Racial & Religious Hatred: Take Some Responsibility

Again on Facebook (where else?), Palin notes that one of the backers of the “Ground Zero Mosque” blamed America for inspiring Islamic radicalism. Let’s re-watch an ad put out by Republican Trust PAC, a Palin ally:

You know, Imam Rauf has a point. We can query his tact in making it, when he chose to, but at the point that we’re calling all Muslims terrorists, explicitly, we’re really not helping things. If we don’t let groups integrate into our society, when they ask to do so peacefully and on our terms, we can’t be surprised when radicals start to draw from their ranks.

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11 comments

  1. I haven’t really read much on this issue. Why did they select this site?

  2. This is the critical question. It’s a huge, empty building on cheap land (FiDi is still fairly economically depressed) and near the site of the closest, now-overflowing mosque (in nearby TriBeCa).

    1. So then the question becomes, could they have found a similar arangement in a less politically-charged area? I’m sympathetic to the economic and geography concerns but that can’t trump common sense.

      I agree that assimilating Muslim communities is the best thing we can do (read: do NOT follow the European model). I’m just concerned this is picking a scab unnecessarily.

    2. On the contrary, I think it’s a scab that needs to be picked. I don’t know if the Cordoba Initiative are doing it deliberately, but they’re pretty much handing American society an opportunity to show that it can experience a serious crisis like 9/11 and still remain reasonable and tolerant towards The Other.

      It’s no big deal to tolerate people you already agree with, but people with different worldviews and lifeworlds? And especially during difficult times of crisis? That’s pretty hard. But I believe JFK once said something about Americans doing things because they’re hard.

  3. Europe’s the example I’ve been thinking about too. I was in London for the tube bombings and everyone knew something like that was coming. There was no surprise — sort of a grim resignation with a resolution to fix it going forwards, helped by some serious leadership from Tony Blair (say what you will about the guy, he handled that well). America’s great strength is that we do integrate pretty easily, substantially without old-world prejudices — although we do have our own, sometimes. We can’t afford to deviate from that example here.

    The way I understand New York and my neighborhood (I live 5 minutes away from this site), if the goal is to create a community-center-that-happens-to-have-a-mosque, and serve the very large Muslim FiDi population, this site, or one close by, is the only option. FiDi is cheap; TriBeCa is monstrously expensive. It’s hard to state where the dividing line is but I might that anything north of Chambers Street or the Brooklyn Bridge will have a correspondingly higher price tag. Anything in that area, too, will still bite the same criticism: it’s “near” Ground Zero. New York is small, and it’s especially small in the Financial District. Although the map distorts it to look bigger so you can see all the subway stops, the area is really stubby and quick to walk across. Something that’s far away while still serving the right population is still maybe 15 minutes from Ground Zero, and would still be attacked as such. Meant to add: so, it seems they’re going to get sucker-punched by the right no matter what they do, unless the entire population moves to, say, the Upper West Side. Which is really expensive.

    1. I think you make a prety solid case Ames as someone who knows the geographic and economic concerns involved. Maybe that’s the best angle for the Muslim community to take? Present some graphs and charts and demonstrate that this is the location that makes the most sense. If people don’t like it then, tough. I don’t agree with Lanfranc that they should ‘pick the scab’ just to prove a point and force other New Yorkers to deal with it, but I also don’t believe in hoisting millions more in expenses onto them just because of sensitivities.

      Just as an FYI – they are building a mosque in Louisville about 10 minutes from my house. I’m intrigued by it and I hope they try hard to reach out to the local community. They need some kind of Muslim version of church picnics. I’d be all over that.

  4. This is a good discussion so far, it makes me happy :)

  5. What exactly is Europe’s example? I know the way things have gotten with immigrant Muslim populations, but how did it get that way? Is it a unique blend of the comparatively homogenous native populations and the quick growth of the Muslim population?

    1. I think the problem in Europe (if I understand it correctly) is that the immigrant populations don’t assimilate. There’s no push for them to learn the language, they all congregate together into homogenous neighborhoods and become little nations into themselves. Basically it looks like America circa 1910 when you had all these immigrant communities that looped back onto themselves and it prolonged separation from larger society.

      1. Generally speaking, we prefer our immigrants to ‘integrate’ (which is an inclusionary process) rather than ‘assimilate’ (which is not) – although there definitely are certain right-wing politicians who clearly think of “assimilate” when they say “integrate”.

        More generally, the situation with immigrants in Europe is complex. There are some places where parallel societies have developed, such as les banlieus in Paris or certain neighbourhoods in London or Birmingham, but there are also lots of immigrants who participate in mainstream society as much as they can. But that’s also a part of the problem, just as in New York – that the cultural majority is often ambivalent about to how great an extent and on which conditions they actually want minorities to participate, and how such participation will shape the mainstream society.

  6. oneiroi · ·

    “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” – Newt Gingrich on the mosque.

    I know that everyone, everywhere, feels attached/emotional about the trade center/attacks…but I just wish this was kept as a local issue.

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