In Defense Of Religious Freedom

Park place mosque  As a longtime resident of lower manhattan, I have watched the debate about the planned mosque near ground zero with interest. I stood not too far north of the planned location almost nine years ago and watched the first plane bank and smack right into the north tower. That image will be with me for the rest of my life.

My takeaway from that experience and the aftermath is that our best weapon against the hateful terrorists who planned and executed that act is tolerance and a renewed dedication to freedom of all kinds.

I am so proud of our mayor, Mike Bloomberg, who has taken this debate to heart and made it his role to defend the right of the islamic community to built a mosque near ground zero (see the location on the upper right of this post).

Here is the text of the mayor's speech on Governor's Island a few weeks ago. I particularly like this part:

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another. "The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves – and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans – if we said 'no' to a mosque in Lower Manhattan. "Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies' hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that. "For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime – as important a test – and it is critically important that we get it right.

The President joined in on Friday evening at the annual Iftar dinner:

As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.

I am so pleased that our leaders think this way. Nate Silver says that two-thirds of this country believe that building a mosque near ground zero is "inappropriate", so this is not an easy position to take politically. But I believe it is the right position to take and I am with the President and the Mayor on this one.


Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    +1First they came for the CommunistsAnd I did not speak outBecause I was not a CommunistThen they came for the SocialistAnd I did not speak outBecause I was not a SocialistThen they came for the trade unionistsAnd I did not speak outBecause I was not a trade unionistThen they came for the JewsAnd I did not speak outBecause I was not a JewThen they came for meAnd there was no one leftTo speak out for me- Martin Niemoller

    1. Aviah Laor

      When you look at history, religions will not allow anyone to take them, at least not that easily. Democracy? with the correct re-production rate, give them a few generations and everything will be ALL RIGHT.They figured out crowd sourcing first. Not going anywhere. The one thing Marx got right.

      1. ShanaC

        One of the best essays (originally a series of blogposts) about religion is here. writer was an active Baptist minister before he died.

        1. Aviah Laor

          I found this from Mark Twain: “Apparently one of the most uncertain things in the world is the funeral of a religion.”But seriously, Religious Freedom is a good thing – but only under a GPL license: you may benefit from it, only if you support the same Religious Freedom to others, everywhere.

          1. ShanaC

            agree with both. Even hard atheism is a religion of sorts. So is Apple-ism ;)Beliefs give us guidance about our worldview. Pew does polls, spirituality stil;l remains at an all time high in the US, even if religion and church attendance is falling. I don’t expect that to change, belief is soothing to the soul.I would say you have to GPL religion: I don’t know what happens after death, and even at my most moral, I can’t be totally sure. I just expect religion in and of itself to change over time, mostly in response to the here and now that religious beliefs fulfill.Believing in god won’t go away- how to practice that belief I think can and will change.

          2. Aviah Laor

            this change did happen, for centuries, but somebody somewhere decided that change stop.”Believing in god won’t go away- how to practice that belief I think can and will change.”: this a very nice way to put it Shana.

          3. ShanaC

            Thank you. I just wish I knew where it would go.

          4. Aviah Laor

            You mean besides Facebook 🙂

          5. ShanaC

            Already in my lifetime 🙂

        2. Aviah Laor

          Religion is not good or bad. It’s how it used. Unfortunately, it can be used as a very effective tool to make people do really bad things.A religion should be judged by it’s sense of humor. Tolerance, independent thinking etc will come next.

  2. Taylor Brooks

    The issue isn’t about tolerance, it’s about prudence. Peace loving Muslims should recognize that. Go build the mosque somewhere else.There is a difference between have the right to do something and doing the right thing.Bill McGurn writes a great op-ed in WSJ:

    1. fredwilson

      to me it will be comforting to see “peace loving muslims” worshiping thereit will heal a lot of wounds

      1. LIAD

        The flip side though is how would you feel if and when a fanatical cleric spewed vile hatred from that hallowed ground. “we’ve vanquished the infidels etc etc”

        1. Mark Stansbury

          1. Do you expect this to happen?2. Could we respond at that time?3. Is tolerating that sort of bile not the very core of a free society? Seeing churches (and mosques) on every other corner makes me uncomfortable. Yet somehow I manage to get through the day. That’s just how it works.

          1. LIAD

            I’m sure if the mosque is built, sooner or later a fanatical cleric will hijack its pulpit and preach hatred from it – and will do so for the symbolism of extremist islam being spread from what was the epicentre of american capitalism.Our response at that time is -Oi, you muppet – can’t you see that the very existence of this place of worship on this hallowed ground is testament to our morals, values and decency and the very reason why our way of live will win out over what you are preaching. You need to hide behind censorship and physical and psychological torture of dissenters and those who don’t share your beliefs – we embrace diversity and freedom of speech. Your attacks only make us stronger. Now, piss off back under the stone you came from.

          2. ShanaC

            That being said, there are practical issues. I’m not for a Van Gogh type incident stateside. It much better if rejection of those attitudes comes from the inside though.

          3. MikeSchinkel

            “I’m sure if the mosque is built, sooner or later a fanatical cleric will hijack its pulpit and preach hatred from it – and will do so for the symbolism of extremist islam being spread from what was the epicentre of american capitalism. “Sounds very Minority-Reportish to me…Maybe we can start locking up everyone we think might commit a crime. That’ll make us safe.

          4. LIAD

            Time will tell

          5. sachmo

            If such a situation where to occur, which I doubt, then the response you have written would be perfectly appropriate.And it would do more to win the hearts and minds of the 1.6 billion Muslims than the hatred spewing imam.

          6. ShanaC

            More to the point, is this a dealable issue and do we inculcate enough Americanism into people that the people who go will for the most part be rejecting of such philosophies.

        2. Jon Knight

          We hear it all the time from the christian clerics. When I hear it vomited up by my own faith’s leaders it makes me feel worse than listening to the latest binLaden audio.It makes me ashamed.

    2. Peter P

      Prudence for what?Objecting to a mosque being build near Ground Zero would be similar to objecting to a church near an abortion clinic bombed by a fundamentalist Christian.Neither a Muslin terrorist or a Christian terrorist represent what the religion is about or what the vast majority of it’s followers practise. To focus on the outliers in any group and use that to base your objections is really disappointing.As a non-US person, it saddens me that the ideas and beliefs that the USA (rightly) holds up a shining beacon to the world on liberty and freedom is in practical terms reduced by ignorance, fears and misunderstandings into something that is the exact opposite.

      1. fredwilson

        exactlywell said Peter

      2. CJ

        I said the exact thing about a church and an abortion clinic last week on the ‘net elsewhere. Needless to say I totally agree.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        “Objecting to a mosque being build near Ground Zero would be similar to objecting to a church near an abortion clinic bombed by a fundamentalist Christian.”First, to put the two bogeymen in perspective, Wikipedia lists 8 people who have been murdered by anti-abortionists in America, so roughly 375 times as many people were murdered on 9/11.Second, wouldn’t you agree that building a “fundamentalist” church near an abortion clinic that had been bombed by a fundamentalist Christian would be a bad idea, even if the church members had a legal right to build it there?

        1. fredwilson

          it’s not about the numbers dave, it is about the principal of tolerance

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Fair enough, Fred. Care to address my second point? Tolerance isn’t the only principal involved here; so are tact and respect for the sensitivities of others.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Even though this isn’t about numbers, I too have a problem with comparing what was essentially an act of war with bombing an abortion clinic. As horrible as the latter might be, it does not compare. I think Ground Zero might be better considered a war zone.While I haven’t yet visited Ground Zero, (didn’t want to make that pilgrimage and evoke those emotions while in NYC on business), I have a feeling that it will have some similarity to visiting Arlington Memorial — one of the most poignant experiences of my life even though over 30 years ago. Here in Malibu, you can’t build on the same ground where a Native American battle took place because it is considered to be a burial ground and therefore sacred.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            You raise an interesting point; in fact, I think the Shanksville, PA site (where United 93 went down) has been treated essentially as a war memorial.

          4. MikeSchinkel

            You do realize the Mosque is to be built 4 blocks away from the former Twin Towers, right? What if they were to move it 10 blocks? Would that be enough? Or would it have to be 25 blocks? More?

          5. Donna Brewington White

            “What if they were to move it 10 blocks? Would that be enough? Or would it have to be 25 blocks? More?”I think you’re asking the wrong person since my comment wasn’t about the location of the mosque but rather the comparison of Ground Zero to a bombed abortion clinic. But your question is rhetorical, right? No matter where you stand on this issue, it seems that the general thought is that the current planned location is close enough to be considered significant — one way or the other. So, I guess the question is how far away from Ground Zero the mosque would have to be for Fred not to have written this post and to have generated 198 comments (and counting). 10 blocks, 25, more?

          6. sachmo

            What about the other mosques near the WTC?Should we raze them to the ground?

          7. sachmo

            In the example you gave, I would presume that you are not allowed to build ANYTHING, as in ANY kind of structure on sacred burial ground.That’s not the case for the proposed site for the ground zero mosque. It’s blocks away, and people are specifically objecting to the fact that the center is ISLAMIC. If it were a church no one would have a problem.And by the way, there are other mosques in the neighborhood, and the local community approves of it.As I said before, it seems like complete bigotry to me…

          8. Donna Brewington White

            You have misread my comment and my intent. Therefore, you are making your argument to the wrong person. I will not respond again.

          9. kidmercury

            whose sensitivities are you referring to? the 9/11 families understand 9/11 was an inside job, as do the new york firefighters.

          10. Druce

            If a topic is sensitive, those who have something to gain by exploiting it will. This is more of a case of demagogues manufacturing a cause celebre. If they hadn’t done that, then no one would care about an Islamic center across from an office building across from a post office across from Ground Zero.I seem to remember someone saying, if Americans don’t shop, then the terrorists have won… certainly modifying our religious tolerance and turning into what the Taliban and the terrorists want us to be is no different.

          11. AdAz

            Dave,In terms of bad taste, you seem to think that the people who are building this mosque are the same as the 19 hijackers, when in actuality they are polar opposites. The folks looking to building this mosque are very liberal, very open and interested in building bridges. Al-Qaeeda would like to bomb that bridge and it looks like so would you.Try to imagine for a moment that 1BN people are more nuanced than having one perspective…

          12. Dave Pinsen

            AdAz,You are putting words in my mouth. If I thought the people building the mosque were the same as the 19 hijackers, I’d have bigger concerns than the location of their mosque.I also question the alleged liberalness of the individuals building this mosque, based on previous statements by the imam in question, and based on broader attitudes of American Muslims as surveyed by Pew Research (you can find the link elsewhere in this thread).________________________________

        2. William Pietri

          Of course it wouldn’t be a bad idea, Dave.Most fundamentalist Christians are perfectly good people, and wouldn’t countenance murder and bombing any more than any other American would. Clinic bombings aren’t any more characteristic of Christians than black church bombings are characteristic of white people. Just because a crazy person claims X as a motivation doesn’t mean that everybody else who is part of X is bad.Which is exactly why the Islamic cultural center and mosque in New York is fine, too.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            William,You’re bringing up non-sequitors. Of course, most Christians, white people, Muslims, or members of other groups are good people. That has no bearing on whether it’s appropriate to build an actively anti-abortion church next to an abortion clinic (or vice-versa), or whether it’s appropriate to build a mosque near the site of a terrorist attack committed by Muslim terrorists in the name of their faith.

          2. William Pietri

            Your missing the point is not the same thing as there not being one, Dave. I explicitly gave the general principal that makes my analogies relevant. Last sentence, second paragraph. And, by the way, it’s called a non-sequitur.That aside, you make two logical errors in your reply. The first is conflating people against abortion with people who bomb abortion clinics. You then make the same mistake about Muslims and terrorists, and compound it by confusing liberal American Muslims with violent, fundamentalist, antisemitic Muslims from half a world away.Just to be clear: both the church and the mosque are indeed appropriate, because in neither case are the people advocating or participating in violence involved. Got it?

          3. Dave Pinsen

            “And, by the way, it’s called a non-sequitur”Your condescension is astounding.”That aside, you make two logical errors in your reply.”Rubbish. I didn’t conflate anyone either all Muslims or anti-abortion Christians with terrorists. In fact, I thought it was implicit from the discussion that the mosque-goers and church-goers in question weren’t terrorists — after all, if they were terrorists they would belong in jail, and the question of where they should build their houses of worship would be moot. “Just to be clear: both the church and the mosque are indeed appropriate, because in neither case are the people advocating or participating in violence involved. Got it?”Even if they weren’t, it would still be inappropriate. The law even recognizes that, to some extent, by placing limitations on how close peaceful pro-lifers can protest next to an abortion clinic. By the way, there are some questions as to how liberal or moderate the Park51 mosque actually is:…________________________________

          4. William Pietri

            I’m glad you appreciate my condescension, Dave, as you’ve richly earned it. As proved by your latest errors in thought.You’ll note that the restriction on protesters near abortion clinics isn’t a restriction on Christians, or even pro-lifers. It’s a restriction on the act of protesting, regardless of what church you go to. That’s because it’s a mistake both in law and in our society to confuse espoused thoughts or beliefs with unrelated behaviors. Neither Christians nor Moslems generally advocate bombing civilians, and so mere membership in a group that contains hundreds of millions shouldn’t be used to tell them where they can or cannot build.As to your “there are some questions” routine, those are classic weasel words. Are you personally questioning that based on actual evidence? If you’re not willing to stand behind it personally, then it would seem to me that you’re just bringing up dubious Internet slurs to win an argument you are failing to win on reason alone.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Stopped reading your response at the first sentence. Life is too short to correspond with someone as rude and narrow minded as you.________________________________

          6. William Pietri

            Or could it be that you’re giving up because there is no articulable principle behind your notion that isn’t either incoherent or repugnant?As to calling me narrow-minded, that’s a little rich. I’m not the one apparently arguing in favor of religious intolerance at a time where that clearly aids the xenophobes and nativists. As to rude, I’ll take that, but I think it no more rude, and definitely less harmful, than your apparently baseless raising of specters throughout this discussion.

          7. sachmo

            Appropriateness is judged by the local community, not people who live hundreds of miles away.The local community voted for the mosque.

        3. MikeSchinkel

          Well since Wikipedia is your benchmark I’ll take your 8 times 375 and raise you the Iraqi civilian casualties[1] with the *lowest* estimate being 95,888 civilian casualties. So that would be *32 times* the number of casualties from 9/11. Yet we’re over there building both churches and military bases. AND we’re still occupying the country too.But it’s okay, because when it’s about *us* we are always in the right; after all we brought freedom to all those people who died. Right?[1]

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Mike, the majority of civilian casualties in Iraq post-2003 have been the victims of Muslim terrorists as well. In fact, Iraqis have been the biggest victims of Muslim terrorism in recent years. You could argue that they wouldn’t have been killed by those terrorists had we not invaded and caused a power vacuum, and that’s true, but it’s also true that the status quo ante was enforced by copious amounts of terror and killing. You can learn more about that period, if you’re interested, from The Iraq Memory Foundation.

        4. sachmo

          Unlike your example though, this mosque isn’t being built by radical extremists. Its being built by normal people that want the services of a YMCA like muslim center, and its been approved by the local community.You can’t take 1.6 billion people and call them all the same.

    3. Dave Pinsen

      I would have said “tact” instead of prudence, but I generally agree. The Cordoba folks certainly have the legal right to build a mosque there. Whether they should build one there is a different question. Whether they should schedule the grand opening of it for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (can that really be true?) is another question.

    4. sachmo

      Yeah, but there are already mosques a few blocks from ground zero. Its seems like blatant discrimination and bigotry to me.

  3. kidmercury

    lol….the mosque beef is just a divide and conquer strategy, get the people fighting amongst themselves so they can’t unite against the real enemy: the military industrial complex controlled by the global banking cartel, i.e. new world order. the whole manufactured beef is probably just the globalists’ way of evaulating the public psyche to see how much they can still be conned.i can’t believe 2/3 of the US is really opposed to the mosque…..please let that statistic be false, please….if that is true there is no hope for this country, we are so far from where we need to be it is ridiculous, the globalists will just keep pillaging and plundering…..please remember, 9/11 was an inside job…..please research the matter if you have not already, it’s more important than anything else….if you have questions feel free to ask me, i’m happy to discuss till the end of time

    1. MikeSchinkel

      Fraid so. Remember, 2/3s of those in the US watch Fox News…

      1. kidmercury

        lol good point…..i guess my expectations of the 2/3 who have broadband connections are too high! 🙂

  4. schultzmj

    I agree that they certainly have the “right” to do this and our govt (be it city, state or federal) would be wrong to step in a stop it just because it it a Muslim religious center.That being said, I don’t believe it is the “right” thing to do. It seems there is a lot of talk about making sure people understand there is a difference between the Muslim extremists responsible for 9/11 and the vast, vast majority of Muslims who are view 9/11 the same way as the rest of he world. I think people get that but I would ask those responsible for pushing this proposal forward to be equally as open minded about the pain putting this is center so close to Ground Zero brings to many, many people in this country.Just because someone has the “right” to do something does not mean it is the “right” thing to do.

    1. sachmo

      In my mind though, the freedom to openly practice your religion trumps everything else.And these other people who feel disrespected by a mosque… shouldn’t. It’s irrational.We don’t associate all churches with Timothy McVeigh now do we?

      1. Morgan Warstler

        You aren’t making points. Muslim individuals are attacking other countries. But you are welcome to consistently mention McVeigh if you feel the some Xians have beliefs you think need drummed out of them. You obviously don’t. And NO ONE is saying they cannot build a mosque there. Muslims are simply finding out now what people think about their actions, and how they will be viewed thusly in the near short term.

        1. sachmo

          If you feel that I’m not making a point, then don’t respond…The freedom to openly practice a religion trumps other people’s feeling about respect. That’s not very difficult to understand.McVeigh is an example of how one can see a conspiracy within the Christian movement to bomb and kill other people. If we were to assume that all Christians were like McVeigh, we would be mistaken.Likewise, we should not view all Muslims like the people who committed 9/11. Again, not very difficult to understand.I personally do not believe that all Christians are intent upon violence against other people, I’m using McVeigh to show a flaw in associating a few radicals with an entire people.

  5. Sandro

    Agreed on all counts. Regardless of the context, leadership frequently has nothing to do with political expedience, so it was reassuring see them both lead.

  6. bsoist

    @fredwilson thanx! I’m not sure this is the best location for a mosque but I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts here.

  7. all the same

    Why can’t they just build ANY non-religous building there and avoid this conversation. If they build any religious building there of one faith (be it muslim, jew, christian, scientology, catholics, or whatever), the other ones will feel left out.Just leave religion out of it and all people are still welcome to pray to who they want or build their places of worship anywhere else on equal footing.

  8. Tom Labus

    It is the state of our current political culture that this issue has become such a “hot” issue. Legitimate concepts and debate get highjacked by this new element in our political discourse. Unfortunately, they hold strong opinions without much or no basis of fact or history to support them. This willingness to distort for political gain is quite frightening.

  9. LiveFree

    You either abide by our founding documents or shred them – you can’t have both. Amazing that our founders were so far sighted that they forsaw a nation so full of drooling xenophobes, who substitute out of context quotes for rational thought, and made the pillars of our freedom so difficult the change. Your solution to fighting these extremist monsters is to become just like them – intolerant.

  10. Ant925

    Building a mosque in the shadow of ground zero has nothing to do with religious freedom; it has to do with that fading concept : RESPECT. Why of all places to build is this spot singled out? if not to punctuate their triumph. Would you build a night club in a cemetery? Basic respect for the dead and the families & friends of th 3000 innocent victims says NO! And if they had any sense of decency they would back off. Suppose we opt to build a church or synagogue in their country ; how do you think they would react? So theoretically, they or anyone should have the right to build there but most decent, compassionate organizations would defer to the memories of 3000 murdered people and refrain from desecrating their memories. Is that too dificult to understand???

    1. Mark Stansbury

      Yeah, it is hard to understand. Please expound: What is their country? Who are they? Isn’t their country America? Aren’t they us?

    2. fredwilson

      so building a catholic church there would not be cool with you?

      1. Letfreedomring

        ur, are you an idiot. the terrorists did not call themselves catholic terrorists. they perpetuated the atrocities under the banner of islam.

        1. Eric Marcoullier

          Fred — you’re feeding the trolls. For a decent chunk of this country, Muslim = terrorist. As Letfreedomring so aptly illustrated, it’s not a rational debate and using logic will only inflame their passion and frustrate you.FWIW, I am also exceedingly proud of Obama for coming out in support of the mosque and look forward to visiting it some day when I’m in NYC.

          1. Keenan

            Amen Eric!

          2. Letfreedomring

            Don’t put words in my mouth… I never said “Muslim = Terrorist”, I do not believe that, and would never condone anyone who would berate 1BB+ people who are Muslim because of a handful of wackos. You presented gross misrepresentation of what I said.I’ll tell you what is not a gross misrepresentation: 9/11 was committed by Muslim extremists.

          3. kidmercury

            what makes you say it is not a gross misrepresentation? please provide evidence to support that assertion.a couple points:1. the alleged hijackers have been reported to be alive:…2. the former head of the american visa bureau in saudi, michael springman, says he was ordered by the CIA to grant visas to some of the alleged terrorists.

          4. Letfreedomring

            i think elvis is alive too somewhere – argentina maybe.

          5. kidmercury

            I hope you will notice that all you can do is make immature jokes, which, worst of all, aren’t even funny. If you are ever mature enough to discuss the facts, or if you have any sincere questions about some of the views of the 9/11 truth movement, I will be happy to discuss with you.

          6. Noway

            Am I really supposed to consider those enough facts to refute the theory of muslim terrorists? Did you even read the articles (especially the sources). It doesn’t even come close to proving “the alleged hijackers have been reported to be alive.”

          7. kidmercury

            1. for 9/11 truth, start with the story of building 7. we all agree that two planes hit into two buildings. many people then assume those two planes caused those buildings to collapse. i disagree, as do many architects and engineers who have researched the matter, but let’s assume for the sake of discussion those two planes hitting two buildings is what caused them to collapse straight down at near free fall speed. building 7 collapsed later in the day. at free fall speed. first responders like kevin mcfadden says there was a countdown to set off explosions in the building. william rodriguez, a WTC janitor, says he heard explosions. tons of scientific evidence and lots more eyewitness testimony as well. study the collapse of building 7 and tell me what you think happened. that’s just the starting point, there is so much evidence 9/11 was an inside job it is getting to be comical.2. and of course, proving it was an inside job is only half the issue. the other half is proof that muslims in a cave pulled it off. i hope you will share with us evidence you have to support that assertion.

        2. kidmercury

          lol……we so need badges here in fredland……and the doublethink badge goes to letfreedomring! hahahahaha, love the username……

          1. Letfreedomring

            Let me tell you something: I would be willing to fight a war to defend the “right” of the Muslims who want to build that mosque to do so, because I will die to preserve and defend the Constitution and it is wrong to stomp on someone’s property rights and freedom of religion.That said, these particular Muslims who want to build that Ground Zero mosque have bad taste and it would be wonderfully prudent and magnanimous of them to move it elsewhere – accomplishing much more good than pushing on in this tender spot.

          2. kidmercury

            i’m glad you respect the constitution. that is a common point we have.i hope you will study the subject of 9/11 sincerely. the notion that the 9/11 crime was spearheaded by western powers, specifically intelligence agencies, is easy to understand if one engages in sincere research into the topic. if you think of how the constitution has been destroyed since 9/11 — most visibly by the extremely unconstitutional patriot act, which was in direct response to 9/11 — you will see how 9/11 truth movement is very much a constitutional movement, and as such is filled with passionate constitutionalists.

          3. sachmo

            Its a couple blocks away. There are other mosques in the neighborhood.Some of the other mosques PREDATE the WTC. What’s next, ban the halal carts that serve “islamic” food outside the WTC?

        3. kidmercury

          also, hope you will support your thesis that the terrorists perpetuated their atrocities under the banner of islam, especially if you are going to go around calling people idiots….

          1. Letfreedomring

            if you don’t believe that the ~20 men that carried out the attacks on 9/11 were not islamist extremists, then you might as well deny the holocaust too.

          2. kidmercury

            i don’t deny the holocaust, but more importantly, this blog is about 9/11. you’ve made some pretty controversial statements here, i hope you’ll back up your assertions rather than going off on tangents about the holocaust.

          3. markslater

            “this blog is about 9/11”?no this blog is not – you made it about 9/11 and now get pissed at someone not wanting to talk to you about it or changing the subject.

          4. kidmercury

            read the opening paragraph to this blog entry, and tell me what day you think fred is talking about.also, if you read my reply to letfreedomring, i don’t think it sounds pissy? other comments i made do, because i am upset about it, unapologetically.

          5. M.

            In defense of both of you, I believe that it is about 9/11 … just not every last aspect of 9/11.

          6. kidmercury

            perhaps you are right 🙂 i think 9/11 truth is relevant to the discussion,as the mosque situation is viewed from a much different perspective fromthose living in awareness of 9/11 truth. truthers are more likely to see themosque discussion as a propaganda tactic. this was touched upon elsewhere inthis thread by other individuals as well.

