Welcoming the Manhattan Mosque

Word has come down that a City Commission has cleared the way for a Muslim Group to build a mosque in a Manhattan neighborhood close to the former World Trade Center site.  The commission voted 9-0 to deny landmark status to a 152 year old building that has little artistic, architectural, or historical value -- other than it is 152 years old.  Had any other use been proposed it would likely not have been a big deal to tear it down, but since it's near (a couple of blocks away) the WTC site it became a symbolic point of contention for those who seem intent upon defaming Muslims.  The argument stated in support of landmark status was that it had been touched by debris from the 9-11 attacks, but as a member of the commission noted that applies to hundreds of buildings on Manhattan.  The rationale for landmark status was simply a cover for an ongoing anti-Islamic campaign.

In conversations with Muslim friends, they continually express dismay that they have been linked with Osama Bin Laden and with extremists.  They reject categorically the rhetoric and the actions of these extremists, and yet their statements continually get drowned out by those who wish to put all of Islam into one basket. 

As I noted the other day, while I find the statements of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich unfortunate, it's not surprising since it fits their "Christian America" focus.  What I found most disheartening were the statements of ADL head Abe Foxman.  Foxman is quoted as saying in an interview with the New York Times:

“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”

Here is the head of a group, the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded for the purpose of opposing this very kind of thing, saying that the anguish of loved ones entitles them to positions that are irrational and bigoted.  But its not the families whose bigotry is at issue, but the bigotry that is present in the broader public.  This isn't about the anguish of victims loved ones, this is about politics, and right now being anti-Muslim will, at least in some quarters by you votes.  This is why I am so dismayed that the ADL has chosen to align itself with such a tide.  As Mark Silk points out, in his statements Foxman has allied himself with the very people who connect all Muslims with 9-11, by suggesting that building a mosque, one to be opened by a moderate Islamic group, would cause anguish to families of survivors. 

We will not get beyond hatred and misunderstanding as long as we remain committed to stereotypes (something that I taught as a project coordinator for the ADL's "No Place for Hate" program I was charged with exposing).  If there is no place for stereotypes that lead to hate in our communities -- as I consistently maintained in that role -- this includes stereotyping Muslims and espousing hate against them.   So, as for me, I welcome this mosque, especially since those who are opening it seek to bring dialogue to the community.


Gary said…
The Cornwalls of this world will defend the "rights" of Muslims until the same Muslims they defend demand that they convert to Islam, or die.

Then what will you do Bob? I expect you will convert.
Danny Bradfield said…
I wrote about this mosque on my own blog a few weeks ago, and mentioned that if we oppose a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks, then we must also oppose the Christian churches that are located near the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, since Timothy McVeigh was a Christian and how dare we allow churches of his religion to be located there.


There are extremists who call themselves Christians, and extremists who call themselves Muslims, but that doesn't mean that all Muslims or Christians are extremists. Excellent post.
Gary said…

Did Timothy McVeigh blow up the building because he thought Christianity instructed him to do something like that? And if McVeigh did say that, where in the Bible are those instructions?

This idiocy that has gripped you and Cornwall, that all religions are equally valid, and equally peaceful, is a very good indication that you are suffering from a form of insanity.
David Mc said…
I wish politicians would quit trying to subvert our way of life. There has been a mosque near there all along. They call it a masjid, probably because they are fearful.

They overflow into the streets.


Please be advised that we are by no means affiliated with any other organization trying to build anything new in the area of downtown Manhattan.

Since 1970, Masjid Manhattan has been a peaceful, not-for-profit organization located in the area of downtown Manhattan. Our members are City, State and Federal employees, as well as professional employees of the Financial area who come to our Masjid to perform their daily prayers.

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.
Anonymous said…
In honor of Gary's contributions to this blog, I give you the Best Of Gary's Wit and Wisdom Part 1.

Gary said...

I don't love the Constitution. I use it to my advantage when I can. (July 31, 2010)

I have not denigrated other Christians on this blog. I have denigrated people who claim to be Christians, but are not. (July 31, 2010)

How long did you have to go to seminary to get that stupid? (July 31, 2010)

Eventually, white people will take matters into their own hands. Illegals will start having their houses burned, and some will be killed. (July 30, 2010)

If someone tells me they are a Christian, but they believe that evolution is true, I immediately question the sincerity of their claim of faith. But once a believer learns why they cannot be both a Christian and an evolutionist, they will abandon evolution. If they do not, then their faith is phony. (July 28, 2010)

I am much more angered by people, like you Cornwall, and like John, who are so fundamentally dishonest as to claim that you are both an evolutionist, and a Christian. Well, to be fair, is it dishonesty on your part, or is it stupidity? It is certainly one or the other. (July 28, 2010)

For someone who claims to be a Christian, your ignorance of the Bible, and the people in it, is astonishing!!! (July 28, 2010)

Personally, I would stop all immigration immediately, both legal and illegal, if I had the power to do that. (July 23, 2010)

Some who have come here have been assets, and some have been liabilities. I'd be willing to trade some of the people we now have for some better ones, if that could be arranged. (July 23, 2010)

Islam is not a peaceful, live and let live religion. If we value our future, we must prohibit any more muslims from coming to the US. (July 23, 2010)

