ignorance is tacit approval of that ignorance. (thus noting that I believed in a case-by-case examination of public pressure, in the post to which you were responding)

    I do find two troubling patterns in your statements above: first, you very quickly assume someone could only disagree with you if ignorant. I believe that responses above have demonstrated that intelligent and informed people disagree with you given the same set of facts. Informed, intelligent people can disagree.

    Second, you’ve managed to respond to more than one post above, including the one mentioned twice in parenthesis in this post, seemingly unwilling to understand intent. You’re debating a straw man of me. You claimed that “no one has yet given a reason…” but that is not true. Plenty have been given above. Just because you don’t accept them does not mean they aren’t reasons, or even valid. Your posts don’t indicate an understanding of what opponents are arguing as indicated by the claim that the same attack could be brought “against our actions”. The example of Mountain Meadows mentioned above fleshed this idea out in completion and the situations are not even near parallels. The connection with this proposed mosque and 9/11 is not imagined but was part of the intent, and THAT is what has gained such reaction.

    Again, just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean the idea isn’t valid and hasn’t been put forward. I pointed out that 1)misunderstandings of the site exist for supporters, that 2)the leader organizing this has been a sticking point for the Cordoba initiative (Sufi or not, look into his history and statements) and 3)you were too quick to assume that the offended are stupid, or bigoted.

    Whether or not this discussion has been in good faith, I think that those involved above have been able to, at the least, communicate their ideas. That is hopefully the purpose of these discussions I suppose. The real problem with politics today (always?) is more apathy than anything else. TMD, you from what I tell, think and keep actively informed.

  131. Dan on August 20, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Imam Rauf reaching out:

    We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

    If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one Mr. Pearl.

    And I am here to inform you, with the full authority of the Quranic texts and the practice of the Prophet Muhammad, that to say La ilaha illallah Muhammadun rasulullah is no different.

    It expresses the same theological and ethical principles and values…

    We intercede with You that You place us on the path of righteousness and direct us towards actions done in fulfillment of the commandment taught by Your Great Prophets and Messengers Moses, the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, and Muhammad, which is to love our fellow humans as we love ourselves. Help us O Lord, in courage and commitment, in reducing ethnic and religious hatred, strife and violence, to build the kingdom of heaven on earth.

    Someone explain to me how this imam has NOT made numerous attempts to reach out, and to show “sensitivity” to the victims of terrorism.

  132. Tim on August 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I’ve posted this next paragraph elsewhere, but I’m not getting any replies to it. If you can answer this paragraph and explain to me, without being ignorant or xenophobic, why there’s a difference between the two examples, I’ll agree that there’s a logical basis for opposing the mosque.
    Here it is.

    If a group of Christian religious fanatics (let’s say they’re Baptists) blew up another building in the middle of New York City, killing thousands, and a mosque, a synagogue, and hundreds of businesses sat just one block away from that site, would you oppose an LDS church or a Catholic cathedral being built two blocks away from that site nine years later?

  133. Mark B. on August 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    nasamondele still seems not to understand how “far” 51 Park Place is from the WTC site. Or that any memorial there will be unseen and probably un-thought of by anyone on Park Place. A piece of debris landed on the roof of the building? So what, pieces of debris landed in my yard, two miles away. Hallowed ground?

    I walked down Park Place this afternoon. It’s just around the corner from Bangal Curry–which is the kind of misspelling that can just drive me nuts. What insensitivity!

    Blackboat seems to think that the First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion should be subject to the same First Amendment’s rights to free speech. Well, I suppose that the free speechers can say what they want, but that doesn’t mean that they should.

    But Mormons who oppose the mosque seem to be ignorant of the opposition to temples from “well-meaning” neighbors who just think the temple should be built anywhere else, and their anti-mosque arguments are an endorsement of those neighbor’s objections to the building of temples. Congratulations, folks! You’re truly on the side of the angels on this one.

  134. chanson on August 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    All of these involve an issue I struggle with in trying to be a responsible voter and citizen: when does a neighbor have the right to control and influence how another uses property.

    I agree that this is an interesting question, an important question, and one where people really underestimate the complexity. I would highly recommend a book I recently read: On Private Property by Eric T. Freyfogle. I think he does an excellent job of clarifying the issues of how one person’s property rights can come into conflict with another. He covers some fascinating history of the question in the US (using actual court case examples), and proposes a reasonable framework of rights that property owners should be able to expect.

    It’s quite an interesting book, and it’s short. If you’re seriously interested in this question, I’d recommend reading it as background and taking his ideas into account.

  135. Jeremiah J. on August 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    kurofune: “The sanctity of the constitution is important and that’s why NO major conservatives to my knowledge (even the kooky fringe if you can believe it) have suggested that their RIGHT to build should be denied. Rather, this is a movement of public NONLEGAL pressure”

    I don’t know if Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice are part of the “kooky fringe”, but there certainly are significant legal efforts, along with nationwide petitions and fund-raising drives to “STOP the Ground Zero Mosque”. Could it be that the “public nonlegal pressure” of conservative superstars is mainly a grandstanding move by people who don’t have any concrete ideas about how to stop it by means other than Twitter, Facebook and cable news anyway? Excuse me if I’m skeptical that the strategy has anything to do with the sanctity of the Constitution.

    http://www.aclj.org/TrialNotebook/Read.aspx?ID=989

  136. kurofune on August 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Jeremiah@136: I was not aware of the ACLJ suit, but it isn’t exactly what we were talking about. We were discussing whether a religious groups rights should be infringed and, of course, any reasonable person would ardently say ‘no’. However, the point the ACLJ is making is not that Muslims can’t build a building there, but rather that someone that doesn’t own the land can’t build a building there: http://www.aclj.org/TrialNotebook/Read.aspx?ID=989

    As far as not having ‘concrete ideas’ to stop the construction, I would oppose ‘concrete’ ideas like extra-legal action or something else inappropriate. They believe that the Cordoba Mosque should not be built and they’re communicating this belief. I’m not sure what you’re saying about that strategy and the constitution.