        4. Keenan

          why the name calling. Letfreedomring, why is it you always show up speaking HATE. It seems to follow you. First it was gays on M Shusters blog and now Muslims here. Should we close all Christian churches near abortion clinics where Dr.’s were killed under the banner of Christianity? As a Christian, I in no way affiliate myself with those people, as millions UPON millions of Muslims do not affiliate themselves with those who perpertrated 911. To paint an entire religion on the actions of a fanatical few is shallow and a fools errand.(Fred, How do I unlike? I liked the comment above by accident)

          1. Letfreedomring

            Name one thing that I said (other than call Fred an idiot :)) that is hateful. Quit putting words in my mouth.

        5. fredwilson

          sadly, i think you are the idiot here

          1. Letfreedomring


          2. fredwilson

            an idiot and a knuckleheadthat’s good

        6. MikeSchinkel

          Of course they don’t call them Catholic Terrorists; they just refer to them as “Christian Terrorists”:…Quotes by Eric Hoffer:”Only when power utilizes the propensities and talents of the weak does it become ruthless and vicious.””Great evils befall the world when the powerful begin to copy the weak. The desperate devices which enable the weak to survive are unequaled instruments of oppression and extermination in the hands of the strong.””Woe to the weak when they are preyed upon by the weak. The self-hatred of the week is likewise an instance of their hatred of weakness.”

        7. sachmo

          What about the Oklahoma City Bombings? No Church in downtown Oklahoma?Ban the Libertarian party?

    3. ShanaC

      honestly, I would like to see syngagogues restored in Yemen and tours go in the same way that March of Living takes a huge amount of people to Poland. It would be totally fascinating, as long as they don’t get revisionist. That, and I would love to see what are in those Genizas, the same way Egypt is suddenly fascinated with the Cario Geniza despite having a Jewish population close to Nil.(note: I went on the first section of the March of the Living…I’m a tad biased)However, it’s mostly likely the Islamic cultural center would be serving Muslims born here, or immigrants who are young. They’re really American, and they are about as tied to the Mideast and other heavily Muslim countries (Indonesia?)as my mother is to Poland and Germany. About nothing.

    4. Jon Knight

      Assuming that ‘their’country is not the USA, the logical conclusion to your argument is that we should mimic each and every country on this planet whenever we need to interpret our most basic freedoms? Do unto them as they do unto us? That’s real. (snark)This is not what the USA is about. We are not supposed to be the bullies who change the rules (most of which we made up to begin with) whenever it suits someone’s political agenda.The question is answered simply. We have laws to cover this stuff already. And the law says the center can be built exactly where they want to build it (which, coincidentally, is exactly where the muslim community needs it most).I agree with you completely, Fred. This is one of the 1st things we are taught (as children!) that sets the USA apart from most of the world. Religious freedom, the ability to practice our faith, whatever it is, whenever and wherever we want. I don’t want to give that up.

    5. jonathanjaeger

      “Suppose we opt to build a church or synagogue in their country”-Your point is moot. We are not in THEIR country, we are in our own and we live by a certain set of rules (i.e. separation of church and state). In the same way, we don’t force women to cover their faces if they don’t want to. Yet, they still have the freedom to do so.

    6. sachmo

      Let’s take your cemetery example:The local community in your hometown would most likely NEVER approve a night club built in a cemetery. If the local community did however approve a nightclub in a cemetery, it would have to stand. That’s what democracy and freedom is all about.In this case, the local community has voted FOR the Islamic Center. People there don’t find it to be disrespectful. Its only the folks who live OUTSIDE of NYC that seem to have a big problem with it. By the way, there are mosques all around the neighborhood, some of which predate the World Trade Center.I for one don’t see how the mosque is disrespectful at all.That would be like saying “Don’t build a Church near the Federal Building that got bombed in Oklahoma City — way too disrespectful!”Seriously, its ridiculous. Anyhow, your sense of “respect” is second to the Freedom of Religion guaranteed to us by the Constitution.

  11. Mark Essel

    I’ve had this discussion at work. And clustering terrorists with a religion is a terrible mistake. It’s a slippery slope to dehumanizing people of a particular religion and one we should never allow. Not in our country.Not on our watch.

    1. fredwilson

      exactlythe phrase “muslim terrorists” is the problemthey were terrorists, plain and simple

      1. ShanaC

        Not only that. It’s factually incorrect. The most deadily terrorist group on the planet isn’t even Muslim- It’s the Tamil Tigers, which developed based on ethnic minority, not religion per say. (thank god for this site: and Robert Pape for pursuing the whys and hows of terrorism and the way it works)

        1. Letfreedomring

          Name 3000 people that tamil tigers have killed in the last decade on American soil… oh wait, you can’t.

          1. ShanaC

            two things1) I don’t like being lectured about terrorist attacks. The very first time I took a bus in Jersualem, there was a terrorist attack. In an area where three months? six months? before I would have been standing where that attack was, had there not been a route change. Up until my wallet got stolen, I used to actively carry an old Jersualem bus ticket for that reason. It did not stop me from taking buses, or from hitchhiking (considering my cousin was also kidnapped briefly in Israel as well)Further, my father was supposed to be in the buildings on 9/11 (much later in the day) if I am not mistaken. And I grew up in an area with enough people communting to the towers. One of my neighbors got carried down, even. I’m fully competent to realize the effects of terrorist attacks on people. You live life afterwards, otherwise you aren’t doing much. I’m fully capable (and in fact have, and will continue) to move on from terror. I still take mass transit, and would hitchhike when appropriate. Including in foreign countries.I’m more likely to be hit by a bus frankly. Including in foreign countries.2) Have you no concern about worldwide terror and its development? Techniques are copied by all terrorisat groups. Frankly, the internet makes it easier to spread that knowledge. Terror is an international phenomena, and it is not located in any one group. Americans get affected because, in fact, the internet and better travel resources makes our lives extremely porous. Just to give you a real idea of how terror works.I live in a hyper-jewish area, so Jewish that I know people with dual citizenship who commute back and forth to israel. I also have friends who work in the Gulf and in other Muslim terrorities. Despite that, there are only two people from where I grew up which I can honestly say have been up front with terrorist attacks1) a friend of mine from high school who does high clearance arabic translation work. He’s been to Iraq as well as the gulf. Even he will say it’s never ever purely about what some hadith says- geopolitics plays a much bigger role, and sole do national movements.2)A girl from my elementary school class. Her grandfather died in the Lockerbie Bombing. Which is supposedly about international crises in Libya and the US Navy’s presence in the Gulf of Sidra. The main hall in my parent’s synagogue is I believe dedicated to him.Based on how most Americans will encounter terrorism- my situation is typical.The takeaway- if you think it’s purely religion, it would be ignoring the mass amount of evidence of ordinary americans and others who died in terror attacks. And that in some ways more insulting.

          2. Letfreedomring

            wow, that was too long to read… my only point was that you are pulling rabbits out of a hat to avoid the fact that there is a real problem with a small band of twisted muslims who want to hurt americans.i can’t think about worldwide terror – i believe americans should be focused on solving the problems here at home, because if that falls to pieces nothing else matters.

          3. ShanaC

            I sugggest rereading. I made the point explicitly that most americans are going to be affected by percetage by worldwide terror. Even in a neighborhood close to new york, the only real death was via the lockerbie bombing- a definite aact of political terror.And I suggest looking closer at the data. It holds up to what I say.

          4. Morgan Warstler

            ShanaC, I know enough Israeli’s to say comfortably – its a more conservative group (and by that I do not mean religious) than American Jews. They do quite well in an inhospitable place, with a take no shit attitude…. otherwise, you wouldn’t have been able to have gone sightseeing there.So #1, we’ll give ample respect to the take no shit attitude. That said, tolerance is easy, but tolerance means other countries get to become like us, not so much the other way around – and by “us” I mean good capitalist consumers who believe in rule of law and love technology. And by law, I mean the non-religious kind, that doesn’t care if strippers dance in burkas and cartoonist’s doodle Mohamed diddling little boys.Maybe we could say this, there is a certain kind of Muslim who’d do quite well in the West, others – not so much – and the rest of the world is overtime becoming like the West – and those are the facts on the ground.

          5. ShanaC

            I’m an an American. I’m one of those Woody Allen Jews who can’t drive. I’m not an Israeli

          6. markslater

            one mans terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

      2. Letfreedomring

        ur… the terrorists were muslims and committed the atrocity in the name of allah. of course they were from a twisted branch of islam that is very small in number relative to most muslims. but make no mistake, the terrorists were acting in the name of their twisted version of islam.islamist is a very appropriate term to refer to the malicious part of islam.islamic is a very appropriate term to refer to the good parts of islam.

  12. Siminoff

    I could not agree with you more. What is most disturbing is that 2/3 of the country would be against this. Great post.

    1. Letfreedomring

      Don’t confuse that statistic? 2/3 of the country would not forcibly stomp on the freedom of religion. 2/3 of the country thinks it is bad taste for the Mosque to be built and would be happier to see it built elsewhere.Fred, don’t be so hasty to throw the majority under the bus – that’s just flat out presumptuous to think that somehow you believe in Freedom of Religion stronger than 2/3 of the country.

      1. Siminoff

        If 2/3 thinks it is bad taste to put a mosque there then 2/3 of the countryIS stomping on religious freedom. I think this whole thing shows thatAmericans blame muslims for 9/11.The fact is that the world was attacked on 9/11 by a group of extremists.

        1. Letfreedomring

          “thinking something is bad taste” is vastly different than “stomping on religious freedom”… do you understand that?

          1. Siminoff

            It can only be considered “bad taste” if you associate regular Muslims asthe people behind and for the 9/11 attack. I think it is a clear line, ifyou believe the people who did this awful attack are extremists as I do thenyou can not associate the religion with the action. I believe this is blackand white and my travel to the Muslim world backs that up.Now a bit of a story to back up my feelings/thoughts. I was in Lebanonabout 3 weeks after the 9/11 attack. I happened to live in NYC and wasthere for 9/11 additionally my cousins husband died in the attack, so it wasnot something that I took lightly. Anyway, back to Lebanon, at that timeCNN was reporting that there were celebrations of 9/11 in the streets there. Well that happened to be in front of my hotel and it was bullshit. Theywould through candy in the streets, turn the cameras on and everyone wouldgo crazy, cameras would turn off and everyone would go away. I do not thinkthey even knew what they were getting on TV for, but they wanted to be onAmerican TV. I literally stood there watching it and everyone knowing I wasAmerican never said anything to me rude or bad, zero.Also on my trip I spent a few nights on these great streets full of cafe’s. One night a woman, definitely Muslim, came up to me after she overheard mespeaking. She asked if I was American and I told her yes. She started tocry and say she was so sorry for what happened in New York. Everyone elseat the cafe started to say the same thing. They felt terrible, at thatpoint it was a true world tragedy and everyone was devastated. This was theoverall reaction that I got from EVERYONE on my trip in Lebanon shortlyafter the attack.I have many more opinions but I will not add them as I like to stick tofacts. And the fact is that a fringe group of violent extremists of anyreligion can not be used as a way of judging the overall group. When you dothat you are infringing on people’s religious freedom which is something Iam really against.

          2. Letfreedomring

            your points are valid. in a perfect world, we’d all be able to contain our thoughts and emotions to perfect boundaries. that is not reality. like it or not, fringe extremists do negatively impact public perceptions of the larger group (and put words in my mouth here – i’m just talking about perceptions not about hate or wishing to forcibly remove anyone from their property and freedom of religion). the unpopular building of this mosque is pushing itself into this already tender public perception. these muslims would do themselves a great service by going the extra mile on this one.

  13. Mark Stansbury

    Great comments. I’m glad to see you taking this position.For my part, I wonder what the mosque people and the 9/11 people have to do with one another? What imprudence is there in building a church at this site? Is it that the two groups–the mosque folk and the 9/11 folk–share overlapping beliefs–along with one billion or so other humans?Short story: there is a plot of land open for development. There are people that want to develop that land and are willing to pay. If the construction and use pass regulatory safeguards, end of story. That’s how these things work.1. This is no nightclub in a cemetery. (Wat?) Presumably that would run up against zoning and use restrictions… this does not. Nor is the mosque being built atop the dead.2. People have been killed in horrible ways pretty much everywhere on earth. That doesn’t make everywhere and everywhere adjacent to everywhere a unbuildable parcel of land. If building a religious institution does not constitute “showing respect,” what does?3. Where is the outrage over muslim Somalis (etc) selling NYFD knockoff merch (etc) all across the city? Etc. Etc. Etc. Does this maybe look just a bit like political theater?How much stronger could this have been if we embraced the alleged sacred right to worship peaceably? Instead we have stomped on and degraded the very core rights that we claim the terrorists hate us for? This entire episode is a shameful mark on this nation’s history. I am embarrassed that this is topic of discussion.

  14. John Frankel

    Do not confuse rights with being respectful. Would you build a cathedral next to Auschwitz?It is not a question of religion it is a question of politics: The politic ideal that Bloomberg and Obama are trying to say is that “The US is about peace and acceptance and we are an open society”; the politics of the extreme Islamists will interpret this as “The US is weak and allows us to build a mosque where we have destroyed their temples to money and power. We build our mosques on their ashes”.If ever there was a time for a diplomatic solution then this is one and I only hope that it can be resolved. So far, I do not see resolution only increased polarization.

    1. Peter P

      You give a poor analogy. The Catholic church played an active role – through omission – in the deaths of the Jews. Islam played no active part in the 911 bombing other than terrorists claimed they were. If Islam had doctrine that said Americans should be killed/bombed/attacked, then sure, a mosque is inappropriate – but that’s not what Islam is about and the *vast* majority of muslims follow the mainstream ideals of Islam.Using your analogy, it would be insensitive for anyone to wear clothes near Ground Zero because the terrorists wore clothes.

      1. John Frankel

        The analogy is not about Catholicism, it could be a Morman cathedral, all I said was a cathedral. It is not about Islam doctrine or the doctrine of any muslim cleric that might preach at such a mosque, should it be built. It is not about how the *vast* majority of muslims feel.It is about the fact that there will be those that take it as a weakness of the US by allowing that to happen and that encouraging the enemies of the US. As I said, this is about politics of extreme islamists and the politics of the enemies of the US. I do not know the solution, all I am advocating is that the idea of diplomacy is to resolve seemingly irreconcilable problems. I hope there is a solution, because without one I suspect BOTH sides lose the argument.

        1. Peter P

          You’re actually reinforcing my point – as a non-US citizen, i see the strength of America being in it’s shining ideals of freedom, liberty etc.The strong position here is to show that even when terrorists try to co-opt religion as an excuse to commit murder, the American people are not going to confuse terrorists with normal religion. that Americans will not give into fear and will continue to embrace freedom for all, liberty for all (except terrorists of course :).To me the weak course of action is to cower from the actions of a small minority and restrict the freedoms and liberties on which your great nation is founded.Don’t forget, the terrorists could easily have claimed they were Christian – would you be objecting to churches being built near Ground Zero? It’s very easy to build a case and believe you are right when it’s against a minority – but this is exactly why you have your Constitution – to protect against this kind of misguided thinking.

          1. John Frankel

            PeterThe point I am making is that there is no easy solution, but there is a problem. I do not know how to resolve it. I hope that there is a diplomatic solution, with the full force of the word. I think that both polarized camps are, well, polarized and invective on either side makes the problem bigger, not smaller.Christianity, Judaism, and many other faiths are just religions. Islam is both a religion and a political construct. Thus your analogy to “the terrorists could easily have claimed they were Christian” really does not parse. It is the political aspect here that makes this issue more thorny. And, borrowing from my original comment, this is not about rights, and thus not about oppression of a minority (whatever that means) it is about respect.

          2. Jon Knight

            It is about respect. Nevertheless, I don’t see any respect for the law of our land in any argument against the building of the center near Ground Zero. I see that folks are demanding that others respect their wishes, even though those wishes are laid out in direct opposition to established law.The attack was upon our way of life, which is created and supported by our laws and the fact that we respect our laws over the opinion of men. What you are demanding is that we cease to respect our way of life.Arguments like yours continue the work the terrorists began. You are trying to turn me against the laws of my land, and indeed, more than this, you wish to destroy one of the basic concepts upon which our nation was founded. If you had your way, our long established law of religious freedom would disappear.Trying to compare this to building a cathedral in Germany is nothing more than a misdirection. We are not Germany. We are US. This is a matter of law, not of opinion.

          3. MikeSchinkel

            Judaism is just a religion? Tell that to the Palestinians who don’t have full rights in Israel because they are not Jewish (and I’m not taking about Hamas but instead the regular Palestinians who just want to live and have a career and a family.)It’s so easy to throw stones yet so many people live in glass houses…

          4. ShanaC

            For the record, conservative Christianity has elements of this as well. See the Documentary Jesus Camp. The US is supposed to be a Christian Nation, whatever that means.nationhoos seems to be something often tied into religous being

          5. John Frankel

            I am a disestablishmentarian at heart. I thought the US is a secular state, founded by Christians.

          6. sachmo

            Can you explain how Islam is both a religion and political construct?And I mean the Islam practiced by the vast majority of the 1.6 billion people that claim the faith…

          7. John Frankel

            Any religion is a political construct if it seeks to govern every aspect of conduct between people to the point that legal authority being based on interpretation by its unelected religious scholars and not its elected government or unelected rulers. Both Christianity and Judaism have had their reformations whereby there has been a separation of “church” and state at a philosophical level throughout all branches of the faiths. It is my understanding that this is not the case with Islam, but I stand to be corrected if you can show elsewise.

          8. sachmo

            I’d agree that in many places, the form of Islam you speak of is practiced.But for example, if you take Indonesia, (the most populated Islamic country) the political institutions are not affiliated with Islam.I’m not saying that they have a model government or anything like that, or even that Islam doesn’t have a problem with the separation of church and state.But if you’re willing to take that stance, then you have to wonder about the Christian Democrats in Germany. Or even a significant faction of the conservative movement here…If Christianity didn’t also exert a political influence, then I don’t think we’d be having this debate over the mosque.

        2. ShanaC

          Weak is not preventing a Van Gogh incident in the US, not preventing people praying. Or learning about religion.

    2. ShanaC

      My grandfather survived 3 of the four Auschwitz camps. I’m perfectly ok with the building a cathedral there. (doubt it would happen, Oświęcim is a small town. Majdanek is much more likely. Considering it was a far more deadly camp, and it is right outside of Lublin…) I’ve been there. I’m not sure what he would think. There is a town there with real people. People do grow up there. They die there. They have real life worries that are not-holocaust related. Maybe a new Parish church with better heating would help them?It’s extremely hard to live in the shadows of the camps, but that doesn’t mean life doesn’t and shouldn’t move on. To expect something less is strange.

      1. John Frankel

        Spot on. Though I think it is a time thing – the longer the period from the event the less the pain.

    3. fredwilson

      peace, acceptance, tolerance, and being open is not weakthat is a fallacythose are characteristics of great strengththink of the greatest leaders of all time and they all exhibited them

      1. John Frankel

        Now maybe we are beginning to understand how to articulate the diplomatic solution. I like your thinking here.

    4. Noemail

      Mr. FrankelEverything Hitler knew about genocide, he learned from what the muslim Turks did to Christian Armenians. Do a search for The Turban and the Swastika. Hitler was inspired by the Armenian genocide. I hear ‘mosque’, I think ‘genocide’, I think ‘Nazi’. I see a crescent moon, and I picture it as a swastika.Bloomberg and obama may say the ‘US is about peace and acceptance’ … what is islam about? What do their mosques represent to them: Conquest!

      1. John Frankel

        The key question is not what mosques represent to them, but what do they represent to us. Reading these comments it is clear that to some they are places for peaceful religious contemplation and prayer and for others they are a beachhead.

    5. markslater

      but come on John – you did not finish the sentence..”we build our mosque on their ashes……only to be mocked by the opening of a gay bar next door…..who’s mere existence challenges the core of our belief system. I mean what next? a 40 foot billboard hosting a crowd sourced mohammed drawing competition….”its pure genius actually and a far better representation of what freedom is – not freedom when its convenient.

      1. John Frankel

        Your quote is interesting, and apropos, but I was not actually quoting anyone else, I simply used “‘s for emphasis not because I was quoting something I had seen or read somewhere else. But, your quote is interesting and at its core suggests that there is a non-reciporocal aspect to acceptance/tolerance.

    6. M.

      John, your larger point notwithstanding, were you referring to the Carmelite controversy? There’s a good analysis at the NYer:

      1. John Frankel

        Agree. However carefully chosen any analogy can be picked apart, and so arguments by analogy should probably be avoided – which I did not do in this case.

    7. sachmo

      Yes, but the extreme Islamists are few and the moderate Islamics are many.And we’re a nation where the rule of law and freedom of religion prevails.

  15. Scott Carleton

    I may also be proud of our leaders for taking the correct stance on this issue but I’m disgusted that this even needs to be brought up. I guess there’s no use whining about what I don’t like in this country so I’m glad that there are still people voicing the right for religious freedom.

  16. mikenolan99

    Everyone take a deep breath.“Terrorist” is to “Muslim” as “Nazi” is to “Christianity” as ….The terrorists win if we make this into a religious war. They win if we are afraid. They win if we close our borders, our minds and our hearts.America wins by continuing to be a welcoming, pluralistic country that encourages other views.Anything less dishonors all those who died for our way of life.A few years ago my family recently stayed in Nagasaki at the Catholic Hostel at the epicenter of the atomic bomb blast – on the very anniversary of the destruction of the city.We were welcome, encouraged and humbled.

    1. Noemail

      Everything Hitler learned about genocide, he learned from Islam.Hitler tried to do to the Jews what the Muslim Turks did to the Armenians. During WW2, the liberal Democrat Nationial Socialist Party of Germany (the Nazi’s) were united with the IslamoFascistsMr. Nolan – would you rather you and your family live in a Christian nation or in an Islamic one?

      1. Keenan

        Mr NoeMail,I rather live in a free one.

      2. ShanaC

        Historically, an Islamic one, perhaps not the ones we have today. Maimonidies had severe grievances, he still was a major doctor in Egypt. Up until really the age of modernism, the rise of some communist thought/nationalist thought, and it’s intermixture with Islam, over a long span of time Islam was far more tolerable.Suddenly someone came up with an idea of “Unified Muslim territories in the middle east” because of nationalism in the west. It really didn’t go well since then. One of the reasons the MB exists is to reunify the middle east, to get areas from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon under one roof. Let’s just say Pan-Arabism doesn’t work in practice

      3. Suri

        Mr. Noemail, do you have any evidence of what you just wrote about Hitler learned about genocide from Islam?I have been a Muslim all my life and have never learned about genocide in my religion, I know it’s not in Quran, nor in Hadith.And you might want to read the book by Annette Herskovits : The The Mosque That Sheltered Jews – in short she wrote how Muslim community in France hide foreign people from Nazi and most of them were Jews.Please do not state something you dont know for you here. And another thing, have you ever lived in Muslim nation? Live not just visiting. Live.

          1. Noemail

            so – if you support the Ground Zero mosque, you are supporting NazisThey should stick a swastika on top of it, along side the crescent moon

          2. sachmo

            Because of one tenuous link (even if it was true) you can’t associate all of Islam with Nazis.The Nazi movement was *extremely* christian. Every high ranking Nazi official was christian. You’d have more reason to associate all of Christianity with Nazism looking at it from any rational standpoint.Or for that matter, you could associate Nazism with Hinduism. After all, the Swastika is an ancient Hindu symbol.I’m having a hard time understanding how a YMCA-like Muslim center (which the local community approves of) has anything to with genocides committed 60 to 80 years ago.

          3. MikeSchinkel

            So Hilter learned about genocide from Islam? Alrighty then.But where did Islam learn it? From Christianity no less! Maybe you’re not familiar but there was this little thing in history that lasted oh about 200 years in the 12th and 13th centuries called *The Crusades*. Just a wee bit o’ blood spilled by the hallowed Christians during that little outing…

          4. Fred Destin

            My “favourite” quote from religious wars comes from a crusade against the Cathars in the 13th century. When the local Cistercian Abbot was asked who the soldiers should kill and how they would recognise the heretics, he replied: “Kill them all and God will recognise his own””Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius”

      4. Rational Thought

        Wow! Godwin’s law FTW!BTW, nice strawman. Also, totally random and irrelevant.

      5. mikenolan99

        I love that I live in a country founded on the principle that I do not have to choose. Or, more to the point, you can’t choose for me.Every religion has its fanatics.Religions are even intolerant of their own:In Ireland Christians bomb other Christians. The Yellow hat monks have been killing red hat monks in Tibet for hundreds of years. Christians in this country lynch Christians with the wrong skin color.

