Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My 2 Cents on The Mosque

At first, when I heard somebody wanted to build a Mosque near Ground Zero, I thought, like I assume most everybody: why pinkt there, of all places?  But now that it looks like it's going to happen, and after learning that it is not going to be the headquarters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban, as some people seem to think, I say why not? It's gonna have a swimming pool, for crying out loud, how fundamentalist could it be?
We have been complaining since that terrible day that there haven't been enough, if any, moderate Muslim voices in the West, or elsewhere, to REPUDIATE and neutralize the fanatical fundamentalist minority. That there is not enough public presence of moderate Islam to shift the balance back to the religion as most Muslims practice it (without bloodshed and savagery).
So now that there is such a thing, The Cordoba Initiative, people react as if it Osama Bin Laden himself was building the thing. Stupidly, they counter radicalization and extremism with more of the same.
The people who display knee jerk reactions against the Mosque are not interested in context, content or subtleties, and probably don't even know what Córdoba stands for (the greatest period of prosperity, scientific and cultural advancement and interfaith tolerance during Muslim rule in Spain). Their arguments go from the emotional to the idiotic. From "it's an insult to the memory of the fallen", to the ridiculous "Muslims like to put victory monuments in places they conquer".
There is not much more I can say that Mayor Bloomberg did not say more eloquently in his excellent speech yesterday in favor of the building of the Mosque. He was a shining example of common sense: a Jew and a Republican (at least on paper) making an impassioned and sensible case for why blocking the Mosque is contrary to everything this country stands for.
I'm tired of people like Sarah Palin and her fellow Republicans, most of who live outside of this town but appropriate 9/11 and pollute it with cheap patriotism (still the last refuge of the scoundrel) for their own political gain, who do not understand what New York is all about, but who represent everything that is anathema to this city and the diverse people who live in it: censorship, pettiness, intolerance, racism, ignorance.
Not that we are perfect, but the haters are mistaken that this is about political correctness and liberal bleeding hearts. It is about true democracy. It is about true freedom of religion. About true separation of church and state. About the true values of the Constitution.
In New York City we share the sidewalks with people of all stripes and we live together in close proximity, unprotected by cocoons of cars and forbidding suburbs that bore people to inanity and keep everybody safely separate in their stupid prejudices.
That is why we are the greatest city on Earth. And why we refuse to have the mentality of a suburb. We are not Arizona. And never will be. So back off. 


  1. i could not have said (it ALL) better.

  2. Well put! You have your head screwed on in the right direction. It's so true that "knee-jerk" reactionists will grab this "moment" for all it's worth! From where I'm sitting...Canada...looks like you have a grounded perspective on things. Of course it makes the best sense for the best of Muslim community to show a positive presence at the "site".
    Just heard that our own Mr. Harper plans to "flag" any former American military at the border - you might want to look into this new draconian development. Just who are we trying to impress????