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no mosque, no mosque
an open letter to the republican party
by jeffrey d. walker
8.16.10
news


To: Republican Party, United States of America
From: Jeffrey D. Walker, esq., Intrepid Media’s Chief White house Correspondent

Re: Issue selection for the November Mid-Term elections
The Mosque Opposition Conundrum


Warm Greetings to the Grand Old Party:

Before I begin with my main point on the mid-term elections, I just wanted to note that, despite being the “Chief White House Correspondent” for Intrepid Media for almost ten straight years, I still haven’t received a single press pass for any of your events. I’m sure all the requests were submitted though the proper channels, but this is getting a little embarrassing for both of us at this point. I appreciate your anticipated rectification of this matter.

Forgive me also for making this an “open letter". But, for one thing, I’m on a deadline over here, so I’m going to have to fill my August slot while writing to you at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone, as it is. Moreover, the last time I wrote an “open letter” column here at Intrepid Media, I got over 4000 reads in the first two days. That’s pretty fair by I.M. standards, and while I’m in no way suggesting that this letter will pull the same draw, I am at least hoping that this public forum helps get my message out sooner than later. And at this point, it may be too late.

The reason I write today is, hopefully, to stop you from making asses out of our Grand Old Party with respect to at least one issue as we gear up for November, and that issue is: opposing Mosques being built in the United States. I understand you have considered this as a political issue.

As a New Yorker, even an upstate one, it was impossible for me to have missed the "Ground Zero Mosque” coverage, which in actuality, is a proposed Islamic Center located a few blocks away from the former World Trade Center buildings, where a Burlington Coat Factory store used to be.

Having read the NY Post with some regularity in my time, “Ground Zero Mosque” as a headline didn’t surprise me. Moreover, the controversy that followed wasn’t a surprise. But I had faith that it would all work out in New York City. God Bless them all, that’s millions of people all concentrated together; they have to find a way to work it out, for better or worse.

But thanks to Jon Stewart over at Comedy Central, I was sad to learn that this “not in my back yard” game as applied to Mosques is popular in many other places, far from Ground Zero.

In case you missed it: Click here to watch

I know the location well, having worked nearby in the 100 Centre Street building during the summer of 2001. I actually ran over to that Burlington Coat Factory store and bought a whole change of clothes after work one day because I was trying to look good for a date. My clothing tastes were questionable, but I nonetheless later convinced that girl to marry me.

The point about that little anecdote is that I knew the area before 9/11/01. Then, I watched in disbelief when the towers, the surrounding buildings, the stores, subway stops, and a few thousand of the people who worked with me there disappeared into dust. That wasn’t just my county being attacked, that was a real place that I knew, destroyed by an act of terrorism. There are so many who lost more than I did that day, but still, like many other Americans, I was never the same afterward.

Did I want revenge? Yes. Did I want retribution? I still do. And for all his faults, G.W.B. did come on strong in the beginning. But, I gotta tell you, we’ve gone way off the track in the almost nine years since 9/11. And we skidded over a few civil liberties and injured a few bystanders in the process. In most cases I can even forgive that, sad to say. Sometimes cops get a bad tip, sometimes exigent circumstances require more action than might be customarily required. I understand the dangers and the risks that must be weighed and evaluated for national security. I want America to be safe and free. Honestly, I want there to be guys like Jack Bauer.

But there’s a difference between fighting a war against terrorists, and fighting a war against a Religion. Even Jack knew that. And this trying to block Mosques is a mistake.

Just to put it out there, I am not a Muslim, and I have no interest in the advancement of the Muslim faith. So you cannot dismiss this as being written by someone with an ulterior motive in the religious sense. I’m more interested in maintaining the G.O.P.’s dignity, and avoiding hypocrisy generally. At least as much as what may be left of dignity and anti-hypocrisy in politics today. For that, you may write me off as some sort of “kook” if you want, but if you’ve stuck around this far, you might as well wait for the logic.

I was brought up in a conservative household. Although I have strayed from, and even criticized the Republican Party of late, one of the core conservative principals that I always appreciated was the preservation of the law. This has always included an emphasis on the Constitution of the United States of America.

In each judge I watched nominated for the Supreme Court (Thomas is the first I recall), Republicans have asked of them probing questions, demanding that judge promise to adhere to every letter of the Constitution. Republicans make a living bashing activist judges who “imply” liberties and freedoms into the Constitution which are not explicitly written therein.

