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Obama Stands Up for the 9/11 Mosque

August 14th, 2010 at 8:25 am | 249 Comments |

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Somewhat shockingly, Obama’s approach to the Ground Zero mosque issue has emerged as a libertarian one. In prepared remarks about it on Friday, he didn’t feel the need to assert any (false) platitudes about “interfaith outreach” or defend the particular Muslims behind the initiative — he simply pointed out that people are free to build what they please on their own property: …[A]s a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. The critics of the mosque weren’t called racist or “Islamophobic,” and the mosque was not defended on the merits of its goodness. Obama merely asserted that our laws grant people the right to do what they please with their own property.

Rep. Peter King’s response was puzzling for its irrelevance: “It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero. While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque, they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much.” King and Obama, then, seem to agree that they have the right to build the mosque, which is really the key issue at hand here. Obama didn’t ground his support for allowing the mosque to be built on the basis of the upstanding character of the imams behind it. The only relevant factor in allowing the mosque’s development, as Obama correctly pointed out, is whether the property was acquired legally. Whether one is personally offended by its being built — as I am — has nothing to do with whether it should be permitted. One’s rights don’t evaporate upon the majority taking offense. Our rights exist primarily to defend not the majority, after all, but the offensive, the radical, the shocking, and the outlandish. Obama and I diverge drastically when it comes to the nature of Islam, and his respect for property rights has not always been particularly stellar. But on this issue, he is absolutely correct and the right is absolutely wrong.

Recent Posts by Alex Knepper



249 Comments so far ↓

  • busboy33

    @Slide:

    So Cordoba DOES come from the name of the Spanish town? The way everybody else was hinting about its sinister meaning I assumed it was referring to something else. I took it as the point where East meets West culturally, as after the invasion the two cultures mingled (peacefully and sucsessfully) there . . . which actually was a nice idea.

    But as is becoming abundantly clear, the bigots can’t hear the word “Muslim” without finding something evil.

    Sadly, I’m starting to agree with many others here that this conversation is pointless. “Islam is the devil religion” is just an article a absolute faith for people like Alex and jaquinta, and they refuse to re-evaluate it. Alex keeps whining that nobody shows him that Islam isn’t a violent religion, we show him . . . then he disappears for a few hours and comes back into the conversation to spout the same thing.

    “2+2=5!”
    “No, it equals 4. Here, here’s the math to prove it.”
    ” . . .2+2=5!”

    There’s no point. Not only are they trying desperately to remain biased, they’re PROUD of how dogmatic they are being.

    I do find it funny that someone claiming to be a rational atheist is so blatantly operating on blind faith and belief. It doesn’t come from a church though, so I’m sure that’s okay.

    Alex — you asked before why hating a religion is bigotry. What makes YOUR hatred bigotry is the fact that it is based not in any kind of thought or logic, but resides solely in your blind faith. You hate Islam because it is the Devil Religion of Death . . . regardless of how many times your shown CONCLUSIVELY that it isn’t. You just ignore anything that conflicts with your faith, then having ignored all evidence you proudly claim that there’s no evidence against your faith.

    You are worse than a religious zealot. At least they know where their faith comes from.

    “Christianity’s sordid track record does NOT excuse Islam’s!”

    Excuse? No. But to say “Islam is uniquely dangerous among religions” REQUIRES a comparison to other religions . . . unless, of course, you just want to say bad things about Islam. If you’re trying to say “all religions need to be railed against”, go for it . . . but you won’t, because you’re not interested in fighting with everybody else. You’re not railing against religion, you’re railing against Islam for having whackos . . . which all religions do:

    “The Ford F150 is the worst form of pickup truck because it only gets 18 mpg!”
    “Well, all pickup trucks get about that mileage. That’s nothing special.”
    “We are NOT talking about every other pickup! Why would you mention other pickup’s mileage when I’m telling you that the F-150′s mileage is uniquely evil!?!”

    If we should hate Islam but not Christianity, then comparing the difference is logical and relevant. But that undercuts your bigotry . . . so lets ignore it and just keep chanting the same mantra again and again (the Alex trademark).

    I am heartened by the number of people that DO engage in discussion and thought. You all give me hope that America isn’t completely lost.

  • Alex Knepper

    Busboy, I already addressed why Islam is uniquely cancerous today: unlike Christianity, it has not gone through a maturation process that can only happen through reason, secularism, and capitalism — that is: an Enlightenment. There is no Islamic Voltaire. There is no Islamic Hume. There is no Islamic Montesquieu. There is no Islamic Jefferson. And if you think that the man who believes that America shares complicity in 9/11 and “doesn’t want to make enemies with” Hamas (read between the lines, bucko) is a potential Islamic Hume, then, I repeat: you need to see a psychiatrist or something.

    It is the “devil religion of death” because it’s stuck in the goddamn Stone Age. Maybe there could be an Islamic Voltaire — probably not, since the Qur’anic punishment for leaving Islam is execution — but we’ll never get one now, at any rate, since people like you keep lending credence to this loser in New York as “moderate” while condemning heroes like Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  • Alex Knepper

    “If we should hate Islam but not Christianity, then comparing the difference is logical and relevant. But that undercuts your bigotry . . . ”

    Um, I do hate Christianity. I’m just arguing that, thanks to the lashing it was given by the Enlightenment, it’s not much of a threat to rational civilization. In the meantime, faith-based people like you excuse every ugly thing done in the name of Islam because there are “extremist bigots” like me who have a problem with the disproportionate number of Muslims assaulting gays in the street, treating women like animals (see: the body bag called the burqa, the existence of which is rooted in Qur’anic dictates about ‘female modesty’), and calling for the destruction of Israel.

    In other words: of course every faith has its nuts. But aren’t you the LEAST bit curious as to why Islam produces SO MANY OF THEM?

  • LauraNo

    DeepSouth, the terrorists are not the entire ‘congregation’ unlike the Christians who went off with everyone’s approval, Crusading. I would argue that the terrorists are not really Muslims any more than doctor-murdering Christians are really Christians.

  • jg bennet

    It is getting testy in here how about some founders perspective?

    The Treaty of Tripoli

    Unlike governments of the past, the American Fathers set up a government divorced from religion.

    The establishment of a secular government did not require a reflection to themselves about its origin; they knew this as an unspoken given.

    However, as the U.S. delved into international affairs, few foreign nations knew about the intentions of America.

    **For this reason, an insight from at a little known but legal document written in the late 1700s explicitly reveals the secular nature of the United States to a foreign nation.**

    Officially called the “Treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary,” most refer to it as simply the Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11, it states:

    Captain Richard O’Brien, et al, translated and modified the Arabic version of the treaty into English. From this came the added Amendment 11.

    **Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; (Muslim)

    and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Muslim) nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.**

    To the United Baptist Churches in Virginia in May, 1789, Washington said that every man

    “ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

  • 2way10

    I find this debate very disturbing. First of all, on legal grounds there is nothing that can be done to prevent the building of the cultural center and mosque outside of a total disregard for the law and religious freedom. These Americans (yes, they are Americans by the way), who want to build and use an Islamic center, are protected by the same laws that protect the rest of us. It would first have to be proved that the Islamic religion, or this particular group, is a terrorist organization or has ties to one. Right now that is not the case. This list of official terrorist organizations can be found on the State Department website ( http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm ), domestic terrorism is handled by the FBI. So far I don’t see this organization being raided. What we have managed to do is mix up several very stupid and highly manipulated individuals who happen to come from the Islamic religion, with Islam. The terrorist acts of those idiots do not represent Islam and the people who follow that religion. They represent a band of thugs and criminals we have declared terrorists.

