Thursday, August 19, 2010

A mosque made by enemies

To me, there are two questions about the mosque at ground zero:
  1. Is it at ground zero
  2. Who are the people behind it and what are their motives
Part of Ground Zero
The site planned for the mosque is where the existing Burlington Coat Factory building is. Take a look at these two photos to see its location:

Now realize that the reason the building is condemned is because 2 floors were destroyed when the landing gear from one of the planes ripped through it (some people have said that it was the engine of a plane, but I can't find verification of that).  In a very real sense, this building is part of the attacks of the day of 9/11.

Who are the people involved with the mosque?
Perhaps the most annoying trope after the various attacks we've been subjected to by radical Muslims is the concern that there might be a backlash, that Islam is a religion of peace.  Sadly, for many it is not a religion of peace.

The Pew Research Center found out that in the United States, 26% of Muslims 18-29 believe that "suicide bombing of civilian targets in defense of Islam" is acceptable at least some of the time (page 53-54 of the full study).  So for 26% of young Muslims in the US, Islam is most certainly not a religion of peace.

The imam for the mosque is Feisal Abdul Rauf. I don't know much about Rauf, but I do know that when he was directly asked to condemn Hamas, he refused, and he wouldn't talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. To me, that tells me that he's sympathetic to Hamas and other terrorists.  A few weeks after 9/11 he was interviewed by 60 minutes:
ED BRADLEY, CBS: (Voiceover) And throughout the Muslim world, there is also strong opposition to America's foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East because of its support of Israel and economic sanctions against Iraq.
Imam ABDUL RAUF: It is a reaction against the policies of the US government, politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights and where we ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries.
BRADLEY: Are--are--are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserved what happened?
Imam ABDUL RAUF: I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.
BRADLEY: OK. You say that we're an accessory?
Imam ABDUL RAUF: Because we have been an accessory to a lot of--of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, it--in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA. 
See the clip over at Newsbusters.  I love the passive-voice in this clip -- "the crime that happened".  No Mr. Rauf, the crime was committed, by Muslims in the name of Islam.  There are more problems with him -- Rauf is not on our side in this struggle, and his involvement should be a warning flag.  Oh and the developer who bought the property for $4.8 million?  He was a waiter in 2002.  Where did all that money come from?  Apparently the people involved don't have a problem taking money from Iran or the Saudis.

Add to all of this the points that Andrew already made, specifically that the name refers back to Islamic conquest of Spain, and the opening date was supposed to be the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Clearly, "sensitivity" is not their goal.

The people behind the mosque are not our friends.  They are part of the Muslim community who are our enemies.  They shouldn't be allowed to desecrate Ground Zero with their victory mosque.


Will said...

I don't know any Christians who fully disbelieve that violence in defense of Christianity is always wrong. Yet I would not compare people of that opinion to terrorists or draw from that conclusion that Christianity is an inherently violent religion. ALL religions become a mask for violent tendencies when the leaders of that religion gain too much power or have a strong enough following to strike out for anger at being oppressed. Islamic people in the United States need to feel less oppressed. I see no evidence in your argument of terrorist involvement, just suspicion. I'll allow that the naming of the Mosque is in bad taste.
I think you reach pretty far to draw your conclusions. Your immediate suspicion of an Islamic waiter who was able to make good financially in eight years is really just racism. You can not provide your absence of evidence as if it were evidence. Would you have the same immediate suspicions of a white man who made good and built the kind of church you like attending?

Mark said...

From waiter to $4.8M in cash? The race or religion doesn't matter on that one. Smells like money laundering. The cry of 'racist' is the last refuge of the scoundrel. It means you don't have any argument.

Andrew said...

Just a quick note since I know Mark personally: the "racist" accusation is completely unfounded, and ad hominem attacks don't support your assertions.

Let's reserve imputing to people the filthiest of biases as motive for those who actually deserve it, shall we?

Matt said...

My biggest concern is that in the tensions brought on by the actions of others, we allow ourselves to renegotiate our principles. Should our enemies enjoy the same rights as we do? Yes, even when we don't like it. Should an individual be judged on behalf of a group to which she belongs, or a group judged on the merits or failings of some portion of it? No. But should we work to uncover the nefarious motives of questionable people? Yes, and I hope that was the main object of Mark and Andrew's posts.

Andrew said...

Matt, you're absolutely right.

The other thing we've seen with this mosque debate is moderate Muslims speaking out (the article linked in my post is an example).

They're just as worried about extremists as anyone else in our society, and are often afraid to speak out. They need to know we support them, appreciate their courage, and stand with them.

Will said...

I will retract my accusation of racism. Upon closer consideration I realize I did not have a complete basis for this accusation. I arrived arbitrarily at this conclusion because of the very serious gap in the argument concerning the waiters' acquisition of wealth. One great thing about this country is a persons ability to achieve and better one's position. When a person of foreign culture or origin achieves this, I often see it placed under undue scrutiny. This has been my observation and I transfered my own prejudice in this area to you. For that I apologize. I must maintain, however, that there is a very serious gap in your argument. I still see you arrive at conclusions on the basis of suspicion. Suspicion is a reason to investigate and can not replace solid facts. This statement you have made, an accusation against our countrymen exercising the freedom of religion and opportunity allowed by this great nation, is a very strong one. Without conjecture as to why you present this case, I must point out that it is presented incompletely.

Andrew said...

Will, I appreciate your willingness to discuss the issue reasonably.

The FBI and CIA devote a lot of time to tracking questionable financial transactions and gains. Naturally, that's because it's a good way to figure out who's receiving terrorist money. Is waiter to $4.8 million in liquid assets possible? Sure. Should it be a red flag? Probably.

