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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you two are talking about two different things. There seem, to me, to be two different questions: 1. Should the Islamic Center, AKA, the mosque, be allowed to be erected on that site? Is anyone arguing that it is ILLEGAL for them to build the mosque there? I don't think so. In my opinion, under the Constitution, they have the right.

2. Should Muslims build a mosque at that site? Is it insensitive (at best) or are people's emotional objections intolerant and prejudiced?

I'm very sympathetic to those people who say that it's too close and hurts those who were injured by 9-11, but by saying that, the peep shows and other low-life businesses in the area (I've read exist) apparently don't demonstrate a disrespect. That's understandable--strippers did not explode the buildings. But still. . . How far does Ground Zero extend? Two blocks is apparently not enough, or is it not enough just for Muslims? Do we have separate laws? Do we want them?

The Muslims that want to build this either did not anticipate this firestorm (they were naive, to be generous) or didn't care, yet say they want to reach other to other religions. If the situation were reversed, and extremist Christians had bombed a building, killing 3,000 people (including children) and a liberal Christian sect wanted to build within a couple of blocks, yet ignited a terrible emotional reaction, I'd say to them, "Are you doing this in the name of Jesus, in the name of love? Go elsewhere. Be peaceful. Turn the other cheek." I daresay liberals in the US would be very unsympathetic to such a situation.

SHOULD the mosque have to go elsewhere? No, of course not. But I fear that an extremist may blow up this building, an event increased by all hateful comparisons between Muslims and Nazis.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 354
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also sympathetic to the views of those who lost love ones in 911. HOWEVER...America continues (we hope) to be a free country. IF we are to remain so, then allowing a group of legitimate landowners (if they have purchased the property) or renters (if leased) to use that site for a legitimate purpose is the American way.

My hairdresser is a Muslim originally from Kuwait. He has a wife and a baby with another on the way. He has worked hard over the years to build his business and provide for his family. Should I be afraid that he might stab me with the scissors because a group of crazy extremists happen to share the same religion that he does? Should we not allow a Japanese restaurant anywhere near Pearl Harbor? What about a Mexican restaurant near the Alamo? Should I judge all fundamentalist Christians on the actions of Timothy McVeigh? My brother has worked for an oil company in Saudi Arabia for the past 18 years. He states that most of the Arabs he knows and works with are ashamed of what Bin Laden and his extremists did. Until we start seeing people as individuals and judging them on THEIR own actions, then we will never shed the racial, ethnic, religious or gender problems we have in this country.
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maryskl wrote:
I am also sympathetic to the views of those who lost love ones in 911. HOWEVER...America continues (we hope) to be a free country. IF we are to remain so, then allowing a group of legitimate landowners (if they have purchased the property) or renters (if leased) to use that site for a legitimate purpose is the American way.

My hairdresser is a Muslim originally from Kuwait. He has a wife and a baby with another on the way. He has worked hard over the years to build his business and provide for his family. Should I be afraid that he might stab me with the scissors because a group of crazy extremists happen to share the same religion that he does? Should we not allow a Japanese restaurant anywhere near Pearl Harbor? What about a Mexican restaurant near the Alamo? Should I judge all fundamentalist Christians on the actions of Timothy McVeigh? My brother has worked for an oil company in Saudi Arabia for the past 18 years. He states that most of the Arabs he knows and works with are ashamed of what Bin Laden and his extremists did. Until we start seeing people as individuals and judging them on THEIR own actions, then we will never shed the racial, ethnic, religious or gender problems we have in this country.


What you said... you go, girl!!!!
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X is right; there are two issues here. I do not think the Mosque builders are doing something illegal nor that they don't have a right to build. I do believe that their insistence on the spot chosen, regardless of their original reasons, is insensitive in the extreme.

Further, I don't know a great deal about Islam, but historically it has not been a religion based on sweetness and light, nor on forgiveness and mercy. I'm not surprised, therefore, that many see a contradiction between the avowed aims of the builders of the mosque--reconciliation--and their insistence on building where they have chosen to build. I don't think either freedom of religion or property rights or any right, for that matter, would suffer much if they were to find another site. To do so might show more urgency to reconcile than continuing will.
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick, if you can show me a religion based on sweetness and light, I'd be all for it. The only one I can really think of, off hand, is the B'Hai faith.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is absolutely no doubt that the people planning the mosque have a perfect right to build it there. That doesn't make it a good idea.

I can foresee one of two outcomes:

Best case scenario: It becomes part of the scenery and no one even notices that it is there.

Worst case scenario: It serves as a constant reminder that the perpetrators of 9/11 were observant Muslims who believed they were fulfilling a demand of their faith, and who were encouraged in that belief by their imams. People are not going to drop in for a chat in order to discover that the Muslims in this building view their faith differently.