    Regarding the building being bad PR for Islam and an act of insensitivity, this is also just another bogus concern. It was not the Islamic religion that carried out the act, it was several radicalized individuals. Right on the Masjid website they openly declare ” Masjid Manhattan and its members condemn any type of terrorist acts. In particular, the attacks of 9/11 where non-Muslims as well as Muslims lost their lives. Islam always invites for peace; therefore Islam is not responsible for the actions of some ill individuals who, independently from what Islam advocates, have hatred against humanity. As Muslims and as Americans, we will never forget the beloved ones who perished that terrible day of September 11, 2001.” Why is anyone asking them to be “sensitive” for something they had nothing to do with?

    Look, it is alleged by some that Timothy McVeigh had ties to the Christian Identity movement, a racist, far right, radical Christian movement. If this were true, does that mean there should not be a church 2 blocks from the Alfred P Murrah building downtown Kansas City? That building a church close to the Federal building would be bad PR for Christianity and a slap on the fact of those who died in the bombing? If anyone came out in protest of building a Christian church near the KC Fed Building the counter-protests would turn into mass hysteria. This entire argument simply highlights the hypocrisy and gross ignorance of some of our citizenry.

  • sinz54

    jg bennet:

    You left out what started the war in Tripoli in the first place.

    Muslim pirates had been terrorizing American and British shipping.

    And that piracy was state-sponsored–by the Pasha of Tripoli, who demanded that these governments pay “tribute” (protection money), or else their ships would continue to be terrorized.

    So in 1784, Thomas Jefferson and John Jay, went to meet with Tripoli’s ambassador to London. They told the Tripoli ambassador that the United States was still a young infant country, and had no quarrel with Tripoli–why threaten the U.S. like this?

    Thomas Jefferson reported to Congress that the answer he received from Tripoli’s ambassador was this:
    it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.
    Now that has a familiar ring to it.

    Jefferson realized that sooner or later, the U.S. was going to end up in direct clash with these people. As Tripoli continued to escalate their demands for more and more protection money, most Americans finally sided with Jefferson.

  • busboy33

    @DSP:

    “First of all, Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian.”

    “There is no doubt that Timothy McVeigh was deeply influenced by the Christian Identity movement. Christian Identity is a profoundly racist and theocratic form of faith that developed in the late 1970s and spread like wildfire through rural communities throughout the U.S. in the 1980s.
    The chief guidebook for Christian Identity eschatology is ‘The Turner Diaries’ written by William Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald. The book is a fictional account of the ‘day of judgment’ for which Identity adherents are preparing. ”
    http://ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=15532
    see also:
    http://www.eyeonhate.com/mcveigh/mcveigh3.html
    http://www.sullivan-county.com/identity/cal_shoot.htm
    http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=98
    http://www.neirr.org/chrisidentity.htm

    Now . . . was he a GOOD Christian? Clearly not. But were his actions influenced/driven by a peverse and polluted view of Christianity? Yes. Most of the “McVeigh was not a Christian” arguments I’ve seen focus on his rejection of his Catholic upbringing as proof that he rejected Christianity. No . . . he rejected Catholicism, but that wasn’t a rejection of Christian Identity beliefs — rather, rejecting papacy was compelled by following CI. The Turner Diaries are inexorably tied into that peverse view of Christianity, and I don’t know anybody that disputes their connection to McVeigh.

    “The biggest influence on Timothy McVeigh was actually the United States Army who trained him, and his bombing was done in response to the Waco incident, not in the name of Christianity.”

    The US Army didn’t teach him to bomb civilian buildings. They tought him how to fight . . . the faith tought him WHO to fight. The evil un-Christian government that attacked a good Libertarian Christian (remember, Waco was a religious compound). Ruby Ridge was also a fundamentalist wacko. Christian Identity is inexorably tied up into social/political views.

    “And the Hutarees have been accused, not yet convicted, a distinction that should be important to you given that you’re a licensed attorney. Moreover, I’ve read that the prosecutors may actually have to drop the charges against some of them for lack of evidence.”

    Quick point first up — I’m no longer an active attorney. I gave up the practice, and as a result my license went into suspension because I don’t maintain my CLEs (Continuing Legal Education classes). It can be re-activated by making up the classes, but is not currently active (I cannpt legally act as another’s representative in Court).
    Now, the Hutarees — yes, they haven’t been convicted. Unfortunately, their web site was just taken down two months ago, otherwise I’d link you to it. There is no doubt that they viewed themselves as Christian warriors, and that their view of their Christian duty meant killing lots and lots of people. It was all over their web page. Unfortunately, like I said the page is gone now and I can’t find any archives of it. I saw it and can state that the way I’m describing it is accurate . . . but that’s certainly no proof.
    I will say this thougfh — not being convicted (yet) and the possibility that some of the idiots may avoid conviction isn’t relevant to the question: Are the crimes that they contemplated properly blamed on their faith? Your answer doesn’t dispute that they considered themselves Christian Warriors. Your answer doesn’t claim they are (all) innocent. You’re just sidestepping the uncomfortable question.

    “That leaves Rudolph and handful of other abortion killers. If they had millions of followers like OBL, it make some sense to look a their religion as a motivating factor, but they don’t.”

    I’m sorry . . . Al-Quaida numbers millions of members? You sure about that? Or is that assuming that Muslims all obey OBL?
    So the anti-abortion forces (which you’re not denying are chritstian terrorists) are a small force? Let’s check Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence):
    Murders — at least 8 since 93
    Attempted Murders — at least 17 since (77)
    Death Threats — 383 (77)
    Assault/Battery — 153 (77)
    Kidnappings — 3 (77)
    (Fake) bioterror threats like Anthrax — 655 (since 98)
    bombings — 41 (77)
    Arsons — 173 (77)
    Attempted bombings/Arson — 91 (77)
    Bomb threats — 619 (77)
    Criminal tresspassing — 1,630 (77)
    Vandalism — 1,264 (77)
    attacks with butyric acid — 100 (77)

    Here’s are some fun ones:
    -December 25, 1984: An abortion clinic and two physicians’ offices in Pensacola, Florida were bombed in the early morning of Christmas Day by a quartet of young people (Matt Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons, Kaye Wiggins) who later called the bombings “a gift to Jesus on his birthday.”
    -September 30, 2000: A Catholic priest drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic after learning that the FDA had approved the drug RU-486. He pulled out an ax before being forced to the ground by the owner of the building who fired two warning shots from a shotgun.
    -September 13, 2006 David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan crashed his car into the Edgerton Women’s Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and then started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions, however Edgerton is not an abortion clinic.

    By the way . . . these are all just in America. There are more acts of terrorism worldewide.

    “Let me be clear. I blame Christianity for inspiring violence in the past, just as I blame Islam for inspiring violence both in the past and today.”

    WHY THE DIFFERENCE? Sure, The Crusades were bad . . . but Islam is bad today! That implies that there is no contemporary Christian violence . . . and respectfully that is demonstrably not true.

    I’m asking about these contemporary Christian terrorists. Today. Not ancient history. Not the Crusades. Not the Inquisition. Not the Witch Hunts. Not the Klan. Is CONTEMPORARY Christian violence the fault of the religion? “It’s not as bad as Islamic violence!” Fine — but that doesn’t answer the question of whether the contenporary Christian violence is the fault of the religion, or the actors.
    You want contemporary?
    http://www.aryannationsrevival.org/
    Is that the religion’s fault, or theirs?