    1. thisisananth

      Amazing response.. Interested to see how they accept that 😉

    2. Dave Pinsen

      For those who didn’t click Andy’s link, here’s Greg Gutfeld’s take on the downtown mosque: “So, the Muslim investors championing the construction of the new mosque near Ground Zero claim it’s all about strengthening the relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim world. As an American, I believe they have every right to build the mosque – after all, if they buy the land and they follow the law – who can stop them? Which is, why, in the spirit of outreach, I’ve decided to do the same thing. I’m announcing tonight, that I am planning to build and open the first gay bar that caters not only to the west, but also Islamic gay men. To best express my sincere desire for dialogue, the bar will be situated next to the mosque Park51, in an available commercial space. This is not a joke. I’ve already spoken to a number of investors, who have pledged their support in this bipartisan bid for understanding and tolerance. As you know, the Muslim faith doesn’t look kindly upon homosexuality, which is why I’m building this bar. It is an effort to break down barriers and reduce deadly homophobia in the Islamic world. The goal, however, is not simply to open a typical gay bar, but one friendly to men of Islamic faith. An entire floor, for example, will feature non-alcoholic drinks, since booze is forbidden by the faith. The bar will be open all day and night, to accommodate men who would rather keep their sexuality under wraps – but still want to dance. Bottom line: I hope that the mosque owners will be as open to the bar, as I am to the new mosque. After all, the belief driving them to open up their center near Ground Zero, is no different than mine. My place, however, will have better music.”

      1. Mark Stansbury

        Compelling stuff . . .

      2. sachmo

        If the local community approves an Islamic gay bar right next door to the mosque, then great.No problem at all… That’s what democracy is all about.

        1. Morgan Warstler

          Not an Islamic gay bar, just a good rough trade and twink bar – although all Muslims will be welcome. Think of it simply as an embedded protest of gays against Islamic intolerance.The community has no say here. Buy the property, announce that 5 times a day naked men will moon mecca and throw open your doors.

    3. fredwilson

      nice. homophobia is another form of intolerance

      1. Noemail

        Fred — could you please to your next post on ‘tolerance’ in the muslim world and the way they teach tolerance to their children. What do they teach about Jews at muslim schools here in the US?, and how do muslim adults in the Middle East feel about the holocaust. Tell us all you can about what they teach in madrassas about what muslims must do to the infidels, and throw in a few lines about how mosques are symbolic of muslim conquest. ( the Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey declared: “Minarets are our bayonets; domes are our helmets; our mosques are our barracks; our believers are our soldiers”)And why is the NYC mosque named Cordoba?Will the NYPD be allowed into the Ground Zero mosque? How about DHS? Why will the mosque owners not ‘tolerate’ the presence of even a single NYC police officer inside?

        1. sachmo

          The beliefs and teachings in the “Muslim” world are just as varied and segmented as the beliefs and teachings in the Christian world.We could take the KKK and use them as our poster boys for the Christians — pretend as if all Christians are racist. It wouldn’t make it true, but we could do it…The vast majority of Islamic people are not jihadist. Just go out on the street, or GASP, to a local mosque and meet one.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            Sachmo, just say it with me…. “Comparatively, Muslim individuals commit a HUGE number violent acts against other countries. This is an act of war. This doesn’t happen with other individuals.”Do not be dense. You aren’t teaching anyone anything. To make a real point, you’d need to show KKK members heading off to suicide bomb Saudi Arabia. Have a real point?Stop equivocating. Say it with me. On my terms. Muslims have some explaining to do. Try and actually answer noemails points, or sit silently and ask yourself why you cannot.

          2. sachmo

            Comparatively they don’t.9/11 was committed by a handful of individuals. As were the London train bombings, as were the attacks against Mumbai.The individuals who executed all of these attacks would add up to less than 100 people.We’re talking about a religion with 1.6 billion worshipers.I don’t split hairs over .00000625%.Do you want to add more incidents of terrorism to my list? More Islamic attackers over the last ten years? Feel free to do so. You won’t get anywhere near even 1%.And by the way, as far as I’m concerned Afghanistan and Iraq are countries that WE have attacked and are basically in the middle of civil wars. Let’s stick with terrorists attacking other countries in our little analysis.The truth is, violence and terrorism happens anywhere where people are impoverished. The worst terrorism in the world is going on right now in the Congo.We shouldn’t punish the other 99.99999% of Islamic people by judging them by the acts of a few.

          3. Morgan Warstler

            WRONG.jesus christ sachmo wake up…. http://www.thereligionofpea…You are out of your mind. And BTW, go read about the Sharia Law stuff in this Mosque.You don’t have a leg to stand on…. the question about Islam is WHY they are as violent as they are, any other question is stupid.”And by the way, as far as I’m concerned Afghanistan and Iraq are countries that WE have attacked and are basically in the middle of civil wars. Let’s stick with terrorists attacking other countries in our little analysis.”No way. Any Islamic suicide bomber is a religious nut – someone who should be dead before they blow anyone else up. So i don’t care how you “analyze” things… you do your side no good favor.Seriously man, you are simply an apologist for violence from Radical Islam. It’s a big group of people, they have nothing important to add, they have nothing important to say. Stop minimizing the problem… it should be beneath you.

          4. sachmo

            Afghanistan and Iraq are war zones. If you want to actually talk about acts committed by terrorists in other nations, the actual number of people that have carried out attacks would be in the hundreds… There are 1.6 billion Muslims out there. We’re talking .00000625%.Why not compile a list of terrorist attacks? As I stated before, you won’t get anywhere near 1%. 99.9999% of Muslims aren’t really terrorists then, and to claim that they are all violent willfully ignores the reality that most Islamic people are just minding their own business. Instead of just asserting that I’m wrong, and analyzing our argumentation styles, why not address these numbers?As to the question of why we have suicide bombers and terrorist attacks…. It goes back to oil, impoverishment, politics, and yes the violent extremism of a few. But its totally beyond the scope of this discussion.From your perspective, I am an apologist — But I don’t apologize for the actions of a few psychopaths. I think the radical terrorists need to be killed. But the peace-loving people, who are 99.9999% of Muslims should be free to practice their religion without harassment.And from my perspective, you seem to be equally radical as the people you hate, but in the opposite direction.

          5. Morgan Warstler

            http://www.pursuingholiness…4K Radical Muslims just in your home country. How is it you other 1.6M can’t figure out who they are and turn them in?

          6. sachmo

            See my above point…If we counted radically conservative Christians in our statistics, perhaps Islam would seem tame.Anyway, the only thing we care about are VIOLENT people. If you count the number of people actually involved in terrorist attacks, it would be in the hundreds or thousands. Any way you slice it, the actual terrorists are still fractions of a percent of the vast majority of Islamic people.

      2. Morgan Warstler

        Fred, so then, you admit Islam is largely INTOLERANT of the gays? Right? You also admit, it by and large has a problem with women’s rights, too?Meanwhile, Greg Gutfeld is nowhere anywhere near a homophobe. You are just backwards. Do you even know who he is?This is in fact the perfect way of handling the situation. You get that right? Deep down, it’s perfect.

      3. Morgan Warstler

        I really do want to understand your response here.

  17. Imran Ali

    The stances of Bloomberg and Obama have reminded why, as a practicing Muslim, I love America. I argue repeatedly that both the US and my home country Britain are shining examples of modern Islam, practicing tolerance, justice and compassion their citizens. Both countries are eminently compatible with Islam.One of the most pithy and insightful pieces I’ve read about the Ground Zero Mosque debate was earlier today in the Daily Beast:”A range of political forces has a vested interest in the myth of the mad Muslim as the last evil standing between civilization and chaos.” ( believe this isn’t really about Islam or 9/11, but the political need of some to perpetuate the myth of a supposed enemy.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      That “myth” killed a lot of people here on 9/11, and has killed a lot of people in London, Madrid, Bali, and elsewhere as well since.

      1. kidmercury

        you should consider supporting your implication that mad muslim perpetrated these attacks with evidence. you do have evidence, don’t you?

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Have you expanded your conspiracy theory to the London, Madrid, and Bali attacks too now?

          1. kidmercury

            trot out the word conspiracy theory all you like, it doesn’t change the FACT that i am willing to discuss facts, while you are too egotistical/fearful too. you are welcome to prove me wrong by engaging in a discussion of facts at any answer your question, london was done by MI6. i havent researched madrid and bali, but probably western intelligence agencies.

          2. ShanaC

            Dave, Kid, stop squabbling.

          3. kidmercury

            when people stop ignoring and start behaving like responsible citizens, i’ll stop “squabbling.”

          4. ShanaC

            Not everyone here is going to agree with you about 9/11 being an inside job.Most won’t. It looks bad when you squabble about it rather than discuss itreasonably. It’s only to nth degree to convince people, beyond that theyget frustrated.Dave, you know where Kid stands. It doesn’t help you convince him, and itmakes you look like you are picking on him. People can disagree politely,and if you really think he is such a kook, just politely write off hiscomments and leave it at that.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Shana,I’m not “picking on” Mr. Mercury. My initial comment wasn’t even directed to him, but to Imran Ali. And my question about whether Kid thought the other Al Qaeda attacks were also conspiracies was a legitimate one.

          6. ShanaC

            It’s legit but you also know what he will say. Not worth it.

          7. Dave Pinsen


          8. kidmercury

            9/11 being an inside job is not a matter of opinion. it is as obvious as 2+2=4. to disrespect something that is that obvious is detrimental to society. when we ask ourselves why gas prices have TRIPLED since 9/11, why the cost of food has gone up, why society has gotten poorer….it goes back to 9/11. as a result, i am poorer, in a very real way, because society ignores 9/11 being an inside job. as society’s ignorance results in my impoverishment, i enjoy making a big deal out of it. not to mention the obvious moral dilemma.i am always willing to have a factual discussion surrounding 9/11. the fact that few if any ever engage me on that tells me that deep down everyone knows it is true, but they refuse to admit it because the psychological consequences of doing so are too painful. too bad. the future is at stake and it is immensely disrespectful to future generations to behave in such a cowardly manner. it is actually disrespectful to current generations, which is the truly ridiculous part, but for those who can’t accept that, perhaps they should think of their obligations to the future.

          9. ShanaC

            I’m not going to find facts there. It’s not worth engaging me in theargument.

          10. kidmercury

            of course not, because you don’t have the facts.

          11. pfkrieg

            You keep indicating that you have “the facts” – it would be helpful if you had a simple, non-screed explanation of what you believe to be “the facts.” By linking to that, it would help advance discourse – as you insist is your purpose – rather than appear to be a pedant.

          12. kidmercury

            lol are you joking…..i have provided links and evidence in this discussion, and countless times in the past as any fredland citizen can tell you. i don’t provide as many links as before because if i drop multiple links disqus will call it spam and delete the post. here are some facts for you to consider:1. FBI chief of ivnestigative publicity, rex tomb, when asked why bin laden wasn’t on the FBI’s most wanted list for 9/11 (he’s on it for other reasons) said it’s because there is no hard evidence connecting bin laden to 9/11. i noted this elsewhere in this thread, but i am repeating it again here for you, as it is important. it is a fact. research and see for yourself.2. william rodriguez, janitor at WTC, said he heard explosions go off.3. kevin mcpadden, first responder, said he was told of a countdown to the collapse of WTC 7.4. BBC adn CNN reported the collapse of WTC 7 BEFORE the building collapsed. think about understand who did it and why they did it requires a lot of history education that is beyond the scope of this comment. i hope you will look at hte first four facts i presented here, try to debunk them if you’d like, as questions, etc. the first step is establishing that the official story about cavedwellers is a lie. once we accept htat, we can more realistically look for the’s a summary of a common position held in hte 9/11 truth movement, one i regard as credible:1. first, there is an organization of criminals, they refer to themselves as the new world order, that is trying to establish a one world socialist government. research the new world order, i recommend jim marrs’ books on the subject.2. 9/11 fits into the NWO agenda. specifically, to create a global government, all nation-statse must be weakened so that none can resist a world government. the US constitutional republic must be destroyed. a police state to quell resistance must be established. control of resources necessary to survival, specifically money and energy, are needed. i recommend the book “the great chessboard” by zbigniew brezezinski, advisor to president soetoro, to learn more about the global conquest game that is being run. once you understand the NWO agenda, you can see how 9/11 fits into that. think of what has happened in the world and here domestically after 9/11.feel free to ask questions, debunk, etc.

          13. Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins

            Not to wade in where I don’t know the players, but kid, like so many others who hold the same position you seem to, you seem confused on what constitutes a fact.A fact is a verifiable (or refutable) piece of data.1) Is a contradictory statement to many more authoritative voices. It may be a ‘fact’ that he said it, but that doesn’t dictate what he said was factual.2) One employee you quote (with no references) does not a fact make. Even if you were to provide video-tape of him saying what you allege he says, and he were who he alleges to be, that is an anecdote or re-telling of a personal experience. Again, not a fact.3) Again, not a fact. It’s you, telling us what someone else said he was told by someone else. Ever heard of the game “telephone”?4) Your forth “fact” is the closest thing you have here to actually being a real fact, in that it’s verifiable or refutable. Unfortunately, you provide no citation on your assertion, making it difficult to verify or refute.To everyone else: Sorry for feeding the troll.

          14. kidmercury

            You can always play semantics games, but if you want hard science, like from people with PhDs in physics, go to, peer-reviewed science papers on 911. Also go to ae911truth DOT com. Also check out jim marrs’ books on 911, Marrs is an ace researcher. Or david ray griffin’s book, especially the on one debunking 911 truth debunking.I am on a mobile and cannot see what you are responding to, but you say I have not provided a citation for #4. there is this thing called the internet where you can research for yourself and look up what I am saying. I suggest you use it. Unless you are afraid of the truth, in which case you should maintain your current convictions.And also, let us not forget: you have tried to say that 911 truth is false. But can YOU provide evidence to support what you believe? What do you believe? Who is responsible for 911? I hope you will share your views with us. I’m sure, as a journalist, you are educated in the topic and can provide an abundance of evidence to support the views you hold so passionately. You do have the evidence, don’t you?

          15. sachmo

            Kid, I did search some of the points you brought up. Here are the first things that strike me:#1) The reason why the FBI may or may not have Bin Laden on their most wanted list is irrelevant. It does not relate to forensic evidence that would prove 9/11 was an “inside job”.#2) How would Rodriguez know the difference between a planned explosion and a plane crashing into the building? He’s a janitor as you say, and by his own testimony, he never actually saw any explosives. Nor did anyone else ever come forward to corroborate his story.#3) Its funny that McPadden was able to “hear the countdown” for a planned demolition, and yet tens of thousands of people who worked in or near the buildings and escaped did not. Also, his story keeps changing.#4) The news agencies got a LOT of things wrong that day. It wouldn’t surprise me if they misreported it… But I was watching CNN when the second tower went down, I vividly recall that exact moment — and I don’t recall them ever stating that the tower went down before I saw it happen in front of my eyes.As for the larger picture, I’m willing to believe that our government is not honest about a lot of things, but I’m not willing to believe that they are so incredibly competent or organized as to be able to pull of the mass coordination of literally tens of thousands of people who worked in the World Trade Center, were first responders, police officers, etc etc. We’d be seeing a lot more people coming forward, corroborating each others stories if this was some kind of cover up…

          16. kidmercury

            hey sachmo,thanks for your reply. responses to the issues you presented:1. when asked why the bin laden is not wanted for 9/11, FBI chief of investigative publicity rex tomb stated it is because there is no hard evidence connecting bin laden to 9/11. so you have the FBI admitting there is no hard evidence connecting bin laden to 9/11. whether or not he is on the list is not relevant, but the fact that the FBI admits there is no hard evidence is noteworthy.2. he heard multiple explosions. numerous people hard multiple explosions, including kevin mcpadden. architects and engineers, after looking at visual evidence and post-collapse debris, also support the notion that the buildings were taken down by explosions. visit ae911truth [dot] com for all the architectural and engineering evidence, which conforms to eyewitness testimony offered by william rodgriguez and kevin mcpadden.3. you are confusing buildings 1, 2, and 7. thousands of people were around for collapse of 1 and 2. NOT for collapse of #7, which is what mcpadden is referring to. also, check what the firefighters of new york have to say about 9/11. there are also many new york city firefighters who say they heard explosions, multiple explosions, and they make a distinction between planes crashing into the 80th floor and explosions going off on the first floor. here is a link with testimony from new york fighter john schroeder:… . just one of many examples of new york firefighters supporting the controlled demolition thesis.4. right, you are talking about tower 2. i am talking about building #7, which collapsed later in the day, hours after #1 and #2 collapsed. #1 and #2 were hit by planes; let’s assume that’s what caused them to collapse (i disagree, but for the sake of discussion let’s say that is true). #7 was NOT hit by a plane. it collapsed at freefall speed later in the day. BBC and CNN reported the collapse of #7 BEFORE it collapsed — you can literally see #7 in the background while the lady is talking about how it has collapsed. firefighters and first responders say they heard explosions. architects and engineers say the evidence points to a controlled demolition. what do you think caused #7 to collapse?as for your last point. a lot of people HAVE come forward. visit this site: http://www.patriotsquestion911 [dot] com. as any regular reader of the comments here on fred’s blog can tell you, i insert a link to that site all the time. it shows all the government officials who have come out in support of 9/11. it shows that it’s okay to think this and that a lot of credible people do. it also illustrates the media crisis we have, and how the interent can solve this.and of course, i am not interested in pursuing one side, but rather pursuing the truth. if you have evidnece to support the notion that 19 muslim cavedwellers pulled off this attack, please feel free to share. i’m sure the FBI would like such evidence as well.

          17. sachmo

            Kid,I haven’t studied specific architectural designs or anything like that, but just speaking off the cuff, I can tell you that the shockwaves from the initial collision could easily create the impression that there were multiple explosions in the building.When I was studying engineering at school (I was a mechanical) the Civil Engineering students at my school had ongoing research to find a material that would absorb such shockwaves. The idea was that if a bomb were ever placed in the Holland or Lincoln tunnels, such shockwave absorbing material would lessen the death and carnage for people far away from the initial proximity of the blast. Absent such material on the walls, even if the initial blast was in the center of the tunnel, people at both entrances would be ripped apart…These were planes completely loaded with jet fuel about to take transatlantic flights. The total energy content in them has to go somewhere. It doesn’t just disappear.The temperatures that would be generated from the initial blast would be thousands, upon thousands of degrees.The heat would have nowhere to go but to the surrounding air, and some of the structural elements on that particular floor. The air inside the building would expand to be many, many times larger what it previously was. The pressure would have the force to literally rip through elevator shafts, HVAC shafts, stairwells, you name it, throughout the entire building. The ricochets around corners and through changes in the diameter of such shafts would sound like explosions (would basically be localized explosions) and could produce fires far from the initial blast.My other problem with the controlled demolition theory is that it would take a lot of planning, the placement of a lot of explosives for that kind of thing. The placement of these explosives would have to be in offices, stairwells, inconvenient places for people actually working in the building.There are a lot of people that escaped, or just didn’t show up for work that particular day that never saw any demolition crews come to inspect the building the night before or anything like that. It would be very difficult to hide. And also very difficult to pull off in one night…There are a lot of cameras in that area. Tens of thousands of people live in the neighborhood (even though its sparse by Manhattan standards). Someone would have the hundreds of people needed to pull of the demolition in one night, and would have come forward with pics on a digital camera or something like that.I skimmed through some of the websites that you linked to. There are a lot of 9/11 doubters as I call them, but there are very few primary witnesses to the controlled demolition theory…Was the 9/11 report a piece of garbage? Sure. But it still doesn’t mean that there was a controlled demolition of the buildings.About building 7 by the way, my bad. But if you look at an overhead view of it, it is definitely within range of the first two buildings. CNN probably reported it had collapsed, because firemen and policemen told them that it was GOING to collapse before it actually did.How could they know this? Because the building had fires raging in it and physically looked crooked from outside.Why Building 7 and not some of the other buildings closer to the first two? Shoddy construction.Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think our government is the completely honest institution it contends to be. I think there are occasionally cover-ups. I just think that this would be too difficult to pull off / cover up even for our government.And I also don’t think they’d have sufficient reason to bomb the buildings themselves.

          18. kidmercury

            1. you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why it can’t be a controlled demolition — i hope you will spend an equal amount of time looking for evidence muslim cavedwellers did it. especially since the FBI admits they don’t have it.2. steven jones, PhD in physics, did tests on various debris from WTC buildings. he found thermate on them. thermate is a chemical used in controlled demolitions.3. larry silverstein, owner of building 7, who took out a lucrative insurance policy on WTC 7 months before 9/11, is on record saying he told the officials to pull the building.4. bomb sniffing dogs were ordered to be removed 5 days before 9/11. that’s presumably to put the explosives in there.5. you don’t think the govt had the motives to do it…..look at teh wars that have happened and are currently happening, they needed a reason to do that, so they can make money off war, and off selling treasury bonds to finance war.also, there has never been a criminal investigation into 9/11. in light of all that we have discussed here, and the numerous credible people coming out in support of 9/11, and the fact that wars have been and continue to be launched in its name, wouldn’t it be appropriate to do a criminal investigation? unless, of course, you have something to hide……

          19. sachmo

            Kid, I’ll give it some more thought.But what do you think happened to the planes then? People had families on the planes, received text messages from loved ones.Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy almost got on one of them — canceled because he was late to the airport.

          20. Dave Pinsen

            When you research the Madrid and Bali attacks, and find evidence that they weren’t committed by Muslim terrorists, feel free to share it.

          21. kidmercury

            no. let’s start with 9/11 — that is what this discussion is about. also, the burden of proof is not on me; the burden of proof is on both of us. i have provided coutnless amount of proof over the years; you have responded calluously many times, so i assume you are familiar. feel free to present your case. i will respond in kind.

          22. Dave Pinsen

            You inserted yourself into my response to Mr. Ali, and his comment was about a topic broader than 9/11, as was my response. So forgive me if I don’t let you hijack this discussion back to your hobbyhorse about 9/11 being an inside job. You’ve beaten that topic to death on this blog in the past, and I don’t think you’ve convinced anyone here, so indulging you on it here again would be pointless.On the other hand, if you supported your claim that the other attacks I referred to were also conspiracies and not committed by Muslim terrorists, that would at least be something new.

          23. kidmercury

            i’m going to insert 9/11 being an inside job into anything that is remotely related to the topic. i’m going to make it as hard as i can for anyone to forget that. while i do strive to make it related to the discussion, and i believe i always do, i will not curtail myself voluntarily — your only hope is that fred will institute a moderation policy that involves my comments being deleted.i understand you lack the maturity and intellectual honesty to address 9/11 being an inside job. i comment in part to highlight this, and to highlight your unwillingness to engage in a mature discussion regarding the matter. in doing so i hope to publicly discredit your remarks and prove that they are rooted in willful ignorance.if you ever wish to redeem yourself and prove that your viewpoints are legitimate you are always welcome to discuss who is accountable for 9/11 with me.

      2. Imran Ali

        A few dozen moronic terrorists in London, Madrid and Bali aren’t indicative of the behaviour and values of the millions of Muslims that live in those countries.The London bombers were four individuals out of around 2.5m British Muslims; sure there are perhaps a hardcore of several hundred Jihadists in the UK and thousands more with sympathetic views, but that’s not even statistically significant.My point is “the myth” elevates a handful of deluded kamikazes into something representative of Islam. It’s important to note that Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are also fighting against Jihadism and taking much heavier losses in lives and society.

    2. Morgan Warstler

      “Both countries are eminently compatible with Islam.”LOL – Imran, the question is NOT are they compatible with Islam, the question (still undecided, and left entirely to even your own behavior) is whether Islam is compatible with with the US and UK.I hope Islam is compatible, but the evidence isn’t overwhelming.

      1. Imran Ali

        Sure, whichever way around it’s phrased, what I intended to say was that for a Muslim, both Britain and America are great places to live and those cultures also benefit from having native and immigrant Muslim communities.I’m a third generation immigrant and my family has been in the UK since the 50s; the presence of Pakistani Muslims here (among other Commonwealth migration) has helped transform Britain from a mono-cultural to a multi-cultural society. For Muslims, its allowed us to modify our faith to exist in modernity.I appreciate the public image of Islam isn’t positive, but the actions of a few thousands or tens of thousands do not represent the behaviour of 1.6bn others. Britain’s 2.5m Muslims aren’t secretly plotting Sharia law, nurturing a traitorous fifth column or indoctrinating kids into Jihadism; the overwhelmign majority of are living the same lives as everyone else here, motivated by the same issues of love, family, career and opportunity.Many of the Islamic world’s problems are actually rooted in poverty, lack of opportunity and a post-colonialism malaise. Religion has in recent decades become the animating factor for frustrations in those areas and perverted into extremism. However, its flattering those extremists too much to suggest they’re the playmakers of our faith.There are millions more of us living our lives in peace and contributing to the societies we live in.