    Mark@134: Wow, someone that knows Japanese! The last two paragraphs from your post contain ideas that I’ve commented on: that having free speech doesn’t make incorrect speak correct but rather just protects it and that the parallel of Mosque to Mormon temple strenuous at best. Most opponents (like Howard Dean) are offering to HELP find another place with the emphasis on ANOTHER place. When have anti-Mormon temple protesters been so helpful?

    I have something else to say about this in another post in which I’ll respond to Tim@133

  137. kurofune on August 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Tim@133 “If a group of Christian religious fanatics … blew up another building … would you oppose an LDS church …”

    Nine years is not much time and two blocks is not much and is as close as they could get (was there a couple weeks ago with my wife). But the question you seem to be posing: what if this were Christians and not Muslims? This is a useful question because it checks for bigotry, something opponents of construction have been too eagerly and falsely accused of.

    While I was serving a mission in Japan my mission president told a story of when the church owned a plot of land directly across from a very historic, revered Buddhist temple and wanted to use it for building. President Hinckley apparently asked local leaders to sell the land and build elsewhere even at a loss. He viewed construction there as too confrontational and not productive to relations. Our mission president shared this story to emphasize sensitivity, respect and understanding of the culture common to those we were teaching. I find the situation comparable.

    To answer you question: I would likely oppose a temple built at the Mountain Meadows site (as discussed above) for THE SAKE of building at THAT site. The site for the Cordoba mosque is not coincidental: the creators hope that it will be a beacon of acceptance from the rubble of calamity. I don’t oppose construction because I fail to understand this or because I hate their religion. Far from it. I see this location as counter-productive to the bridge building they are attempting. Please note: it was their intent to tie this construction with the 9/11 events. Their intent and NOT the fabrication of opponents. This project has so much more subtext than just any temple building.

    Short answer to your question? I would likely oppose such a building. ‘Please, build elsewhere.’ I would, like numerous opponents are (NY Gov., Howard Dean etc come to mind) be willing to help find a more suitable place. Would it be bad if people did this as we sought to build temples? It would certainly help build bridges.

  138. Dan on August 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    kurofune,

    The site for the Cordoba mosque is not coincidental: the creators hope that it will be a beacon of acceptance from the rubble of calamity

    You’re projecting on them. It’s not like some group that is just moving into the city and into lower Manhattan. This Muslim group has resided there for several decades. They consider lower Manhattan their home. You’re projecting on them what aspirations they have for their site. First and foremost, it’s for their own use. I mean, seriously, how many non-Muslims do you think will be going there? Park Place is a fairly obscure street. Tourists don’t go down it because there’s nothing there.

    Oh, and Governor Patterson? Yeah, no New Yorker takes him seriously.

  139. Jeremiah J. on August 20, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    “Jeremiah@136: I was not aware of the ACLJ suit, but it isn’t exactly what we were talking about. We were discussing whether a religious groups rights should be infringed and, of course, any reasonable person would ardently say ‘no’. However, the point the ACLJ is making is not that Muslims can’t build a building there, but rather that someone that doesn’t own the land can’t build a building there: http://www.aclj.org/TrialNotebook/Read.aspx?ID=989

    Nope. That’s not it. The ACLJ is using all the same arguments about sensitivity and “sacred ground” that other critics of the mosque are doing. But they’re also filing a lawsuit, which has as its intended effect singling out a Muslim place of worship for exclusion. So your claim that this is a movement which even on the fringes is only engaging in “public nonlegal pressure” is plainly not true.

    It’s really a trivial fact that no conservative is coming out and saying “The religous rights of Muslims should be infringed”. People almost never say they want to deny people their basic freedoms, even if that’s what they’re actually doing. What normally happens is that people engage in special pleading. They say, “I’m all for freedom, but this case is different.” Of course perhaps there are extreme cases and limitations. The question is whether the exceptions are flimsy, ad hoc exceptions, or if they’re ones that would be consistent with equal freedom for all religions. “Mosques anywhere at all except within two blocks of Ground Zero” isn’t the worst limitation on religious freedom that I could imagine, but does seem like an egregiously arbitrary and unjust exception to equal freedom. So it doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me that at the same time people are opposing a mosque in this small area, protests against mosques are occuring in Florida, Tennessee, and other random non-sacred sites.

    From the ACLJ petition:

    “By endorsing an Islamic mosque at the sacred site where thousands of Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists, you have grossly failed to understand the heart of the issue at stake: Building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero is offensive to thousands of Americans who lost family and loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

    “Furthermore, your comments underscore what millions of Americans already know … the question is not whether Muslims enjoy the same privileged right to freedom of religion as every other American citizen, the issue at hand is the construction of a mosque at this sacred site.”

    “I stand with the ACLJ in strong opposition to the proposed Islamic mosque at Ground Zero. On behalf of America’s fallen victims of 9/11 and the majority of the American citizens you serve, it’s time to reverse course: The site at Ground Zero is hallowed ground — and NOT the place to build a mosque.”

  140. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I read somewhere that the people behind this thing intended it as a gift…. That’s funny, I usually make a point of not giving people “gifts” that they obviously really really don’t want… and they want to open it on sept. 11 2011? Man, giving people really tasteless “gifts” that are obviously only beneficial to yourself makes you look like a jerk. Should do wonders for the image of muslims in America.