    (as an aside, the “Cruusades to Klan” bit above was intended to suggest that there hasn’t been a period where there WASN’T Christian violence. There have ALWAYS been idiots that pevert the faith’s message to justify violence. There always have been. There are now. There will be in the future. We’re not “past” anything).

  • jg bennet

    sinz54

    the treaty was 1797 and the muslim ambassador’s response was in 1784

    if you take a clip from anybody at war you can get a murderous response

    In August 1945, General Curtis Lemay was quoted in the New York Times as saying:
    “There are no innocent civilians.”

    Speaking years after the war about the incendiary bombing of Japanese cities, LeMay said:
    “Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time. … I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. Fortunately we were on the winning side.

    the tripoli treaty…

    Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty (tripoli) do, by and with the advice consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. (includes the Joel Barlow “not a christian nation” translation of article 11)

  • balconesfault

    it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners

    Bad people use religion to justify their own misdeeds. What a shocker. This should especially be a surprise to Jews who have been kicked around for centuries by Christians using New Testament Scripture as a justification.

    But if you’re citing Jefferson, let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
    Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

  • llbroo49

    Alex Knepper,

    I have read your varying post attacking Muslim and not differentiating then from the 911 attackers. When others have tried to counter your arguments with comparisons to Christianity, you state that it is irrelevant as you are an atheist and believe all religions are flawed. So let me attempt to give you a better analogy.

    All men that have sex with little boys are pedophiles and by the nature of the sex act, homosexuals. As a matter of fact one the stereotypes about gays are that they are pedophiles. Now if you wanted to build a gay community center, say in West Memphis, Arkansas (site of the Paradise Lost Murders) wouldn’t you (if you were gay) want people to be able to tell the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia? And what if instead of me asking you to denounce pedophillia, what if I asked you to denounce sodomy? And what if I used your non denouncement of sodomy as grounds to say you support pedophillia?

    Moreover, due to protest in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and California, it is kind of obvious that the building of an Islamic center has little to do with the proximity to the Ground Zero.

  • busboy33

    @DSP:

    Dammit — I just wrote up a huge bit with all sorts of links and data, then managed to close that tab before posting, and I’m not in the right frame of mind to do it again, so I’m just going to deal with one thing you said:

    “It’s funny that the pro-Mosque side in this debate has no problem blaming the Christian religion for inspiring the Crusades, the Inquisition, and witch burnings but calls any attempt to blame Islam for violence bigotry.”

    That is the point you’re missing. None of the “Islamic apologists” are blaming Christianity. The Crusades wern’t the fault of Christianity . . . they were the fault of politics. Christianity was just the excuse. The Inquisition? Not Christianity’s fault. The witch purges? The Klan? McVeigh (CI movement), abortion killers, Jim Jones, etc.? They are all NOT the fault of Christianity.

    Let me say that again — they are NOT the fault of Christianity. They are abuses of Christianity, but do not represent the faith. JUST LIKE MUSLIM TERRORISTS.

    Here’s a current example:
    http://www.aryannationsrevival.org/
    Christian? They claim so. Plenty of “pastors”, with plenty of “sermons”. Lots of religious discussion (my favorite is the rogues gallery of Jews, including “Sammy Davis JEw-Noir”). Hell, they’re building a church!

    So . . .is this Christian? Of course not. Is this the fault of Christianity? Of course not. They are peverting the tenets of Christianity for their own twisted purposes and biases . . . JUST LIKE MUSLIM TERRORISTS.

    (as for the “Islam is overall a religion of violence” bit, I’ll again point out that either 1,399,500,000 people don’t know their own faith as well as an Infidel . . . or Islam must not preach violence. And that figure IMO is being extremely generous to the anti-Islamic side)

    The point is, you can’t blame Muslim wackos on their faith, and NOT blame Christian wackos on Christianity. Since the overwhelmingly vast majority of BOTH faiths are non-violent, violence clearly isn’t a tenet of EITHER faith. If you excuse Christianity (I do) then you logically and rationally must excuse Islam. If you blame the radical fringe Muslims on Islam . . . then you HAVE to blame Christianity (and all Christians) for the beleifs and actions of the radical fringe.

    The point is, you cannot have it both ways “just because”. I’ve said it before, this mirrors the Prop 8 case, and the problems with its argument:
    “Ban SSM because they can’t procreate!”
    “But lots of ‘normal’ marriages can’t procreate either.”
    “That’s perfectly fine.”
    “Why is procreation an issue for SSM but not for ‘normal’ marriage?”
    “Because SSM is bad and normal marriage is good!”

    Yes, there are violent Muslims. Yes, they claim their faith told them to act as they do. So does the Aryan Nation. So do the Klan. So do pro-life bombers.

    The only reason you disregard when Christians say it is because you like Christians. The only reason you believe the Muslims totally is you don’t like Muslims. Otherwise, there’s no rational distinction between the two examples.

    They are both wrong. Christian wackos are NOT the fault of Christianity. And if you’re not willing to blame Christianity for them . . . why do you blame Islam for OBL?

    btw . . . “millions” of OBL followers? Where on Earth did you get that number?

    “It is impossible to known precisely, due to the decentralized stucture of the organization. Al-Qaida may have several thousand members and associates. It trained over 5,000 militants in camps in Afghanistan since the late 1980s. It also serves as a focal point for a worldwide network that includes many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, some members of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Harakat ul-Mujahidin.”
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/al-qaida.htm

  • Traveler

    Hi DrDredel

    Just got back online. I have to agree with your take that the loss of life on 9/11 was a pittance compared to the toll from traffic accidents, heart attacks due to overeating, etc. Even the loss of real estate was in the same order of magnitude as say, Katrina or Andrew. That is what insurance companies are all about. So I can’t say I disagree all that much. But those are different events entirely. They are distributed in both time and space so as to spread the impacts widely enough that they are much less of an impact overall. 9/11 was much more than a weeks worth of accident reports by bubble-headed beach blonds.

    It is the potential for a far worse repeat that has me worried. Frankly, the adventure in Iraq has so enraged the Muslim world (and it can be argued, reasonably so) that we are now facing many far more determined (and lethal) adversaries. That is why I despise the Bush2 so much, for selling the crap that Iraq was a nexus to 9/11, and then letting every insurgent get as many arms as possible. Between Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bremner, the only thing our incompetent ‘mission accomplished’ was to create a major threat, and enable Iran. Meanwhile Afghanistan, where we might have had a chance if we focused on there from the beginning, is now another debacle. Total f*****g idiots. I will never forgive the American electorate for reelecting those incompetents. That is one reason why I fundamentally despise Refuglicans. Cannot think clearly to save even their own livelihood.

    Like you, I am inclined not to be so fussy about the mosque in the first place. It don’t mean all that much. I just hope that living well be the best revenge. All I want to emphasize is that the threat is real, and no amount of PC sophistry will eliminate it. Like abk says, we have major issues here, and the outlook for getting the Muslim world to enter the 21st century is pretty dismal.

  • jquintana

    The bottom line is this: until Muslims stop killing people in the name of Islam, and as long as moderate Muslims don’t speak out against the killing, I’m not going to feel very charitable towards the Islamic faith. Especially when certain ‘moderate’ Muslims decide to build a mosque 2 blocks from where 2600 innocent people were smashed, cremated, incinerated and blown to bits in the name of Islam. People who were guilty of nothing more than showing up for work that day.