Well, in case you haven’t checked your Constitution lately, let me remind you of the very first part of the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

The concept revolves around the separation of church and state, a concept advocated by Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers. How often does Glenn Beck praise his work?

The concept was created in America’s underpinnings, by people coming to this land to practice their faith without retribution. And now, we’re pushing Muslims out of our neighborhoods 200 years later.

This cannot abide, not if G.O.P. morals are to persist in any sort of future. Let not this party now shred its own credibility by now subtracting liberties from the Constitution because they make us uncomfortable.

Moreover, the argument that all "Muslims" should be suspected as terrorist does not stand. It would be an ignorant argument to advance, and belittles your constituents. This is why: There are many Christian denominations. Certain denominations dance while holding handfuls of live rattlesnakes, but not all Christians are snake dancers. Likewise, there are many Islamic schools and branches. But only a minority are actively practicing terrorism against the United States.

The fear tactics, the decisiveness along religious lines, this is not what the G.O.P needs. Stick to what you know best: tax cuts for people with money, and keeping us safe.

And for God’s sake, don’t get me started on this whole “terror baby” thing.

Sincerely Yours,

Jeffrey D. Walker, esq.


ABOUT JEFFREY D. WALKER

A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

more about jeffrey d. walker

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COMMENTS

katherine (aka clevertitania)
8.16.10 @ 9:33a

Great effort, but considering that the GOP has screamed their head off about three constitutional issues in the last few weeks (the Islamic center, Prop 8, S.B. 1070), and each time they have come down against very basic constitutional rights... I think you might be just waving at a passing train as it screeches toward a gaping whole in the tracks.

jeffrey walker
8.16.10 @ 9:47a

In fairness, the prop 8 thing is about how to define marriage, while SB1070 is "supposed" to be about curbing illegal immigration. Though touching Constitutional issues, neither of these arguments violate such a "hands off" clause as the religious issue. So, in that way, I think the GOP can at least make somewhat logical arguments on the Prop 8 and immigration things (whether I agree with those arguments or not). But on this Mosque thing, they're just plain wrong wrong wrong.

[edited]

russ carr
8.16.10 @ 10:35a

I've got to admit I disagree. Which may seem illogical, given that I pretty much agree with Jeff's column on every point. To me, it's a matter of respect to the victims, but more importantly, respect to the survivors. At least for the next generation or so, that part of Lower Manhattan is going to hold searing memories for millions of people. And while it may be far from intentional, by wanting to locate an Islamic center in the vicinity of an act of mass murder perpetrated by Islamic radicals, it's going to irritate more than it's going to soothe.

It's as if, in 1949, a bunch of Japanese businessmen wanted to build a Japanese cultural center on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor. Never mind that they weren't the Japanese that attacked the American fleet. Never mind that Japan was quickly becoming one of our best allies in the post-WW2 world. It would not have been the right place to put such a building. It would have been seen as a thumb in the eye of the memory of the American soldiers and sailors that were killed, no matter how benign the intentions were.

You'd never see a soap factory next door to Buchenwald.

I think the same thing holds true here. It should not be a political issue, or a religious one, though obviously there is plenty of bleed into both subjects. It should be an issue of respect to the dead and their survivors. New York is a big city; the people who want to build this mosque, or cultural center, or whatever it is, should be conscientious enough to build somewhere other than in the shadow of the fallen towers.

[edited]

jeffrey walker
8.16.10 @ 2:08p

Russ, the difference is that we weren't attacked by the whole of a religion in the same way that Japan did.

Japan is a sovereign country, with a standing army, which set out to attack a piece of our country. And so keeping Japan "culture" centers away in the 1950s away makes sense, since that country was undoubtedly, and as a whole, involved in an attack on America, without question. A penalty / consequence as to Japan is, therefore, fair.

But it was not the Muslim faith that attacked NYC. It was a handful of misguided followers. To now punish ALL Muslims for the bad acts of a few is not fair by any account. That would be the same as condemning and punishing all people with brown skin of Middle Eastern Decent, simply because they resemble the attackers -- i.e., don't let a Sikh temple be built near the 9/11 site, not because they were involved (nor are they even Muslim), but simply because they "resemble" the attackers because of their beards and turbans, and that may makes "us" uncomfortable. This is blatant ignorance and bigotry.

