<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday morning thought experiment 


My views on the Park51 project (the "Ground Zero mosque" to us righties) are well-documented. That said, the more sanctimonious and culturally-outreachy defenders of the project really ought to address this thought experiment:

A friend poses the following: Imagine that there really were these fundamentalist Christian terror cells all over the United States, as the Department of Homeland Security imagines. Let’s say a group of five of these terrorists hijacked a plane, flew it to Mecca, and plowed it into the Kaaba.

Now let’s say a group of well-meaning, well-funded Christians — Christians whose full-time job was missionary work — decided that the best way to promote healing would be to pressure the Saudi government to drop its prohibition against permitting non-Muslims into Mecca so that these well-meaning, well-funded Christian missionaries could build a $100 million dollar church and community center a stone’s throw from where the Kaaba used to be — you know, as a bridge-building gesture of interfaith understanding.

What do you suppose President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, the New York Times, and other Ground Zero mosque proponents would say about the insensitive, provocative nature of the proposal?

The thought experiment continues from there.

As I've written before, our Constitution and system of government allows, or ought to allow, the owners of land or a leasehold to build a place to assemble and practice their religion, whether or not it is Islam and whether or not that land is near the sight of the September 11 attacks. But that same Constitution also ought to allow us to deride and denounce that decision as inflammatory, which it manifestly is.

39 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 10:31:00 AM:

Please STOP calling it the "Ground Zero Mosque!" That is not the name being used by the fund raisers.
It is now secretly called (and once built, will be called by all) the "Mosque of the Magnificent Martyrs." Each of the valiant martyrs who struck such a wondrous blow against the Great Satan will live forever in the Saudi spirit and each will have a portion of the mosque named for him.
Evil enemies of Islam were squashed like bugs and this mosque will forever honor the brave heroes who did it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 11:00:00 AM:

Zoning laws, which have been around over 50 years, are considered legitimate in their basic elements. They say that for any piece of property, only certain things may be built there.

One of the odd things about this debate is that those who usually favor big government over religious principles or property rights, are here doing just the opposite.

This is not about freedom of religion, though. This is about affirmative action for a particular religion. Seems like new government programs are turning up wherever we turn.

M.E.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Sun Aug 22, 11:31:00 AM:

Inflammatory, or just monumentally tactless and naive?

It is true that the people who run this centre are Sufi Muslims, and therefore are considered as infidels by Al Qaeda. They would be first against the wall if Al Qaeda won their war.

But they must also realise that Islam is Islam, and that the smug way in which they claim it to be a "peaceful religion" when it clearly is not gets up most people's noses.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 12:17:00 PM:

The thought experiment requires equating the free society of the USA with the repressive regime of the Saudis. The "experiment drags us to their level of barbarism and intolerance in order to justify painting all followers of Mohammad as inherently violent and evil. Should we use a similar "logic" to limit the proximity of christian churches and hospitals? There is a history of violence (supposedly carried out in the service of God) against doctors serving the medical needs of women.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Sun Aug 22, 01:02:00 PM:

"There is a history of violence (supposedly carried out in the service of God) against doctors serving the medical needs of women."

We've heard this before, the attempt to draw equivalence between anti-abortion violence and 9/11 but it is nonsense. Those committing anti-abortion violence are loners on the fringe of the fringe, outraging and condemned by the overwhelming majority of practicing Christians. The perpetrator of 9/11, al Qaeda, by contrast is a well-funded organization capable of carrying out larg-scale military operations (e. g. the Iraq insurgency) and requiring a significant response from the US military to defeat it. al Qaeda is also capable of eliciting enthusiastic public expressions of support as when we saw people "dancing in the street" after the 9/11 attacks.  

By Blogger Stephen, at Sun Aug 22, 01:17:00 PM:

Has anyone questioned the right to build the proposed mosque? That is a straw man argument. Another thought experiment. Let's say some leftists who believe in the primacy of environmental concerns decide to take things into their own hands and attack (bomb) people and companies they feel represent a threat to their cause. Now let's say the group decides to become a religion. Would it be recognized?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 01:21:00 PM:

Setting aside the many absurdities in McCarthy's analogy....