  141. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Oh and I second comment #123

  142. Dan on August 21, 2010 at 10:02 am
  143. Stephen M (Ethesis) on August 21, 2010 at 11:07 am

    http://whoreofalltheearth.blogspot.com/2010/08/friday-funny-jon-stewart-wish-you.html

    Wonder if someone will draw the obvious parallel to Jerusalem, the crusades and the creation of a new nation in Palestine by outsiders …

  144. Stephen M (Ethesis) on August 21, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Sacred space, right so, to quote …

    …what kinds of activities should be permitted/disallowed, out of respect for those who died that day? What about speculation at the American Stock Exchange? Or adulterous liaisons at the Millennium Hilton? What about the sale of inedible (and obesity inducing) food at McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts? Or the topless dancing at the Pussycat Lounge?

  145. kurofune on August 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Jeremiah@140: I find myself disagreeing with little of your comment. This gem “The question is whether the exceptions are flimsy, ad hoc exceptions, or if they’re ones that would be consistent with equal freedom for all religions” is very important and the debate generally hasn’t focused on this question but instead pointless cries of bigotry or anti-Americanism. I don’t believe these charges are capricious and I would be among the first to condemn blanket protesting of mosques like you describe.

    While the ACLJ’s reasoning/motive is precisely what you described, as linked in your quote of me I stand by my explanation of the legal basis for the ACLJ suit. I didn’t know about this group and while you and I might disagree on whether these qualify as an “extreme cases and limitations” but I assure you I share your concern about anti-muslim sentiment that burgeons in the idiot right. My explanation for why I differ on the ‘extreme case’ is listed in the response to dan below.

    dan@139: I certainly agree on the governor, NY hasn’t had a decent one in a while but it does diffuse the charge that opposition is conservative only. However, I must disagree that I’m projecting on Imam Rauf and the Cordoba initiative. They would disagree with you as well. It’s a stated purpose of the presently planned construction to be near GZ and while this is inconvenient for your argument it is true. THIS is the real reason the mosque gets to me and others. THIS is the reason that I believe this is a valid time to encourage construction elsewhere. We have to ask, if this isn’t a valid project to oppose, what is? Could we reasonably expect any $100M project to be less reasonable that this one?

    As more details of Imam Rauf are surfacing we’re seeing that he’s not the kind of peacemaker that moderate Muslims (99%+) and reasonable Christians(99%+) have been hoping would become a figurehead to improved religious understanding. This is very unfortunate because all of the people accomplishing exactly the bridge building we need get SO little press.

  146. Chino Blanco on August 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “This is very unfortunate because all of the people accomplishing exactly the bridge building we need get SO little press.”

    As someone who’d appreciate the opportunity to read up on some of these unsung heroes, could you suggest a few names? Thanks!

  147. Dan on August 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    kurofune,

    The Cordoba Initiative’s website answers all your questions quite satisfactorily, IMHO. I think this section in particular is relevant:

    But, why not build it a little bit farther away? Let’s say a mile away?

    No one should be driven out of his or her own neighborhood – especially for religious reasons. It is unconstitutional and un-American. Our congregation has been peacefully worshipping in this area for almost three decades. Our neighbors have encouraged us to remain here and the City and the Community Board have encouraged our continued presence here. The community has backed up their support by approving every resolution and challenge in the community center’s favor.

  148. DavidH on August 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    May I ask those who oppose building the mosque in lower Manhattan for sensitivity (as opposed to legal) reasons:

    Suppose the group decides to proceed and build. Should opponents simply sit still for this insensitivity? Or what extralegal recourse would you advocate that right thinking citizens should take? A letter writing campaign? A boycott of all things Muslim? Picketing the building location? Sit ins at the building site or at the building itself? Discontinuing engagements for Imam Rauf to make favorable presentations about the U.S. overseas?

    Flipside–many neighbors of the proposed temple in Phoenix are angry about it. One held up a sign at last night’s meeting comparing our proposed temple to the proposed mosque–both religions are within their rights, but both religions building in the face of significant local opposition. I imagine the LDS Church will go forward with building the temple. What sorts of extralegal methods of opposition may the neighbors take?

  149. H. Ross on August 21, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    DavidH:

    I can’t really think of anything that can be done to stop it other than the owners having a change of heart. What will happen is that a lot of people will have negative thoughts about Muslims for years to come.

    As for the temple in Phoenix, it’s not unusual for opposition to form. There are even bitter protests against chapel construction. I doubt anything can be done to stop the temple’s construction.

  150. Alison Moore Smith on August 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Kent:

    I am looking for why insensitivity gives pundits that don’t even live nearby the right to try to use public opinion to oppose something merely because THEY think it is insensitive.

    It’s called freedom of speech. They don’t need the insensitivity claim to have the “right to try to use public opinion to oppose” ANYTHING they feel like. And, of course, they don’t have to “live nearby” either. Why are we questioning anyone’s right to have an opinion and speak out about it?

    The immediate conservative piling on in the comments is lame. Most Americans oppose the mosque. So do most New Yorkers. (Note: that first link says that 57% of Americans have a positive view or Mormons.)

    I don’t really give a flip about the mosque either way. But given the public outcry, I’d say it’s not a great way to reach the supposed goal of outreach and tolerance. Whether you personally think the feelings of insensitivity held by the majority of residents are warranted or not, ignoring them certainly doesn’t improve your appearance on the sensitivity meter.

    Kent, I don’t really understand your comparison to media. There is a marked difference between claiming the government should ban a person from using media and speaking out against particular uses of media. I would almost never support the former, but often do the latter. The same holds true for this issue. I have seen no one claim the government should stop the building, but many want the “moderate imam” to change his plans. That’s just public discourse.