To use another analogy, this protest is akin to protesting the construction of a Pentecostal Church near a school because the parents of the kids at the school were molested by a Catholic minister years ago, and as such, the Pentecostal Church is "too risky" since they are also followers of Christianity, and anyway, the church would "bring too many bad memories" to former victims of Catholic abuses. When in fact, the Pentecostals and the Catholics have very little in common. You cannot condemn a religion as a whole for the mistakes of a few. If that is allowed, then f*ck every follower of Jesus because of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and because Jimmy Swaggart sinned by having an affair in the 1980s. You're obviously dangerous and good for nothing, so no more churches in our neighborhoods!!

Does that seem right?

I would agree that if this was a Taliban influenced Mosque, following their particular sect, I would take issue with their building a temple in the United States. But make no mistake: a blanket condeming of the Muslim faith is not only completely unconstitutional, it's wholesale ignorance.

russ carr
8.16.10 @ 2:29p

It could be argued that it was not the whole of Japan that attacked us, either, but a power-hungry cabal which manipulated the religious (emperor worship) fervor of its citizens and the blind obedience of its troops.

However, you're missing my primary point: I agree with you entirely that this is something which should not be politicized, nor should it be used to manipulate voters. I believe that the onus rests on those who want to build this facility. Even though they were not responsible, they should -- out of respect -- consider a different location. Not because someone has told them to, or because someone is trying to hoist a Constitutionally-contentious law to prevent them -- but because they are sensitive to the atrocity that was carried out in the name of Islam, and do not wish to either offend those whose memories are still painful, or inflame those who would use it as an excuse to exercise their prejudices through vandalism and violence.

[edited]

robert melos
8.16.10 @ 9:33p

Timing is everything. I'm reading this column, watching MSNBC news coverage, and frankly, while I always enjoy your writing and enjoyed this, I just don't care anymore. I'm a practicing Pagan, the farthest from Islam as possible in beliefs and practices, so as far as I'm concerned I don't care where they build their places of worship, as long as they don't shove their beliefs on me and expect me to worship as they do; That would really cut into the virgin sacrifices, although that isn't a Pagan thing I do, that's a gay thing I do and it has nothing to do with religion.

tracey kelley
8.17.10 @ 8:09a

This is a supremely delicate topic and the decision will have lasting repercussions. I also agree the issue should not politicized, and that the whole of the Islamic faith should not be punished because of the extremists. That would be like hating all Christians because of the despicable antics of the members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

However, as Russ said, Islamic leaders should be extremely sensitive to appearances. It would be a true show of faith, good will, and tolerance to accept that many people, not just Christians, may have a difficult time with the location. It would be better to simply consider the area (even two blocks away) as hallowed ground that should not be disturbed. Unfortunately, it is myopic of the leaders to believe this location will encourage more tolerance toward Muslims. Again, I point to the members of the Westboro Baptist Church as an example of unsound rationale and actions.

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League opposes the location of The Mosque at Ground Zero. Some say this is hypocritical, and that the organization is breeding more confusion and unrest toward the Islamic faith. The ADL has received a lot of criticism over the years, but the article above presents some interesting points.




tracey kelley
8.17.10 @ 1:18p

Okay, Juli just posted this link on FB from a New Yorker: "Hallowed Ground"

I'm conflicted. Is this debate of location something only New Yorkers can have? If you don't live in New York, do you "not understand" and thus, have no valid opinion? Or, if New Yorkers have modified the area in a move-on kind of way and accepted it, then should the rest of the country do the same?

It's hard to make a comparison to even the Oklahoma City memorial and museum, since that area was bombed by U.S. terrorists without a precise religious affiliation. Yet because of its location, life goes on around it. So does that make the general NYC mosque argument more about religion than I feel comfortable acknowledging and can't solve?

ETA: I want to be 4 again, worrying only about crustless grape jelly sandwiches and "Sesame Street".

[edited]

juli mccarthy
8.17.10 @ 1:33p

Life DOES go on. We can see it right there in the "Hallowed ground" photos. After the 9/11 attacks we heard a lot of "If we (do or don't do whatever), then the terrorists have won." I believe this community center is the very best example of that. We cannot let "them" win by demonstrating our fear and our ignorance. While I do understand Russ' and Tracey's point that Islamic leaders might wish to be more sensitive, I still see it as an attempt to rebuild trust and invest in a better future for peaceful coexistence.

michelle von euw
8.17.10 @ 2:17p

Tracey (via Juli)'s link reminded me of my first reaction to the news: "Will the mosque be closer to or further from Ground Zero than Century 21?"