        1. Morgan Warstler

          Imran, growing up my favorite jokes to tell and hear were about Jesus, he’s up on a cross, he can see Paul’s house. He’s pissed at his mom for being able to throw stones at the prostitute.You get the drift. We can sit and listen and laugh as comedians jokes about Pedophiles priests needing to kill themselves since they are going to hell anyway. Turns out, some things can’t be absolved.Now perhaps, I don’t run in the same circles as the libertine Muslims prepared to suffer through these indignities with a jolly good laugh – and perhaps, comedy isn’t universally a way of dealing with painful truths, and personal gracelessness, etc.But I’d love to not so much hear that US / UK is a great place for Muslims, or hear what it can offer my country, but to see the expressions routinely such above pointed at Mohamed, with crowds of laughing Muslims – if you can tell me where to go see those comedy clubs, you’ll do more to change millions of opinions than any half-message, and soft assurance herein.Because as I said elsewhere in thread, religions here bow down to such lifestyles. And being “peaceful” isn’t really enough, if you can’t laugh at yourselves, you aren’t going to handle being laughed at, and here you will be laughed at often – sometimes deservedly so… another easy one is saying OUTLOUD that of course the state of Israel ought to and should exist for eternity, and that anyone who says otherwise is more deserving to be ended themselves – can you say such?I’m listening, so is the Internet.

          1. markslater

            you captured exactly what i struggle to capture in writing really well! the problem is not whether both countries (of which i am a citizen) are compatible with whatever you wish to believe in – its whether you are ready for both countries?

          2. Fred Destin

            If we get you to meet one Muslim who does not fit the profile and is entirely tolerant of your beliefs, does the whole argumentation of “what are Muslims doing here?” fall away ?

          3. markslater

            argumentation?i am not following what you mean.

          4. Imran Ali

            Many Muslims are comfortable poking fun at themselves and their beliefs – we’re human just like everyone else and there’s no obligation for us to prove that we are; indeed one of the most successful comedies in theatres this Spring in the UK has been “Three Lions”, a story of a group of inept suicide bombers…that sorta satire has helped take the edge off a lotta tensions.However there are certain areas of faith that *are* uncomfortable for Muslims – I wouldn’t poke fun at *any* prophet – Jesus, Moses or Mohammed…that’s sorta sacrosanct ground for a Muslim, we’re all uncomfortable at anything that challenges the Abrahamic prophets; that’s not to say it demands a violent response, which is of course idiotic. But then if someone goes our of their way to call your mom a whore, eventually, you’re gonna get mad!You might see a few thousand Muslims rioting at the publication of the Danish cartoons, but there are millions more who *don’t*. Muslims are laughed at and ridiculed all the time…and we just get on with our lives, sometimes joining in with the satire. Check out Three Lions, Allah Made Me Funny and Omit Djalili. We’re not all po-faced imams sat around plotting the downfall of the west!I have no problem with the existence of Israel – I do have a problem with the subjugation of one people by another. States – Israeli or Palestinian – have no intrinsic rights, but peoples do. Where there were 27 countries, there’s now a European Union; where there was a Soviet Union, there are now 16 nations, maybe Israel and the Territories will be one multi-ethnic state, two independent states or part of a community of states, I don’t really care…but one should not subjugate the other. I truly believe both communities can accomodate each other; witness Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

          5. Morgan Warstler

            “However there are certain areas of faith that *are* uncomfortable for Muslims – I wouldn’t poke fun at *any* prophet – Jesus, Moses or Mohammed…that’s sorta sacrosanct ground for a Muslim, we’re all uncomfortable at anything that challenges the Abrahamic prophets; that’s not to say it demands a violent response, which is of course idiotic. But then if someone goes our of their way to call your mom a whore, eventually, you’re gonna get mad!”Ah yes, who cares if you get mad? Who cares what you think is sacrosanct? Why would I give two squirts of piss about your pederast religion and your child raping prophet? What hokum. You take my point? Not yet? Shall I offend thee more?…Again, THE POINT is you are impotent in warning me you’ll get mad (it makes you seem obtuse and incapable of controlling yourself – like saying seeing scantily clad women forces you to sin). I KNOW it will make Muslims mad, and I get to say it without concern except that someone may despise me – again who cares? What do I care what Muslims think? To me they are only potential customers or neighbors, but they can do me no physical harm. Our law makes them impotent, past having their own opinion of me. If I’m prepared to be considered an asshole – here in the US, Muslims just have to deal with it.Taking the point further, let’s say I want to do it for the worst intentions in your mind, not just to disrespect your god and prophet… to drive you to violence. Still your fault. All your fault. Similarly, I don’t concern myself with the “good intentions” of the Muslims at Ground Zero – that’s logically inconsistent – their rights to a mosque there are valid regardless of their intention – even if they view it as some kind of trophy. If someone acts out against the mosque, I will want to throw the book at them.This is why I say, the best way for someone offended to express to Muslims how offensive it is, is to offend Muslims. Period. Until everyone tires and feels better or the Muslims move – open gay bars, slaughter squealing pigs – let everyone offend and offend alike. It is the only immediate way forward.People must choose to respect one another on one another’s terms, I continue to doubt thats what Muslims are doing here. Skip the assurances, change your activity, those are my terms.Yes I was aware of the “un-offensive movie”:…Note the effort to make sure NO ONE is offended? Who cares if Muslims or Christians are offended, the question is does it sting to the heart like good comedy?

          6. Imran Ali

            LOL, OK I see what you’re getting at, but I think you’ll find that many Muslims **do** afford respect to “one another on one another’s terms” as you put it.You can choose to seek out the extremist outliers or try to find commonality and things to share.Indeed, most of my friends are not Muslim, or even religious, and though our beliefs differ, our values do not. We find commonality in other parts of our lives – our families, children, daily struggles & careers. When you look to find those, then all other problems don’t seem so impenetrable.I don’t demand anyone respects me on my terms – and most Muslims I know do not either. But it’s unfair to be held responsible for a fringe of extremism that we have little control over. Observe our activity, as much as theirs and you’ll find we have much more in common 🙂

          7. Morgan Warstler

            Imran, you say “many Muslims **do** afford respect” – I note you don’t even say “Most…”I note you say we all “find commonality” when I speak of Muslims “sacrificing” certain beliefs I fear MOST of them now believe. I do not see majorities of Hezbollah or Hamas or Iran or hell any Middle East country granting the right of Israel to exist as a free standing NATION – note even you squirreled a bit and tried to describe it as some other thing. Forget that noise, Israel is a country, and will be a country forever (or until they become a US state) whichever comes first. :)I have a real question: what percentage of Muslims worldwide do you feel comfortable guaranteeing would agree with your policy that I can be in their media presence, on their TV, in their newspapers, and run my most offensive mouth, and they must simply turn the other cheek?Do you think even 25% would accept it? 40%? 51%? 99.9999%?How many incidences of violence do there have to be a year worldwide, before we judge harshly a religion? When can we blame the other peace loving members for not going to kill whatever grows in there themselves?

          8. Imran Ali

            Let me be clear – Israel has every right to exist as a nation and I hope they continue to prosper.Yes, most Muslims do afford the respect we spoke of earlier. Otherwise the coexistence that millions enjoy would not be possible.Hezbollah and Hamas are not representative of Islam, any more than any other political party in any other country.I can’t tell you about percentages, only that “running a most offensive mouth” may be possible, but good manners always gets you further.Criminality and violence exists everywhere, Islam has no monopoly on it. You’re no more responsible for policing the actions of 2.5m american in prison than I am for curbing the actions of a few tens of thousands of Jihadist criminals.If you can’t make such distinctions, then you won’t accept that tolerant, moderate and liberal Muslims do exist and do good works; if the thousands of Pakistani (despite the double-dealing), Iraqi and Afghan troops that have died in the fight against Islamic Jihadism isn’t enough, then I’ll be sure to send you a personalised condemnation of every act of terror that occurs from here on in 😉

          9. Morgan Warstler

            “There were other revealing responses here. Contrary to the stereotype that most Muslims and Arabs are devoted to the destruction of Israel regardless of a peace agreement, 86% say they are prepared for peace if Israel returns all 1967 territories, while only 12% say that Arabs should continue to fight Israel even if that happens. When asked if Iran is developing nuclear technology in order to build a weapon or for peaceful purposes, a clear majority (57-35%) believe it’s to build a weapon, but overwhelmingly believe Iran “has the right” to develop nuclear technology and even believe (57-20%) that it would be a net positive for the region if they obtain nuclear weapons.”…Iran with nukes, and 1967 borders I doubt, but I’m glad to see some basic geopolitic inroads.Just looking today, there’s a brutal explanation of what’s going on over here:…As I say, the ONLY likely solution is the truly cathartic response for all parties, of course allow them to build, and allow the opposition to ridicule and demean Ground Zero Muslims – raise it up to a fine art – make them feel un-welcomed. See who bends. Eventually the heat will die off, and everyone will be better for it.Anything else is either unfair or unreasonable.My own concurrent personal solution is consumerism: alcohol, cheap technology and free porn through-out the Middle East. I don’t care with there are Christian churches in Mecca, I just want to make sure bikinis run rampant.

          10. ShanaC

            Morgan- have you ever in depth studied religious texts? Even Christian ones?You do realize there are Jewish and Christian texts that label Rebecca as Marrying Isaac at age 3, right? For the sake of the same kind of Modesty as Aisha?Note that there are Pedastry problems right now in the Catholic church which they are ignoring.You’re starting to sound out of context and driven by anger.

          11. Morgan Warstler

            ShanaC, I’m more than willing to chew on catholics for their priests, we do god’s work there. I’ve taken immense pleasure in watching them squirm as this “Pope” has been exposed for what and who he is… You are missing my point, the way to FIX IT is to heap scorn and abuse on ANY member of the church who does not take action to fix the thing the claim to love, we are not obligated to “understand” them, we are not obligated to.

          12. sachmo

            I happen to care if you unnecessarily try to get a rise out of Muslim people (and no, I’m not muslim).The way forward is not for everyone to ridicule each other until we’re numb, its the exact opposite.

          13. Morgan Warstler

            Sachmo, I’m happy to teach you the way forward, just ask. Humble yourself. Sit at my feet. I will show you the light.The issue is NOT trying to get a rise out of people. The issue is recognizing when you DO get one. A mildly retarded person can be forgiven since after all, they had had good intentions.But the rest of the time, intentions mean NOTHING. You may have heard… they are in fact the road to hell. It means you are internally consistent and without regard for others, and nothing more – and internal consistency is something even the Tamil Tigers pull off. “Do you think you are correct?” Is not introspective enough. Do not ask me to believe that Muslims are mildly retarded. It is rude.So when someone else is getting a rise out of you. Tell them. If they continue, they have proof of the effect , and they do it not “without regard” they are now doing it “intentionally.”NOW, you are free to ridicule them – remind them of their group failings, drive them into the dirt emotionally. See who bends.Yes, someone will bend, the rational mind and history say so – do you know how many noble people from noble cultures have run from their own world to the US (and bent) – because we are the most noble of all? Moving here means your last place wasn’t as good. After all, you left. This is American exceptionalism. It is real. The best of each place run here. Keep some realism about yourself. Gandhi was impressive, but not as impressive as free market capitalist republics, not as impressive as Ayn Rand. Not as impressive as Ronald Reagan.

          14. sachmo

            I don’t quite understand the point of driving other people into the dirt emotionally until they bend.Nor do I think Imran tried to get a rise out of you in the first place. And unless you happen to know otherwise, let’s presume for a moment that he was born here as millions of Muslims are. Then he would happen to be one of the people that defines what it means to be an American.There is no THEM.

          15. Morgan Warstler

            “Driving them into the dirt” – you make assumptions on the wrong side of normal – why is that? Imran is only seeing the mistakes he was making. He’s only seeing the issues he was callously unaware about. His language, like yours, announces thoughts he may not yet have had in his head. I’m making sure he has them. I’m being purposely callous – I’m teaching a callous person a lesson.Try and better digest what I take the time to write. I say, the issue is not whether one tries to get a rise out of people, the issue is whether others get a rise out of of you. I then explain it with a callous example, I explain how that works in our society. You respond by asking WHY I’m trying to get a rise out of Imran. A dumb question, in the face of my examples herein. The only logical thought is why Muslims are trying to get a rise out a strong majority of Americans. Imran showed he needed to be asked such a question. Perhaps you do to?

          16. sachmo

            I don’t think Muslims are trying to get a rise out of Americans by building a mosque.They have the right to openly practice their religion free from harassment, just like everyone else. And, I’m sorry but your statements, although well crafted, don’t really make sense upon close inspection.

          17. Morgan Warstler

            Sachmo, and anyone reading this… it is OBVIOUS you are playing dense.Each time I say, “the intentions of Muslims means nothing.” You reassert that they don’t have bad intentions. Who cares what their intentions are? I’ve said I support their right to build the mosque EVEN if they have terrible intentions (like a 6 story center for the indexing of Sharia law), read up there Sachmo:…As I say, it doesn’t matter what their intentions are. What matters is HOW THEIR PLANS are received. It isn’t what the speaker says, what matters is what the audience hears. And once the speaker KNOWS how the audience interprets it – he’s free continue on offending, or move his mosque somewhere else.MY POINT then is, once he decides to not move his mosque, it is now open season for offending the one who is offending you, after all they knew their actions would offend, and they did it anyway.I can’t help it that you are unable to make a winning point here, there really isn’t a good response accept to agree and while the audience throws tomatoes at the speaker, remind yourself and him that he’s the one who CHOSE to offend.Maybe you’ll understand this: say a KKK member flew a plane into the Dubai World Trade Center, and then a Christian church showed up with the BEST INTENTIONS and said they wanted to build giant cathedral there at the site, and everyone screamed NO. Yes, of course Dubai would never let this happen, but that’s not the point – let’s say they somehow became a better people which allowed this place to legally be built under property laws.Dude, the Christian who’s building the church there IS STILL AN ASSHOLE. He’s such an asshole, that if all the normally open-minded and good Muslims want to sit outside that church and re-enact “Piss Christ LIVE” daily – I’d ROOT for them to do so. Sometimes, the only thing assholes understand, is a bigger asshole.Here sachmo, watch this:…and then see how it is coming along:…OBVIOUSLY, the church is wrong and the strippers are righteous.Hopefully, this gets through your head and you do not respond with some nonsense about the Muslim’s good intentions.

          18. sachmo

            I don’t think of this argument as offensive and defensive, because frankly you haven’t addressed any of my points. If you actually read my previous post, I haven’t mentioned anything about the “intentions” of Muslims (although I think most are normal, peace-loving people).The point that I made (and please pay attention this time) is that Muslims should have the right to openly practice their religion free from any kind of harassment.I don’t know if I would characterize that statement as offensive or defensive, or if that even matters… Do you agree with this statement? If so, then don’t harass people like Imran.About the first link – the simplest, and most reliable place to understand what the mosque is about is from the people building it. The people building it basically want a YMCA like center, with similar services. Until you find some very solid evidence (as in the local Imam, or Muslim community stating so) about the mosque imposing Sharia law on Manhattan, I’m not going to be convinced.As to your next point. You are completely wrong — it doesn’t matter how their plans are received. Or rather, what matters more is the rights of the local Muslim community to openly practice their religion free from harassment, REGARDLESS about how other people feel about it. That’s what makes this country a great place to live.You’re main point – that its ok to offend anyone who supports the mosque (because the mosque offends you) is infantile and somewhat dangerous. Who can say what might offend other people…Perhaps at some point Christian folk will get offended when Jewish people wear Yamakas on Good Friday – the day Jesus was killed by some Jews. Should Jewish people face harassment for wearing Yamakas on Good Friday?It becomes dangerous, because when we turn our attitudes into hate, violence usually follows. In this particular case, your attitude could easily encourage other people to act violently towards moderate, peace-loving Muslim people who happen to support the mosque.To people like me, the main concern is the potential for escalation.I would also argue that the mosque is not inherently offensive. Its not a temple to radical Islam, the people there have no ties to 9/11 and in fact suffered because of 9/11 along with everyone else. Your sense of hurt is misdirected. If you choose to be offended, be offended then by the real killers, not people who only at the most superficial levels may have some similarities.Your stripper church analogy would only be relevant IF the mosque was being built by the same faction of Islam that perpetrated the attacks. But these are completely different people, which is why your sense of being offended is completely irrational and misdirected.

          19. Morgan Warstler

            http://www.nationalreview.c…Imran, is this some kind of weird strategy argument on the part of Muslims? It’s the 2nd time in a week I’ve heard it suggested.

          20. sachmo

            Morgan, why should Imran have any special onus to “admit” that Israel has an eternal right to exist?Why not go pester every German person you know about Israel’s right to exist…? I think the only person who needs to lighten up here is you.

          21. Morgan Warstler

            There’s only onus, there is no special onus – and as a Muslim Imran has onus in SPADES – I count myself as a gigantic self-loathing German (way back there in my lineage), enough so that I’m doubly proud for my grandfather going over there and ensuring Memorial Day an American holiday. We’re Americans, not German-Americans. Even so, Germans, keep your eye on them. Make them KEEP SAYING their grandparents were evil. They don’t have to carry Europe with their currency, but do not pretend 65 years buys straight-up absolution.Individual Muslims on the other hand appear to be far more statistically likely in the modern age to commit acts of war against foreign nations (who BTW, have the means to fight back) for religious (maybe geopolitical) reasons. You disagree? I’d prefer if you skip that, stipulate it is true, and then work with me from there – otherwise you better bring LOTS of facts.Ok, so we can agree that TODAY, Islam causes far more violent acts than any other religion. No one cares their reason – that was my whole point above.Now the question is: why aren’t you FOCUSED LIKE A LASER on telling Muslims to root out their baddies, kill them, ruining, them, destroy and defund them? How can you take time to ask me to school you? You have an onus. We all do. Get busy.

          22. sachmo

            I agree that we should encourage the Islamic world to root out their extremists. I don’t have a problem with that.But we’re not going to get anywhere by chasing away the decent, peace-loving Islamic people are we?

          23. Morgan Warstler

            “Chasing away” – no one is chasing them away. In fact, show me the Muslims who are saying, “move the mosque” and I’m welcoming them.If they aren’t saying “move the mosque” I’m wondering WTF is wrong with them, and while I’ll support their right to the thing, while they do it, I’ll support others rights to make these obviously insincere Muslims know how they are being received.Chasing them away connotes they do not get to build a mosque. Anything else is freedom of expression.

          24. sachmo

            You’re not really supporting their legal rights to build the mosque, if you harass them about openly practicing their religion now are you?And there’s nothing wrong with the mosque in the first place. You’ve made the distinction yourself between the psychopaths bent upon destroying the US, and the normal Muslim people. There’s no insincerity or disrespect in practicing Islam near ground zero.This is not a mosque of radical Islam.If a renegade branch of Christians had plotted the attacks, we’d associate the attacks with that particular branch – say the KKK. We wouldn’t discourage ALL churches and sects of Christians from worshiping near Ground Zero.

          25. Morgan Warstler

            Go see my correct example about the KKK in Dubai, your example is flawed.The bigger issue is that you are WRONG – I support their legal rights, while I support others rights to make their lives miserable…. anything else actually harms freedom.Being made fun off, offended, visually reminded of things that make you uncomfratble – those are all FAIR GAME.Meanwhile it looks the Muslims at Ground Zero are actually trying to open a center to promote Sharia Law – so Sacho baby, you may have some splaining to do!

          26. sachmo

            I saw the link about radical islam, but I’m not really convinced by it. Until I see a more primary source, I think some people in the conservative movement are trying to unfairly paint the mosque as something other than it is.Comedy is one thing, but what you are talking about sounds more like harassment. And I don’t really think harassment is fair game. The danger is that it can escalate to violence.

          27. Morgan Warstler

            Again, I advocate gay bars and pig killing butcher shops. If other people want to find their own ways to protest, as long as it isn’t actually violent, I’m fine with it.The guy who throws a punch is guilty, no one else.Of course you are not convinced, you don’t WANT it to be. Islam today is responsible for most of the world’s religious violence – that’s a fact, you’ll sound more believable when you stipulate that it true.

          28. sachmo

            RADICAL islam is responsible for most of the world’s religious violence. That I have no problem stating to be true.But the people building the mosque don’t even believe in radical islam and were hurt by 9/11 just like everyone else.

          29. Morgan Warstler

            http://www.pursuingholiness…4K Radical Muslims just in UK – dude, you better shut up and go start finding those bastards.

          30. sachmo

            Excuse me, show me actual, verifiable terrorist attacks.You can believe something radically conservative, and not be violent (present company included).

  18. dfano28

    Great post fred! This is an example of why so many people love this blog and the AVC comminity.(PS. Comments work great on the new blaclberry 9800)

  19. ttime

    In my opinion you are correct in agreeing with the President and the Mayor on this issue. I think 2/3 of the country is against it because general public is not fully aware of what goes on in the Mosques other than the prayers in foreign language. They come across the news tidbits regarding FBI agents catching some people affiliated with Mosques for terrorist activities in this country.Further language plays an important role in spreading fear in minds of the population as they do not understand what is being taught in their schools (classes held within the premises) and their sermons.Unknown mysterious activity is the root of most fears. I think this may be main reason people are against building a Mosque in the shadow of ground zero.

  20. Josh Rogers

    I recommend Karen Armstrong’s book entitled “Islam”. After reading it I realize that Islam is a beautiful religion that seeks peace and oneness with all other cultures and religions. The main source of people’s objection to the mosque, as usual, is ignorance of what is “other”. If we took the time to educate ourselves about the essence of Islam then we would realize that Mayor Bloomberg and the President’s stance is correct on many levels…both legally and spiritually.

  21. awaldstein

    I’m with you on this Fred and thanks for raising the issue…an important one.To say no to the mosque is to falsely blame the Muslims for 911. Incorrect and wrong.911 still causes me pain and the weeks following the attack, walking around the makeshift alters to lost people and lost pets and open discussions in the parks made me come to the same conclusion as you have articulated. Funny…in the midst of chaos and confusion and hatred, this sense of clarity surfaced and has held.Thanks for bringing this up.

  22. DonRyan

    I like the post and like the sentiment behind it. I certainly do question the prudence of placing a mosque there but for me (as a resident of flyover country), I think the decision should be left to New Yorkers. Who cares what we think about it. It is still fantastically painful to fly into New York (as I will tomorrow) and not see the towers there on your approach to LGA. Will this community center heal that? I really doubt it. Should they be allowed to build it? As long as they are within the law I think there’s no reason to prevent it. Bottom line- it’s a question for New Yorkers to decided.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I don’t think this is merely a “New York” issue. The implications are far greater than one city or even one state. One way or the other, the implications have global significance and probably even historical.

  23. R.W.

    Everyone is missing the point.The reason you put a mosque there is so that muslim terrorists stop trying to blow up and fly planes into lower Manhattan. It’s self defense.A chorus of voices will argue with this and say that it is admission that the terrorists “won.”But, in a very practical, actual death and destruction sense they DID win – they successfully blew up the twin towers.If there’s a big mosque down there, muslim terrorists are going to have to change their strategy. They can’t just keep sending vans loaded with explosives or aim airplanes at the area.Let’s not get our pride mixed up with our need to protect ourselves.

    1. LIAD

      if meant as a serious comment – its ridiculous.if meant as a joke – its simply not funny.

    2. Emanla Eraton

      That won’t work. They’ll just call the NY-mosque-Muslims a bunch of adulterers for living in and supporting America the whore. They’ll justify their attack that way.

  24. ShanaC

    I think it’s fine. people work there, they’ll want to pray nearby.

  25. Dave Pinsen

    “I am so pleased that our leaders think this way. Nate Silver says that two-thirds of this country believe that building a mosque near ground zero is “inappropriate”, so this is not an easy position to take politically.”President Obama has since walked back his position to where it isn’t much different from that of the majority of Americans, who, as Nate Silver also notes (via Glenn Greenvwald) “affirm the “right” to build the mosque, while still thinking the decision to build it so close to Ground Zero is inappropriate. In Obama’s subsequent remarks, he said,I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there..Greenwald quotes Ben Smith on Obama’s new & improved comments on the mosque,Obama’s new remarks, literally speaking, re-open the question of which side he’s on. Most of the mosque’s foes recognize the legal right to build, and have asked the builders to reconsider.

  26. Dan Conway

    I agree with Obama on this but also feel his comment fits in the with Jerry Colonna comment on your tumblr today.—Might have been better to “Stand still” on this one.

  27. Evan

    Having lived abroad for a few years (and not in Europe either), I have no illusions that ‘acts of tolerance’ benefit us in the rest of world. People who hate us are going to hate us, our actions have a marginal impact at best on conspiracy theorists. Having a mosque at Ground Zero might help us with our image abroad, it might also look like weakness; who can say for sure? I don’t think the government should get involved in private transactions, nor do I think it was an act of courage on Obama’s part, given how much they’ve massaged it.

  28. Nick Giglia

    Fred, this post was perfect, and completely in line with my view on the subject. Like many other people here, I lost friends and neighbors on 9/11. I’ll never forget the funerals, or being able to see the smoke from the towers from my house on Long Island. It was a painful time, and we can’t argue the destructive power a radical ideology can wield.However, our ideals do not exist for us to follow them only when we feel like it, or when it’s easy. The principles upon which this country was founded, and toward which we constantly strive, must be our biggest concern. It may make people uncomfortable, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t, but we need to defer to what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.People in my day job were arguing about the mosque one day last week, and they finally asked what I thought. I said that in situations like this I use a simple formula: Think about what Osama Bin Laden would want us to do, and then immediately do the opposite. Terrorists would love nothing more than for people to rise up as one and say there can’t be a Muslim community center near Ground Zero because it lets them push their meme that the USA is at war with all of Islam, rather than the group of radicals that attacked us. I couldn’t think of a more powerful signal to our friends and our enemies that America is alive and well than to allow this center to be built on PRIVATE PROPERTY that is near Ground Zero, assuming that all laws are being followed.It’s a shame this is even such a “controversial” issue, and I’m deeply disappointed in my local congressman, Pete King, for demagoguing it the way he has.Build the mosque. Fabulous post, Fred.