    The only debate to me is whether or not the building is a good idea, not whether or not certain (or any) people can discuss the issue.

  151. Dan on August 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    H. Ross,

    What will happen is that a lot of people will have negative thoughts about Muslims for years to come.

    Um, I hate to break this to you, but it’s not like Americans have had rosy thoughts about Muslims to this point, and the Cordoba Initiative will set off a decade of hate or something…so if that’s the only negative consequence of them building this center, I think they are well in their right to not fear the future too much.

  152. Mark B. on August 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Don’t get hung up on Kent’s use of the word “right” Alison Moore Smith. What I suspect he was decrying was the inappropriateness of that opposition. Why is it inappropriate?

    -All the loudmouths manufacturing “offense” where none was intended. They remind me of Brigham Young’s statement about those who take offense in those circumstances–”Damned fools.” Indeed.

    -Sure, they have the right to open their mouths and spout whatever stupidity they want. Even if it displays complete ignorance of Islam (and New York City, for that matter), and plays into the hands of the radicals who would be pleased to get more of the Muslim world to think that America hates Islam, and that we’re at war with it.

    -And the “logic” of your solution is wonderful. Make plans to build a house of worship. Some loudmouths go berserk, and now you’re supposed to change your plans, go search for another piece of property, and if you don’t, you deserve all the crap. Well, Sister Smith, you’ve just written the prescription for never building an LDS temple anywhere outside of Utah.

    Is it any wonder that some of us think that Mormons’ joining in the opposition is unbelievable (and, frankly, contemptible)?

  153. kurofune on August 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Chino@146: You know, I haven’t kept a list of great bridge building incidences but I find myself wishing I had. Most cases see no press and the examples that come to mind are those of the great Muslims in my wifes classes and in our neighborhood in Pennsylvania. I wish I had more substance to share.

    David@148: “what extralegal recourse would you advocate…” Great question. Of what you listed, I’d likely only be comfortable with participating in a letter campaign myself. I find the majority of protests etc. to be counter productive and in poor taste.

    Mark@152: These comments were very negative and I believe at times unfair. Alison only claimed that ‘ignoring’ majority sentiment didn’t improve appearance. I’m not sure what ‘logic’ of hers suggested that a majority vote was required for building. She didn’t propose any such solution like the straw man you were fighting. Where we can agree is that no offense was intended by the Cordoba Initiative. “A man who takes offense where none was intended is a fool. A man who takes offense where it was intended is probably a fool” … right?

    But even then and despite the point you’re making about offense, this is too close to an important line. More details continue to be made available almost daily about this Imam demonstrating him as an unfortunate spokesperson for the cause of Islam in the media.

  154. Chino Blanco on August 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I wish you did too, krfn. Maybe I can help out. Here’s a little “extra press” for a local bridge-builder:

    I am dismayed at the current and obviously orchestrated uproar by special interests against building mosques in our country.

    I defended this nation for 10 years as a U.S. Marine with four deployments to the Middle East including Afghanistan. I am also a Muslim.

    I’m completely mystified how my fellow Americans could think that my fellow American-Muslims are either responsible for Sept. 11 or that our mosques are a danger to them.

    Let’s not listen to those who try to make people hate others just to get higher ratings or more votes.

    Instead, come by our mosque on Friday nights and have dinner with us as we break our Ramadan fasts together. We’d love to have you over and show Tucson we have nothing to hide.

    Michael Gatto

  155. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    If this Cordoba initiative is really interested in building bridges, you’d think they’d come up with a better reason for building where they are than “because we can”. They could, you know… try a little bit.

  156. Nate W. on August 22, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    SUNNofaB.C.Rich:

    Well where do you want them to build it? It isn’t as though there are a lot of empty lots in lower Manhattan. New York City is not just a tourist attraction–people actually live and work there. One of the most unfortunate things about this silly controversy is treating Ground Zero like it’s a museum piece instead of real estate that should be put to its highest and best use.

  157. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I’m saying as a non religious American who is at least a little bit suspect of any group that holds a higher allegiance to their religion than their country, that if Muslim groups want to “build bridges” the burden of that is on them.

  158. Jed on August 22, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Dan (#139),

    Actually, the mosque organizers themselves touted the location close to ground zero as “a key selling point” according to this NYTimes article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/nyregion/09mosque.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all (and in case you think that article was slanted against them somehow, one of the groups involved in organizing the mosque cited the article approvingly while mentioning the involvement of a local muslim journalism student in writing it http://www.asmasociety.org/emails/asma/2009-endofyear6.html).

    More generally, on the question of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, this is a good explanation of why his involvement is so troubling: http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/07/28/conor-friedersdorfs-shallow-defense-of-the-ground-zero-mosque/

  159. Dan on August 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Fair enough Jed. That still doesn’t resolve the question over insensitivity. It was not Islam that attacked us on 9/11. It was not the Muslims who reside in lower Manhattan. Do you want to have good relations with Muslims and with Islamic peoples, Jed? Imam Feisal is the kind of guy who can get you there. Tear him down and Al-Qaeda wins.

  160. Dan on August 22, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Sunn,

    I’m saying as a non religious American who is at least a little bit suspect of any group that holds a higher allegiance to their religion than their country

    You mean, like Mormons?

  161. CJ Douglass on August 22, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    The problem with public opinion/polls etc. is that they (the public) lack almost any credibility in matters relating to 911, our wars abroad and Islam in general. Who cares what the American public thinks is “insensitive” when 20 % of them think Obama is a muslim? Sure, everyone can chime in their two cents – but that doesn’t mean public opinion should prevent private citizens from building what ever the hell they want.