Why should America give a rat's a$$ what the Saudis would do? Don't American patriots believe our system is better than theirs? How does the Saudi culture of oppression offer any kind of example for American policy affecting American citizens on American soil?

- mattt  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 01:54:00 PM:

"Has anyone questioned the right to build the proposed mosque?"

Well, yes. When the controversy first blew up a lot of opponents were calling on the NYC government to find some excuse under planning, zoning, or historical preservation to block the project. Then there were inquiries into whether the state gov't could use its authority to block Con Ed from selling its adjacent property to the builders.

Lately, though, as the talking points have gotten sorted out self-identified "small government" conservatives have realized that these arguments might sound a trifle hypocritical. As in: unfettered property rights for me, but not for thee.

Recently most Park51 opponents have advocated that members of the offended majority organize privately to thwart the exercise of religious freedom by a minority group, in the form of boycotts and intimidation. Which I guess to them seems more like the American way.

- mattt  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Aug 22, 02:02:00 PM:

Why all the discussion and thought experiments?

The majority of informed people know full well that they have every right to build the mosque...and there is little that can be done about it in court.

The majority of Americans are offended by the proposal, even many progressives who are too embarrased to state so forcefully.

What's to discuss?

The real issue will come when they try to get construction materials, hire laborers and maintain security at the site.

Then the developers will have to DEPEND on American courts to force us not to "discriminate".

Good luck.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Sun Aug 22, 02:30:00 PM:

Matt/anonymous:
Why should America give a rat's a$$ what the Saudis would do? Don't American patriots believe our system is better than theirs? How does the Saudi culture of oppression offer any kind of example for American policy affecting American citizens on American soil?

It’s called reciprocity. While the KSA forbids the construction of any non-Muslim house of worship, the Saudis fund mosques in the USA and often staff them with imams from their bigoted Wahabi sect of Islam. That doesn’t bother you?

The religious imperialism of the Saudis doesn’t bother you?

Lately, though, as the talking points have gotten sorted out self-identified "small government" conservatives have realized that these arguments might sound a trifle hypocritical. As in: unfettered property rights for me, but not for thee.
Nearly ten years after 9/11, the Greek Orthodox Church that was destroyed along with the WTC has not gotten permission from NYC to rebuild. Yet NYC has fast-tracked the Ground Zero mosque. Fast-track for Muslims, but NO NO NO for Christians. I take it you have no problem with that.  

By Blogger Diogenes, at Sun Aug 22, 02:38:00 PM:

This "mosque" is a Trojan Horse, hauled into town under the false "religious" belief that Muslim fundamentalists are entitled to thrive in America, at all costs to its citizens. Indeed, imams are like Odysseus, both wile and cunning.

No one has ever explained how it is possible to reconcile Islam's "word" with the founding principles of America, or its institutions. Islam has no Richard Hooker! (On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Politie, 1593 A.D.)

Indeed, I find it difficult to understand how any fundamentalist Muslim can honestly take our oaths of office where allegiance to the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are required, both in belief and action.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 03:01:00 PM:

"While the KSA forbids the construction of any non-Muslim house of worship, the Saudis fund mosques in the USA and often staff them with imams from their bigoted Wahabi sect of Islam."

But at least there are 60+ McDonald's franchises in Saudi Arabia, so we've got that going for us.

I just don't think reciprocity is appropriate policy, when I believe the constitutional and pluralist system is fundamentally superior. We should be seeking every opportunity for engagement, on our soil or theirs, because freedom is infectious.

Absolutely, Wahhabi extremism is a concern. There's a chance some radical might move into Cordoba house in the future, though with the microscope it would be under that would be pretty stupid - wouldn't it be smarter to preach their radical violence at one of the dozen or so smaller mosques already operating under the national radar throughout NYC?

Since Islam isn't going away, isn't it better to extend an open hand to moderate Sufis like Rauf, the better to marginalize the extremists?

And you are misinformed about the St. Nicholas Church. They have always had permission to rebuild at their original site; what they've been haggling over is how many millions of public dollars will go toward replacing the church with a much larger structure at a nearby location. As far as I know Rauf and the Cordoba people haven't asked for a public dime.

- mattt  

By Blogger Arthur, at Sun Aug 22, 03:18:00 PM:

So they build the mosque.