  • Slide

    DeepSouthPopulist // Aug 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm: “Not everyone who disagrees with your perspective on the name Cordoba gets his information from Newt Gingrich or someone else on the faux right. On this issue, Gingrich is correct.

    No. He is not.

    Alex Knepper // Aug 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm: “He condemned 9/11! He’s a moderate now! LOL.”

    Oh Alex.. such a silly little guy you are. Again I ask you, can you name one Muslim that YOU deem as moderate? Or is every single one of the the estimated 1.5 Muslims radical and dangerous?

    I posted a rather long op-ed from Rauf that clearly shows what his viewpoints are. Anything disagreeable in there? Anything radical? He has written three books in the past. Any quotes from those books you would like to share with us that shows that he is not a moderate? Come Alex ole’ boy, you must have something, the guy has been around for years. Do you have ANY evidence whatsoever to suggest he is not a moderate? Oh, and your “read between the lines” doesn’t cut it spunky. Reading between the lines to the likes of you and DSP will always turn up violent and radical Muslims. You see, that is what fear, bias and bigotry do to people.

    Oh, and don’t tell he me he “supports” Hamas. We debunked that bit of foolishness already. You know that radical Muslims are not especially known for their subtlety. Do you think he is is being disingenuous? That he really secretly supports OBL but says the exact opposite just to fool us infidels? And that he has been doing this for years and years just waiting for this moment when he can erect an insulting monument glorifying the Muslim conquest of Cordoba? LOL. You are a truly special Alex?

  • Slide

    jquintana // Aug 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm: “The bottom line is this: until Muslims stop killing people in the name of Islam, and as long as moderate Muslims don’t speak out against the killing”

    You do have Muslims speaking out against the killing and they are the one’s associated with the community center in lower Manhattan. But you want to prevent him from having a platform to preach that moderation. Amazing.

  • Slide

    From Time Magazine, this is “radical” that Alex Knepper fears so much.

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, are actually the kind of Muslim leaders right-wing commentators fantasize about: modernists and moderates who openly condemn the death cult of al-Qaeda and its adherents — ironically, just the kind of “peaceful Muslims” whom Sarah Palin, in her now infamous tweet, asked to “refudiate” the mosque. Rauf is a Sufi, which is Islam’s most mystical and accommodating denomination.

    The Kuwaiti-born Rauf, 52, is the imam of a mosque in New York City’s Tribeca district, has written extensively on Islam and its place in modern society and often argues that American democracy is the embodiment of Islam’s ideal society. (One of his books is titled What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America.) He is a contributor to the Washington Post’s On Faith blog, and the stated aim of his organization, the Cordoba Initiative, is “to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.” His Indian-born wife is an architect and a recipient of the Interfaith Center Award for Promoting Peace and Interfaith Understanding.

    Since 9/11, Western “experts” have said repeatedly that Muslim leaders who fit Rauf’s description should be sought out and empowered to fight the rising tide of extremism. In truth, such figures abound in Muslim lands, even if their work goes unnoticed by armchair pundits elsewhere. Their cause is not helped when someone like Rauf finds himself being excoriated for some perceived reluctance to condemn Hamas and accused of being an extremist himself. If anything, this browbeating of a moderate Muslim empowers the narrative promoted by al-Qaeda: that the West loathes everything about Islam and will stop at nothing to destroy it.

    Rauf and Khan have said Park51 — envisaged as a 15-story structure, including a mosque, cultural center and auditorium — will promote greater interfaith dialogue. The furor over the project only underlines how desperately it is needed.
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2008432,00.html

    So by attacking moderate Muslims like Rauf, we are actually playing right into the hands of OBL. What utter stupidity from the right wing. But then again I’m being redundant aren’t I?

  • busboy33

    American Imans visit Dachau:

    http://www.forward.com/articles/130013/

    “At the end of the service, prayer leader Muzammil Siddiqi, imam of the Islamic Society of Orange County, California, offered up an additional prayer: ‘We pray to God that this will not happen to the Jewish people or to any people anymore.’
    ***
    Among other developments, Mohamed Magid, imam and executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a mega-mosque in the Washington area that serves more than 5,000 families, is preparing an article on Holocaust denial for Islamic Horizons, the magazine published by the Islamic Society of North America. ‘No Muslim in his right mind, female or male, should deny the Holocaust,’ said the Muslim leader, a native of Sudan. ‘When you walk the walk of the people who have been taken to be gassed, to be killed, how can a person deny physical evidence, something that’s beyond doubt?’”
    ***
    Siddiqi, who also serves as chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, a body that interprets religious law, has gained attention for issuing a Fatwa against suicide bombing. At the same time, he has been criticized for failing to denounce such groups as Hezbollah and Hamas.

    Eleven months before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, Siddiqi also gave a speech that critics have since used to assail him: ‘America has to learn, if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come. Do you remember that? If you continue doing injustice, the wrath of God will come.’

    Nevertheless, mere weeks after 9/11, he condemned the attack strongly, most notably at an interfaith prayer meeting with President Bush in Washington.

    In addition to leading the prayer at Dachau, Siddiqi spoke at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Death Wall at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he quoted a verse from the Quran (similar to the Jewish adage) stating that he who kills one person kills all humanity.

    Later that same day, during an audience with the archbishop of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, Siddiqi was even more forceful. ‘We came here to witness the place where the most horrible crimes were committed,’ he said. ‘We came here to understand the pain of the Jewish community. This is in order to improve relationships, because you cannot build relationships with people unless you know what they’ve been through,’ he said.”

  • Traveler

    Busboy, this site can be frustrating. Just lost my post too. Better to draft in Word from now on methinks. So here goes.

    I am perplexed at the intransigence of most posters here. Why is it so hard to accept that while many Muslims are may be largely tolerant, even more are quite intolerant? Muslims worldwide deeply abhor many of the most basic principles of western civilization. Like Alex and abk1985 point out, they are still in the dark ages. This is confirmed by the polls showing how the MAJORITY worldwide support terror. Add to that how many more support the imposition of Sharia in contravention of basic western principles of separation of church and state, and the prognosis for resolution is pretty grim. We are talking about the majority of 1.4 billion people here, not just one dictator or another.

    This antipathy has nothing to do with UBL and GB2. It has gone on for a long time. See my earlier post: http://www.frumforum.com/obama-stands-up-for-the-911-mosque/comment-page-3#comment-140286 . So here I have to come down on the side of Sinz, DSP, JQ and Alex as to the world view of most Muslims. It is not all pretty, and those of you that think otherwise are, to be frank, deluded.

    But that said, I have to agree with the PC posters that we might as well get over it. Our principles of liberty and the separation of church and state should prevail over any bigotry, no matter how well supported by the facts. However, I want to caution Slide, Busboy and Annie that there is a real threat here, not some politically correct construct that ‘Muslims will be Muslims’, as if that puts an end to the matter and we can all go off into the sunset singing Kumbayah. Relativistic arguments based upon past Christian misdeeds in no way justify your hope for the future. So let’s do the right thing, but not while apologizing for current Muslim misdeeds. That makes me want to puke.

    Like you PC posters, I am hopeful, but unlike you, I am not optimistic since I recognize the reality of Muslim hatred. I cannot understand your reluctance to face these facts. Likewise I cannot understand why hardliners can’t stand up for the principles of the founding fathers. I guess I am all alone here. Life in the center lane…

  • TerryF98

    There is a long established Mosque operating right now 10 blocks from ground Zero. To close objectionists?

    There is another long established Mosque operating right now 4 blocks from ground zero, is that one too close objectionists?