    No one gave a rats behind about the cultural center when it was announced back in 2009. Its very clearly a partisan wedge issue, perpetrated by gutless politicians who care more about their own neck than our troops abroad (trying to win hearts and minds) and 911 survivors, victims and their families.

  162. Raymond Takashi Swenson on August 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Gingrich: “We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor.”

    While I enjoyed Newt’s alternate history version of the attack on Pearl Harbor (in his books “Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8″ and “Days of Infamy”), and he clearly immersed himself in the details of World War II in the Pacific, the “Japanese” who attacked Pearl Harbor don’t exist any more. The militarist government that ordered the attack, and all of the people who were individually involved in making the decision, are dead and gone.

    Using the general term “the Japanese” to apply to anything that might be done by the government of Japan or by a Japanese organization, company or individual controlled by citizens of Japan makes no sense when applied to Pearl Harbor, because all the modern entities to which that term applies were NOT involved. Sadly, many Americans still take the broad use of the term “the Japanese” to refer to BOTH the people who attacked Pearl Harbor AND the descendants of Japanese immigrants to the US, a confusion that resulted in 100,000 Japanese Americans, most of them US-born citizens, who were imprisoned for three years without trial.

    Pearl Harbor is a harbor, a geographic area that includes the modern Navby base, the modern Hickam Air Force Base, and a large swath of metropolitan Honolulu. From the time that Japanese first immigrated to Hawaii to work on pineapple plantations, there have been “Japanese” living around Pearl Harbor, operating businesses there, and meeting in various religious buildings, including Christian and Buddhist ones, along with restaraunts, food stores, Nissan and Toyota car dealerships, and judo and kendo training facilities. In the broadest sense of “the Japanese” and “Pearl Harbor”, there has ALWAYS been a Japanese “site” in “Pearl Harbor”. In the narrow sense of “the Japanese” as the attackers on December 7, 1941, the “Japanese” CANNOT ever build a “site” in Pearl Harbor, because those “Japanese” don’t exist anymore.

    Sadly, Newt’s rhetoric indicates an appeal to the old emotive racist stereotypes that supported FDR imprisoning innocent men, women, and children as a wartime dictator. The man is too smart for me to believe he didn’t understand this.

    Newt’s faulty analogy becomes, not an argument against the new Muslim religious center, but an argument in favor of it. Newt has demonstrated that the opposition is based on an irrational prejudice that assigns collective guilt based on a shared characteristic, and reminds us all of the terrible consequences of applying that principle of prejudice to individuals who are innocent of any crime.

  163. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    #160 yeah, like mormons.

    #161 public opinion definitely matters when youre trying to “build bridges”

  164. Brad Kramer on August 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    How can I sign up for SUNNofaB.C.Rich’s seminar on bridge building?

  165. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    send a self addressed stamped envelope and a money order for 49.99 to Sunnofabcrich enterprises 1187 peacock st. Ogden, UT 84404 and i’ll mail you my 60 minute video seminar on bridge building.

  166. kurofune on August 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Raymond@162: I agree with much of your post: The camps setup for Japanese Americans was a stupid idea. Shocking it even happened and we must remain watchful l’est we forget.

    The complete separation of modern Japanese government and that which perpetuated the attach on Pearl Harbor does give me pause though. The Japanese have never fully apologized for atrocities in the Philippines during the same war and their government is still being petitioned today. Also, they’ve built and maintained the Hiroshima Peace memorial. Actions and memorials of the Japanese government today DO reflect on the past powerfully as demonstrated by these events. Your assumption that Newt, though not too bright, can’t distinguish between a race and a government seems disingenuous.

    If one accepts Newt’s comments about Pearl Harbor as meaning a museum, built by the Japanese government near Pearl Harbor with apologistic overtones, THEN this makes sense as a comparison. However, this would be an imperfect comparison. A better one: a US government installation intentionally located near the Hiroshima memorial with a large American flag prominently flying. Certainly insensitive, even though I LOVE the American flag and wish we had flown it in Haiti during relief efforts. We’re still healing from 9/11 and lack the hindsight we have with WWII. Regardless of the Cordoba project’s planning, the person of Imam Rauf has been vanishingly unifying and increasingly unfortunate as we learn more about him.

  167. kurofune on August 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    SUNNofaB.C.Rich@165:

    What if I just swap you for my 3 hour seminar on making short, concise comments?

  168. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Kurofune, sure as long as it comes on Laserdisc…

  169. Dan on August 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    kurofune,

    If one accepts Newt’s comments about Pearl Harbor as meaning a museum, built by the Japanese government near Pearl Harbor with apologistic overtones, THEN this makes sense as a comparison.

    What Muslim government that attacked us on 9/11 is building the Cordoba Initiative?

    A better one: a US government installation intentionally located near the Hiroshima memorial with a large American flag prominently flying.

    Wrong again, kurofune. For your analogy to be appropriate, Al-Qaeda would have to be the one building the Cordoba Initiative. Once again you fail to the trap of conflating all of Islam to the degenerate Al-Qaeda.

  170. Dan on August 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    oh, and you fail to understand New York architecture and street design. This building will not be a prominent building in lower Manhattan. 13 stories? That’s a molehill. No Islamic flag will be prominently flying symbolically with the construction of this project.

  171. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    man, 13 stories that’s pretty high. Do they even have one of those in Wendover?

  172. DavidH on August 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    When I visited the U.S. Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor, there was prominently placed a wreath from the City of Hiroshima right next to it. I thought it was very appropriate.

