Saturday, August 14, 2010
THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE PROTESTING OF THE MOSQUE IN NYC: BIGOTRY
Letters from the New York Times:
Reverberations From a Muslim Center
Re “Bloomberg’s Fierce Defense of Muslim Center Has Deep Roots” (front page, Aug. 13):
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg may have lost some popular support but has gained historic stature with his principled and eloquent defense of the right to construct a Muslim community center a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.
As a legal matter, there is nothing to debate. If a church or synagogue could be constructed on the site, so may a mosque. Period. The First Amendment means at least that.
As a matter of public policy, the answer is the same. While some political leaders — Newt Gingrich, Rick Lazio and Rudolph W. Giuliani, to name three — may find it convenient to politicize the issue, there is a moral issue that should not be overlooked.
Muslim organizations that refuse to condemn the attack on 9/11 or that seek to minimize or “explain” it deserve the harshest public criticism. But here, there has been no basis for such criticism. Unless we are to treat all Muslims as being somehow complicit in the attack, a guilt-by-association proposition contrary to every principle of fairness, any bar to the construction proceeding would be reprehensible.
New York, Aug. 13, 2010
(The writer, a First Amendment lawyer, has represented The New York Times.)
To the Editor:
Don’t be fooled by the claims of those, including the Anti-Defamation League, who say their opposition to the proposed Muslim community center is based on the sensitivity of the site.
Put aside the fact that the building is not at the World Trade Center site but rather two blocks away and not visible from the site. The same people who came to our community board meeting in May saying they didn’t oppose the project — just the location — and would support it if it were anywhere else in New York were back again at our July meeting carrying signs that read: “We won in Staten Island and we’ll win at ground zero. No mosque.”
The opposition to this project is based not on sensitivities but on bigotry, pure and simple.
New York, Aug. 11, 2010
(The writer is a resident of Lower Manhattan and serves as co-chairman of the World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee of Community Board 1. )
And to prove Mr. Connolly's point:
On July 14, 2010, Tennessee anti-mosque protesters demonstrated their opposition to the Murfreesboro mosque expansion by a march against the mosque down East Main Street in Murfreesboro. Hundreds of anti-mosque protesters marched in the streets of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, some waving American, Gadsden, and Israeli flags. Some had signs that read “to embrace Islam is to embrace terrorism,” “Never forget – just say no to the Rutherford County Commissioners and the Islamic mosque,” some with signs that listed the commissioners who had supported the mosque."
According to the Associated Baptist Press (ABP), Heartland Baptist Church is “independent,” and Heartland Baptist Church Christian Pastor Dusty Ray led Christian prayers for the anti-mosque march because “My main concern is that our freedoms are being threatened.”
(An example of the failure of our educational system. This unfortunate Christian pastor has no idea that by protesting the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro, he is the one threatening "our freedoms.")
Temecula mosque plan sparks protest
A plan to build a mosque in Temecula has divided the southwest Riverside County city where conservative values and freedom of religion are both cherished.
Vocal opponents of the 25,000-square-foot mosque proposed for 4 acres in the city's northeastern corner describe Islam not as a religion, but as a political movement bent on taking over the world and squelching freedom in favor of strict religious law.
Supporters of the project say members of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, which wants to build the mosque, are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who deserve the right to worship their God freely.
Temecula, a city of 105,000 with many residents previously from conservative havens in Orange and San Diego counties, is home to a variety of churches, including an independent Baptist congregation whose minister doesn't want the mosque as a next-door neighbor.
PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESERVES, PROTECTS, AND DEFENDS THE CONSTITUTION:
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
WASHINGTON — President Obama delivered a strong defense on Friday night of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, using a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan to proclaim that “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”
“I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground,” the president said in remarks prepared for the annual White House iftar, the sunset meal breaking the day’s fast.
But, he continued: “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”
It is clear that the protests against the building of mosques around the country are not based on 9/11 sensitivity issues, but rather a First Admendment, Freedom of Religion issue. The extremists on the Right who are the first to accuse Mr. Obama of destroying the Constitution are the same people who wish to assault the very freedoms they are so fearful of losing. How can they be so blind to their blatant and shameful bigotry?
UPDATE FROM THINK PROGRESS:
"As the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky notes, the president’s support for the Cordoba House “is going to be demagogued to death in the next few days. The important part is going forward. Hang tough. Stand by the position. Don’t trim sails or add asterisks after Mitch McConnell or Dick Cheney or whomever says whatever hideous thing they’re going to say.”
By supporting the rights of an unpopular religious minority, President Obama is firmly within the bounds of America’s best traditions and values. The same can’t be said of those cultivating fear of Muslims for political gain."