    What is the difference between 4 blocks and 2 blocks. And why are people objecting to Mosques thousands of miles from ground zero.

    This is nothing to do with a Mosque or where it is, and it’s all about the GOP having a wedge issue for the election. Gays do not seem to be working this time around. Immigrants are on the burner but Muslims are far better as a wedge as the GOP can get even more anger and fear from scary Muslims.

  • busboy33

    Hey Alex;

    Did I read your commont above correctly . . . that the Enlightment was about theological evolution?

    “unlike Christianity, it has not gone through a maturation process that can only happen through reason, secularism, and capitalism — that is: an Enlightenment. There is no Islamic Voltaire. There is no Islamic Hume. There is no Islamic Montesquieu. There is no Islamic Jefferson.”

    And Voltaire, Hume, Montesquieu and Jefferson were theologians? Christianity was “matured” by the Enlightenment . . . or Western society was?

    “faith-based people like you excuse every ugly thing done in the name of Islam because there are “extremist bigots” like me who have a problem with the disproportionate number of Muslims assaulting gays in the street, treating women like animals (see: the body bag called the burqa, the existence of which is rooted in Qur’anic dictates about ‘female modesty’), and calling for the destruction of Israel.”

    Try to wipe the flecks of spittle from your mouth, Alex.

    Let’s start at the beginning . . .

    1) I’m not faith based. I have faith, but it does not guide my life or how I look at the world. I’ve never once advocated for any faith, or any religious belief. You unfortunately can’t get past what you believe to what you read and hear.

    2)I haven’t excused a single ugly thing done in the name of Islam, or any other religion. Not a single one. And you know it. The only reason you’d say that is you’re being hysterical. Saying “evil thing X is not the fault of Islam” is not an excuse for evil thing X. Why on Earth would you think something like that? Oh yeah . . . refusing to condemn an entire religion is equivilant to advocating for its most horrendus misinterpretations. Spoken like a true Far Right whackjob — “black and white” is to murky for you.

    3)What is the proportionate number for assaulting gays in the streets? Seems like you’ll need (a) the total number of Muslims, (b) the total number of Islamic gay assults, (3) the total number of adherents to a comparable religion and (4) the total number of gay street assaults by that religion’s adherents. You have lots of fun with that. Some rough math with FBI statistics suggest you’re looking at at a few thousand gay assaults every year in America alone.
    How many gay assault in the streets are you happy with? Just as a technical question . . . does a fag drag count as “in the street” if you go off-road?
    Further clarification . . . which gay assaults are religious based and which are just gay-bashing motivated? And how do you tell? Oh, right . . . easier just to blame anything that happend in a Muslim country on Islam.

    4) Islam mandates all women wear the burqa, right? There are no Muslim women that wear anything less?
    Oh, waitaminute . . . plenty of Muslim women go burqua-less. How could this be? Has the world gone mad? Or do just SOME Muslims interpret the Koran to require the Full Monty?
    No — that would mean that Islam isn’t a monolithic entity (which would be exactly the same as all other religions), and then your entier “Islam is dedicated to evil” nonsense would be silly on its face.

    5) Hating Israel — I’m not sure how a religion that was formed before the founding of Israel could have, as one of the tenets of its faith, the destruction of Israel. Seems pretty forward-looking of Mohammed that he worked that into the Koran.
    Is it that Islam hates Israel . . . or is it that Arabs hate Israel, and most Arabs happen to be Muslims? Because if it was the latter, then you’d have to look to some non-religious reason for Mid-East Arabs to be against Israel. I wonder what possible reason could a Middle Eastern Arab, especially one with family ties to the area that predate the 1940s, what reason could they have to be be opposed to Israel? That sure is a mystery. Nothing secular jumps out at me. I guess you are right — it must be a religious issue.
    Maybe I’m just dense . . . can you think of any non-religious reason Arabs might be against Israel? Anything at all? And if you can . . . would that sort of mean the opposition to Israel ISN’T based on Islam?

    But aside from being wrong in every single thing you said . . . it was a good point.

  • LauraNo

    balconesfault, I find it fairly amazing just how smart and how much insight into human nature and nations the founders had. Thanks for this quote. Lowest grade of ignorance, genius!

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
    Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

  • Slide

    Traveler: “Why is it so hard to accept that while many Muslims are may be largely tolerant, even more are quite intolerant? Muslims worldwide deeply abhor many of the most basic principles of western civilization. Like Alex and abk1985 point out, they are still in the dark ages. This is confirmed by the polls showing how the MAJORITY worldwide support terror.”

    Can you supply some sources for that contention?

    Gallup seems to think otherwise:

    Major survey challenges Western perceptions of Islam

    (AFP) – Feb 26, 2008

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — A huge survey of the world’s Muslims released Tuesday challenges Western notions that equate Islam with radicalism and violence.

    The survey, conducted by the Gallup polling agency over six years and three continents, seeks to dispel the belief held by some in the West that Islam itself is the driving force of radicalism.

    It shows that the overwhelming majority of Muslims condemned the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 and other subsequent terrorist attacks, the authors of the study said in Washington.

    “Samuel Harris said in the Washington Times (in 2004): ‘It is time we admitted that we are not at war with terrorism. We are at war with Islam’,” Dalia Mogadeh, co-author of the book “Who Speaks for Islam” which grew out of the study, told a news conference here.

    “The argument Mr Harris makes is that religion in the primary driver” of radicalism and violence, she said.

    “Religion is an important part of life for the overwhelming majority of Muslims, and if it were indeed the driver for radicalisation, this would be a serious issue.”

    But the study, which Gallup says surveyed a sample equivalent to 90 percent of the world’s Muslims, showed that widespread religiosity “does not translate into widespread support for terrorism,” said Mogadeh, director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

    About 93 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll, based on more than 50,000 interviews.

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iZlsZRgzHmgwj6sKpA7PR5F5Ecsw

  • Oldskool

    The backlash is entirely predictable so I have no sympathy for whoever’s idea it is. Backlash is usually earned. In the 1960′s we still carried grudges against Germans (krauts) and Japanese (japs). It showed up on tv, in movies and even in schoolbooks even though we rebuilt both countries after the war.

  • busboy33

    @Traveler:

    I agree 100% that there are intolerant Muslim Jackholes as well as tolerant Muslims. In terms of “percentages”, I think things get murky real quick.

    The first problem is that it would be almost impossible to calculate “tolerant” and “intolerant” population numbers.

    The second problem would be you’d have to calculate the same numbers for other religions in order to know if Islam was “worse” than any other religion.

    So where do we get our impressions of the “numbers”? What we hear. There are thousands of homosexual-based hate crimes in the US every year, but it doesn’t make it into the news unless its in your community (either by locale or by interest). The fact that I don’t hear about might make me say “Oh, gay focused hate crimes aren’t a problem in America”, but that wouldn’t be true. My perception is biased by the information I receive, and I need to take that into account. How often on the news do you see a story about a Muslim act of Charity in Madagascar? About zero. How often do you hear a story about someonre being convicted of adultery in Iran? I think every time it happens it makes the news here. Does that mean Iran has thousands of adultery stonings every year? Maybe . . . but that’s the way it appears to us because of the reporting bias.

    But frankly those two problems I don’t think are the major issue. The real problem would be how do you distinguish between intolerant behavior that is NOT based on religion, and that which has as its genesis faith?

    As I’ve said before . . . lots of bad things that get blamed on religion didn’t come from religion. For example, the Crusades wern’t caused by religion. Nowhere in the Bible did it say “seize power along a lucrative trade route”. That the secular action became intertwined with religion isn’t the fault of Christianity, but rather is the fault of the people involved being Christians who needed to justify what they wanted to do.