It worries me.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
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Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna Lea Simpson wrote:
dick, if you can show me a religion based on sweetness and light, I'd be all for it. The only one I can really think of, off hand, is the B'Hai faith.


Good point Donna. David Koresh, Jim Jones, the Heaven's Gate cult, members of the Christian Identity movement, Westboro Baptist Church...All of these Christians are associated with violence, suicide, child abuse, etc. The holocaust occurred because "Christians" decided to rid themselves of Jews, Gypsies and Communists (the Pope knew but failed to intervene in any way). The Inquisition. The Crusades where early Christians were granted indulgences for killing Muslims. The persecution of the Huguenots. The Salem Witch Trials. Now if we just started practicing what Jesus preached, then this argument would be moot. Love your neighbor as yourself.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna Lea Simpson wrote:
dick, if you can show me a religion based on sweetness and light, I'd be all for it. The only one I can really think of, off hand, is the B'Hai faith.

Within Islam, I think Sufism actually kind of qualifies, but I'll admit my knowledge of this subject is limited.

I live in Haifa, home to the Baha'i World Center and its famous hanging gardens. Although I'm not Baha'i myself, I think it's great to have a religion focusing on peace and harmony.

Speaking of the Cordoba Initiative and the planned mosque/community center, someone did a photo essay showing what else is within a short distance to ground zero. I don't know how accurate it is, but it was pretty interesting.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think anybody, including me, can deny that a great many evils have been committed in the name of various religions. However, Mohammedanism used, from its beginnings, unusually violent means of spreading. Mahomet used assassination, bribery, theft as means of expanding his rule. He allowed no distinctions between religious and civil law, which ultimately derives from Mohammed. (If I'm not mistaken that is still a central tenet of the religion.) In comparison, therefore, Mohammedanism is, I think, much less sweet and much less light than most associate with religion.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's a belief system in the WORLD, whether it's religion, politics, democracy, monarchy, ethics, or ANY other, where there isn't a gap between the ideal and the practiced. Because religion, in particular, is wound up in tradition and practice, it is particularly sticky, and it seems to me that they ALL oppress women, especially.

It's become an American tenant because most (all?) religions preach love to say that "all religions are the same." They are not, IMO. Islam came after the Black Plague had devastated the East and Europe and I think its demands reflect a very different view of God than that of Jesus, IMO (again), one that is harsher, much more violent, more narrow in what is acceptable behavior.

Unfortunately, every religion has extremists who are more than willing to murder in its name, but the real test of a religion, faced with these people, is how the mainstream reacts. It seems to me, as American, that the mainstream of Islam has not disavowed the extremes of terrorists who prey on their own people, or the brutal enforcement of Islamic law. When people who blow innocents up, whether in Israel, Moscow, the US, Bali, India, or Madrid are referred to as "martyrs," it reflects on Islam. Or is "martyr" used only for those who blow up people in Israel? I don't think so. It seems to me that every single Islamic country is oppressed, and I would love to see the cry for tolerance taken up within these countries, but for obvious reasons, that does not happen. Most persecute other faiths, either overtly or tacitly. I'd like to say I see Islam as a beacon of tolerance, but I don't.

At the same time, I have no doubt that the majority if Muslims are loving people who do their best to love their neighbor and to be good people. But too many of Muslim religious leaders (immans) preach hatred and violence. How can that NOT reflect on Islam?
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've felt uncomfortable, since I posted my thoughts above, because I am afraid that it will be seen as (or might actually be) an attack on Islam, so I've been asking myself two questions:

1. Is religion too dangerous to be discussed?

Do I believe, like Stephen Hopkins, the RI signer of the Declaration of Independence, said, "Hell, yes! I'm for debating anything"? I'm not sure. Criticism of religion, more than any other subject, can hurt, enrage, and damage a person, when criticized. That's why religion and politics are the only subjects that people are warned not to discuss.

2. How does a person know whether criticism of a religion is evidence of prejudice or not?

Yes, sometimes, people saying "That's prejudiced" is a good indicator, but sometimes not. Sometimes, the accusation of prejudice is an unconsidered response to any criticism. When someone criticizes his/her own religion, it's not evidence of prejudice, so how do we know whether criticism of another religion is prejudiced or not?