  29. sigmaalgebra

    If the mosque were just religious, then okay.An institution that makes laws, enforces them, and at times kills people it believes violates those laws is a ‘political’ institution. So, in all the countries of the world with nearly all Muslim citizens, Islam is a political institution. E.g., Islam has Sharia law and will stone to death a woman it believes committed adultery. Sharia law and its capital punishment are politics, not religion. They can call their Sharia law ‘religion’ all they want, but here in the US it’s dirty politics down to the worst criminality and is NOT ‘religion’.Their jihads are Islamic wars. Their fatwas look like political decrees.In Afghanistan, the Taliban is an Islamic political movement at war with the US.If we insist on seeing Islam as just another religion, and one deserving freedom of religion here in the US, then we are fools.So, sorry, but I can’t accept ‘Islam’ as just a ‘religion’ and, from what we see in practice in the world, have to regard Islam as much more of a political movement, actually a loosely associated international political movement, than a religious one. From all I can see, the religious part is in practice and in intent meager. The goals are the usual ones, money and power.Heck, just draw a cartoon they don’t like, and they will try to kill you from half way around the world. That’s NOT just a religion.That a religion can be a political movement, control governments, start and fight wars, is a bloody, old story. Fortunately here in the US, partly from the history of that bloody old story, we have tried to keep political and religious institutions separate. However, our success here does NOT mean that religion and politics are separate everywhere.To me, the attack of 9/11 was an act of war against the US by the international political movement called Islam. The people who attacked us were Muslim, and the REASON they attacked us was part of the political and military goals of Islam. They attacked us because our government is not Islamic and because we support other governments that are not Islamic. Their goal is to have Islam take political control of all the world. The goal is world wide dictatorship, and we have seen such before. That their goal is absurd to us does not mean it is not serious and real to them. How real is their goal to them? 9/11.The US is now in a long, slow war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and more with the international political movement Islam that still wants to attack the US.So, a mosque near 9/11 would be an outpost of the foreign enemy of the US that attacked us on 9/11. That mosque is not religion; it’s politics. It’s not peace; it’s war.Indeed, 9/11 was the second attack on the WTC by Islam. The first was from a mosque in NJ. So, even in the US, some of Islam has insisted on being part of an international political movement out to attack the US.I cannot accept Islam as just a religion.By now the US FBI is not in doubt and monitors US Islamic activity for threats against the US.Freedom of religion is NOT the issue.

    1. kidmercury

      you should consider supporting your statements with evidence. you do have evidence, don’t you? as a reminder:1. FBI chief of investigative publicity rex tomb, when asked why bin laden was not listed on the FBI’s most wanted list for the crimes of 9/11 (he’s listed for other reasons), admitted it is because there is no hard evidence against bin laden for the crimes of 9/112. a criminal investigation into 9/11 has never been launched3. on the march 29, 2006 episode of the tony snow show dick cheney stated: “We’ve never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow Osama Bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming.”research those three points, you will find they are true and in the process you will find countless other information debunking the notion that the terrorists were motivated by an islamic ideology. if you have questions or counter-arguments i will be happy to discuss with you.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        They tried to destroy the WTC once and actually did on a second effort.I’m trying to be REALLY nice. But, all things considered, I don’t give a rat’s ass what they thought that their reasons were. I DO know what MY reasons are: They are attacking US interests, and we need to defend ourselves.They are 1000 years out of date, but I don’t want to change that. I just want to defend our interests. Then I don’t much care what they do. But I wouldn’t grant them US ‘freedom of religion’ near the WTC site. In the sense of US freedom of religion, they are just not a religion. Sorry ’bout that. What else to do about Muslims in the US? Hope they calm down, cool down, stay FAR away from politics, especially US foreign policy, be TOTALLY peaceful, stay out of sight, pursue ‘Islam’ ONLY as a religion, and then wait until it is clear that they are no threat to us.

        1. kidmercury

          No, your views rest on faulty assumptions. Research for yourself 9/11 — don’t believe me or television, try studying on your own. You will quickly see something is very wrong with the story. I recommend starting with the collapse of building 7, that is the smoking gun.I also always recommend the following site because it shows there are many respected people who know 9/11 was an inside job (so you are in good company if you choose to have such a view): http://www.patriotsquestion

        2. sachmo

          You act as if ALL islamic people, or even most of them are intent upon war.Do you believe that, or can you acknowledge that the attacks against the US were perpetrated by a few extremists?

          1. Morgan Warstler

            “You act as if ALL islamic people, or even most of them are intent upon war.” This is not the standard. Who cares about this?The question is: “Comparatively, are individuals of any one religion producing an inordinate amount of violence (acts of war) against other nations?”STICK WITH THE QUESTION SACHMO.

          2. sachmo

            If we were to compare the actual percentages of people committing acts of religious violence they would be very, very, very small, as to be almost meaningless.In an above response I noted that fewer than 100 islamic terrorists carried out 9/11, london bombing, mumbai..000006% of 1.6 billion people.It wouldn’t really matter if for Christians the number of terrorist attacks were.00000001% of 2.4 billion people.The point is that the numbers are very, very, very, very small.We don’t need to assume that the 99.9999% of Islamic people are villains.So my counter-question is “can you acknowledge that the attacks against the US were perpetrated by a few extremists?”Because if you can acknowledge that, you would see that we should allow these people to build a mosque free from harassment and that we shouldn’t base our entire foreign policy in the Muslim world on the acts of a few.

          3. Morgan Warstler

            http://www.pursuingholiness…Your numbers are way off – just in UK there are 4K+ who need to be watched. It sounds like you should spend more time asking your Muslim friends why they aren’t busy outing these baddies.

          4. sachmo

            See my above points…

          5. Morgan Warstler

            You have no above points, you are getting your ass kicked. The fact that you don’t admit it – kind of explains why things are the way they are. Ask yourself, what are the honest chances your logic will trump a system BUILT by my logic? Let’s be real here. What historical precedent is there for your world view teaching mine much of anything?So far you admit Islam is MORE VIOLENT. And you admit Israel deserves to exist free standing forever.When one admits those two facts, it is VERY HARD to think the big lesson is that Americans need to be more understanding of people who keeping acting like ALL Muslims are being attacked (they aren’t).Meaning: the only real discussion you and I should be having is how to END radical Islamics – not make peace with them, END THEM. We are both in agreement, they are 100% WRONG, they are evil – our moral obligation is to END THEM.READ THIS:

          6. sachmo

            I’m going to repeat my above points b/c I think they’d be instructive to anyone else following our debate.By the way, instead of just asserting that you are winning the arguments, why not try to answer them specifically?1. A very small fraction of the total Islamic population at large is actually responsible for acts of violent terrorism. We’re talking something around the range of .00001% of the 1.6 billion people out there who considers themselves Muslim are actually violent terrorists. The rest are non-violent people.–In an actual debate by the way, when a point is not addressed it is considered conceded. Unless you address this point of 99.9999% of Muslims not having anything to do with violent terrorist acts, then presumably you would agree that most Muslim people are normal peace-loving people going about their lives.2. The mosque at Ground Zero is being built by a group of peace-loving Muslims that do not share any of the beliefs of the violent .00001% of terrorists that actually committed the 9/11 attacks. They have completely different beliefs, and any sense of disrespect or offense you may have is misdirected to towards the wrong group. Again, you conceded this specific point.3. Here in America, people have the right to openly practice their religion without harassment. If we harass the mosque near Ground Zero, we’re making villains out of the wrong group of people, and the rhetoric is dangerous, because it raises the chance of escalation. As in the negative rhetoric could later become acts of violence against perfectly normal people who believe in Islam. In fact, I believe that questioning their ‘taste’ to build a mosque there is basically discrimination and bigotry. As I stated above, they had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.You haven’t addressed ANY of these points specifically, either in this discussion thread or in any of the threads above. If this was a debate and someone was keeping score, by conceding these arguments (not answering them) you would have lost a long time ago.The only point that I’ve seen you make is that you personally feel offended by the mosque, therefore you have the right to offend any Muslims that support it. Well as I stated before, that behavior is not only infantile, but dangerous because it increases the chances of escalation. I have not seen you address the escalation point.In your latest post where you claim that Islam is more violent than other religions, you have willfully ignored the multiple posts that I have written addressing this specific argument:The actual number of violent Islamic people is very, very, very small as to be a fraction of a percent of the total Islamic people at large. When 99.9999% of the Islamic people do not engage in such acts of violence, it is not truthful to state that Islamic people as a whole are more violent than other people. They are not.As to your most recent point about Israel, I have never once anywhere questioned Israel’s legitimacy as a state. In fact it never once entered into the discussion. I have no idea why you brought it up.As for the truly radical Islamic people, the ones actually committing acts of violence, we are in agreement that the US should continue military operations against them.But as to the issue of the mosque (the reason why we began this debate) the Islamic community has every right to build the mosque, regardless of issues like respect.Save for your feelings of anger and hate for the people that actually deserve it, as in the few that are actually committing violent terrorism. Leave the other peace-loving Muslims alone.

          7. Morgan Warstler

            1. A very small fraction of the total Islamic population at large is actually responsible for acts of violent terrorism.Its MORE than any other religion and much larger than you assert. And I don’t JUST think in terms of “violent acts against other counties” – THAT (acts against other countries) is what justifies cross sovereign borders – invasions are OK then. Your own country can’t chase down the guys who attack US? We’ll cross your border, and find them ourselves.The “violent Islam actions” COUNTS all the car bombing, suicide bombers, everything – whether you like it or not IT COUNTS – if you don’t want it to count, then you have an agenda.AGAIN, my first response beat this ANYWAY: I don’t care if Muslims are MORE VIOLENT, I’m still willing to let them have a church wherever they want.BUT, I reserve the right for anyone who wants to practice FREE SPEECH and offend annoy Muslims for building said church. This argument beats yours, because the Guaranteed right to Freedom of Religion is actually enumerated right there in our first law AFTER the Guaranteed right to Free Speech.Muslims offend you? You get to tell them anyway you want everyday for the rest of your life. PERIOD. Is the guy who does that an asshole? sure, so are the Muslims for building said church.Dude, take a basic class on the Constitution, read some, call a lawyer – what I say is fact. Deal with it.2. “The mosque at Ground Zero is being built by a group of peace-loving Muslims that do not share any of the beliefs of the violent “Who cares if they are violent? My point is they are ASSHOLES. Totally peaceful assholes. Who BTW, may be actually trying to bring Sharia Law to the US (did you read about that shit?) – which again is OK by me (Free Speech), but i gotta tell ya, doesn’t get looked at kindly by US Law, many would consider such a thing a violent attack on a sovereign nation.But again – annoying assholes is not only legal – I personally encourage it.3. “Here in America, people have the right to openly practice their religion without harassment.”Uhm, no they don’t. Are you sure you live in this country? We make fun of ALL of them. We scream about some, we scream at some. A LOT. We protest them left and right. Whole movies get made making fun of people who believe in God. The poor Mormons not only can’t have multiple wives – but their harassed weekly on my wifes favorite TV show – Big Love.Look dude, I main point stands. these ground zero Muslims are assholes, and I’m not going to listen to you complain about other people saying it to their face. I’m a libertine libertarian – and as i said early on, our solutions always work: Have at it, until someone gets tired. Whoever gets Violent in the face of abuse, they are guilty.

          8. sachmo

            Point #1 – .00001% are actually Terrorists – I’m glad that you finally addressed the .00001% argument. The reason why I don’t count war zones is because the insurgencies are battling for POLITICAL power in their own countries.The basic fact is that 99.9999% of all Islamic people are NOT violent. And pretending as if the tiny fraction of violent Islamic people is significant relative to the entire portion of Islamic people is a joke.Its not a justification to discriminate against the entire Muslim population at large.Point #2 – Freedom of Speech – By all means, state your beliefs. But don’t let your freedom of speech cross the nebulous border into outright harassment (as you basically advocated earlier) or into violence.Point #3 – The Actual Mosque – The people aren’t assholes. They’re a Muslim denomination practicing their beliefs, and they desire a center with YMCA like services. By the way, are you aware that there are other mosques in the neighborhood of Ground Zero? Some of which predate the WTC?Yes, I skimmed through your article. As I stated before, from what I have seen from primary sources (as in from the group who wants to build the mosque themselves) they do NOT want to impose sharia law on anyone. Please bring a CREDIBLE source if you want to actually prove this point. And in my opinion, the only assholes are the people trying to use peer pressure to make them move the mosque.Point #4 – Harassment – Making fun of people using comedy is not harassment, I agree. But I haven’t seen much comedy writing from you, nor is that what you’ve been advocating in earlier threads. Driving people into the dirt emotionally, abusing, publicly shaming, etc. – would seem to constitute harassment.Finally, to me the larger issue is that people don’t realize that their anger is misdirected towards basically normal peace-loving people. The people at Ground Zero are New Yorkers who work 9 to 5 jobs (or whatever hours) just like anybody else. They want a YMCA like center where they can drop off their kids, say their daily prayers, and meet other people of the same faith. Manhattan space is limited, and its not practical for the center to be in Brooklyn per say. If you feel anger about the 9/11 attacks, if you think someone is an asshole – its the people that committed the attacks. You are directing your anger to people who only on the most SUPERFICIAL levels bear some slight resemblance to the attackers. Namely, they are brown skinned, black haired, and call themselves Muslim. In reality though, they have almost nothing in common with the people who committed the attacks.People who direct so much anger and distrust towards the peace-loving group vastly increase the chance of escalation — meaning the chance that some extremely fanatical right wingers might commit violent acts against them. Or worse that the government may erode some of our basic constitutional rights of freedom of religion.You believe that I am somehow curtailing your ability to call the Muslims assholes. I believe that you are basically the asshole pointing your finger at completely innocent people who were also hurt by 9/11. And I have no problem writing about it again and again and again.

          9. Morgan Warstler

            1. Car bomb / Suicide bombers etc = TERRORIST. That you don’t get this speaks volumes about you. I’ll leave others to see you nitpick this. it is kinda sick.2. Harassment as speech is legal and AWESOME. The law is on my side. I can stand in front of Muslims all day long and call their shitty prophet anything I want – if they fly off in rage and cause PHYSICAL violence – they a re guilty.3.They are assholes if I say they are…. Meaning, each speaker decides what they think and whether to speak, harass, annoy, etc. Only takes one person willing to go torment them with speech. For them not to be considered assholes? Move the mosque. Sachmo, I’m done – you are unable to or unwilling to deal with law as written. I actually think you don’t understand my nuanced points…. anyone else reading here will see that. YES, I’m an asshole, I keep saying that. I grant it over and over… and the right to be an asshole is the very first right our law grants. You aren’t actually American, huh?

          10. sachmo

            Glad we agree that you’re an asshole : ) (j/k)Point #1 – You can add up all the car bombers that you want, we’re still talking about tiny fractions of a percent of the entire Muslim population at large.Point #2 – As long you keep your viewpoint to just speech, there’s no problem. But there’s a nebulous line between speech and harassment. And I don’t think you fully realize how certain types of hate-filled speech can dramatically increase the chance of escalation. Escalation can take either the form of violence against the local peace-loving Muslim community or it can lead to the curtailment of freedom of religion rights by policy makers. Both would be terrible situations.Point #3 – You seem to believe in relativistic morality – meaning morality that is decided purely in the eyes of the beholder. I would disagree, I think that there is such thing as an objective morality. Meaning that there is only one group of people that are assholes, namely the people telling the Muslims to move their mosque.Objective morality is based on the premise that humans should act in ways that do not cause other humans to suffer. Telling the local peace-loving Islamic community that they should not build a mosque because they slightly resemble on a most SUPERFICIAL level the 9/11 attackers, causes the local Islamic community to suffer needlessly. The want and deserve the services of a YMCA like community center. The local community board approved the mosque. There are already other mosques in the neighborhood. The local peace-loving Muslims had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and their religion is completely different than the radical Islam practiced by the 9/11 hijackers. No one would consider telling any other religious group to move. The people attempting to use peer pressure to get them to move are the assholes.

          11. Prokofy

            Why does the Cordoba Project have no statement or position paper on their website condemning the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks on Moscow or London or Mumbai or many other locations?That’s what’s missing. Written, public positions that in fact stake out these positions they allude to having but never articulate, perhaps because they are under pressure from those advocating jihad in the more conservative quarters of their religion.If there are so few committing terrorism, then it shouldn’t be a problem to condemn them robustly and frequently.

          12. sachmo

            If you’d bothered to look it up, you’d know that the imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the mosque HAS denounced the 9/11 attacks and other radical Islam attacks in several books that he has written.

    2. ShanaC

      There are elements of Christianity and Judaism that see themselves at times as having a political bent. Some of the anti-arguments come clearly from the camp of “the US as a christian country”Are you fine with the US monitoring Westboro? Just to be even in all regards?

      1. Dave Pinsen

        It’s not just whether a religious community sees itself as having a political bent, but what it sees as legitimate means of acting on its grievances. According to a 2007 Pew Research poll of American Muslims (see p.60 of the PDF), when asked whether suicide bombing was ever justified, 22% either said it was or claimed not to know/refused to answer. Among younger American Muslims (18-29) the corresponding number was 31%.

      2. Morgan Warstler

        ShanaC, it is not apples to apples. Islam is different. It’s a very blurry reading of the Koran, that skips all the “everyone must convert” stuff.As I said elsewhere, Muslims are allowed to conform Islam the West, it won’t budge a bit headed the other way.

        1. john mkota

          It seems that you don’t really understand the message of the Koran.So stop being a jerk pointing that Muslim are bad person.Islam forbids any murder, even own-self.Every religion has their bad apples. So try to be fair and rational.

      3. sigmaalgebra

        My understanding of history is that Europe had centuries of violence from religious wars. Partly in response, in the US we have tried to keep politics and religion separate.With 9/11, how we had to fight the ‘militia’ of Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Amadinanutjob and the Mullahs in Iran, the first WTC attack, I no longer regard Islam as just a religion in the sense of freedom of religion in the US.”There are elements of Christianity and Judaism that see themselves at times as having a political bent.” If you say so. I try to ignore such things. But I am not the least bit concerned about either Christianity or Judaism blowing up buildings or stoning women to death. I don’t fear the Pope or the Knesset funding an effort to blow up buildings in the US.”Are you fine with the US monitoring Westboro?” I had to Google that. It sounds like a Baptist minister is trying to talk other people into his beliefs. What I remember about the Baptists is that they and the bootleggers agreed that beer should be illegal. I never thought of the Baptists as a threat of violence. Is he threatening to stone women, blow up buildings, attack a US warship?I believe that we do need the FBI to monitor US mosques. The reasons: 9/11 and the first WTC bombing.Net, Islam does not deserve US freedom of religion.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          “I never thought of the Baptists as a threat of violence.”You didn’t grow up in the Bible Belt then, did you? 😉

          1. sigmaalgebra

            “Bible Belt”? Do I have to say how many days I was and was not there? I’d have to check some records to be accurate!Uh, actually, however, although not widely known, it was not very difficult to win against violent Baptists:One way was just to talk about holding a girl’s hand before marriage. Then they would go all a-flutter and forget what they were being violent about.Another way was to hold up a beer can, full, empty, or, most effective, half full. Then they’d run away like they were about to be destroyed by an exploding hand grenade.But the violent Baptists were easy to spot and then avoid: Telltale signs included a pair of big fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror, Elvis music on the AM radio, and about 200 pounds of used auto parts in the back seat. The worst case I was the Baptist who still had in his back seat some yellow catfish he’d caught two days before.In school could avoid the violent Baptists by taking trigonometry, chemistry, physics, French, and especially biology.But even the violent Baptists were right about one thing: Chopped, slow cooked, hickory smoked, picnic pork shoulder BBQ on a soft white bread bun topped with BBQ sauce, hot sauce, salt, and coleslaw. That would actually make them peaceable, that is, until opened some beer to wash down the ‘Q. Sometimes could calm them down again with cold, chocolate icebox pie.I have to say, I never saw a violent Baptist eat Coquilles Saint Jacques Parisienne, Poulet Aux Morilles, or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. I won’t say they never ate rabbit, raccoon, or venison, but I will avoid going into that — just say that they usually didn’t also have Cumberland sauce!

        2. sachmo

          What about the Oklahoma City Bombings, the KKK, the Nazis?Or even from a Muslim perspective, the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan?One could easily draw the same conclusions about Christianity.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            “Or even from a Muslim perspective, the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan?”Nope sorry this is unacceptable. Individual Muslims bring acts of war to other countries. At that moment, other Islamic countries become fair game. They must. Otherwise, there is no country to attack – the alternative is unacceptable.

          2. sachmo

            The people who committed 9/11 weren’t even associated with a particular country. They were basically just psychopaths.Even if you believe that the Afghanistan war was justified, (which I think it partially was, but we overstepped our mission to just find and kill the terrorists), Iraq really had nothing to do with it.If less than 2 dozen psychos attack us, we have free reign to bomb any Islamic country we please?

          3. Morgan Warstler

            Nope, it meant the we needed to go topple a Dictator and remake the middle east – Iraq has plenty of oil (for than the Saud), they will make a FINE capitalist secular country to take the lead over there in 20 years.The House of Saud couldn’t keep control of their crazies, and that was the deal – geo politically, we had to go disrupt things and make sure the Straits of Hormuz ran free of Iran’s influence.AGAIN, you need to forget seeing things through the eyes of Muslims. The issue was when a religious movement (radical Islam) across many boundaries attacks the most powerful nation of earth, how does it handle the situation? There was no good answer. I have no idea why we are in Afghanistan, but Iraq make all the sense in the world. Nothing about this stuff is easy, but what won’t happen is pretending that worrying about how Muslims see things is the most important. they are FAR MORE likely to change than we are.”The freedom to openly practice a religion trumps other people’s feeling about respect. “No it doesn’t. Here Free Speech (as in offending other people for fun) carries the same weight as religion. Religion is actually curtailed a bit more.

          4. sachmo

            Free speech is one thing. Harassment is something else entirely.Sure, you can state whatever you want to about your opinion of islam, the mosque, etc.But you don’t have the right to harass Imran simply for being a Muslim. Even if that is difficult to enforce (on the web like we are talking now), it still doesn’t make it right.Our country may have had very carefully considered geopolitical reasons for invading Iraq.But your initial point is that we have the right to bomb any Muslim country because of the actions of a handful of terrorists. I don’t really think that’s true from a moral perspective, even if we have the physical capability to do so.

          5. Prokofy

            Most were Saudis.…The idea that they aren’t associated with any country or religion is a kind of liberal fiction, but it’s unnecessary to make the case for tolerance of non-violent Islam.

          6. sachmo

            In the context of Morgan’s original argument — that once a Muslim person from a particular nation commits an act of aggression, their country is fair gamed to be bombed — No, the people who committed the attacks were not associated with a particular country.The hijackers were not agents of the Saudi government, therefore we don’t have the right to go and bomb Saudi Arabia (as Morgan was arguing).

          7. Prokofy

            I’m not interesting in pursuing the argument about whether you should bomb the country of origin of a terrorist. Maybe you should. Maybe it’s a bad idea. It’s rather academic.I will say that you’re being completely specious by pretending these people have no relationship to the Saudi government.Saudi Arabia is a country with a totalitarian regime where there is no separation of secular and spiritual state and where there is no civil society, or very little. It’s not a state where individuals are autonomous agents and can therefore be said to be unrelated to government policy.Saudi educational and media policies; Saudi support of the Palestinian terror cause; many things about the Saudis create a contributing climate that makes it possible for these terrorist groups to appear. So to pretend they have nothing to do with the Saudi government is transparently silly.Terrorism from these countries again and again is a good reason to try to cut the cords with them, to cease buying their gas and oil, to stop supporting them in the misguided notion that they are moderates and will help prevent Israel from being attacked — we need a cost benefit analysis here on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.

          8. sachmo

            They have about as much relationship to the Saudi Royal Family as NewsCorp…If you’ve bothered to actually look at the tenets of this mosque, they are clearly a non-terrorist peace loving sect of muslims. To believe anything else is Willful denial.