As long as Gutfeld's gay bar is allowed to be built next door, a strip club on the other side and any bacon/pork/hotdog vendor is allowed to peddle their wares on the sidewalk out in front I'm fine with their mosque.

This is all about tolerance right?  

By Blogger Stephen, at Sun Aug 22, 03:31:00 PM:

Mattt- if the imam proposed to rebuild the building he would be rightfully hailed as a moderate. Instead he proposes to build a mosque. There is no question he is a radical. If you need proof, listen to the tapes that were released recently.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 03:59:00 PM:

Where can I listen to those tapes? or read transcripts, unedited? So far I've only seen them reported on secondhand by the likes of Atlasshrugs.

One more thing re: reciprocity. How does reciprocity vis-a-vis the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia justify unequal treatment for American citizens, such as Rauf and many of his congregants, on American soil?


- mattt  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Aug 22, 04:03:00 PM:

"As far as I know Rauf and the Cordoba people haven't asked for a public dime."

Then know this: The Imam is currently touring the middle east on the US taxpayer's dime (sponsored by our State Department)as an "envoy". The intention of the tour is, among other things, to raise money for the construction of the mosque.

Of course, there is no press coverage of his agenda or press at his appearances. OUR State Department is also tight-lipped about press coverage of the US funded "mosque tour".

Yeah...Obama is not a Muslim...he just plays one on TV!!!  

By Anonymous tyree, at Sun Aug 22, 04:11:00 PM:

Sadly, too many people on the left support the forced Islamic takeover of our society. Historically, the muslims have to be beat down ever 200 years or so. Also per history, they haved never lacked traitors to aid them in their conquest of other peoples lands.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Aug 22, 04:42:00 PM:

I think Andy's point is a bit lost in this comment thread: That the American liberals who argue that the Park51 project has good intentions would not in all likelihood make the same argument in reverse. They would instead view the Christians in Saudi as provocateurs. Nobody is arguing that the promoters of the Islamic center do not have the right to build it, only that their claim of benign intentions is suspect.  

By Anonymous Steve Skubinna, at Sun Aug 22, 05:13:00 PM:

My own thought experiment is having Boeing fund construction of a museum commemorating American contributions to aviation.

A stone's throw from Ground Zero at Hiroshima.

Now who could possibly have a problem with that, except for a racist bigot?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 05:25:00 PM:

I think the very point of the First Amendment is to avoid entangling governmental zoning decisions in a political debate driven by conservatives and liberals trying to win a battle over who can be more sanctimonious. We as a nation are better than the Saudis precisely because we protect the freedom of the religious minority, even when we find them offensive. Think back to the overwhelming majority who, in 1942, thought interning those of Japanese decent was a good idea. With the passage of time we have come to appreciate it was hardly our finest hour.  

By Blogger alan, at Sun Aug 22, 05:28:00 PM:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 01:21:00 PM:

Why should America give a rat's a$$ what the Saudis would do? Don't American patriots believe our system is better than theirs? How does the Saudi culture of oppression offer any kind of example for American policy affecting American citizens on American soil?

- mattt


How about we take Saudi Arabia and the Islam out of the equation.

What if Fred Phelps managed to acquire some land near the site of the Oklahoma City bombing...  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Aug 22, 05:51:00 PM:

Is Feisal Abdul Rauf the nice guy portrayed in reporter Anne Barnard's New York Times front page story today, or the wolf in sheep's clothing that Steve Emerson talks about in his interview with Bill Bennett (link loads an audio file)? It is hard to reconcile these two views. One would like to believe that the truth lies somewhere in between.

I did find it notable that Emerson stated that he would not have a problem with an ecumenical-style project headed by an Imam who was truly moderate.

I think that whatever the outcome of the Park51 project (and I personally doubt that it will be built), Mr. Rauf may regret that he has ended up in the spotlight, if even some of Emerson's characterizations of the tapes he has researched are accurate. The allegations of unreported income and failing to register as a foreign agent may be particularly troublesome for him personally.  

By Anonymous lumpy, at Sun Aug 22, 06:00:00 PM:

We should be seeking every opportunity for engagement, on our soil or theirs, because freedom is infectious.