I do believe that some of the objections to the mosque are motivated out of prejudice, but are they all? I don't think so. Coldly responding only to the Constitutional legalities, people dismiss the objections that it is inappropriate and hurtful for a mosque to be built so close to Ground Zero. The "constitutionalists" see such objections as evidence of prejudice or irrationality. On the other hand, those people who respond only to the hot emotions dismiss American tolerance and the law. They argue that a mosque of the religion of the perpetrators desecrates the memory of the victims of 9-11, regardless of the legalities. Neither really listens to the other side with an open heart. Ironically, this whole furor is over a place to worship God.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 354
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
I don't think there's a belief system in the WORLD, whether it's religion, politics, democracy, monarchy, ethics, or ANY other, where there isn't a gap between the ideal and the practiced. Because religion, in particular, is wound up in tradition and practice, it is particularly sticky, and it seems to me that they ALL oppress women, especially.

It's become an American tenant because most (all?) religions preach love to say that "all religions are the same." They are not, IMO. Islam came after the Black Plague had devastated the East and Europe and I think its demands reflect a very different view of God than that of Jesus, IMO (again), one that is harsher, much more violent, more narrow in what is acceptable behavior.

Unfortunately, every religion has extremists who are more than willing to murder in its name, but the real test of a religion, faced with these people, is how the mainstream reacts. It seems to me, as American, that the mainstream of Islam has not disavowed the extremes of terrorists who prey on their own people, or the brutal enforcement of Islamic law. When people who blow innocents up, whether in Israel, Moscow, the US, Bali, India, or Madrid are referred to as "martyrs," it reflects on Islam. Or is "martyr" used only for those who blow up people in Israel? I don't think so. It seems to me that every single Islamic country is oppressed, and I would love to see the cry for tolerance taken up within these countries, but for obvious reasons, that does not happen. Most persecute other faiths, either overtly or tacitly. I'd like to say I see Islam as a beacon of tolerance, but I don't.

At the same time, I have no doubt that the majority if Muslims are loving people who do their best to love their neighbor and to be good people. But too many of Muslim religious leaders (immans) preach hatred and violence. How can that NOT reflect on Islam?


I can see many correlations between the violence of Islam and the violence of Christianity from the beginnings to present day. I think the largest problem with coexistence is the nature of monotheism. When the world went from a polytheistic belief system to the beginnings of monotheism (with the advent of Judaism), there became an exclusivity that was not there before. Of course this is a rather simplistic view of religion, but each of the three major monotheistic religions claims a special relationship with God coupled with a belief that their way is the only way. After Constantine convened the Council of Nicea and Christianity was adopted throughout the Roman Empire, the ultimate legal end for pagans was convert or die. In Judaism, the Old Testament is filled with Hebrews a'smiting and a'smoting. In order for a monotheistic religion to survive, it had to rid its environment of the multitudes of gods that came before. This was typically done through violent or repressive means.

To Americans who are primarily Christian, there is an inherent prejudice against other religions. To Arabs, who are primarily Muslim, there is an inherent prejudice against other religions. Each believes they are right.

From our perspective, the World Trade Center bombing was an unjustified, unprovoked attack against the American people. From the Iraqi perspective, our invasion of Iraq was an unjustified, unprovoked attack against the Iraqi people. If we are to add up the body count, the Americans have killed many more Arabs than Arabs have killed Americans. We have sided against them with our alliance with Israel, but sided with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia when Iraq invaded Kuwait. There is an economic dependency on both parts but each of us disapproves of the others' social structure. Raised as an American, of course I disapprove of their treatment of women. They see their treatment of women as protecting them. Both societies have used religion to subjugate women. The difference in America is our majority religion is not the law of the country. While primarily Christian, we are a pluralistic society and I think maintaining that line between religion and state is essential to individual freedom.

Think back to the abortion center bombings of the late 20th century. While most pro-life people would not believe it was their duty to kill abortion doctors, when the bombings did occur very few came out with strong condemnatory language. I think that while most abhorred the violence, there was a part of them that understood the motivation and felt conflicted. We have not exactly endeared ourselves to the Arab nations and when it comes to supporting what is near and familiar vs. what is foreign and far away, people tend to support their friends even if they disagree with the methods.

Having said all of that! Very Happy There is a difference between American religion and those practiced in other countries. There may be no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia, but we do have freedom of religion here. Discriminating against another religion because we don't like how it is practiced in its country of origin is just simply wrong. If we are to maintain our freedom, then sometimes we have to swallow "giving" other religions the same freedom that we enjoy. I do not have to believe the tenets of Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Wicca, etc. to understand that they have just as much right to their religious freedom as I do.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
I've felt uncomfortable, since I posted my thoughts above, because I am afraid that it will be seen as (or might actually be) an attack on Islam, so I've been asking myself two questions:

1. Is religion too dangerous to be discussed?

Do I believe, like Stephen Hopkins, the RI signer of the Declaration of Independence, said, "Hell, yes! I'm for debating anything"? I'm not sure. Criticism of religion, more than any other subject, can hurt, enrage, and damage a person, when criticized. That's why religion and politics are the only subjects that people are warned not to discuss.