          9. Prokofy

            Re: NewsCorp, why would one dubious set of connections for them somehow justify the same set of dubious connections for someone else? They don’t.There is indeed, a connection:”El-Gamal has declined to talk in detail about financing for the purchase, which cost nearly $5 million.He and other backers of the project have said that they haven’t yet begun raising money for construction of the center, and don’t yet know where it will come from. The lack of information has led to speculation that some funding might come from overseas sources interested in bringing fundamentalist Islam to the U.S.In the past, programs and academic conferences run by two nonprofit groups affiliated with Rauf have received money from The Kingdom Foundation, a charity affiliated with one of the world’s richest men, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of the Saudi royal family.The prince has also invested heavily in American companies and donated many millions of dollars to American universities and charitable causes.The Foundation has, to date, had no role in El-Gamal’s New York Islamic center.”http://www.huffingtonpost.c…Also, look at the board of Park51, various leftist and New Age “change agents”.Er, I bothered to look at their tenets. What there is of them. That’s just it — the website is very, very thin when it comes to position papers.Willful denial? No, just reporting that they are very very sparse in outlining their positions and it’s largely left to speculation, and browbeating from people like you to distract from their absence.

          10. sachmo

            NewsCorp – The point about FoxNews was used to illustrate that the Saudi Royal family has monetary stakes in a number of important US companies. The Saudi Government also holds over a trillion dollars in US treasury reserves. The Royal Family also has close personal ties to the Bush family and a number of other important US government officials.– If you’re actually concerned about the Saudi Royal family’s influence, it would seem to me that you be much more alarmed about their personal ties to US federal gov’t officials, US treasury bonds, and important US companies as opposed to being alarmed about one mosque in downtown manhattan.If you actually believed that they were trying to impose sharia law on the US, or plan attacks on US soil — these other institutions and companies would be much more powerful means to infiltrate the US.Again, I personally don’t believe that they are evil as you say, but your views regarding the other ties that the Saudi Royal Family have seem completely inconsistent.-On the Cordoba Project Website — if you take a look at their website, its clear that their goal is to bring together people of all faiths and promote interfaith understanding. They promote symposiums with other Christian and Jewish leaders in the area.This is not in any way consistent with imposing Sharia law on people. In fact there is not a shred of evidence anywhere indicating they want to impose Sharia law. Everything on their website – such as Business Women in Islam summits – is completely inconsistent with Sharia law.Furthermore, as we’ve already established, the Imam has spoken out against Sharia law and terrorism in public speeches and his books.That’s called WILLFUL denial. And I think the only reason it exists is because of a deep seated racist belief on your part that all Islamic people are evil.

          11. Prokofy

            Er, I got all that. It’s common knowledge. So what? As I said, *two wrongs don’t make a right*.I read the Cordoba website. They do not make any criticism of sharia law, nor do they say they won’t impose it. In fact, the one reference to it makes it seem as if they are uncritical, viewing it as simply something that “must be”. We haven’t established anything of the kind. The imam can put all these lovely sayings against terrorism *on his website== but doesn’t*. It’s wilful denial to imagine otherwise. Criticising the abusive tendencies of literalist or extreme Islam isn’t racism; it’s liberalism.I think when a blog sets up comments so that they “dwindle” like this just because people have a debate that ultimately, they don’t want open debate on their blog. It’s a very demeaning set-up and I won’t participate in it. Rant away if you must, you self discredit.

          12. sachmo

            Sure, two wrongs don’t make a right — I agree. But it seems absolutely mind-boggling to me that if Saudi Royal influence and monetary backing is a sign of terrorist attacks to come (your belief, not mine), that you’d be up in arms over a mosque where perhaps a few hundred people might gather to worship in lower Manhattan. The much larger issue would be the infiltration of the numerous government officials, treasury bonds, and US corporations. That’s why, from my perspective, your viewpoint doesn’t make any sense. It seems to me that you oppose the mosque, simply because you hate all Muslim people and continue to dream up random and completely implausible means by which they must somehow be evil. Well, they’re not. They’re just normal peace-loving people, that promote interfaith understanding, the right of women to advance in society, and explicitly have spoken out against the 9/11 attacks and the imposition of Sharia law. This is a Sufi temple if you are unaware. There is not a single shred of evidence to indicate that these people are violent or crazy or anything like that. Any suspicion that you have is purely a figment of your imagination. There are numerous websites (most in fact) that do not explicitly denounce the 9/11 attacks. Do you believe that anyone with a website that doesn’t explicitly denounce 9/11 is a terrorist? I feel sorry for you that you see all people with such distrust. All these people with websites that don’t specifically denounce 9/11 are *NOT* terrorists.And furthermore, if I personally was an Imam who gave numerous public speeches (that you can find on Youtube) and wrote books (that you can find on Amazon, or in public libraries) I wouldn’t feel the need to comply with the demands of bigoted people such as yourself. Especially since the stated purpose and mission of my temple would be to promote interfaith understanding, and promote women’s place in society, two very obvious points that stand in contrast to Sharia law. I call this Willful denial because there are no other words to describe it. In the face of overwhelming evidence and corroborating statements and facts that these people are not terrorists you continue to distrust them. This is nonsense. The delusional people in this situation, are the ones such as yourself. I think the reason why comments dwindle by the way, is because we both know after a few weeks not too many people are going to read them anymore. I don’t think its in any way “demeaning.” In fact, I’m fine with it. From my perspective, I won’t tolerate bigotry. Not in my neighborhood, and not in communities that I’m a part of. Thanks and goodbye.

          13. Prokofy

            Um, I’m not going anywhere, big guy. I’m a regular reader and commenter on Fred’s blog.But I won’t be bullied into a shrinking, minimizing corner by technology that forces you into tiny wedges to minimize and belittle your debate, nor will I be bullied by anonymous Islam promoters. I’ll simply take it to my own blog where I can write normally. There, unless you provide a valid first and last name that hooks up to a real Internet reputation, I won’t tolerate your aggressive bullying for one minute — you’re a terrible advertisement for your religion of peace.I’ve never said anywher that the Park51 people are terrorists. Your manipulations on this point only discredit you. What I say is that they are hustlers — hustlers of a political agenda, where they dodge and bob and weave and refrain from *putting on their website* this supposed position they have where they supposedly condemn the violence of extreme Islam in the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist attacks; where they let us know if they *really* support separation of religion and state in America; and where they articulate their actual attitude toward sharia. They do none of that. Instead, they sit back and let evangelists like you go out and browbeat and bully in forums and accuse others of bigotry and hate *merely for questioning their positions*. That’s right to do; I’ll go on doing it. Their website speaks for itself; that is, it speaks nothing. Everything said about them is speculation, inuendo, and ascribing credit for things that don’t exist.I don’t oppose the *siting* of this mosque as I’ve said. They get a permit; they get to build under the First Amendment and free enterprise. What I *will* do is vehemently oppose their evasiveness and their clearly politicized agenda, which I get to do, because this is America.Utimately, my simply point about the total absence of clear, coherent moral statements on the Cordoba’s website is what is sending you into a vehement frenzy of justification. It all self-discredits.Goodbye, rant on in your narrowing corner if you must.

          14. sachmo

            “The same First Amendment that mandates that this group must absolutely be allowed to build their building and worship as they see fit also makes it more than fine to criticize that act as possibly inappropriate, insensitive, or part of some larger agenda””I’d like to hear lots more about this group’s beliefs and motivations and intentions than they are telling us. “”I don’t chime in with all the self-righteous lefties and progressives beating their breasts with induced tolerance about a group that in fact may advocate the establishment of the caliphate.””Because Cordoba is an invocation of Al-Andalus, which, whatever liberal revisionist utopianism you want to believe about it, advocated the Islamic caliphate, i.e. an Islamic government under sharia law.””Saudi support of the Palestinian terror cause; many things about the Saudis create a contributing climate that makes it possible for these terrorist groups to appear. So to pretend they have nothing to do with the Saudi government is transparently silly.”–These are all quotes from your earlier arguments. Actually you have basically accused them of being terrorists.You’ve done so by implying that1) They have a secret larger agenda that they are hiding from the public2) The real goal of the group is to re-establish the Caliphate and Sharia law in the US3) Their links to the Saudi Royal Family who have links to terrorism means that they could possibly be plotting an attack against the US–What I did not hear you say at any time in this thread is “Agreed, they are not terrorists, BUT…” What other conclusions would someone draw from your statements?Maybe my statements seem like rants because you are so unaccustomed to being confronted on the underlying factual base of your paranoid beliefs. I’ve certainly considered your arguments at least, can you honestly that say you’ve done the same?Regarding points number #1 and #2, we know they have no secret motives, because the Imam has publicly spoken and written books arguing that the attacks on 9/11 were reprehensible. He hasn’t just done this once, he’s being doing it for years.These speeches are available on Youtube, and the books you could find on Amazon or probably in the NYC public library system.My simple point is — The Imam HAS publicly spoken out against the 9/11 attacks, and you have chosen to willfully ignore his statements on the matter.Furthermore, I take exception to the fact that you keep insisting that this group secretly wants to restore the Caliphate and impose Sharia law on the US. These statements are outright lies. They aren’t rooted in a single shred of evidence.It seems part of a campaign to discredit some normal, peace-loving people who just happen to be Islamic. What are your hidden motives and manipulations Prokofy?I stand behind my statements earlier, I think this kind of behavior – particularly spreading unfounded rumors intended to discredit an entire group of people, implying b/c of their funding sources that they may be terrorists – this is nothing more than bigotry.

          15. john mkota

            “Individual Muslims bring acts of war to other countries”This is a bullshit. I thought its our country that brings acts of war to others. Japan? Iraq? Afghanistan?FYI, the top murderer in modern world was Hitler who killed estimated 6 million+ jews. And he was a Christian (an altar boy in Austria). And if our country is the model Christian country, we should be shamed as every minute a woman being rape and every 5 minutes a person being killed. Even the Vatican is the country with highest crime rate per capita.Shame on you.

          16. Prokofy

            Er, shame on you.Hitler’s ideology was paganism, not Christianity. Learn some history.And the reality is, around the world, in the last 25-50 years, it has been Muslim leaders killing Muslim people — Muslims killing other Muslims — that has made up the lion’s share of civilian deaths in armed conflict, or non-Western, nominally Christian secular governments killing Muslims (Russia, Serbia, etc.).Look at Sudan with millions killed in civil wars.Look at Chechnya, where hundreds of thousands were killed by the Russian Orthodox Kremlin.Look at Afghanistan, where more than 70 percent of the killings are done *by the Taliban* and 30 percent by Karzai’s forces and allies, which includes the U.S. One can make a case for the U.S. withdrawing. But one can’t pretend the U.S. is responsible for the lion’s share of killings in the world.In Iraq, every other week, 50 people are killed lining up to get jobs or training as police, or at marketplaces. More than 5,000 have been killed. Who kills them? American G.I.s? No. Terrorists. Terrorists funded by Al-Qaida and Iran. So get a clue, and fill in all the horrible blanks in your very uneven Internet-based education.The U.S. is not responsible for most civilian deaths in the world; Muslim leaders, and various African and Eurasia leaders are.

          17. sachmo

            The state religion of Nazi Germany was Christianity. Though they may have practiced some occultism, their goal was to unify everyone under one Christian church. Religion of course played a major part in their racial warfare schemes as well.The initial point made by sigmaalgebra though is that we should deny freedom of religion to Muslims, because their religion is inherently more violent than others.First of all, this is not really true. But secondly, that’s still not a reason to deny the peace-loving Muslims in this nation the right to openly practice their religion.The examples you have provided are not acts of terrorism, they are for the most part war zones.In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, there are ongoing civil wars. The violence committed (by yes Muslim people within predominantly Muslim nations) is done by individual factions competing for political power. These are not the acts of terrorists striking America from afar, they are military insurgencies.Chechnya was also a region fighting for independence, and Sudan was also a case of civil war.These are not examples that prove that Muslims are inherently more violent, they are merely a random smattering of civil wars you have chosen.For example, in the Congo right now there is also an ongoing civil war that could be used to superficially characterize all Christian people. The *WORST* violence in Africa right now is going on in the Congo by the way.These examples are of political strife as opposed to religious strife. Africa (Muslim and Christian nations both) is going through a period of political turmoil right now, much as Europe did in the century before. In the middle east, the only civil wars are going on in the countries that the US has invaded.The vast majority of Muslims however do NOT have radical beliefs, and for the most part non-violent. And regardless, the US should definitely not curtail freedom of religion rights to anyone.

          18. Prokofy

            Nothing random about any of my use cases. They are examples of violent Muslim movements that in fact often make other Muslims the victims first. They are meant to illustrate the fact that the Palestinian/Israel conflict is dwarfed by these other conflicts completely. More people are killed in clashes between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria than Gaza, with 1/100th of the publicity and attention of the world’s resources.I’d love to see some textual analysis from you that shows the corrupt kleptocrats of the DRC invoke…Christianity…as a justification for their murderous rampages. The Lord’s Army is perhaps a rough counterpart to some Islamist terrorist group, but even they don’t bother to invoke religion when they kill and rape most of the time.If the vast majority of Muslims don’t have radical beliefs, then they can step up and condemn that, um, tiny minority that does. But they don’t. They fear them. Or they secretly sympathize with them. And that’s the problem. When they are ready to stop fearing and stop secretly sympathizing and making it clear they condemn and scorn them, we’ll see a drop in the terrorist attacks of the world.

          19. sachmo

            I haven’t brought up the Israel / Palestine conflict once in this debate. I don’t think you carefully read my last rebuttal. The problem that I have with your examples is that they are not evidence of religious warfare so much as civil wars that happen to be going on in Muslim nations. In two of the examples, Iraq and Afghanistan, WE invaded the countries and removed the central government. It is not surprising in the least bit that there are still car bombs going off every week. Pick any country where American troops have intervened, attempted to replace the government – you’ll find violence. Vietnam, Panama, Bosnia, etc etc. This is not unique to Islam. As far as I’m concerned, the major acts of radical Islamic terrorism include the bombing of the US Cole, 9/11, london and madrid bombings, Mumbai attacks. These attacks were carried out by roughly a few hundred people altogether. Outside of these, and possibly a few more attacks, the examples you have provided are of war zones. If we wanted to tally up all of the war zones in the world, then it would only be fair to include places like the Congo, where the violence is primarily Christian people attacking Christian people. In which case, your argument that Muslims are uniquely violent becomes much weaker. I agree that the vast majority of Muslims should do a better job of condemning the radical Islamic people. But that won’t happen if we continue to make villains out of the good peace-loving Muslims, like the ones building the mosque near Ground Zero.

    3. Alex Murphy

      Have you ever heard of the Crusades? Religion takes on many forms, but the general truth of the golden rule is there in almost all Scripture, Christian and other. Radicals, with an agenda (that is anything but religious) and probably a chemical imbalance, use Religion as a tool to motivate the masses to their bidding. It is a sad but long standing truth that started with the very first examples of human civilization.Cut down on the rhetoric here, not the forum. Do you have a business that you want to try and grow?

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Right, there was a long, bloody history of religion getting involved with politics.Seeing that history, here in the US we have tried to have separation of church and state and freedom of religion. But to me Islam is not just a religion as we understand it here in the US and, in particular, does not deserve our version of freedom of religion.For a business, yes, I’m trying to start one, but this thread is time out and not about business!

        1. Alex Murphy

          In the grand history of the world, there have been many points where people didn’t agree with someone else’s view of Religion. From the Greeks to the Romans to the 16th Century Catholics, many cultures and religions held a dominant world view.Yes, the Founders continued the American tradition of freedom of religion, but that certainly wasn’t the popular move among those in Religious positions of the time. Jefferson went so far as to write his own version of the bible with all reference to the supernatural removed. The very reason why the first amendment to the Constitution is to establish freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly and Petition is that the citizens of our Country differ in their opinions about what is and what is not okay, acceptable, and proper. You most certainly have the right to your opinion about Islam, but fortunately that does not change a Muslim’s right to erect a Mosque and to worship in the way that he or she chooses to do so.The wonderful thing about Islam is that it is actually a peaceful religion. Unfortunately, it has been hijacked by zealots. You can easily look around the various ranks in Christianity and see easily egregious abuses done in God’s name.Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated. In the context of this discussion, that means refer to Muslims the way you would want to be treated as a ___.Good luck with your business.

    4. Jon Knight

      If we recognize this as a religion, then we have to treat it as a religion. To treat it otherwise we would need first to officially state that we do not recognize this as a religion. Not the most ‘politically correct’ thing to do.I agree with you on the political nature of Islam. And yes, Sharia law is harsh. IMHO, too harsh. But that does not negate the validity of the faith.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I’m not sure just what we have to “officially state” about religion.9/11 wasn’t very “politically correct” either.If I were the Mayor of NYC, then I would just assert that the proposed mosque was not religious, did not deserve US freedom of religion, and was an outpost of an organized enemy of the US. For other old, NYC mosques, I would “make them an offer they couldn’t refuse”: Stay VERY peaceful and VERY quiet and out of the way or lose your tax exemption, etc.Maybe the “faith” is fine. I don’t want to question a religion. But to me Islam is NOT just a ‘religion’ in the sense of freedom of religion in the US. I can’t give a better explanation than I gave.

    5. sachmo

      They don’t practice Sharia law in Iraq. Nor is Sharia law practiced in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world. Nor Turkey. Nor large swathes of even some of the countries you mentioned.If you’ve ever actually talked to a muslim person, I think you’d realize they are not all crazy jihadists.

  30. gorbachev

    I wonder why so many people are so eager to contribute to this “controversy”. They will never set foot anywhere near the damn property in the first place, so I fail to see how what they think about the idea has any relevance whatsoever. Get some hobbies or something people. And stop watching the 24/7 “news” channels and their manufactured “news”.The large majority of the people who actually live and/or work in the area are in favor of the project. That should be enough.Should the Outer Mongolians cancel a project to build a sheep milk factory next to the only vegan hippie commune in the country, because the vegan hippies in Russia think it’s a terrible idea.

  31. ShanaC

    you know, the more think about it, one of the reasons I think incidents like this happens is we don’t read classic religious texts, and that we don’t spend any time really exposing others to religion as a sociological, political, cultural phenomena as a study to young people so they can appreciate different sorts of people.I get the feeling if people read the bible, the koran, a buddhist text, a hindu religious text as just great works of culture outside of their worldview it would help ease some of the tension. Others would see religions a little more clearly for what they are, and be better informed to make choices within their own religious beliefs as well as about others

    1. Alex Murphy

      Religion 105, World Geography and Western Civ I. Tolerance and Love rule the day and have for 1,000s of years.

  32. Keenan

    Would we not allow a Christian Church to be built around The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City?Timothy McVeigh was an outspoken, practicing Christian.

  33. $3236

    Great post Fred. The Economist last week had – Build that mosque:The campaign against the proposed Cordoba centre in New York is unjust and dangerous. Worth reading.

  34. Nyletterpress

    It was a plane, not a mosque, that hit the towers, remember?

  35. Robert Freedland

    Thank you for standing up for religious tolerance in America. Freedoms like speech and religion are based upon the premise that we shall protect that expression regardless of our agreement on the content of the message. To dump all Muslims in the world with the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and oppose buildings of Mosques as some sort of just dessert, is simply lunacy.

  36. Morgan Warstler

    The clear and obvious answer is Greg Gutfeld’s. Note: Always listen to the hedonistic libertarians – we cut through the bullshit. Of course build a mosque, just make sure we’re also zoned for a top notch Gay Bar, and the hippiest coolest butcher shop in Manhattan.It is imperative to respect religious rights. People, though, you handle by their actions. And religions, you judge by the people. 2nd note: I’m glad Obama at least realizes there is religious freedom, it was mildly ironic though that he mentioned it in the same breathe as property rights – not exactly the firmest backbone there, huh?And any moderate Muslim who doesn’t think building their mosque there is a tacky and disrespectful thing to do – they are a Muslim worthy of being disrespected (including you Imran) – they are one worth being pilloried, public abused, and shamed.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Good comment, Morgan. Frankly, I’m amazed Imran got so many likes for his comment.To borrow a phrase (from another context) from a president who went out of his way to say good things about Islam and Muslims after 9/11, I think there’s something of a “soft bigotry of low expectations” when it comes to Muslims exhibited by those who like to pride themselves on their tolerance and open mindedness. It seems that when we talk about “moderate Muslims” we’ve sort of defined moderation down.When you look closely at the statements of some putatively moderate Muslims (including the imam associated with the Park51 mosque) you often find things that don’t sound so moderate. And when you look at the views of a broad range of Muslims on issues such as the permissibility of suicide bombing, you find a disconcertingly large minority who aren’t exactly opposed to it (see the Pew study I linked to elsewhere in this thread).Maybe the developers of this mosque complex really do want their center to promote moderation and be a bridge between cultures, but the location they chose for it (and the date they allegedly scheduled for its grand opening — 9/11/11) are inauspicious in that regard.There’s also the matter of where the ~$100 million in funding for it is going to come from. Saudi money has bankrolled a number of Wahabbi mosques, here and elsewhere. Will the same Saudi money be backing this one? There are other, more tolerant Muslim traditions. Perhaps Park51 could be encouraged to seek funding from them?In short, this is not as cut & dried an issue as Fred’s post suggested.

    2. sachmo

      I don’t see any problem with Gutfeld’s proposed gay bar, or having a butcher shop next to the mosque. I suspect most people wouldn’t, so long as the local community votes for it.I don’t understand how in the same breath you can state that its imperative to respect religious rights, but also state that moderate Muslims should be pilloried, publicly abused, or shamed if they support the mosque.No one should be abused or disrespected simply because of their religious beliefs.

      1. Morgan Warstler

        “No one should be abused or disrespected simply because of their religious beliefs.”Yes. They. Should. There are many many religious beliefs (many held Muslims) that should be aggressively abused out of believers. Have you even read the Koran?More importantly, we have a solid tradition here of doling out such abuse. It is how we work things out. it is called comedy. My god, you are dense on purpose, right? We have a number of comedians who’s shtick is basically, “religious people are hypocrites and believe in imaginary things.”

        1. sachmo

          No, I haven’t read the Koran.But I’ve known many Muslims that practice the religion and are perfectly normal, peace-loving people.I don’t have a problem with comedy. Making fun of the extremists is fine.But what you’re talking about doesn’t seem to be comedy. It seems to be more along the lines of harassing anyone that supports the mosque. Its not very funny, if its intended to be comedic.

  37. Sparticus

    This is exactly the kind of intellectual drivel that allowed the Third Reich to come into power. Smug faux intellectualism walled with political correctness and just a touch of naivite. Exactly what is wrong with America today and the reason Washington is populated with a bunch of scoundrels that make the folks down on Wall Street look like Boy Scouts.Of course America was founded on the basis of religious freedom. Importantly, it was also founded with a presumption of separation between church and state. While those lines have not always been perfectly observed, overall, this country has done a good job of keeping the two issues separate. No Islamic culture has seen true secularization without major upheaval and/or radicalization of the pro-Islam side of the equation. This is not a religion that is preaching tolerance. Like many Western religions before it (think Catholicism for one), Islam as an institution is trying desperately to hold on to its power in the face of a rapidly changing world and is resorting to “state” sponsored terrorism to try and enforce this grip.I agree that we have no right to stop this mosque, but just like early immigrants to this country were expected to abide by the laws and norms of our society, Islam in America needs to put the A before the I. That means equal rights for all.

    1. ShanaC

      It takes most religions a huge amount of time, tension and courage to preach tolerance. I don’t even see my parents syagogue do it perfectly. Far from it.Social mores of a place actually are a suprisingly big push. Even consersative religious institutions are forced to deal with US culture en mass in the US because it is the US, or risk being seen as too nuts. A liberalization movement is afoot, soo….

      1. Morgan Warstler

        ShanaC, you truly seem to confuse tolerance with passivity.I assume you are incredibly tolerant, but therein lies some conflict you don’t seem to own up to. Eventually somebody eats it. You name name the vice, I support the right to it. You name the property, I support owning it. But rights FROM THINGS are paramount, “negative rights” – the freedom from someone else’s religion controlling me MEANS that if they don’t women showing too much skin, they either must live somewhere else, or change… it is not up to me to modify my desires or behavior, the rule of law written here, the law we kill to protect – is that here if you don’t want to see naked women, look away. Period. The end.Are you telling Muslims to look away? I just want to make sure.

        1. ShanaC

          You do realize you are talking to someone who wants a job so that she canwalk around in a lower cut dress like the ones she sees in manhattan? Andlisten to music on Saturdays? So I have empathy for your position. I alsoknow its practical limitations, just from reading most of the availablesurvey data on people like myself.I live in one of the one of the heaviest Centerist Orthodox Jewishcommunities in the US, My school district has a law suit with googleprimarily because of the demographic changes coming out of turning into sucha heavily orthodox jewish district. I maintain good ties with some sectionsof it, and ties with people who left the ultra-orthodox community as well. Further I have ties with the Reform and conservitive movmenent, and some ofthe new independent stuff as well- mostly because I maintain a large privatedatabase of all the studies on the subject about my cohort and Judaism I canget my hands on.I’m tolerant because when push comes to shove, I’ve seen a lot in religion.I take it as something you can do in a datadriven way with questions as thefollows:Given the choice of Summer Camp or Schooling, or a Church/SyngagogueProgram- what will make a kid affiliate? (Apparently in the following orderFull time school, Camp, After School Every day/miminal three times a week, asunday school apparently pushes kids away. Though Kid driven programs tendto have the opposite effect)I was refering to a number of cultural commentators referring to shifts inright wing churches and synagogues to opening up their congregations more sothan before to gay and lesbian people/couples. As I said, it’s something Ikeep up with.