All of the 9/11 hijackers had lived in the West for some time prior to the attack. Western Europe is supposedly the hotbed of radical Islam. I agree our system is better, but events over the last 20 years show that freedom is clearly not infectious.

Reciprocity is the best we can do, but by 'reciprocity' I mean controlling who and what is allowed to come to the US. If Saudi Arabia won't issue religious (i.e., missionary) visas to US Christians, Buddhists, etc., we don't issue any religious visas to Saudi citizens. If they won't allow a US group to fund the construction of a cathedral in Saudi Arabia, we don't allow any Saudi group to fund the construction of a mosque here.  

By Anonymous lumpy, at Sun Aug 22, 06:16:00 PM:

Rather than Phelps, a better example would be if a militia wanted to build a rather large Militia Community Outreach Center across the street from the Murrah building Memorial.  

By Blogger Stephen, at Sun Aug 22, 06:47:00 PM:

lumpy- you have bought into the liberal lie about militia groups being involved in terrorism. There was no evidence of involvement in the OKC bombing case. There is no doubt that militia groups distrust the government but their approach is defensive not offensive.  

By Blogger Diogenes, at Sun Aug 22, 07:03:00 PM:

"Mr. Abdul Rauf also founded the Shariah Index Project — an effort to formally rate which governments best follow Islamic law....He wrote “What’s Right With Islam Is What’s Right With America,” asserting the congruence of American democracy and Islam." NWT

Is that an invitation for America to join the International Association of Islamic States, 57 in all? [Note there is no international association of Christian nations.]

Are those the same 57 states BHO hoped to visit some day?

Seems like that the Islamic association of 57 states is a nice transition to an Islamic Caliphate.

I prefer a world association of democratic republics based on the American model, an exceptional model indeed and thought.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 22, 09:00:00 PM:

We agree that right now they have the legal right to build a mosque. The question, however, is should they continue to have a legal right to do so. We made it illegal to be a communist since communism sought the violent overthrow of the United States government. How different is Islam? Not all communists were violent, not all muslims are violent.
I see two questions that we must answer. Is Islam compatible with our way of life? Are we at war with Islam? Note I didn't say "radical" Islam or "political" Islam. There is only one Islam, if you need clarification on this you can read some of what Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has stated on this topic. On the question of are we at war with Islam the very unfortunate answer is that we are. There are a few passages in the Koran which make it incompatible with our way of life; individual liberty, freedom of speech, association, religion, etc. Yes, since Islam does not tolerate other religions it cannot be part of a society that does. Also unfortunate is that one can't just take those offensive bits out of the Koran or even re-interpret them; it is the direct word of God. I don't have any answers but it seems to me that we will have a difficult future with Islam.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Aug 23, 12:14:00 AM:

Andy McCarthy's a good guy, but this thought experiment is lame-o. A more fun thought experiment is also far simpler and more precisely parallel to the mosque situation:

What if Fred Phelps bought some land in Wyoming and wanted to build a huge Westboro Baptist Church "hyper-Calvinist outreach center" a hundred yards away from the fence where Matthew Shepard was murdered?

Hypothesis: We'd hear a lot less 1st amendment absolutism from the left, and a lot less lawyerly parsing such as "First it's not a church, it's an outreach center, and second it's not on the Shepard fence, it's a hundred yards away!"

(For the record, I'd oppose Phelps just as I oppose the GZM. Like Popper, I feel no need to tolerate people who are profoundly intolerant. Besides, Phelps is a Democrat. Yuck!)

hyper-agnostic  

By Blogger Carolyn, at Mon Aug 23, 01:40:00 AM:

Let's pretend for the sake of argument that the Cordoba House project was planned with the best of multicultural intentions. If so, its backers were monumentally stupid not to foresee the controversy ti would cause. In addition to the American reactions, prominent Muslim scholars in the Middle East think it's a Jewish plot to connect Islam to 9/11 and Canadian Muslims oppose the plan.

I think VDH is onto something when he talks about how "Cordoba Initiative" means something different to elite Western multiculturalists, jihadists and other groups.