    How much of the “evil acts” associated with Islam can be traced to some other social factor? Here’s just one example: caning. The religious police running thru Iran and Afganistan caning lawbreakers is abhorent . . . but they cane lawbreakers in Singapore too, and it has nothing to do with Islam. Did Islam require caning, or do Authoritarians cane and Iran and Afganistan happen to be Muslim? All dictatorships exert unacceptable levels of authoritarian control over the populace. In a religious dictatorship, the exact same thing happens, but it is clothed in the trappings of religion. Is that the religion’s fault (the religion requires such actions) or is it the fault of a dictatorship using the religion of the populace to exert control (the religion is being mis-applied)?

    I’m not saying that it is or isn’t the case . . . I just don’t know how you can conclusively distinguish one from the other. I say that Islam isn’t violent because in many situations Muslims aren’t violent. If the religion was the source of the violence, then regardless of the situation a Muslim would be violent, and that doesn’t happen.

    Take Muslim violence in Eastern Europe. Is it “religious based”? Allegedly. Muslim terrorists fight with Christians. But at the same time, Christians have attacked Muslims . . . and other Christian sects. That (IMO) seems more like a social hatred with deep historical roots rather than a religious requirement. The religious trappings (My group is sect X, their group is sect Y) grow because town X is all one religion, and town Y is all a different religion. Town-on-town hatred morphs into religion-on-religion hatred. That’s a peversion of the religion, as two adherents of the two religions or sects might meet on the opposite side of the globe, from unrelated towns, and there would be no violence.

    As I said before, if Muslims are not violent, then violence must not be a trait of Islam. Some Muslims certainly ARE violent, but if the source of the violence isn’t the religion it usually isn’t too hard to locate a secualr cause or two. Like I told Alex above — Arabs hate Israel not because The Prophet demanded it, but because (a) their “genetic brothers” got kicked off their land and (b) after attacking Israel they got humiliatingly beat down. This is a culture that holds grudges for hundreds of years, passed down from father to son. That might be a religious conflict, but more likely its a secular conflict.

    Let me ask this — if all Jews in Israel became Muslim but kept all the land and security restrictions . . . would Arabs be satisfied? Probably not. On the other side, if all Israelis up and moved to Antartica and gave all the land back to the Arabs, would the Arabs follow them to Antartica to wipe the Jews out? Probably not. Both of those hypothetical-and-answers are guesses on my part, but if they are right then the problem must not be religious.

    Blaming religion is easy, but IMO its TOO easy. People and societies are more complex and intricate than simple “we all do exactly what this book says”. The fact that interpretations of religions evolve and change over time suggest that human factors influence religion, which means establishing “cause-and-effect” relationships between religion and society is almost impossible.

  • anniemargret

    traveler: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step .

    I am hopeful. If we are not hopeful, then we give in to despair and defeat. To me defeat is giving into the idea that all of the Muslims in the world are addicted to violence and revenge. If so, then get ready to arm ourselves to the teeth and fight endless wars with billions of people – Armageddon would indeed have arrived. That’s not what I as an American or for my children and future grandchildren, or for our country.

    Make no mistake. I cannot speak for the other centrists here, or liberals here…. for myself, I have no illusions about our enemies in the world. But this entire argument stemmed from whether or not the mosque/recreational center should be built near 9/11, because we are offended by it. I understand why people feel offended… I feel offended too.

    But we honor our Constitution and our laws. It’s what makes us great. And when we say to the Muslims, yes, go ahead and build your mosque/recreational center near 9/11, and even though it might profoundly disappoint us or hurt our deep feelings for those that died there, we are Americans. And as Americans we can rise above our feelings and do what’s right.

    I mentioned earlier the real threat of cyberterrorism… that would require not a single bomb dropped on any American city, nor suicide bombers blowing themselves up in Times Square. It would require real vigilance and we need to get the best and the brightest to counteract this threat which could bring us to our knees. I think we are more at risk in that area than we are for another planned airline attack on an American city.

    And defending the mosque being built is not defending Islam. That is sheer hyperbole and it lends absolutely nothing to this discussion.

  • busboy33

    @Slide:

    Great link — thanks!

    @Traveler:
    From the link of the survey from Slide above:
    “Meanwhile, radical Muslims gave political, not religious, reasons for condoning the attacks, the poll showed.”

  • Slide

    Islamic public opinion is, like many things, a bell curve. There is a certain center where the majority of public opinion resides and then there are the extremes, on one end OBL and his cohort of terrorists – on the other, supporters of the United States who would like nothing better than to send their children to MIT. In between there would be varying degrees of support and opposition to terrorism.

    Now we may all have differing views of where that center is located but that is irrelevant to my argument. We need to move that bell curve in the direction away from the OBL wing. That would result in fewer terrorists. Fewer willing to support terrorism. Fewer willing to turn away and ignore terrorism. It conversely would mean more moderates writing op-eds denouncing terrorism. More willing to cooperate with the West in fighting terrorism. More willing to question the unequal treatment of women, more modernity, etc.

    Muslim public opinion can only move in two directions. The invasion of Iraq unfortunately moved the bell curve in the wrong direction. Invading an oil rich Muslim country based on the lies of WMD certainly assisted and gave credence to OBL’s narrative. The election of Obama perhaps moved it a bit in the other direction. This is the type of war we are in. A war of public opinion. Don’t get me wrong, there is a military component to our battle with Islamic terrorism but lets not fool ourselves, we can’t kill our way out of the situation because in a population of 1.5 billion there will always be more than enough 16 year olds willing to fill in the void if encouraged by public opinion. All of our military might is useless in this kind of war as 911 clearly demonstrated. I think the only way we can have success in in reducing the threat against us is to move public opinion in the right direction.

    We should be embracing moderate Muslims, like the one’s involved with building the community center, not alienating them. Doing otherwise just makes it harder for Muslims to be moderate. It pushes them in the wrong direction.

    Now I know that I will be attacked for being some dewy eyed liberal wanting to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Nothing could be further from the truth. I firmly believe that if we ignore Muslim public opinion we do so at our own risk.

  • Traveler

    Slide, Busboy and Annie:

    Good points all. That is why I almost always concur with your posts. But not as much this time.

    Slide, you ask what are the numbers? As to intolerance, I only have my personal experience and what it read in the newspapers. On the one hand, the recent Pakistabi polls may not be so bad, ie : Apparently, only 18% support Al-Qaeda (up from 10%) , and over 80% dislike us. http://original.antiwar.com/eli-clifton/2010/07/30/poll-pakistanis-dislike-us-taliban-and-al-qaeda/

    But then see this take: http://missioneuropakmartell.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/islamic-terror-caused-by-small-minority-of-muslims-facts-prove-opposite/. “In a recent survey of 6,000 Muslims in 14 countries published in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism…some 47 percent of 62-year-olds surveyed were inclined to support terrorism. That percentage was only 10 points higher for 18-year-olds.”

    I guess these must have been really radical countries, since that is such a big difference from the 2008 poll. Gallup is no slouch, and frankly, I would love to be wrong. Perhaps some posters here might want to distill the polling data into some semblance of, coherent analysis. You folks have considerable talent, and more time than I do. Unfortunately, having rocks thrown at me for being an infidel tends to bias my thinking.