2. How does a person know whether criticism of a religion is evidence of prejudice or not?

Yes, sometimes, people saying "That's prejudiced" is a good indicator, but sometimes not. Sometimes, the accusation of prejudice is an unconsidered response to any criticism. When someone criticizes his/her own religion, it's not evidence of prejudice, so how do we know whether criticism of another religion is prejudiced or not?

I do believe that some of the objections to the mosque are motivated out of prejudice, but are they all? I don't think so. Coldly responding only to the Constitutional legalities, people dismiss the objections that it is inappropriate and hurtful for a mosque to be built so close to Ground Zero. The "constitutionalists" see such objections as evidence of prejudice or irrationality. On the other hand, those people who respond only to the hot emotions dismiss American tolerance and the law. They argue that a mosque of the religion of the perpetrators desecrates the memory of the victims of 9-11, regardless of the legalities. Neither really listens to the other side with an open heart. Ironically, this whole furor is over a place to worship God.


Don't feel uncomfortable. You are only stating what you think in the moment and doing some stream of consciousness thinking in the process. I believe that by getting things all out in the open we pave the road to tolerance. For ME...tolerance is not agreeing with another position or belief. It is acknowledging its right to exist especially if you disagree. I think that when you throw emotion into the mix, it is very hard to look at situations objectively. As an attorney, I tend to look at the legalities of a situation. That does not mean I am never prejudiced or never criticize a position other than my own. I do that all of the time. Initially, I tend to react emotionally just like most people. Then I try to pull back and look at the situation from a neutral stance. I fully believe that separation of church and state in this country enhances religion, not oppresses it. By protecting the right of that Moslem group to build a mosque on their land, I am protecting the right of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc. to purchase land and build their religious centers where they want. I think that by opening discussing religion or politics we can get to the crux of what drives us as well as what drives apart. EVERYONE is prejudiced to some degree. It is the acknowledgment that we might be prejudiced that opens our minds to a little more tolerance.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
It's become an American tenant because most (all?) religions preach love to say that "all religions are the same." They are not, IMO. Islam came after the Black Plague had devastated the East and Europe and I think its demands reflect a very different view of God than that of Jesus, IMO (again), one that is harsher, much more violent, more narrow in what is acceptable behavior.

Lynda, this is confusing. Islam started in the 7th century AD, hundreds of years before the Black Death, which reached Europe in the 1340s. I don't understand how you can suggest that the religion's original nature and belief system has anything to do with events that took place hundreds of years later. The geographical location and time in which Islam began to spread would have had a major effect, because of the cultural-sociological characteristics of the societies in which it was adopted. It should also be pointed out that for a very long time, both Islam and Christianity were harsh and violent; Judaism, being a smaller religion and one that doesn't really seek to convert people, has a rather different history.

This subject is not one I've really studied, and is well beyond the scope of this discussion, but I wanted to address that statement. I don't know how familiar people are with Islam and its history, but it's always a good idea to learn more. I know I certainly should.

Quote:
Unfortunately, every religion has extremists who are more than willing to murder in its name, but the real test of a religion, faced with these people, is how the mainstream reacts. It seems to me, as American, that the mainstream of Islam has not disavowed the extremes of terrorists who prey on their own people, or the brutal enforcement of Islamic law. When people who blow innocents up, whether in Israel, Moscow, the US, Bali, India, or Madrid are referred to as "martyrs," it reflects on Islam. Or is "martyr" used only for those who blow up people in Israel?

No moderate Muslin would refer to these people as martyrs, and I don't ask my Muslims friends to condemn such attacks whenever they happen. It is clear to me that they are opposed to them. Islam is a widespread religion, and its adherents can hardly be looked at as a single group. At the very least, I think one has to separate Islam from Islamism, and try to engage with those who are moderate and peace-seeking.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prejudice is often a good thing. As a parent, I certainly tried to show my children they should, in some instances, pre-judge. Often, we codify prejudices by making them into laws. In this particular discussion, I admit to being prejudiced. But, in my mind, the prejudgement I've made has nothing to do with any specific religion, regardless what it is. I am prejudiced, as I think my opening post suggested, against acting unsympathetically or unempathetically, one human to another. No law, constitutional or otherwise, can replace fellow-feeling.

I believe that, if those who wish to build the mosque were to say "We would like to act with sympathy to your feelings, but we don't have the money or can't find another place," they would find a great many of those who oppose them willing to donate or help.
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