"Then we come to Imam Rauf himself. To his liberal defenders, he is a sort of respectable Deepak Chopra who at respectable places like Aspen mouths pop platitudes of interfaith tolerance — so much so that our own State Department has employed him, apparently for quite some time, for goodwill gallivanting abroad. 

But to those in the Middle East, he is known equally well for doing what he can, as a Western liberal, to contextualize terrorism, bin Laden, and Islamic extremism within the tired Western postmodern tropes of cultural relativism. . . "


Watch the video here. Imam Rauf is describing the USA as "Sharia-compliant". Watch the audience. This guy has them wrapped around his little finger. Wonder how he comes across to Muslim scholars in Egypt?

Wouldn't it have been great if the President had said at his Ramadan dinner that Muslims had the right to build at the site in question because this is America, but that he would ask them to consider a different location out of respect and sensitivity toward those who had lost loved ones on 9/11? How many people would have opposed THAT statement?  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Mon Aug 23, 07:09:00 AM:

"We made it illegal to be a communist since communism sought the violent overthrow of the United States government. "

The Communist Party of the USA seems to operate openly. So I doubt your statement.  

By Anonymous Clinias, at Mon Aug 23, 09:30:00 AM:

From the blogprof:

NY fast tracked the Muslim center. Refuses to rebuild actual Greek Orthodox Church destroyed on 9-11!

Same officials that fast-tracked mosque at ground zero won't approve rebuild of Christian church detroyed in attack

Multiculturalism for me not for thee. Approve a Muslim Mosque---Reject a permit to rebuild a Christian Church!

That's Liberal America!  

By Blogger Diogenes, at Mon Aug 23, 11:47:00 AM:

This is the time for Saudi Arabia to step up and reach out to Christians.

While they cannot allow Christian churches on Arabian soil, they could easily finance the reconstruction costs of the only Christan church destroyed by its own citizens at ground zero.  

By Blogger Donald Douglas, at Mon Aug 23, 01:48:00 PM:

Another thought experiment, via AoSHQ: 'The Museum of American Achievements in Aviation in Hiroshima'.  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Mon Aug 23, 02:20:00 PM:

To all of you who claim that Imam Rauf and his group has the right to build what they want on their property, that there is no question of that, that it is only a question of whether it is a good idea, I think it is fair to say you have never tried to add onto your homes.

There are many ways to use a zoning ordinance to delay or prevent a particular development. Just ask Walmart. New York could enact a moratorium on development in the ground zero area while questions regarding present zoning are considered.

M.E.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Mon Aug 23, 03:55:00 PM:

Diogenes:
This is the time for Saudi Arabia to step up and reach out to Christians.
While they cannot allow Christian churches on Arabian soil..

Interesting idea the have the Saudis pay for the reconstruction costs of the church destroyed by 9/11. A grammar point here. One may not construct a Christian church on Saudi soil. Law and custom forbid it. One can physically construct a church, as the laws of physics apply to Saudi Arabia the same as to the rest of the world.  

By Blogger Stephen, at Mon Aug 23, 05:11:00 PM:

mattt- I read about the tapes on Ace of Spades HQ. They have an interesting analysis of the imam's selective use of the word 'innocent.' The guy is an islamist pretending to be a moderate.  

By Anonymous lumpy, at Tue Aug 24, 12:34:00 AM:

By Blogger Stephen, at Sun Aug 22, 06:47:00 PM:

lumpy- you have bought into the liberal lie about militia groups being involved in terrorism.


Stephen, no I haven't. I was trying to come up with an analogy closer than Phelps, who has no connection whatsoever, not even a rumored one. Anyway, Ace has come up w/ a better one than mine.  

By Blogger Swami, at Wed Aug 25, 10:12:00 AM:

Taking into account their views, wherever a Muslim cultural center is built in New York City, it should be built on one of our many streets that honor the well known traditition of Muslim tolerance.

You know those streets. The sign says "ONE WAY".  

By Blogger Swami, at Wed Aug 25, 10:16:00 AM:

"One can physically construct a church, as the laws of physics apply to Saudi Arabia the same as to the rest of the world. "

No, Boludo, he was correct. It is not physically possible to construct a church in Saudi Arabia with ones hands and/or head removed. The laws of Physics may permit it, but the laws of Biology do not.  

Post a Comment


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?