    Busboy, teasing out the effects of religion vs. culture is somewhat of a specious argument. It really doesn’t matter, as they are both intertwined so deeply. See abk1985’s post on that. I prejudge them based on their religion, since it does the job. Of course I am not unaware of the many different Muslim faiths and their derivations. Sufis are pretty cool, but they get bombed (Oops, so much for that idea). So let’s dive into Wahabism if we want to get specific. Whether its religion or culture, the fact remains that these people have it in for us. As I pointed out, Iraq is sure looking like it was a real good idea.

    Annie, you are damn right I am not defending Islam, at least the more misogynistic Wahabism. My defense of the mosque is not hyperbole at all. Wrong word there. Maybe you thought I was being disingenuous? But I have made myself perfectly clear. Sorry about my focus on Islam itself vs. the mosque location, but frankly that is low hanging fruit. BO did the job there, and I can’t believe the amount of palaver on that when the larger issue looms. I much prefer a more focused discussion on what our world could be, and should be. I don’t want Armageddon any more than you do.

  • Alex Knepper

    @llbroo — Insanely dumb:

    “I have read your varying post attacking Muslim and not differentiating then from the 911 attackers. When others have tried to counter your arguments with comparisons to Christianity, you state that it is irrelevant as you are an atheist and believe all religions are flawed. So let me attempt to give you a better analogy.

    All men that have sex with little boys are pedophiles and by the nature of the sex act, homosexuals. As a matter of fact one the stereotypes about gays are that they are pedophiles. Now if you wanted to build a gay community center, say in West Memphis, Arkansas (site of the Paradise Lost Murders) wouldn’t you (if you were gay) want people to be able to tell the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia?”

    The problem with this analogy is that it is really stupid and based upon a premise I don’t share: that is, that Islam is a peaceful faith that’s been hijacked by extremists.

    A homosexual is someone romantically and sexually attracted to the same sex. That’s it. That’s the definition. A Muslim, by definition, is someone who adheres to the dogma of the Qur’an. The Qur’an blatantly advocates violence; being homosexual has nothing to do with having sex with children. Hence, the Qur’an inspires violence, being gay doesn’t inspire child molestation.

    Any more questions?

  • Alex Knepper

    Anyway, I’m too lazy to reply to other points; I’m so sick of talking about this issue right now. I just spent 30 minutes writing a reply to a friend elsewhere, so, maybe later.

  • busboy33

    @Traveler:

    I understand what you are saying — I disagree with it, but its a respectful disagreement.

  • Traveler

    Hi Busboy,

    I really wish it was just political. If so, why was I stoned 37 years ago? Hell, Reagan wasn’t even around then, and the Yom Kippur war was 4 months into the future. So it was all due to ‘geopolitical reservations’ by slum residents in the back alleys of Srinagar? That is rich. Those assholes weren’t Wahabis either. It might help to pay attention to what I post.

    You have to realize this antipathy (to put it politely) goes way back. And you can’t bury it under PC relativism. I buried it until 9/11, but no more. Please wake up! I am not some neocon. We desperately need to really examine the facts here, and wishful thinking won’t do. So far I haven’t seen much factual evidence that is encouraging. Please prove me wrong.

    Modified:

    Our posts passed in the ether. As you note, we disagree with each other, but respectfully, and I thank you for the civility. Sorry if I came off a little cavalier in the first para. But claiming politics might be a bit of a reach.

  • anniemargret

    traveler: Sorry, I think I was addressing some of your points, but my point about ‘defending Islam’ was more directed at some of the other bloggers here who equate all Muslims with radical Islamic terrorists .

    I also want to point out (and since this blog is so long I may be redundant and someone else may have already said it), that we had no real threat from radical Muslims until and after Uncle Sam got a big footprint in the Middle East, and particularly our affinity with Israel. They perceive that our sympathies lie with the Israelis at the expense of the Arab.

    In many ways, I see this more of a political issue with radical Muslims than I do with their religion, although “Traveler’ you are correct in that their antipathy toward the westerner goes back thousands of years. I would even venture to say the Crusades probably didn’t help matters, but I am not trying to be flippant.

    We need to remember that OBL used this issue (Israel vs Arab) as his raison d’etre against the U.S. It is why I fundamentally disagree with those that are saying this is something simply out of the Qu’ran. There may be elements to that, but I basically feel we’ve got radical Islam on our backs due to our almost unilateral support of Israel.

    Our invasion of Iraq (that was no real ‘war’ since Iraq never declared war on us), exacerbated that hate and anger. It was and still is one of the gravest strategic errors in our history with long-lasting repercussions.

  • llbroo49

    Alex,

    You stated the following: “The problem with this analogy is that it is really stupid and based upon a premise I don’t share: that is, that Islam is a peaceful faith that’s been hijacked by extremists.
    A homosexual is someone romantically and sexually attracted to the same sex. That’s it. That’s the definition. A Muslim, by definition, is someone who adheres to the dogma of the Qur’an. The Qur’an blatantly advocates violence; being homosexual has nothing to do with having sex with children. Hence, the Qur’an inspires violence, being gay doesn’t inspire child molestation.

    Any more questions?”

    Did not mean to offend. However, I doubt Muslims believe your assumptions are based upon a premise they share. I do not dispute your definition of homosexuality, I merely point out how others can view the acts of a minority as the beliefs of a much larger group. just ask any homosexual male (or for that matter any male) who wants to work as a day care provider or any occuppation that works closely with young children. They face discrimination because others believe homosexuals are predisposed to pedophillia. If you acknowledge that this assumpton is ludicrous- then that is probably the way many Muslims feel about lumping them in to a group with terrorists.

    And lets be honest, if a minority of christians began carrying out despicable acts based on their interpetation of the bible (primarily the Old Testement)- even you would say they do not represent christians. It is highly unlikely that you (as an atheist) would be calling for the banning of church expansion because of the dangers of the bible. The reason is probably because you have enough contact and relationships with christians that you can see the deplorable actions of some do not reflect the actions of all. Perhaps you should spend some time with Muslims that don’t blow things up to get a feel for how their teachings and faith affect their daily lives.

    I say this as someone who was vehemently against gays serving in the military. I had long held beliefs based on how I was raised and on church teachings. But since leaving the service, I have had the opportunity to work with several and some I even call friends. While I am still opposed to homosexuality on moral grounds and would do everything I could to discourage my children from engaging (note I didn’t say choosing) in homosexuality, I no longer find homosexuals as people that should be kept from the same rights that I share.

  • Alex Knepper

    @llbroo — But the truth of whether a link is legitimate is not determined by how people “feel,” but by the logical connection between things. The Qur’an is a violent, fascist book. What I’m really insulted by is this lumping together of Muslims and gays as “oppressed minorities” that people “misunderstand.” If people “misunderstand” Muslims, it’s in large part their own fault for swearing fealty to a deranged “prophet” and his book, a little tome comparable to Mein Kampf in its treatment of Jews, women, gays, and non-believers. Most Muslims — especially American ones — ignore the nasty parts (which are legion). But you can hardly be surprised that people are suspicious when the Qur’an is such a violent, brutal book.

    I just want to live my life, love someone, and be left alone by religious fanatics. Yes, it’s bigoted to oppose such a request. It is not bigoted to be naturally suspicious of someone who claims that the book that’s most important in their life is scarcely different than Mein Kampf in its treatment of those that it disapproves of.

  • Alex Knepper

    @annie — OBL gave several reasons, Israel being one of them.

    Sorry if I’m not willing to abandon Israel — an oasis of modernity in a wasteland of savagery — to appease fanatical Islamists.