  38. bodezzz

    Why is it that people feel that all Muslim’s should be punished for a few’s horrific actions? Should we tear down a place of worship when on of it’s misguided members decides to blow up the local Planned Parenthood? This whole issue is ridicules and anyone who opposes the building of a mosque near ground zero should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. Morgan Warstler

      Bodie, no one wants to punish Muslims.Look at it this way: ALL religions here bow down to the US capitalist republic, believers do that by admitting that having their religion here in the US means that no non-believer has to live their life – under their beliefs. Gay sex, strippers, you name it.They also admit, that regardless of their beliefs, there are things they will “render unto Caesar,” as it were – as long as Muslims here bow down to that rule – WELCOME.And that rule means taking as much verbal abuse as the offended wish to heap on the mosque builders – they get to build it, but everyone else gets to vent for as long as they wish.In a clash between America and Islam – we’ll alter it forever, not the other way around. Hell, look what we did to Catholics!

  39. Peter Mullen

    Hey Fred, Are you also in lockstep with Islam’s stance on gays? Women? Their religious intolerance?Here’s a view from the other side:…Imagine over 1 billion Muslims around the world, singing and dancing upon the opening of the ‘Ground Zero mosque’. Why? Because they were able to build a mosque before the new Freedom Tower will be completed. There is no good ending to this story. Please stick to your area of expertise. Editorializing on a very touchy topic does not make you sound so good.

    1. Guest

      Peter, Are you OK with Christianity’s views on gays? Women? Their religious intolerance? Your suggestion that one billion Muslims will be singing and dancing upon hearing of the opening of this Mosque is ignorant and shows that you know nothing of the faith practiced by the majority of Muslims. Fred can editorialize on whatever topic he chooses, it’s his blog. I think it makes him sound great. As an entrepreneur I would more likely welcome an investment from Fred, knowing his moral stances, even if my term sheet was not as great, than from some a** hole bigot. A lot of entrepreneurs think they can change the world and it sounds like Fred believes it is possible too.

  40. John

    I would agree with you if this was about freedom of religion. If you research this issue like you would research funding a startup, you may have a better understanding of why 2/3 of the country is against it. Simply look into the Imam behind this mosque and where the money is coming from to fund it and you may have a change of opinion. Your post has good intentions but unfortunately could have devastating consequences if these radicals are free to reign on your streets.

  41. ap

    Fred, I am surprised and saddened by the fact that your blog was a great example of thought out topics, and today you are loosing a regular reader to your site. I am not muslim and not christian, but I am Sikh. If you are willing to pick on those that oppose to the mosque, why not also request the muslim community to be understanding and not build a mosque at that location. I am sure you are also aware that president Obama also supported “1988 Lockerbie jetliner bomber” and now folks are regretting that as well. Here is another question, why don’t some christian folks try to build a church next to Makka & Medina and see if the muslim community approves that. Have you thought about how this will not only hurt but break the morale of people who lost loved ones at the 9/11 site and when you factor in their social graph that will be millions of people. I think such thinking is going to lead towards self destruction the way the Roman empire fell and it is sad because I love this country as well.

  42. kagilandam

    There is set of 2-liner poems in my native language (1330 of them on 133 different topics). Here is one of that …and it goes something like this.”Do something good to bad doers and make them ashamed of what they have done.”I think it is good to CARVE THIS ON STONE AND KEEP IT it for the poetic nature of it… but not for the meaning to practice.

    1. Aviah Laor

      or let Google and Verison sort it out 🙂

      1. kagilandam

        No what i told is what is happening.We are carving it on the third ROCK from the sun 🙂

  43. MikeSchinkel

    Fred, I wholeheartedly agree; I just wish more people did so too.

  44. Laith

    Fred,Thanks for posting this, I really think many people forget the basics that made this country great. I was so proud of Mike Blomberg for standing on this issue straight, even though I myself is agnostic and do not practice or believe in religion, but as Vlotaire said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”The Irony happened to me 9 years ago as I moved from Baghdad to New York and my first job was in the WTC, right and wrong is always blurry for educated and informed but in this case personal views are dismissed and judged based on few extremest.At the end of the day am so encouraged to see the support that mike is getting.

  45. huslage

    All supposed arguments of moral equivalency aside, the reason we’re even having this discussion is good enough proof to me that there should be 50 mosques near ground zero if that’s what people want to pay for.The US was built upon a foundation of argumentation and experimentation; the constitution is vague for a reason, after all. We all have the rights to practice religion and speak freely. Period. Not much more to it. We can argue about stuff all we want, but in the end that’s the pure and simple truth.

  46. jerrycolonna

    Late to comment Fred, but I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m also a little sick of those among the folks who lambaste the idea of a house of worship within a few blocks of Ground Zero who, previously, decry New Yorkers as not being “real Americans.”There are more than 118 languages spoken in our school system. New York is a very special place.

  47. baba12

    Just a slight clarification. It is a community center with a prayer area. It is like having a Hospital with a chapel.Maybe it would be better if we as a nation are able to remove all the notions about being a Secular country and just be blunt about being a Judea Christian nation and everyone else is allowed with conditions.Our foreign policy is pretty much defined by those principles why not be blunt and say our domestic policy is driven by that as well.

  48. baba12

    I think if Mr.Wilson were to let everyone just open their minds and speak what they have on their mind without ramifications he shall find that there will be a lot more folks against this with a vitriolic outburst. Right now they are not willing to come out and be more blunt cuz they have some vested interests in how they maybe viewed etc.Having lived in the U.S now 20 years I will say that as much as there is freedom to speak ones mind etc, the ramifications of speaking ones mind are huge if you ruffle the feathers of a few, thus as much as we claim to be having a freedom of speech or claim to be secular there is a double standard that envelops everything.You can’t discuss Israel/Palestine in a way without being labeled an Anti Semite or an Anti Islam person.Tony Judt who just passed away paid a heavy price for speaking his mind.So Wonder if Mr.Wilson has an opinion on what his purpose was for writing this post and how he thinks to manage the fallout one way or the other.

    1. markslater

      i was against it – andy swan has enlightened bar next door please. lets have a war of tolerence. see who wins that.

  49. Marilyn Byrd

    I couldn’t agree with you more and I too am very proud of our mayor and our President for speaking out.. I’m puzzled that 2/3 or our country is opposed to the mosque being built near ground zero. This country was founded on religious freedom. That’s why the pilgrims came here. The mosque actually provides us with an opportunity to show the world we are more than just talk and bluster when it comes to freedoms. This is another step towards helping us rebuild our global credibility. I hope we don’t blow it. Thanks for the post. And I really need to read your weekend posts during the weekend.

  50. Guest

    Amen to that.

  51. goldwerger

    Amen to that.

  52. jerrycolonna

    Reading through the comments here, I’m reminded of a brilliant statement by Ryszard Kapuscinski, the great Polish journalist””Three plagues, three contagions, threaten the world.The first is the plague of nationalism.The second is the plague of racism.The third is the plague of religious fundamentalism.All three share one trait, a common denominator—an aggressive, all-powerful, total irrationality. Anyone stricken with one of these plagues is beyond reason. In his head burns a sacred pyre that awaits only its sacrificial victims. Every attempt at calm conversation will fail. He doesn’t want a conversation, but a declaration that you agree with him, admit that he is right, join the cause. Otherwise you have no significance in his eyes, you do not exist, for you count only if you are a tool, an instrument, a weapon. There are no people—there is only the cause.A mind touched by such a contagion is a closed mind, one-dimensional, monothematic, spinning round one subject only— its enemy. Thinking about our enemy sustains us, allows us to exist. That is why the enemy is always present, is always with us.”The enemy, folks, are neither those wishing a place to practice their religion nor, even, those so hurt by what they perceive as a lack of sensitivity to the sacredness of ground zero. The “enemy” is a fundamentalist point of view that shuts one down to the possibilities of the Other–the de-humanization of those whose opinions we disagree with. This is what creates the terrorist mind-state.

    1. fredwilson

      great quote Jerrythanks for sharing itthis comment thread is hard for me to readit hurts

      1. jerrycolonna

        I know, Fred. The “three plagues” lines kinda say it all, doesn’t it? Closed, one dimensional thinking-from any point of view–threatens all of us.

        1. jerrycolonna

          oh, and btw, I admire your guts for wading into this one. You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

      2. Keenan

        “It hurts”Exactly how I felt reading this and Mark Shusters defense of Gay Marriage a week ago.I am sadden.

    2. Keenan

      Brilliant Jerry!

    3. Donna Brewington White


      1. jerrycolonna

        Wow is right. Kapuscinsk is spot on with his analysis.

    4. Emeri Gent [Em]

      I came here because I was searching for the word “Freedom” “powered by Disqus”. That AVC came up as the second item on the search string was a surprise but my search was for “Freedom” and not “Violence”.So how can I look at freedom unless I am free from the violence that is within my own heart. The violence we do to ourselves is just as important as the violence we react to in society.IMHO freedom requires us not to be violent but to be vulnerable. If I meet violence with defense then I know I am not prepared to be vulnerable, I have my guard up, and if I must fight, in the very act of fighting there is violence. Yet in the very act of non-violence there is also violence. The pathways to freedom are therefore not passive, they are personal, they are our ability to see our own inner nature.Forgiveness, compassion and humility are not political or religious concepts, they are pathways to freedom and while authority or belief systems may incorporate those universal aspects of humanity, we do not need science, religion, philosophy, politics etc to know what these universalities are, unless we provide ourselves no capacity or capability to practice the universals that is we refer to as humanity.Sun Tzu wrote the “Art of War” not because he promoted war or violence but as a strategist he laid the groundwork for the state, that the best war is actually not to fight. Prolonged war he warns is injurious to the state and yet our world is full of prolonged battles and wars?”Art of War”…I am however not the “State”, I am here to figure out what freedom means and I can only do that by thinking deeply in relationship to the violent media that focuses not on how I am to attain freedom, but the violence that is perpetuated in our society. An intelligent form of media would be as sensitive to my spirit as I should be to my own.The magma of violence does not stop flowing because I focus on a particular fissure of media, that itself awakening me to my own violent nature. Isn’t freedom then a constant pursuit to be free of that violence within us, to realize that violence is a lake of fire, and not a stream of consciousness flowing into an ocean?If I change the nature of my journey then it is not media which is at fault, but my perception or choice of media to answer those questions which are fundamental to me. Not fundamental as an “ism”, but as a freedom, a discovery, a personal journey. Then what media would await me to realize my own questions other than that which will help me face up to my own inner nature.That I have chosen to read “The Rebel” by Albert Camus, is one part of the media I have self-selected in the pursuit of comprehending what “freedom” is, but now I have come across “I and Thou” by Martin Buber. News and media may create issues of public concern, but I then trust that people who are far more educated about freedom than I am, are on top of these global issues and are ready to serve us as a global society with their learned and earned wisdom.For me, finding Buber or Camus is not a religion or an intellectual journey, it is merely to know what “freedom” is and whether it is within me to give, as much as I am am able to receive its value. I can never be resilient unless I am vulnerable and this is not a group journey, it is personal one.I think this is what is meant by “Love your Enemy” but that is still my discovery to make and mine to learn. I will associate myself with freedom seeking but also learn from those who deny freedom. That to me means an open mind is one that can constantly question their own ideology.[Em]

      1. jerrycolonna

        Em:Thanks for a beautiful, well articulated, painfully thoughtful reply.

        1. Emeri Gent [Em]

          Jerry, I am in gratitude that this is a response inspired by a sensitive soul, that my thoughts below would probably not have emerged if I did not benefit from internalizing the consciousness of a bright individual as yourself. Pain is a constancy through time immemorial and it is at its best a byproduct of intelligent transformation. What I want to address as I think out aloud is a view of sensitivity rather view about pain. So I begin with my apologies for the length of this.I do feel that I must not preoccupy myself with a demarcation between the sensitive and the insensitive. I think there is a richer vein of perspective if I begin to view my life as a relationship between a horizontal and a vertical sensitivity. I think there is a difference between these sensitivities and I will endeavour to articulate them below, but they are not an either-or, but an “And” i.e. that one form sensitivity informs the other. “Horizontal sensitivity” is a gift I want to share with you, rather than an argument I wish to reason with you.IMHO argument and salesmanship requires a product mentality. Both initially create pain and then a product or formulation is offered to alleviate the pain. I have no such product to sell or to argue, other than that product being my own foolishness and curiousity to think in this manner. I therefore don’t want to blog or write books when the cause of my inquiry here is learning based and not expertise for sale.Horizontal Sensitivity and Vertical SensitivityThe problem today I feel today is not that we have been made insensitive, but that the world we live in is increasing in its sensitivity. The silo of this sensitivity proliferates as a “vertical sensitivity”. The scientist with their sensitivity, the theologian, the politician, the corporate leader, the follower of a belief system, all accommodating to their particular vertical. If I take news as an example, we make vertical slices of news and then invert that news so we focus on the worst of it rather than the best of it. What we don’t do well as a society is to slice horizontally. Then religion, politics, science, culture, nationalism, sex, race, wealth, class etc does not separate us, for we understand that we are communicating with other sensitive souls in the horizontal. If insensitivity descends to the bottom, that isn’t the chief problem.Vertical Sensitivity of Media and TerrorThe pain of birth is an unnecessary experience in the advancement of our age and yet media seems to serve us as an epidural. Media power it seems today take religious words such as “Fatwa” and “Jihad” and place it willingly in the context of the extremist, and in so doing horizontal sensitivity is utterly diminished or even dismissed. IMHO the work of the terrorist is thus aided by labelling things from their worldview. What is the point of media explaining what terror is if media is itself becomes the terror, and in such fear mongering, media can only become the byproduct of its own vertical sensitivity. That does not mean media is bad, but that it has exercised its vertical sensitivity, while ignoring that horizontal sensitivity exists in the thoughts of people like Newton Minnow, Edward Murrow etc etc.Horizontal Sensitivity of Reason and EmotionI feel that it is important to allow reason and emotion to come together as a catalyst for intelligence. Horizontal sensitivity IMHO would not isolate reason and emotion as if one is Paul and the other is John (whether that be a Biblical or a Beatles reference). Reason informs emotion and emotion informs reason, so long as we retain a “horizontal sensitivity” that then becomes a layer of intelligence rather than a vertical abomination, (sensitive as it may be), but which is still siloed thinking rather than a human and/or self-learning experience.Vertical Sensitivity of Religion and PowerThe greatest poverty I see in the world is not the financial type but the inhuman type. When humanity becomes our atmosphere we can learn to breath again, but when our sensitivities serve to divide humanity, then we are more liable to paint another’s sensitivity as inhuman, while we protect our own viewpoint. Then I guess we become super-sensitive about fighting for “our position” and life becomes an argument. That 50% that we must convince others of or to win over, which also leaves in its wake, a 50% that we do not want to hear because it does not fit or fullfill “our position”.Horizontal Sensitivity of Christ ConsciousnessFor me, “Christ Consciousness” is not a religion, it is a sensitivity and when I read what it means to be “Christ-Like” it is a universal idea and not a religious identification. When I read Matthew 7:24 and I see the words “sand” and “rock”, I naturally take it to mean “fear” and “faith”. That is evident to me because Jesus utilized Simon Peter as an example of an individual who wavered between fear and faith, Simon being “sand” and Peter being “rock”. Vertical sensitivity would turn this view into a denomination. Christianity is as fractured as Islam is in its various vertical sensitivities, but when I view Christ through a horizontal sensitivity, I begin to see commonality to people, that Christ sent people out in pairs and in utter simplicity, to preach what – that we reach and touch our humanity, not our religion. Is that not so?Vertical Sensitivity of Professional DisciplinesAnother thing that fascinates me is how we are still identified by what we do rather than who we are. We do not question our brand, indeed it is financially not astute to do anything other than create of ourselves an image, a professional image that yields financial return. Is that not a form of idolatry? If Islam protects itself from idolatry by ensuring Mohammed is not turned into an image, then is this something we can learn from that informs how we appreciate and understand our own commercial forms? With a vertical sensitivity we turn our profession (or what we profess) into our own little bucket of professional belief. Why would I worry about religious division, when we create professional language which seemingly at war with each other and leads us into image creation rather than a real relationship across societies? Are not our professions as “religious” today as the image of spirituality that is branded into the identity of the cultural psyche?Horizontal Sensitivity of Universal Profession Who am I? I am a private citizen who thinks these thoughts not as a vertical consumption but for horizontal nutrition i.e. I do not offer these thoughts is not something I wish to profess or wish to be known for, but in this particular moment I find them helpful to dwell upon because they arise simply because I am trying to think this out, in the moment I am thinking it. Each of us has the capacity to be a “great thinker” if we wish to be. The freedom in being free is to think our thoughts and then move on and not be consumed by any one particular idea. The universal profession should be itself unconditional love but how is that possible without horizontal sensitivity? Horizontal sensitivity is our own ability to transcend our ego.Vertical Sensitivity of FollowershipOf course we need leaders but that does not mean that we need to be led like a herd. Our humanity is not a form of leadership, it is a natural part of what it means to be human. We cannot lead people to humanity, IMHO each person must do the hard work of extracting their humanity from within themselves, if they so choose. We learn things from following and imitation, but that is not the only way of living a life, or at least I individually reason it to be so. Inspiration is no excuse to turn people into slaves of reason or ideology.Horizontal Sensitivity of Six Billion People BraintrustToday we should consider it fortunate that we can question what it is we think. How is it possible for me to digest the thoughts of six billion people if human expression is the liberating force of our time. We need the brains of six billion people but we also need to hear our own thoughts. That to me is the meaning of freedom, to be able to think our own thoughts and not have them turned into the next manifesto, the next leader, the new-new thing. What is the point of losing that freedom because we are run over by people who have not questioned their own thoughts? I don’t want to live in a world where groupthink is the norm, I want to be free, and trust is a form of freedom – so having this thought this I want to move on, for I have so much to learn and what I have thought out aloud here only represents the view of a learner who is still learning.Vertical Sensitivity as Psychological PainThe story of pain in the Garden of Gethsemane is particularly instructive to me. I readily recognize the pain of injustice, that as a human being that psychological pain can sometimes exceed greatly exceed physiological pain, otherwise how do we sweat blood psychologically? Vertical sensitivity is therefore psychological because it separates us in opinion. Empathy is a horizontal sensitivity, in understanding pain we begin to understand compassion and love.Horizontal Sensitivity and Vertical SensitivityI do not want to be consumed by my own thinking, indeed I need to think less and value more. In thinking less, I can open my mind about how I go about standing on the shoulders of the great. Yesterday as I began to read Martin Buber “I and Thou” immediately a terrific line jumped out and it said way more than all the paragraphs that I have managed to think out aloud above:”The basic word I-You can only be spoken with one’s whole being. The basic word I-It can never be spoken with one’s whole being”.Buber has explained in a couple of sentences what I have said in multiples of paragraphs. Now I must read some more, for my thoughts are a foolishness, but Buber’s and those whose greatness is written in the library of human history are worthy of our reflection.Thank You again Jerry, I hope my thoughts above are viewed with a humble equanimity.[Em]

  53. M.

    I’d like to add just a somewhat minor point. I suspect that much of the discussion has been devalued — and continues to be so — by allowing the narrative to be dominated by fear, not fact.I mean: From the earliest news reports until just now, I’d swear that someone uber-sinister was building a colossal Mosque on top of the WTC site, replete with a statue of Mohammed flipping Uncle Sam the bird.But it’s not a Mosque, but a 13-story community center which contains a mosque, something not entirely unlike a YMCA; nor is it on top of the site, but a few blocks away. This isn’t suburban or rural land, either; it’s densely packed lower Manhattan, which makes a few blocks a country mile by comparison. The center is to be headed by the same Imam sought out by the *Bush* administration precisely for his influence among moderate Muslims, not to mention his embrace for Western secularism. Moreover, the people who did commit this unspeakable act are just as, if not more so, bent on the destruction of modern, moderate, even pro-West Islam in the name of their particular jihadist strain.Oh, and by the way? It’s NYC. You know, the place where there already are mosques not far away from Ground Zero, and Muslims, including those who also died on that horrible day & their relatives who mourn them and despise the act. Not to mention the same city that so-called “real Americans” would have you believe is an elitist Gamorrah (except for those plucky Real Housewives, youbetcha).Apologies for the off-ramp. I think these are the discussions we need to have, and without allowing the more unhinged elements to define our conversation. Instead, we continue to have factually incorrect reporting every single day, multiple times per. It’s no wonder a large plurality of the US is against the mere idea of the center.Thanks for the post, Fred. We need more, better discussion and not more of the same. Sigh.

  54. Din

    May there was only few people who physically attack back then.but most of the Muslims really hate US and all about western culture,otherwise why would they celebrate the 9/11 attack?

  55. matthughes

    I’ve been lurking on Fred’s blog for the past several weeks, first time posting…It seems that Fred and those who support the building of the mosque believe it would represent America’s tolerance and acceptance of multi-culturalism and religion.Do you also believe it shows solidarity with the victims of 9/11?We all felt the impact of 9/11, but living on the West coast, and not knowing anyone personally who died in the attacks, it’s hard for me to gauge how the families of the victims feel about this issue.

    1. kidmercury

      you can find some testimony from the families of 9/11 victims, and their concerns, here:

  56. Bill DAlessandro

    Fred – I think there’s an important distinction that should be made by anyone engaging in this debate. Many people are getting confused between what should be permissible legally, and what is acceptable and emotionally sensitive to New Yorkers and all Americans hurt by the tragedy on 9/11.We live in a country that offers absolutely religious freedom and a separation of church and state – it’s a core tenant of our constitution. The government should have no place in telling the muslim community where it can and cannot build a place of worship.That said, just because the government allows it, does not mean it’s necessarily a good idea. It could be interpreted as offensive by a lot of different groups for a lot of different reasons, which I won’t dive into here (to avoid repetition with all the other comments).I feel that there must be some kind of compromise here that makes all parties happy – somehow recognizing the Constitutional right to build a mosque on the location, while avoiding the disrespect so many associated with the tragedy would feel.

    1. sachmo

      The mosque is more of a YMCA. The local people desire the practical services it offers.Why is there so much peer pressure against these people to build a mosque?The sensitivity of everyone to the mosque is unfair to the local Muslims. They had nothing to do with 9/11 nor did the religious faith of Islam as practiced by the vast majority of Islamic people.The hurt and pain some folks feel about the mosque is irrational and misdirected. The local Muslims shouldn’t have to sacrifice their right to openly practice their religion to satisfy these other people.

      1. Morgan Warstler

        ROFL. Jesus, Sachmo you don’t stop. NO ONE is saying they have to sacrifice anything.

        1. sachmo

          My point to Bill was that aside from just the legal rights to build the mosque, the local Muslims shouldn’t have to move their mosque because of respect or peer pressure.Unless I’m horribly mistaken, I think that’s basically your argument as well.And no, I don’t stop : )

          1. Morgan Warstler

            No I suspect Muslims will move their mosque and they will do it out of pressure, and that’s how things work.You have a fucked up definition of rights. The right to have a church there, IS BASED on the right offend them – trying to alter their actions. One right cannot exist without the other.

          2. sachmo

            I don’t think they will move their mosque, because downtown Manhattan space is difficult to get and if its too far from the local community, it won’t be of any use.My definition of rights is spelled out in the Constitution. Freedom of religion.I’ve never heard of the “right to offend someone” before this argument. That seems more fucked up to me.

  57. Kevin

    Well said Fred. I couldn’t agree more with you or the Mayor.As an American I expect and hope that their rights as property owners and as citizens are respected and honored and I am hopeful that this Mosque will be built and that it will come to illuminate the type of acceptance and respect for rights that has, can, and should stand for what is great about America. A Mosque standing near this site makes a powerful statement about who we are as a Country and what New York is as a City. Perhaps most importantly I think it would stand defiant towards the terrorists and the fundamentalists and show them that despite their best and most heinous efforts to weaken our resolve, our Country stands for freedom, rights, and liberty.

  58. David Bloom

    The saddest part of the war on terror has been the speed at which Americans, driven by fear and anger, have surrendered our core values. The rights of individuals and tolerance for others- no matter how different- are part of our bedrock. Even the Nazi’s were allowed to march in Skokie.Others have posted (thoughtfully) that the community center is not what people think it is, or where they think it is. All of this is true. But the issue that I care about, and that our Mayor and President spoke about, is that even if everything reported was true- that it is a Mosque at Ground Zero- it should be allowed to be built.I am a Jew who ran out of the World Financial Center on September 11. No one I know died, but I saw plenty of the hell born of ignorance, fear and hate. That community center won’t cure all of America’s problems with Muslim communities around the world, but support for it will prevent us from losing a little bit more of tolerant, better selves.

  59. zvozin

    Building a mosque near Ground Zero might be distasteful and insensitive to a lot of people (I am of at least two minds about it myself), but liberty trumps taste, and that’s how it ought to be. The issue seems to be rearing its head often these days – e.g., California’s Prop 8 mess is this mosque’s twin …

  60. Keenan

    I’m weighing in a again a day late. After a lengthy debate with a family member this question came to my mind. If I am looking to buy a new home, and my soon to be neighbor is attacked by two black men before I close, should I opt out of buying that home out of respect for him? Should I go else where? What do you think, yes, no?Just because someone is offended, doesn’t make them right.