I guess we can argue that blatant consumerism is more or less American than religion. And the scary truth is that when it comes to shopping and McDonalds and strip clubs, the Lower Manhattan neighborhood is not sacred ground but a place where people continue to work and shop and eat because we are Americans, we are resilient.

What we don't seem to be, in this instance, is tolerant.

jael mchenry
8.17.10 @ 2:42p

Tracey, I don't think anyone's saying that only New Yorkers can have valid opinions about what the area around Ground Zero can and should be. (Well, there are probably some New Yorkers saying that, but no one here, I mean.) But I think the photos nicely illustrate the difference between the abstract concept of "around Ground Zero" and the reality of the neighborhood, which is, for better or for worse, like just about any other series of blocks in Manhattan: tightly packed, bustling, full of stuff we may or may not approve of.

The problem I have with saying "it shouldn't be near there" is that it's a slippery slope. Who decides? Who defines "too close"? Is 200 yards too close? Two miles? Is there a perimeter around true "hallowed ground" that gets hallowed by association, even while being actively used for everything city ground gets used for?

russ carr
8.17.10 @ 4:05p

"What we don't seem to be, in this instance, is tolerant."

Where is the line between "our" tolerance and "their" sensitivity? Does their wanting to put their mosque/center there immediately make them insensitive? Does my not wanting them to put it there make me an intolerant bigot?

This is why an issue like this gets politicized: everyone who expresses an opinion gets herded into one of two camps. You're either this or that. And next thing you know, that's become the point of contention, rather than whether or not building an Islamic center near Ground Zero is justifiable.

I deny stuff to my kids all the time. They want to do stupid things. Arguably insensitive things (eg: "Do not kick your brother." "Do not pull the cat's tail." "Do not stick your finger in my face."). These actions are not necessarily dangerous, and none would bring about the end of the world, but still, they are NOT TOLERABLE. I don't discipline them because I don't like them, I discipline them because left unchecked they will not learn that some things are not permissible, and they will continue to act out. I discipline them because I love them, and I want to protect them from bigger mistakes in the future.

Now, can something as basic as a father's "intolerance" of his sons' misdeeds be applied here? Perhaps not exactly. But if nothing else look at it as an example of how "not being tolerant" doesn't necessitate being branded as being the sinner any more than being permissive equates with being the saint.

Yes, there are plenty of jerks being jerky about this whole mess, and their words bear witness to just how stupid they are. But not everyone in opposition to this building is an intolerant jerk, just like not every Muslim is an insensitive jihadist. Trying to push everyone into one camp or the other only increases our society's rush toward divisiveness. Keep that up, and the terrorists -- and the media! -- have already won. ;)

[edited]

michelle von euw
8.17.10 @ 4:53p

Russ, taken out of context, your argument against my point is valid. But, kept in the context I put it in -- the current situation that fast food, cheap clothes, and strip clubs = OK; religious center = not OK -- it misses the point entirely.

My problem is that we're trotting out the words "hollowed ground" in this one instance, while ignoring the reality of the neighborhood.

russ carr
8.17.10 @ 5:36p

Actually, it was only "hollowed" ground in that there was a big hole there after they cleaned up the rubble. Whether or not it's "hallowed" ground is a matter of opinion. ;)

I would love to see the shops pictured in Juli's link marked on a map, relative to the WTC site. I have absolutely zero frame of reference to know where any of them is located. I cannot say which, if any, opened for business AFTER 9/11/01.

As Jael rightly points out: where does the perimeter of "Ground Zero" stop, and lower Manhattan begin? Arguably, there is no such place, and that fact will be made apparent once there's a new spire on the old WTC site, full of businesspeople pushing papers and making phone calls. Commerce will reclaim that area, from execs pulling in eight-figure salaries to hot dog vendors pushing steam carts.

However, it wasn't radical hot dog vendors, or radical strippers, or radical bookies that attacked NYC. None of those businesses, no matter what you think of them, contributed to a terrorist attack. If circumstances were different, maybe we'd be arguing over something not associated with religion. If the WTC was brought down by North Korean militants, could you see how people might not want that Korean BBQ restaurant (in one of the photos Juli linked to) across the street from the site? Never mind that there was no connection between the restaurant proprietor and the attackers; people would see "Korean" and would not be able to escape the association.