  • llbroo49

    Alex,

    I think you may need to spend some time reading the bible. I could qoute scripture (but alas it would be a waste of time) of the horrors that were directly condoned in the bible. I say this as a practicing christian. However, (for better or worse) most christians cherry pick the bible to conform to their daily lives ( its why we go to church on Sunday vs Saturday as the bible dictates). It must be assumed the same goes for muslims. If not we would have a much larger problem on our hands ranging from the middle east, europe, and aisa. Americans would not be welcome in Nigeria, Bosnia, or Kosovo.

    Instead of the arguement being whether or not Islamic centers are built, we should be spending our time supporting moderate muslims that do not take the Quran literally in every aspect. And that would mean supporting the Muslims seeking to build a center in NY.

    I have no problems with investigations seeking the sources of funding and active support of terrorist. But at this point if there were any real links they would have already been pursued or are actively being pursued.

    I detest the KKK and what they stand for. But if their members were seeking to build a center and were not engaged in illegal activity, I would accept their right to do so and not do anything to hinder its construction. The university I attended had a prominent building named for Nathan Bedford Forrest an early founder of the KKK and an indivdual who commanded Confederate soldiers that murdered black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow after they (Union soldiers) surrendered.

    Also it was not my intention to lump gays and muslims in to the same catagorey to be offensive. But lets be honest it is not the tenets of the Quran that upset our sensibilities. It is the fact that individuals of the Islamic faith have carried out and attempted attacks against us. It is not written anywhere that homosexuals want to take over the world and do away with heterosexual relationships- but you would be hard pressed to explain that to most people in the Bible Belt. The Quran merely gives us a non racist reason to dislike arabs. If Buddhist hit us on 911 and were behind other terrorist attacks instead of Muslims we wouldn’t be talking about how great their releigous tenets were versus the actions of said terrorists.

    Again make an effort to spend time with people of the Islamic faith versus reading a text written several centuries ago. I sure wouldn’t want someone judging me based on some of the cruel acts of the bible.

    And thank you for responding.

  • Alex Knepper

    Have you bothered to read anything here? My post? My replies?

    1) I’m not a Christian and don’t like the Bible,

    2) I don’t want to stop these people from building the mosque.

    Also, if you’re going to sit there and psychoanalyze my responses — “Your problem isn’t really with the religious tenets of Islam. Your unconscious motive is racism against Arabs!” — then I’m not going to talk to you. Get out of my face.

  • llbroo49

    Alex,
    I don’t understand your rudeness. I made no personal attacks on you. But in the future you may want to drop any references to religious dogma in your arguments. Attacking religon A and then discounting the actions of religon B by stating you are an atheist leads me to wonder what is your real argument against religon A. From your post to @annie at 2:24 I can only assume it is because you believe those people from that region of the world are savages- which is a better argument than merely attacking their religon.
    Re-read my post I did not use the word “you:” in reference to disliking Arabs, I stated “us”. And where in my posts did I say YOU were against building the Islamic center?

  • Slide

    Alex, you really need to grow up a little. Sorry to sound like an “agist” but your intellectual immaturity reveals itself from time to time and … well, its quite annoying. Hey, its not a knock, when I was your age I was still getting drunk at frat parties. Party on dude.

  • Slide

    Mr. Gingrich said that the proposed mosque and community center would be a symbol of Muslim “triumphalism” and that building it near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust museum.”

    imagine for a moment if this “genius” became President of the United States

  • Alex Knepper

    @llbroo — You called me a racist. You overtly implied that my criticisms of Islam are not legitimate and therefore must be a mask for my hatred and fear of Arabs. Sorry. Not replying to you if you’re going to make attacks that, yes, are personal, and vicious.

    @Slide — I’m mature enough to know that, in arguments like this, “Immature” just means “Disagrees with me.”

  • jg bennet

    I CAN’T BELIEVE INTELLIGENT PEOPLE ARE ALL CAUGHT UP IN THIS POLITICAL MARKETING SCHEME!

    “The information of the people at large can alone make them the safe as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom.” –Thomas Jefferson

    do they have the constitutional right to build the mosque? yes

    lighten up folks you have been bamboozled and your anger is what the bamboozlers want and that means both sides of this argument

    all of you passionate, patriotic, well meaning americans are playing your part in this scheme and it is right out of central casting.

    for a guy who never ceases to be amazed by basic propaganda tactics this debate just solidifies my point.

    i wish people would get beyond the rhetoric, toss emotions aside and look at the constitutional facts

    “Mr. Gingrich said that the proposed mosque and community center would be a symbol of Muslim “triumphalism” and that building it near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust museum.”

    The scheme and just two points in the list of 7 Common Tactics Used to Influence Behavior…

    NEWT
    4. Testimonial

    The aim of testimonial is to leverage the experience, authority and respect of a person and use it to endorse a product or cause. Testimonials appeal to emotions instead of logic because they generally provide weak justifications for the product or a cause of action.

    NAZI HOLOCAUST SIGN

    3. Transfer

    This is a technique used to carry over the authority and approval of something you respect and revere to something the propagandist would have you accept. One does this by projecting the qualities of an entity, person or symbol to another through visual or mental association.

    read the list and learn
    http://www.doshdosh.com/the-art-of-propaganda-seven-common-techniques/

  • Slide

    Alex Knepper // Aug 16, 2010 at 9:14 am “@Slide — I’m mature enough to know that, in arguments like this, “Immature” just means “Disagrees with me.””

    errrr….no. But at least you didn’t put a “LOL” into your response this time. An improvement.

  • busboy33

    Actually Alex, “Immature” is the polite form of “acting like a childish jackhole”.

    But you were close though. You’re not posting on 4Chan anymore . . . you might conssider changing you behavior to reflect that.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    AlexK’s thinking on this topic is astonishingly flawed.

    As an atheist and one who does not study Islam, he is placing his own interpretation of the Qur’an over the interpretation given to it by its 1.4 billion adherents?

    Many posters on this thread have raised the example of Christianity not for the purpose of demonstrating that the Bible also has violent writings and, therefore, Islam isn’t the only violent religion. Instead, people have mentioned Christianity to demonstrate that the violent references in the Bible are not driving its adherents (by and large) to commit violence and, similarly, the violent references in the Qur’ran are not driving its adherents (again, by and large) to commit violence. The adherents of these religions do not interpret the writings of the Bible and the Qur’an in the silly, child-like fashion Alex has.

    There are, of course, small minorities of both religions who are inspired to violence by these books. But, because the overwhelming majorities of the adherents are not inspired to violence by these books no mature, reasonable person would make the conclusions Alex has made. We don’t claim that America is a violent country merely because some Americans have been inspired to violence by the constitution.

  • Rocketship7

    Building a “German Cultural Center” next to Auschwitz makes as much sense as this Cordoba Center.

    Then again, the Germans have enough sense not to propose this, why don’t the Muslims?

    WHY ARE LIBERALS SUCH APOLOGISTS FOR CULTURES AND COUNTRIES AT WAR WITH THEIR OWN PEOPLE.
    Its because they hate Israel, and America even more then their own people.

  • busboy33

    @Rocketship:

    Already answered this in the other thread. I notice that rather than replying, you just moved somewhere else and said it again.

    WHY ARE RIGHT-WING NUTJOBBERS SO UNABLE TO DEFEND WHAT THEY ALLEGEDLY BELIEVE?

    (btw . . . use a question mark at the end of your shouting questions.)

    Its because they have no idea what the hell they are talking about, and only know how to chant like a mindless robot over and over.