  61. M.

    I found this, from Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography, worth sharing. On the drafting of the Virginia Statute, he writes:The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.”

  62. leahculver

    I have to agree with the 1/3 that don’t oppose the mosque but think it’s in poor taste.The location is too ambiguous. Is it meant as a peace gesture (the intention)? Or as a threat (an unintentional perception based on the nature of the location)? There’s nothing anyone can *say* that will change people’s gut reaction. It’s just not the best decision.So I’m not opposed, but I also think it’s tacky. You can’t really stop people from acting in bad taste though 😀

  63. kidmercury

    i hope while reading through all these comments people will consider the viewpoint that organized religion is mind control. also, most religions have been twisted to provide a false version of history, and as such, are not able to consider the role of extraterrestrials in the creation of humans and human civilization. i am not joking. this is important because extraterrestrials have free energy technology, but to understand this line of thinking requires acceptance of extraterrestrials. again i am not joking. think of what free energy would do to the world and how much well would benefit regardless of what stupid religion you want to believe in. this is a 100% serious comment — i am not joking. if you want to learn more about free energy adn testimony from government insiders about extraterrestrials and stuff look into the work of dr. steven greer as well as the interviews conducted by project camelot with US black ops members. available for free on the web, covers a small percentage of the available information on this subject. but better yet, research for yourself and decide for yourself what is more time, this comment is 100% serious, i am not joking.

  64. Huye

    What’s with VC bloggers talking about politics? Please stop.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve been doing it regularly since 2003 when i started this blogplease stop reading the blog if you dont’ like itits all part of the mix and always has been

      1. daryn


  65. john mkota

    Great thumb-up for our President and Mayor.America is a country based on freedom. Anyone can practice anything anywhere.I wonder why so many scared of a worship building. Its a place where people with good intention go.

  66. Prokofy

    The mayor and the president are absolutely right to uphold freedom of religion and the First Amendment principles. No question there. Just like a born-again megachurch with Sarah Palin speaking regularly from the podium would also have a right to build a community center at the same location. Whoops, if that were happening, we’d be hearing very, very different tunes being sung around this controversy now, wouldn’t we.See, the same First Amendment that mandates that this group must absolutely be allowed to build their building and worship as they see fit also makes it more than fine to criticize that act as possibly inappropriate, insensitive, or part of some larger agenda.I find it interesting that another mosque in the same vicinity doesn’t have a problem saying two things on its website:o it takes no position on the location of the Cordoba project o it condemns the terrorism of 9/11.Now…why is it so hard for the Cordoba Project to do that? That’s the problem.I’d like to hear lots more about this group’s beliefs and motivations and intentions than they are telling us. Just as I’d like to hear the same about a megachurch with Sarah Palin speaking. I’d like to hear how they plan to fund their activity and influence local and national politics. And that would be fine. In fact, it would be imperative in a liberal and free society to debate the intrusion of religious groups into politics.The imam has written a book about how what’s right with America is what’s right with Islam. Does it work the other way, that what’s wrong with Islam in many quarters is that it does not respect or even grasp the notion of separation of church and state?There’s lots more to be said on this topic, but the important thing is to establish that all the people questioning the wisdom of this group are as much a part of the First Amendment as the mosque itself needs to be. It works both way. And invoking charges of bigotry has a chilling effect on that exercise of that very First Amendment.So, put in your community center and mosque by all means, two blocks away from the site of the worst terrorist attack the nation has known, indeed at Ground Zero which was your intention, don’t pretend it’s about anything else or not at that location, and then join as equals in the furious and necessary debate about religion and culture and politics in this country. Amen.As for Kapuscinski, yes: “He doesn’t want a conversation, but a declaration that you agree with him, admit that he is right, join the cause.” And that’s why I don’t chime in with all the self-righteous lefties and progressives beating their breasts with induced tolerance about a group that in fact may advocate the establishment of the caliphate. It’s ok not to agree; it’s ok not to join the cause.

    1. sachmo

      Nobody would be questioning Palin’s right to open up a Megachurch in Manhattan. It might make a news story, but no one would try to stop her as some lawmakers are attempting to do with the mosque. Anyway Palin speaks regularly from a much larger podium – fox news.The chief Imam of the Cordoba Project has spoken out numerous times against the 9/11 attacks. He has done so verbally and in the form of written statements in his books. Beyond that, the Cordoba Project should not have any special onus to denounce the attacks. Do most Libertarians have clearly stated text on their websites denouncing McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing? Do they even need to? It is quite obvious to most sane people in this country that the acts of McVeigh and 9/11 are abhorrent.The group’s primary intention is to build a YMCA like center to provide services to the local Muslims. If you’re curious as to the group’s political intentions, just read one of the Imam’s books which makes clear his intention to bridge the gap between the West and Islam. Beyond that, the argument that they are trying to impose Sharia law on the US is ridiculous. It has not been backed by one shred of credible evidence.Incidentally as a citizen, I’m much more concerned over Newscorp’s recent donation of 1 million dollars to the Republican party. It is an obvious conflict of interests for the Fox News organization which claims to be fair and impartial to donate to a political party. As for the First Amendment – it does have some restrictions when it comes to hate speech, libel, and slander. And I personally do find the characterization that all Islamic people are violent as blatant bigotry – there is no other word to describe it. This is a peace-loving community that had nothing to do with the attacks. The attacks were carried out by less than 2 dozen men. The people who committed the attacks were psychopaths and are in no way indicative of the other 1.6 billion people that practice Islam. The local Islamic community also suffered just like everyone else when the towers fell, and they share almost no religious beliefs with the people who carried out the attacks. There is no reason why they should be peer pressured into not building a community center / place of worship. They have the right to openly practice their religion just like anyone else.

      1. Prokofy

        Baloney. Of course they would be howling about Palin and we all know it. Look how much howling we alread get about her every move and every utterance. The screeching from the lefties would be heard all over the planet. Even the relatives of the victims, who in NY/NJ don’t tend to be the born-again southern types, might find it unsettling. Good for Fox news. They are covering a figure that is like more Americans than she is unlike them. The left lives in a total cultural bubble which puts them at war with many other sectors of American society.The chief imam and his board have NOT spoke on these issues *on their project’s website, which is where it needs to be*. I did research it. And I shouldn’t have to be required to go out and buy books and leaf through them to find a man’s views on issues *this* important. When various news media vaguely describe him as once making a speech with critiques of terrorism, I find it insufficient. It needs to go on his website. BTW, when the media claims he once said America deserved to be attacked, I also find it insufficient as it is hearsay. It needs to be in print, on his website, full stop. Your evasiveness on this is so noted.The Cordoba Project *sure as hell* has to have a special onus to come clean on its views on violence, terrorism, and separation of church and state. Why? Because Cordoba is an invocation of Al-Andalus, which, whatever liberal revisionist utopianism you want to believe about it, advocated the Islamic caliphate, i.e. an Islamic government under sharia law.For an Islamic caliphate to come about in Europe or North American, violence would indeed have to be used. Therefore, very clear cut articulation of the views of Cordoba Project is required here.I’d be happy for Libertarians to renounce violence on their websites. They should. In fact, many on the left and right should do this, given their propensity for covering up, endorsing, apologizing for, and prevaricating about violence.If it’s obvious that the acts of 9/11 are abhorrent to Cordoba, they can denounce them on their website — hey, like another mosque in the same neighbourhood did! See, that wasn’t so hard. One suspects that it’s because if you’re actually a mosque, a religious institution for praying, you don’t find it so hard. It’s when you become a cultural center waging a cultural war for the left by trying to bully and shame the right that it becomes more difficult, eh?Er, here you go again requiring me to read books. Why don’t you read Berman’s books on terrorism? That might help you revise some of *your* thinking. Again, position papers and statements need to be ON WEBSITES in our modern age, not tucked in a book.Actually, now that you mention Sharia law, it’s precisely because the website curiously provides no critique or commentary on Sharia, but just mentions it as topics for workshops as if it is a norm and not controversial, that one wishes for more articulated positions on violence, violation of human rights, and so on.I’m happy that Newscorp donated $1 million to Fox News under the new Supreme Court ruling that doesn’t discriminate any longer against corporations, given that labour unions and NGOs and parties got to do these things all along, and people who provide products and jobs to other people were unable to participate in election campaigning. I’m happy like I’m happy Soros funds and that the progressive cell phone company CREEDO buys out phone contracts and pushes its messages to cell phone users. This is America. You get to do that. Among the things you get to do is put your mosque up 2 blocks away from the World Trade Center terrorism site despite the hurt and anger of victims families. AND the other thing you get to do in America is tolerate the expression of those people and many others on this public issue without browbeating, bullying and harassing them (or having your fans do this by proxy) by invoking speciously that they are “bigots” or “haters” or somehow paving the way for Sarah Palin. Mkay? That’s how America works.Under the 1st Amendment, if your belief is that all Muslims are violent because their religion is inherently violent, guess what, you get to express that belief whether Muslims like it or not — oh, unless they threaten you with death and actually try to kill you. But there is no “incitement of imminent violence” intended in the expression of that belief just because it incites imminent violence among some who hear it.I personally don’t associate all Muslims with violence because in my experience dealing with a lot of different countries I see numerous Muslims who are not violent and abhor violence.Yet I will say that same experience of numerous Muslims and groups also lets me know something else about them that is generally true and very troubling: they find it difficult to condemn the extremists among them. They find it difficult for a number of reasons that are very troubling to the Westerner:o fear of violence from those extremists, all too palpable a realityo a sense of collectivist solidarity with their religion or people in the face of the West — Westerners find it easier to be individuals and dissenterso a sense that while they personally wouldn’t go that far, they share some of the same anger over policies on Israel or Egypt or Saudi Arabia.It’s like John Lecarre’s novel about the 95 percent good imam.Please spare me with the “less than a dozen men”. Every other week, dozens kill 50 people in Iraq, over and over again. The Taliban is responsible for 70 percent of the attacks on thousands of civilians. Numerous terrorist attacks have been committed by extreme Islamists in Europe, Russia and Central Asia with thousands of victims in total. These terrorist attacks by Muslims that often kill other Muslims are way, way WAY more in number and persistence than anything the U.S. comes up with in terms of a militia or a McVeigh. So accept that there’s a huge disproportion here and stop serving as an apologist and a browbeater. Stop the phone moral equivalence between political violence in the U.S., which may in some cases have a religious connotation related to it, and the overwhelming number of extremist Islamic terrorist incidents that are tied to the religion in more explicit ways, and have less disassociation from that religion than one finds in the religions of the West.In the West, you can call on the Pope to resign (as I have) and take his priests to court on suspicion of crimes against minors. Please show me a Muslim country where you can do that.Stop *lying about* the true state of affairs because each time you do that, you incite further suspicion of your community.Look within, at home, in the repressive regimes of the Arab League for the springs of terrorism instead of blaming Western policies or intolerances.Muslims seeking to make a deliberately provocative project with a political agenda for the left also contained within it (look at the board members) and trying to incite hatred of the right and create discomfort and anger in other religious groups *deserve debate, deserve scrutiny about their funding, and deserve inspection of their motivations*.

        1. sachmo

          About Palin opening up a megachurch — I completely disagree with you. Palin’s particular views stir up controversy. Given her wide audience (millions from fox news, and millions from her vice presidential run), I don’t think its surprising at all that she has so many critics. But no one has ever come forward and questioned her right to openly practice her religion. I don’t think there is any basis or reason you can provide as to why her rights to open up a megachurch would be questioned by the population at large. I don’t even think the example is a comparable situation.The argument about the Cordoba website is silly. The Imam has spoken and written about his condemnation of the 9/11 attacks. There is no room for mis-interpretation on his statements.You’ve characterized me as being evasive, and yet I have provided you an example of where the Imam has on record, in an absolutely verifiable manner has written against the 9/11 attackers. From my perspective, you are displaying intense paranoia in the face of direct evidence that refutes your main point (namely that the local Islamic community supported the attacks; they did not).The burden of proof is on you to find credible evidence that they supported the 9/11 attacks. Until you do so, your argument has no credibility.The Cordoba project has no special onus to explicitly state they are against the 9/11 attacks. First of all, it is absolutely bigotry to expect that all Muslims have a special onus to prove that they are not in league with the 9/11 attackers. As I stated before, the actual terrorists acts are carried out by a very small number of people. Any resemblance to the vast majority of peace-loving Muslim people is superficial at best. We don’t expect Libertarians to denounce McVeigh on his website, it is unnecessary to expect any more from the Muslim community in this nation.In fact expecting that all mosques have statements on their websites denouncing 9/11 only adds to a sense of fear and suspicion of Muslim people that is entirely unfounded. It does more damage than good. And frankly, your suspicion and hate is entirely misdirected. What is the purpose in attempting to hold accountable people that had nothing to do with the attacks? You are going after the wrong people.Secondly, the Imam has publicly spoken and written about his beliefs on the matter. Even if there was any doubt, given the peaceful overtones of the website, this should beyond all doubt clear things up. What you are experiencing is intense paranoia. Beyond actually stating his particular beliefs in a book, there is little more that the Imam can do to convince someone like you that he is against the attacks. Its seems that no matter what you will distrust all brown-skinned bearded people who are Islam. This unfortunate as there are over 1.5 billion adherents to the religion, and the vast majority are simply peace-loving people.It is less than a few thousand that actually are violent and plot terrorist attacks.The name of the organization by the way is “Cordoba” and *NOT* “Al-Andalus.” There is not one shred of credible evidence that these people want to impose Sharia law or bring back the Caliphate. In fact their website, and the Imam’s books directly refute this point of view. To believe this is willful ignorance in the face of everything the local Muslim community is saying.– For example, the website lists planned symposiums with local Jewish and Christian leaders– Meetings for Muslim women to become successful in the workplace.– Conversations with other religious leaders as to how to stop intolerance and religious violenceLinking the Cordoba initiative to bringing back the Caliphate is completely ungrounded nonsense.I haven’t read Berman’s books, and probably will never do so. I personally don’t feel that it is necessary for them to have on their website an explicit statement against the attacks. But if you still feel so strongly that they should explicitly denounce the 9/11 attacks, then I think the proper way to address this is to write to the Cordoba initiative and explain why it is important to denounce the terrorist attacks. Even so, though they may have not explicitly done so already, not having a statement on their website DOES NOT make them terrorists.You’ve stated that Libertarian’s should be stating on their website that they are against the Oklahoma City Bombings. Have you ever stated this belief before publicly? Have you raised the issue on the web? Because if you haven’t done so then you are unfairly singling out the Muslim population.Actually I think that the donations by corporations to political parties is unconstitutional and will be reversed at some point in the future. I think its bad for corporations to be able to so directly influence political elections. I think its horrible that fox news can donate 1 million dollars to a political party and still operate as a news organization. And I also happen to agree that there should be restrictions on Labor Unions, and non-profits like is already plenty of direct evidence (information off of the Cordoba Website, and writing in public speeches and books) that establish that these are peaceful Muslims that have denounced the 9/11 attacks. Despite this, you have continued to ignore the overwhelming evidence that these are peaceful people, simply because they are Muslim. To me it seems that you have singled out a group of people to attack based purely on their religious beliefs. Bigotry and discrimination are perfectly appropriate words for this kind of behavior.And by the way, I’m not arguing to restrict anyone’s First Amendment rights. But I don’t think you realize how hate filled speech can lead to violence, or can lead to the curtailment of freedom of religion rights. Both, as I stated before would be terrible situations.If you don’t think all Muslims are violent, then why do you suspect the Cordoba mosque to be a secretly evil organization, in the face of so much evidence to the contrary?Why not take them for their word that they are peace-loving people that want to promote mutual understanding between religions?I think you are the apologist by the way. Every example you’ve provided of violence are in war zones. As in ongoing civil wars in countries that WE, the US, invaded, and haven’t yet installed functioning governments in.The violence in Iraq and Afghanistan are on going civil wars. Neither country has a strong functioning central government, because the US invaded them both. An insurgency is not the same thing as terrorism.And you’ve willfully ignored examples of ongoing civil wars in predominantly Christian countries – like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.If you were to actually add up the number of Islamic people that engage in violent acts of terrorism in other nations, you’d find that the number would be a tiny fraction of a percent of the total population of Muslim people. See my above points with Morgan on the subject.No matter how you want to slice it, the actual number of violent terrorists is something like .00001% of the total 1.6 billion Muslims out there. Your characterization of Muslims then is completely false and discriminatory.By the way, I am not a Muslim (not that it matters) – and please point out exactly where you feel that I may have “lied”. In my opinion, you have vociferously expounded completely untruthful statements regarding the Cordoba project and their supposed intentions to restore the Caliphate – which is not backed by a single shred of credible evidence, and can be proven false by simply looking at the viewpoints their website advocates, or looking at the viewpoints that their chief Imam advocates.I think the reason why many governments in the Middle East are repressive has much more to do with oil, and the power that it gives the central government. You find the same patterns of repression in other oil rich states, like Venezuela, Russia, Nigeria, etc.I don’t think this mosque has anything to do with the “left.” Its about the freedom to practice one’s religion openly – a right guaranteed our Constitution. The Muslims deserve no more inspection than anyone else opening up a Church or Synagogue, to do so is unfair discrimination.

  67. S Rafiq

    This may, or may not, have already been posted but as I know the AVC community is of some size I thought I would quickly make a contribution. May I pose the question WHY building a mosque near ground zero is controversial? To me, the plan to build a mosque is anything but controversial. If the controversy exists due to the fact that those who caused the tragedy on 9/11 were Muslims and thus to build a mosque for Muslims on the same site would be wrong immediately this controversy is none existent. This is because the religion of Islam, and thus the religion of the Muslims, promotes the sanctity of life and therefore makes it wholly impermissible to take life. Those who caused the tragedy on 9/11 were therefore not Muslims and so no link can be established between a mosque and those who caused the tragedy. If the controversy exists due to the fact that those who caused the tragedy on 9/11 proclaimed to be Muslims and thus to build a mosque for Muslims on the same site would be wrong immediately this controversy is none existent. This is because a mere proclamation that a person is a Muslim does not in fact mean that the proclaimer is, in fact, a Muslim. Those who caused the tragedy on 9/11 were therefore proclaiming to be a member of a group although no such link, in fact, existed. If the controversy exists due to the fact that the Taliban or Al Qaeda or other groups are at this moment in time fighting our forces and these groups proclaim to be Muslims the above argument will stand once more. It therefore becomes apparent that the only way in which the matter can be seen to be controversial is if one draws a link between Islam, it’s Mosques’, and the tragedy of 9/11. For a simple mind such controversy might easily be recognised – the bombers said they were Muslims and were fighting Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet to anybody who gives the matter at least some thought the plan to build a mosque cannot be seen as controversial. That’s why i’m posing the question WHY is building a mosque near ground zero controversial?

  68. Steve

    So here in the UK we have learnt that the Catholic Church were very involved with terrorism, in particular the IRA. See this news item…So the question has to be asked, would a new Catholic church being built close one of the numerous IRA bomb targets in many of our cities up and down our country be offensive?The answer is probably not.People need a reality check, life is too short.

  69. Peter Beddows

    As a people, we have the strongest tendency to get our knickers in a twist over myopically viewed, emotionally tinged yet very narrowly impactful issues to such an extent that, in the process, we frequently lose sight of, and forget to pay attention to, issues that really do have important consequences to all of us in respect to our nations economic health, our peoples health and welfare, our fundamental freedoms and our Constitution. Placing a Mosque at the proposed location in NYC is exactly just one of those “myopically viewed, emotionally tinged yet very narrowly impactful issues”.For example, of far greater significance in recent years we have seen the erosion, even decimation, of many fundamental rights on the grounds of the need to “Protect ourselves from terrorists” based upon the occurrence of events on 9/11: Many of these changes actually go way beyond “just improving our ability to secure our safety” yet in a number of ways there has been an almost silent acceptance of these changes like lambs being led to the slaughter. On the other hand, we have irrational rants about a mosque being set up in a part of NYC that has traditionally been an extremely cosmopolitan area that has included Muslims. Even this morning, front page picture and page 5 NYT article shows this to be true and who hasn’t wandered around even Greenwich Village and not noticed the cosmopolitan nature of the area?As another example of irrational response to a narrow issue, we get excited to an absurd degree relative to things like “Equal (marriage) Rights For Gays” (see responses to Mark Susters’ recent posting on that subject) and even here within Fred’s courageous expose of his opinion regarding the Mosque, we have seen the appearance of certain entities that cannot discourse either civilly or intelligently; they have to resort to name-calling, offensive language and attacks on others: Nothing of value is added to the discussion by their contribution. How sad; how civilized are we really?As I observed these irregular intemperate opinions being expressed here (and also on the aforementioned Susters’ blog) by contributors who appeared out of the blue who are not regulars to this blog (and, btw, who appear to have a reputation for disrupting other bloggers), I wondered why so many regular, obviously normally mindful, contributors were unwittingly drawn into responding to the attacks, taking what was obviously intended as “bait” thereby giving audience to – and thus credence to, the opinions of those contributors instead of ignoring it. A cherished freedom is freedom of speech but we also have the freedom to not listen to the irrational and to also recognize that we do not need to worry that radicalized Muslims may put our safety in jeopardy when we have plenty of our own citizens who are so intransigent and myopic that they also represent a threat to our freedom and safety; especially those whom we find that attempting to have them see reason by responding to their opinions in a blog is just as ineffective as King Canute of fable was ineffective in stopping the tide from coming in.Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered an impassioned speech on religious freedom at a Ramadan dinner at Gracie Mansion Tuesday (08/24/2010) night, declaring there’s “nowhere in the five boroughs of New York City that is off limits to any religion.” Now that is tolerance and temperance par excellence: A Jewish Mayor at an Islamic feast; good for Mayor Bloomberg and for NYC.‎”This is a test of our commitment to American values,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last night, again defending the Islamic center and mosque to be built near Ground Zero. I’m an American Citizen, ex-pat Brit. My step-son was in one of the adjacent buildings that was all but buried in the collapse of the towers. Fortunately he was rescued but greatly impacted by the experience. I have been on the top of The World Trade building; fortunately not on any day when anyone was attempting to destroy it: I watched as the buildings collapsed; it was a very impactful experience. I have also worked, albeit briefly, in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia where my British company was doing business with the American company ARAMCO at that time and thus experienced first-hand the Muslim based society. Muslims are also attempting to build a gigantic mosque in London and the UK has been all but overwhelmed by Muslim immigrants from the ex-colonies. I have Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and atheist friends. I fear more for the consequences of what our own government is doing to erode our constitution and our basic freedoms and I fear more for the consequences of their captivation by, and cow-towing to, vested interests instead of their being in governance for the best interest of us, the American people, than I do for having mosques built in any particular place or for having Muslims for neighbors.

  70. Prokofy

    It’s really quite unpleasant to be driven into a corner literally by technology forcing you into a narrow column merely because you go several rounds on a debate. That’s a really nasty feature of disqus which is generally a pretty good platform. So…I won’t be driven. I do want to have this debate on my own blog, however, because I’d like those piling on the hate and invective to take accountability and put a recognizable name and Internet reputation to their posts, as I do.Just some quick points to satchmo:1. Terrorism is one thing; sharia law is another. They aren’t coterminous, obviously and I haven’t said they are. Sharia law does indeed violate universal human rights. Terrorism does too, and in a worse form, by killing people.2. Re: “Regarding points number #1 and #2, we know they have no secret motives, because the Imam has publicly spoken and written books arguing that the attacks on 9/11 were reprehensible. He hasn’t just done this once, he’s being doing it for years. These speeches are available on Youtube, and the books you could find on Amazon or probably in the NYC public library system.”We hear this over, and over and over — ad nauseum. There are supopsed to be youtubes, and books, and speeches. But…if there are, then… it shouldn’t be too hard to put up a simple statement on a *website* eh? Why should people have to go pawing through books in the library or youtubes to pick out somebody’s position about something as important about their attitude to the 9/11 terrorists?!What’s such a conundrum about people making this strange claim about alleged “on the record statements” is that they *cannot* explain then that IF there such statements out there, why they so oppose having the imam and his board put out these statements coherently and cogently and in writing permanently and findable *on their website*.What such claimants say also — paradoxically, given their claim of all these ostensible public statements out there — is that any demand that Park51 put out a coherent statement on their website outlining their positions is some kind of loyalty test or MacArthyism. And yet…they’ve just told us there are all these youtubes and books out there.So again, if so, it shouldn’t be any trouble at all for the imam to take his own books and youtubes and place them on his website outlining his definitive positions on:o sharia lawo the caliphateo 9/11 terrorists and other terrorist actso funding from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other OIC statesThat’s all.and the reason he doesn’t is a) so he doesn’t have to be held to them b) so he can continue to portray critics as the problem and not his own evasiveness and c) because making definitive statements on these sensitive and controversial areas within his own faith would cause him to suffer a backlash from conservatives.