Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just build the NYC cultural center and mosque

Any person or group can build anything, anywhere (within the law of city ordinances).

Unlike Charles Krauthammer, I don't believe that the actions of al-Qaeda crazies speak for the majority of Muslims. The actions of al-Qaeda don't even speak for those Muslims who may considered themselves Islamist. In fact, what al-Qaeda does speak for is a crazed band of murderers who are holding a Holy Book in one hand and a weapon in the other. That so many people are willing to, and allowing themselves to, associate al-Qaeda with over a billion other people is dumbfounding.

The Islamophobia gripping this country (as well as Western Europe) is getting a bit out of hand. France is instituting dress codes (not to mention deporting Roma), and the United Kingdom is having a fantastic time installing security cameras in predominately Muslim neighborhoods. According to polls, 60 to 70 percent of people in the United States disagree with building the cultural center-cum-mosque in NYC (this was in a Washington Post Metro Express paper on 20 August).

And do you know what else? There already is a mosque within a half mile (between 4 and 5 blocks) from the former site of the World Trade Center. Masjid Manhattan (masjid = mosque in Arabic) has been in the area since 1970. Of course, I don't know if they've occupied the same space, but I'm sure a tax revenue database search will clear that up. On a side note, it's sad that the masjid finds it necessary to state that it is not affiliated with any organization "to build anything new in the area of downtown Manhattan." Further, it's sad that they must also state two paragraph later that they, and their members, "condemn any type of terrorist acts." Perhaps the websites of catholic churches should carry similar disclaimers; that their resident priests are not pedophiles (St. Patrick's in D.C. does not). Or perhaps members of Congress should carry disclaimers stating that they are ethical).

Which brings me to my last point: this is an election year, congressional midterms. So rather than proposing new plans for growing jobs AND the economy, or for "winning" Afghanistan, nationalist strategists (both Democrat and Republican) would rather make electoral issues based on victimizing "the others." Between "illegals" and "Muslims," the nationalists have plenty to gripe about.

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