    “A better one: a US government installation intentionally located near the Hiroshima memorial with a large American flag prominently flying.”

    Thanks for this. I agree. I wonder if most Americans would agree with you here kurophone. A significant portion of Americans cannot understand why non-Americans might not glorify our use of an Atom bomb on noncombatant women and children (and noncombatant men) in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If there were opposition in Japan to hypothetical building of an American facility in Hiroshima, I am willing to bet that Palin and Newt G. would be among the first to lash out against those ungrateful and intolerant residents.

  173. Dan on August 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Andrew Sullivan linked to this image in asking why more Mormons have not spoken out in favor of the Cordoba Institute. After all, just change the word “Mormon” on there to “Muslim” and you’ve got exactly the same message.

  174. kurofune on August 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    DavidH@172: That is certainly an appropriate gesture, referring to the wreath. However, I don’t find any evidence for indicting Palin so quickly. I’m no fan of her’s, mind you, but those predictions about what these people would say don’t seem founded. Perhaps they’d be the first to agree with similar protests.

    Dan@169-170: Wow, Dan, just wow. Misunderstanding the posts you were responding to as badly as you did must have taken effort. I know what those blocks look like. Was there just a couple weeks ago with my wife. It was her first time. Went around the whole area. I don’t misunderstand the architecture.

    In neither case did I list either as a perfect example. You fail, again and again, to get the point: The Cordoba Initiative felt that the best place for their center was as close to the damage of the 9/11 attacks as possible. They found a place that was even damaged in the attacks. The project represents a symbol related to the disaster. This element IS demonstrated in the examples you remonstrated. You seemed determined to defend this, which is a reasonable stance. What’s bad is that you’ve obstinately failed to comprehend the argument the opposition is making and continued to battle a straw man of bigotry, hatred and ignorance. You’re just shadow boxing.

  175. Dan on August 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    kurofune,

    what you still get wrong is conflating all of Islam to 9/11. That’s the focal point of the argument for or against the project. You either believe all of Islam attacked us on 9/11 or not. If you don’t want the site there, you believe all Muslims attacked America. If you don’t care if the site is built there, you don’t believe all Islam attacked us.

    There was no misunderstanding what you said. Your examples indicate that you believe Islam attacked us, thus you compare the entity that bombed Hiroshima (the United States government) to the entity that attacked us on 9/11 (Islam), because you obviously see little difference between the Muslims in the Cordoba Initiative and those belonging to Al-Qaeda. Thus, very simply, for your comparison to be accurate, Al-Qaeda is the group that puts the Cordoba project in lower Manhattan. Then you would be right to compare to the United States putting up something obscene next to the Hiroshima Memorial.

    Islam as a religion is not at war with America, nor with western values, nor with western culture, nor with western law. Islam is a vast, large, and highly diverse religion. It is leaderless just as Christianity is leaderless, just as Judaism is leaderless, just as Buddhism is leaderless. Sure there are particular leaders within the various sects of each major religion, but they don’t speak for all the religion. I know Pope Benedict certainly doesn’t speak for me as a Mormon, and President Monson doesn’t speak for Baptists. A Wahhabi imam doesn’t speak for a Sufi imam, nor does a Shi’ite speak for a Sunni.

    The main focus of a group like Al-Qaeda is to destroy moderate and forward leaning Islam by getting Al-Qaeda’s enemies to do the dirty work for them. Thus they attacked us on 9/11 hoping to goad us into attacking Islamic countries. No one considered our response in Afghanistan as being goaded into attacking an Islamic country, but boy oh boy did we do ourselves and the very Muslims who can defeat Al-Qaeda the biggest disservice by going into Iraq. The worst possible action, we took. We attacked, without provocation, an Islamic nation. We threaten another Islamic nation right now, Iran. We’re turning Pakistan against us (and they’re certainly not helping).

    The question for you is this: Do you really want a clash of civilizations with Islam? What exactly would be the point of such a conflict? What exactly would it produce? What, do we think with our modern weaponry we could somehow make the conflict shorter? Just look at Afghanistan, currently America’s longest war ever. What a terrible terrible mess. And to think we’re probably going to be there, involved in an actual fight, for the foreseeable future, my goodness what the hell is wrong with us?

    If we are peacemakers, then we need to make peace. Otherwise, we ought to stop calling ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.

  176. CJ Douglass on August 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

    #161 public opinion definitely matters when youre trying to “build bridges”

    When more than 60% of Americans have never even met a muslim in their lifetime, I’d say the burden of brigde building is on us (non-muslim Americans) not them.

  177. Dan on August 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

    #161 public opinion definitely matters when youre trying to “build bridges”

    I guess we’re not really trying to build bridges anyways with all the warmongering we do in the Middle East, damn the public opinion there about Americans…

  178. Dan on August 24, 2010 at 11:56 am

    as we delve further and further into this dumb debate, we learn some truly fascinating things. Like Imam Rauf’s book was published by Rupert Murdoch, who of course owns News Corp and Fox News. News Corp’s biggest shareholder outside the Murdoch family is the very same Saudi prince that Fox News paints as the mysterious bad guy who is funding Imam Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative. In other words, Fox News is funding Imam Rauf’s book AND the ground zero mosque.

    The real question here is this: Why do so many Americans let themselves be hoodwinked by Fox News? Are Americans really this dumb? How often must Fox News play on Americans’ fears before Americans realize they’ve been bamboozled? How many times must the wool be pulled over your eyes before you no longer consider Fox News to be a credible source of anything but filthy propaganda?

  179. nasamomdele on August 24, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Dan, the real question is: is this a post about Fox News, Conservatives, or what Dan thinks?

    No, buddy. It’s not.