As for the conclusions, have you had a chance to read the underlying linked material that form the basis for them? If so, what specific points or which specific conclusions do you disagree with? Thanks, Will!

tom said...

"They shouldn't be allowed to desecrate Ground Zero with their victory mosque."

So who should prevent them from building whatever it is they want to build and on what legal grounds should that happen? The language of desecration immediately invokes religious reasons and we all know there's a big lawsuit behind that. It would be rather dimwitted to pay for the construction of this building out of funds provided by the people of New York because some demagogue decided he could get poplar off of Muslim bashing.

Mark said...

Ground Zero was created in a religious act, by religious zealots attacking the US in the name of their religion. Hence the religious language.

Mark said...

And please drop the "muslim bashing" nonsense. Read the evidence.

tom said...

I don't recall that any government agency deemed lower Manhattan hallowed ground, whereby "hallowed" means "No Muslims allowed." It's fine for you to think those thoughts personally, but how do you realistically prevent this building?

Andrew said...

It's important to read both posts here. Mark deliberately didn't reiterate points made in my post (Pelosi and the Mosque).

If you've read my post, you may have the impression I object to any mosque being built. That's not the case.

It's very important to note that Islam is not one homogeneous group (and what group of 1 billion people is?). What troubles me is the possibility of a mosque built and run by the Wahhabi sect, which supports the overthrow of the United States government and constitution and the institution of Shari'a law, and members of which have actually plotted to assassinate our president. Those activities are not protected by the 1st Amendment. If members of the Ahmadiyya sect, or any moderate branch of Islam were to build in the middle of Ground Zero, or anywhere else in the nation, I'd be completely fine with it.

I also think it's important to extend to the Greek Orthodox Church (the only house of worship destroyed on 9/11) the same courtesy and quick approval the mosque and community center seemed to receive.

I hope that helps to clarify. Thanks again.

Andrew said...

Tom, we were commenting at the same time. I believe you've misinterpreted Mark's conclusion. It's not "no Muslims" allowed (Mark has no inherent anti-Muslim bias that I've discovered in the several decades I've known him), but that extremists should not be permitted to create what amounts to a monument celebrating atrocity and an embassy for Wahhabism.

We can all agree that extremism, no matter what the underlying ideology, seems to be a bad thing in human history.

So the question would be after you read the underlying evidence Mark's gathered, which specific things do you disagree with? Let's dispense with nebulous character smearing (the tactics of Alinsky, which we won't accept here) and move on to real discussion.

tom said...

I saw that you have posted as well, and that you stated something along the lines of "we'll probably have to put up with it." But Mark said that they should not be allowed to build it. Those are two different sentiments and I didn't assume that the two of you agree. I just want to know who should prevent the construction of the proposed building.

Andrew said...

My comments run long, I know. I'm sorry about that. Let's start here:

I believe you've misinterpreted Mark's conclusion. It's not "no Muslims" allowed (Mark has no inherent anti-Muslim bias that I've discovered in the several decades I've known him), but that extremists should not be permitted to create what amounts to a monument celebrating atrocity and an embassy for Wahhabism.

tom said...

It's not about Mark's biases or lack thereof. How does one legally prove that a building (that does not exist) will not be the community center built by a Muslim group (the claim of the builders), but a victory shrine? And who, then, goes about preventing the construction of the proposed building? Let's say that Newt Gingrich is president. How doesn't want the building there. How does he constitutionally prevent it?

Andrew said...

"How does one legally prove that a building (that does not exist) will not be the community center built by a Muslim group (the claim of the builders), but a victory shrine?"

Determining motives isn't a legal issue here. As outlined in my post, all indications are (as judged not just by me, but by moderate Muslims) that the construction of this mosque by the current group is an act of fitna, or mischief-making prohibited by the Qu'ran.

Andrew said...

"Let's say that Newt Gingrich is president. How doesn't want the building there. How does he constitutionally prevent it?"

There's a lot of assumption behind this comment that isn't accurate. Let's not assume anything about my position beyond what I've stated--I've extended you the same courtesy.

The prevention of the construction of this mosque and community center by this group could be accomplished the same way the reconstruction of the Greek Orthodox Church (the only house of worship destroyed in 9/11) has been prevented.

Planning commissions refusing permits have prevented the reconstruction of the Greek Orthodox church. To date, there's been no indication that stonewalling is Congress making a law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

If it were determined, then, that the good of the NY area was not served by this building project by this group of people, the Port Authority could employ the same methods to prevent it--methods already determined not to violate the constitution.

tom said...

I merely took an example of a fellow who has been critical of the building project and who apparently has presidential aspirations. But anyway...

I have heard different things about the reconstruction of the Greek Orthodox Church. I am undecided about whether the delays are a matter of injustice. But that is beside the point; you believe that an injustice has been perpetrated against the Greek Orthodox Church? Is that correct?

Andrew said...

Tom, lovely lead in. I believe the same standard should be applied to both houses of worship.

However, we've strayed far afield, really, and I've rather hijacked Mark's post.

Which specific points do you disagree with, and what in the evidence do you find faulty?

tom said...

I don't think it's far afield at all. It's not enough to say that the same standards should be applied to everyone; if the Orthodox Church got a raw deal, then it does nobody any favors to give Muslims a raw deal too. The standards should be improved.

But as far as specific points, I'm not really sure what it all adds up to. Apparently these guys behind Park 51 might be a nasty bunch. The conclusion from that, as far as I can tell, was that they shouldn't be allowed to build anything, but there's nothing any government agency can or should do to prevent it. OK. I guess we're square. They might be bad guys, or not... so what?