I don't consider any of that area "hallowed" ground. You don't have to take off your shoes to walk there, or kiss the sidewalk, or scatter rose petals. It is what it is: prime Lower Manhattan real estate. But people DID die there, and in a horrific manner, as a result of truly evil actions by a group of cruel people. There's a balance between remembering what happened and moving on that must be struck. I think having that mosque there is going to make it trickier to find that balance.

tracey kelley
8.17.10 @ 6:22p

I haven't been able to find the details outlining the Islamic leaders' rationale for choosing that location. Was it prime real estate for a good price? Is there not a cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, so a need is unfulfilled? I would be curious to hear the debate between the leaders about the pros and cons of the location. But one would think that a discussion about the sensitive nature of the location would be heavily debated. The Islamic leaders should not have to atone for the sins of the attackers, but respect is displayed in many forms.

Also interesting is this controversy arises during Ramadan, and a few weeks before 9/11.

reem al-omari
8.17.10 @ 9:34p

As a Muslim I have been sitting back and watching/reading the hullabaloo surrounding this mosque location issue. Personally, I don't care whether that mosque is built at Ground Zero or not. I don't feel that either Islam or some people’s negative views will be any better off or worse by the end resulting from this debate.

I do want to share something and lend my humble input to this lively discussion, however.

Islam is simply a hot potato. Yes, it’s a potato like all potatoes, it’s good and yummy with sour cream on top, but it’s very hot and impossibly hard to handle without getting burned. It says so in the Quran...not the potato part, but the essence of the potato metaphor. God told us that one day being a Muslim will be like holding an open flame, and that is what it feels like, indeed.

God warned us that one day it would be hard to be a Muslim, because the faith is so detailed, so involved in our lives, and welcomed to intervene in our lives by us, making it easily misunderstood in a day and age when traditional religion is viewed as just something dorky people do on the side.

We Muslims fight very hard to just be Muslims. We submit to all kinds of questioning and must give all kinds of explanations to justify how and why we practice what we practice, because a few members of our faith are crazy. That’s fine, I accept it. After all, I've been lucky enough to always be welcomed with open arms I have nothing to complain about.

And that’s the beauty of this country: you can be whoever and whatever you want to be...but only to a certain extent. Yes, to a certain extent. This mosque at Ground Zero issue is proof of that; the extent of acceptance by a sizable chunk of the American public for Islam is not within what is considered “hallowed ground.” Again, I accept that. It sucks, but I know you can’t force someone to be copasetic with something they’re simply not, for whatever reasons.

So, as a Muslim, I suppose it would be a testament to the wonderful and very much alive American spirit of acceptance and freedom of religion to build a mosque near the hallowed ground at Ground Zero. But I know that building it isn’t really going to change anything for those who don’t want it there.

They just don’t want it, constitutional or not. What remains is a question of whether the Muslims involved want to fight that battle or not, 'cause God knows, we have a lot of other battles to expend our energies on.



jeffrey walker
8.18.10 @ 12:47a

I am not a Keith Olbermann fan, but this rant is right:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38730223/

Russ, the muslims who want to build this center should not and do not have to feel guilty about where to build a mosque. Tracey, the reason they chose that location is not relevant. They should feel no guilt; they owe no explanation to us as to why they make their choices. We should not judge, we do not deserve to judge their actions. For they are not guilty, and above all other rule of law in America, people are "not guilty" until proven otherwise.

Any judging of what they, as muslims, "should" be thinking or doing, is inadvertent (if not overt) intolerance. And it shames you and me. Stop judging those who are not guilty. Stop implying that they should be careful or cautious. If you are doing so, you are no better than the KKK.

tracey kelley
8.18.10 @ 12:48p

What makes a society civilized? Respect and consideration for others and honor for the law. I have no doubt that millions of Muslims have unjustly suffered greatly because of 9/11 -- and I personally know of more than a few Sikhs who have suffered too, simply because they wear turbans, and people don't take the time to understand the differences between the religions.

But to question the common sense of a decision is not to be intolerant or place blame. It is simply to evaluate the reasoning. Jeff, you call this judging -- I call it seeking understanding.