    But thanks for telling your usual story. All you left out was anything about torture. Unless I missed it in here somewhere.

  180. Brad Dennis on August 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I haven’t read much of the comments. But I get the sense that there a lot of people commenting who condemn the Islamic cultural center based on emotion and not reason. To them I say, stop watching Fox News (Faux News) and realize that there are already hundreds of mosques and Islam-sponsored building in Manhattan many of which are quite close to Ground Zero. Also think before you speak. Because, while I consider myself a reasonable person who is open to ideas and opinions from all different persuasions, I simply cannot find any intelligent reason why the construction of this mosque should be blocked, only preconceived biased emotion.

  181. Brad Dennis on August 24, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    By the way, Dan, it is good to see another person who keeps up on the Daily Show commenting here. All those opposing the mosque should really watch the Daily Show on thedailyshow.com to understand how utterly stupid opposition to this mosque really is.

  182. Dan on August 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    and of course, the anti-Islam picks up and takes off.

  183. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 24, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    #176 actually what you stated if it’s true, is exactly why, in reality the burden is on them. Most Americans probably don’t trust muslims. That’s the reality of it and right or wrong it’s what they have to deal with. For what it’s worth I’ve probably met more muslims than most of you, on 3 different continents and I won’t immediately discount the possibility of ulterior motives.

    Trying to build bridges is great, but it’s actually succeeding at it that counts. They should have known it would be controversial and if a positive outcome was predicated on 0 P.R. and no one outside of this neighborhood in New York finding out about it, then sounds like the plan had some holes in it from the beginning.

  184. Chino Blanco on August 25, 2010 at 12:05 am

    One particularly blunt affront has left Romney still visibly enraged months after it occurred. His jaw clenches as he tells how he was approached by a local woman after a public meeting between church members and their critics. “One lady, who I’m sure considers herself quite tolerant, came over to me and wanted to know why we just didn’t go on back to Utah and build our temple out there,” he recalls.

  185. Dan on August 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

    SUNN,

    They should have known it would be controversial and if a positive outcome was predicated on 0 P.R. and no one outside of this neighborhood in New York finding out about it, then sounds like the plan had some holes in it from the beginning.

    They could not have seen the controversy because they actually DID reach out, to Fox News of all places back in December 2009. On Laura Ingraham’s show, and she had no problem with it. No one had a problem with it until Pamela Geller was allowed to control the message for the right wing. You cannot prepare for that kind of madness no matter how much you reach out. America’s right wing needs to decide if idiots like Pamela Geller will be speaking for them.

  186. nasamomdele on August 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Every development has some controversy. New York is not an exception- it is likely one of the best examples of the rule.

    I’m sure the group expected controversy and made some effort, but there are mixed messages floating around out there still, and it really is all on the developer to sell the plan. That goes for Walmart as much as it goes for a mosque.

    And obviously, the connection between Islam and the nearby WTC makes this that much more sensitive a subject.

    In the end, religious freedom and private property rights should win out. But every delay in the development process hurts the developer.

  187. Dan on August 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    nasamomdele,

    And obviously, the connection between Islam and the nearby WTC makes this that much more sensitive a subject.

    Why? I mean, are you aware that there is a fully functioning mosque inside the Pentagon? You know, the Pentagon that was attacked by dastardly Islamic terorrists!

    The only sensitivity here is with those who found their latest “scare white people” with the monster of the week. and it seems to have worked

  188. Bryan in VA on August 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    There is no mosque in the Pentagon. There is a non-denominational chapel. See http://www.factcheck.org/2010/08/no-pentagon-mosque/

  189. nasamomdele on August 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Dan,

    Aside from your non-facts, I think its interesting that you dilute the evil and malice of action and intent of the 9/11 terrorists.

    And have thus diverted the topic again. Isn’t that the definition of “Troll”?

  190. Dan on August 25, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Bryan,

    Thank you for the clarification. It seems, from the Military News site which factcheck links to, the Pentagon purposefully put the non-denominational chapel in the very spot where the plane struck

    Conceived after the Sept. 11 attacks of last year, the chapel is located in the newly rebuilt wedge of the Pentagon, in the exact spot that radical Islamic terrorists crashed a commercial plane filled with passengers. The chapel and accompanying memorial are dedicated to the 184 innocent passengers and Pentagon personnel who lost their lives there.

    “The chapel represents an element of healing and hope, as it is wed to the memorial. One goes to the memorial to remember (the victims of the attacks), and then the chapel to find hope and healing no matter what their faith,” said Col. Ralph Benson, recently appointed Pentagon chaplain.

    The Pentagon allows Muslims to pray in the very spot terrorists attacked the heart of our military. Sounds like sage and wise counsel to follow.

  191. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    There’s a big difference between a “non-denominational chapel” and a mosque.

  192. Brad Kramer on August 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    “There’s a big difference between a “non-denominational chapel” and a mosque.”

    That strikes me as a bit of a disingenuous thing to say. Unless, that is, you expect anyone here to believe that if it were a mosque in the Pentagon, you’d think differently.

    If the area around ground zero in Oklahoma City were predominantly Muslim, if the majority (though not all) of the victims of the McVeigh bombing were Muslim, and if the local (mostly) Muslim residents and hundreds of thousands of their (mostly Muslim) allies around the country were angrily protesting building an evangelical Christian church 2 blocks from the site, you’d be s*#tting a brick with bloodshot eyes over how horribly intolerant all the Muslims are.

    It’s one thing for, say, Dawkins-style militant atheists or, alternately, white supremacist Christians to rail and wring their hands about a “ground zero mosque.” But Mormons? If Christ returned now to see what members of His Church, people who bear and represent His name, were doing, saying, and advocating publicly, He’d never stop throwing up.

  193. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 25, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    For starters I don’t honestly believe making what would be set aside exclusively to be a mosque in the rebuilt portion of the Pentagon was ever a possibility. In the reverse scenario you depicted i’m sure you would have something critical to say, probably depending on how indignant the muslim population was. I’m not a mormon or even terribly religious by the way.

  194. nasamomdele on August 25, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    #192

    SUNN makes a good point, actually. It may be that it is not the act of worship that is the issue, which a non-denominational chapel provides for all.

    Perhaps it is more the symbolism of a mosque that irks people.

    It is difficult to argue that a mosque symbolizes a tolerant and peaceful religion.

    It is also hard to argue that a mosque blocks away from a site that was the target of said religion- be it an extreme wing of the religion- should cause some discomfort and extreme feelings associated with fear and grief to come forward.

    It is also hard to argue that there would or should be a similar outcry towards a non-denominational center on the NY site that would still allow Islamic services.

    I’m not saying that there should not be a mosque, but I am arguing that the outcry is logical.

  195. Dan on August 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Nasamomdele,

    I’m not saying that there should not be a mosque, but I am arguing that the outcry is logical.

    Actually it is only logical if all of Islam is blamed for the attack. Because not all of Islam is responsible for the attack, the argument is thus illogical. It’s quite simple.

    It is difficult to argue that a mosque symbolizes a tolerant and peaceful religion.

    No it is not. There are literally hundreds of thousands of mosques all over the world filled with tolerant and peaceful people. Certainly we wouldn’t want others to perceive Christianity, or even our own little subset of Christianity, Mormonism, by the extremists in our walls, but then again, the loudest voices are usually the extremists and they usually set the pace of the debate. Thus at this point, Sarah Palin speaks for Christianity against Bin Laden for Islam. That’s the degenerate level of debate by those against the mosque. They cannot see a more complex world than this.

    It is also hard to argue that a mosque blocks away from a site that was the target of said religion- be it an extreme wing of the religion- should cause some discomfort and extreme feelings associated with fear and grief to come forward.

    Why should it now? There is a mosque already there just four blocks to the north that didn’t seem to bother anyone at all these past nine years. The Muslims who will be frequenting the Cordoba Initiative already meet in lower Manhattan, and have resided there for 27 years. It’s not like lower Manhattan was bereft of Muslims until after 9/11, when Muslims came in to dump a mosque upon their conquered land like some dog marking his territory with piss.

    Perhaps it is more the symbolism of a mosque that irks people.

    Or perhaps it is the allowance of Americans to have their fear exploited by what they do not know very well. I mean, it’s exactly the same reason why Americans allowed themselves to be afraid of Japanese Americans who had been living in America for decades before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Fear of the unknown. So easily exploited by those with nefarious means and objectives. Such a damn shame that Americans fall for this crap so frequently.

  196. Dan on August 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    sorry, *within our walls, not ‘in our walls’

  197. kurofune on August 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Dan@175: Now here’s something to talk about. The main issue. Just a quick response:

    “If you don’t want the site there, you believe all Muslims attacked America.”

    I don’t want the site there and I’m quite aware that it was a fringe of an nominally influential sect of Islam that was represented by the attackers. The examples I used stand because what the Cordoba Initiative’s suggested construction represents is an affront to what the site represents. Because they’re Muslim? No, because they want to build something Muslim precisely because it’s the closest to Ground Zero they could get. It lacks decorum. People would be rightly offended in those examples and are reasonably offended now.

    You’ve done much to separate the Cordoba Initiative from the fringe, but like I said earlier about the location of the site: the Cordoba Initiative, Imam Rauf specifically, would disagree with you. I’m not the one that “sees little difference”. From failing to recognize the stated and chartered purpose of Hamas to highly controversial statements about blame for the attack on 9/11 he has failed to maintain the separation you claim. He has even failed a reasonable standard for ‘moderate’. In fact, he’s expressed concern that such a separation would be counter-productive.

    I don’t want a war with Islam. In fact, war just seems stupid when not avoidable and especially stupid when it’s happening no matter why it’s happening. Perhaps now this is projection from your side? You’ve suggested terrible things about me without reason to believe such is the case. I assure you such is not true. By association and assumption you’ve lumped me in with that which you believe worst about this world only because I disagree with you. Oddly, you’ve become exactly that which you claim to hate, that which you claim to be fighting with your statements.

  198. Dan on August 25, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    kurofune,

    By association and assumption you’ve lumped me in with that which you believe worst about this world only because I disagree with you. Oddly, you’ve become exactly that which you claim to hate, that which you claim to be fighting with your statements.

    That’s because your reasoning has not differed from those who are the worst. Sorry dude. But you’ve gotta offer a better rationale than Newt Gingrich in order to be viewed not as an extremist like him.

  199. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    so yeah, that mosque sure has built a lot of bridges already. Good job.

  200. Dan on August 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    SUNN,

    If I recall, bridges have two sides to it. A bridge to nowhere (only really works in Alaska) cannot bridge any divide. The other side must make an effort too for a bridge to be effective.

  201. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on August 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    of course that only works if theyre both building in the same spot.

  202. Kent Larsen on August 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I think we have reached the end of the discussion on this topic, so I’m closing the discussion.

    Thanks to all who have commented. I read every comment, and haven’t found any argument to change my beliefs about the mosque or about the similarities between the opposition to the mosque and the opposition to LDS Temples. Surely we as Mormons should recognize this similarity and support others who are building houses of worship.

    To me the opposition to this mosque seems neither Christian nor Mormon.