In order to respect and understand another culture, another religion, even the person sitting across the table from you, you have to want to take time to learn the processes and decisions of those entities. What's on the surface isn't all there is. So yes, I feel that in light of the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 tragedy, it is more information, not less, that will help people understand why the cultural center and mosque is or is not appropriate for the location. Only the Islamic leaders choosing the location have those answers, and if they are willing to share their insight, people will have facts, not conjecture. Or prejudice.

Constititionally, the Islamic leaders don't have to explain anything, any more than I have to tell someone when I pick my nose. But out of respect for the tenuous circumstances surrounding their religion and the 9/11 tragedy...why NOT provide more knowledge and information to an undereducated populace? Why NOT respect the fact that there is extreme sensitivity surrounding the issues, and seek to dispel that in all ways possible?

If a McDonald's employee walks into work one day, opens fire on fellow coworkers and customers, and some people die, it is likely that the McDonald's corporation will see it fit to raze the location where the crime happened. The location will be an empty lot until someone decides to build something else there. This doesn't mean people will stop eating at McDonald's altogether, (and it doesn't necessarily make the location hallowed ground because people died there) but the overall view is that where tragedy happened, the references relating to the tragedy will quietly dissolve, because people would prefer it to be so. Out of respect and consideration for those who have died.

So - take religion out of it. Look at it pragmatically and realize the common good may be more supported simply by making a different decision.

jael mchenry
8.18.10 @ 1:14p

Going back to Russ' earlier point, it's a shame that debate on this topic seems to polarize and then generalize -- you're either for or against, a fool or a stone -- because in my mind it is certainly possible for reasonable and intelligent people, like those who have commented here, to differ in their opinions on this extremely complicated issue. I've seen some very well-reasoned comments here that I don't necessarily agree with, but I appreciate people keeping it as civil as we can.

Sadly, while I agree with Tracey that the facts underpinning a decision generally make for better discourse, I don't think that would help this debate nationwide. The Muslim leaders can say whatever they want (in addition to the point being made over and over that it is not a mosque, nor is it "on" ground zero), the debate is too emotional. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for understanding on both sides, or maybe try to get past the idea that there are sides at all.

(Tracey, a few years ago in DC we had something similar to your McDonald's scenario -- several Starbucks employees were killed in a robbery, and the company closed that location immediately, then renovated and brought it back up, maybe a year or so later. Clearly on a different scale, but at least initially, there was the response you're talking about -- the strong feeling that people couldn't just go about their regular daily latte-ordering as if nothing had happened there.)

jeffrey walker
8.18.10 @ 1:20p

take Religion out of it? How do you take the Religion out of the Muslim Religion? It's exactly what it is.

Tell you what: let's take Religion out of the whole country. Screw every damned Christian argument about "one man / one woman" marriage, forget the continued fights on rights to abortion, and lift the ban on stem cell research. Take out all that religion first, and then (and only then) will I talk about how the Muslims should consider bending their own practice of faith to make others feel better about themselves.

russ carr
8.18.10 @ 1:27p

Walker, I'd argue you have your own prejudices, based on some of your replies: "then f*ck every follower of Jesus" "Screw every damned Christian argument". Why the unnecessary invectives? Christianity is no more the state religion than Islam is, so isn't generalization or persecution of one just as bad as generalization or persecution of the other?

tracey kelley
8.18.10 @ 1:32p

Well, Counselor, I never implied to take religion out of the Muslim faith, but out of this debate, so my statement stands. The position of the statement after the previous paragraph makes that pretty clear.

Since I do not declare myself Christian, but more a spiritualist, I can't be your kicked dog on this issue. But your previous comment about not judging is negated by your comments above. It's clear that you do indeed judge a segment of society you don't personally agree with...

...and why this particular issue is such a hotbed of debate.

Jael, you're absolutely right - it's all emotion. And that's the problem. It doesn't matter what anyone believes - there will always be discord. But all faiths, in my personal exploration, do seem to have the same basic tenets. Why those principles can't provide common ground continues to baffle me.

tracey kelley
8.18.10 @ 2:06p

"Imam Rauf, who has led the Farah Mosque at 245 West Broadway in Tribeca since 1983, has said that his group [The Cordoba Group] plans to include its own 9/11 memorial inside the new center, and that he hopes to meet with family members of victims who oppose the project."

From an article in The Tribeca Tribune.

And now, with that information, my point of debate is nullified and I am more informed. When seeking understanding, all things are possible.

[edited]

juli mccarthy
8.18.10 @ 8:46p

More on this: < link



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