I value my right to own a gun more than I value YOUR life. In other words, I would rather see you dead, than to give up my fundamental right to own a gun. If that makes me anti-social, then fine. (June 29, 2010)

Bull excrement. (June 12, 2010)

Thanks Cornwall. I couldn't have better illustrated your unbelief and hypocrisy than you just did. (June 2, 2010)

Where's her veil? Are muslims required to wear a veil with a swimsuit? (May 17, 2010)

I have a lot more respect for Franklin Graham than I do for his spineless, mealy-mouthed dad. (May 6, 2010)

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you are not a Christian. You don't even understand what being a Christian means. (May 4, 2010)

If both of you don't wake up to the reality of your beliefs, you are going to die in your sins and go to Hell. (May 4, 2010)

Read those "commentaries" only if you have time to waste, and can't find a game of marbles, or your TV is broken. (April 29, 2010)

YOU are an idolater. You have imagined that God is other than He is. Instead of an idol of wood or stone, you have created an idol in your mind and called it "God". (April 27, 2010)

If brown people are asked for their i.d.'s more than people whose skin is a different color, that is because most of the illegals are brown skinned. (April 24, 2010)

God didn't care whether the Canaanites liked the Jews taking their land or not, and neither do I. (April 24, 2010)

The Mexicans can have back the land we took from them, as soon as they beat us in a war. (April 24, 2010)

Your theology is perverted. (April 23, 1010)

Steve Kindle is an infidel, headed for Hell. As are you Cornwall. (April 21, 2010)

I don't waste my time praying for perverts who are determined to wallow in their sin, while pretending that God approves. Neither do I waste time praying for devils like Kindle and Cornwall who call good what God has called evil. (April 21, 2010)

Heaven is filled with people just like me. (April 21, 2010)

The only people coming over to your side are those that God has given over to a reprobate mind. Birds of a feather flock together. Real Christians won't have anything to do with you. (April 21, 2010)
Anonymous said…
In honor of Gary's contributions to this blog, I give you the Best Of Gary's Wit and Wisdom Part 2.

Gary said...

If your former "church" would let you be a deacon, they might not have the insight to realize what a blessing your absence is. (April 21, 2010)

I'm honored to be compared to Jonah. I also like to think that I have a little John the Baptist, and Apostle Paul in me too. (April 21, 2010)

I find I have time for only one hobby: annoying hypocrites. (April 21, 2010)

Good Lord! What a theological nitwit. (April 13, 2010)

It is somewhat amusing that I am more qualified to teach seminary than is Bruce Epperly, and yet he is the one employed by a seminary. (April 13, 2010)

I am not here to torture myself, but to torture you. (April 13, 2010)

I think you are messed up, theologically and morally. (April 6, 2010)

Based on your comments, you know little or nothing about the Bible. (April 6, 2010)

I don't regard Jim Wallis as a Christian. I believe he is a heretic who has a perverted view of the Bible. (March 30, 2010)

I'm not smart enough to know which parts of Genesis are true and which are not true. Either believe all of it, or believe none of it. (March 26, 2010)

I'm pretty sure hussein obama and the other damnocrats would agree with you. (March 23, 1020)

You should trash your Bible, if you have one. (March 18, 2010)

Cornwall slaps God in the face(so to speak) by believing in evolution, and he slaps evolutionists in the face by claiming God had something to do with it. (February 13, 2010)

Real Christians know that the Bible can never be reconciled with evolution. (February 13, 2010)

If America endorses homosexuality by letting sodomites openly serve in the military, then all Christians who are now in the military should get out as soon as possible, and no Christian should join the military. If they bring back the draft, Christians should refuse to go (February 7, 2010)

Homosexuals are cursed and damned by God Almighty. Those like Ted Olson, Steve and Bob Cornwall are damned as much as the sodomites are. (February 2, 2010)

The government is obligated, by God, to take the same position that God takes, which would make so-called "gay marriage" an absurdity. (February 2, 2010)

Jesus promised mercy only for believers. For most people, there will be no mercy, only wrath. That is what the New Testament teaches. (February 2, 2010)

The state should do what the New Testament says: one man, one woman, one marriage, for life. No remarriage until one of them dies. I don't object to making adultery a capital offense.
 (February 2, 2010)

I treat sodomites with more tolerance than they deserve. It is likely I will have to answer to God for why I haven't stoned any. (February 2, 2010)

Not being familiar with the history or Haiti, I don't know whether they ever made a pact with the devil. I do know that God sent the earthquake (January 16, 2010)

You're a liar, Cornwall. 
You're also an idiot. hussein obama is certianly trying to make political points off of Haiti. obama doesn't take a crap without trying to gain politically from it. (January 15, 2010)

Lois Capps is a wicked witch. You Cornhole are the lowest form of life: an infidel pretending to be a Christian minister. (May 18,2008)

That thought gives liberals the colic, which is amusing to me. (November 5, 2008)

Anytime someone implies that God has never said anything, you know you're dealing with either an ignoramous, or a fool. Which one are you? (November 7, 2008)

You are a theological ignoramous. (November 7, 2008)

I believe that you are a theological and moral pervert. I will oppose everything that you and your sodomite companions want. I am utterly unconcerned with how you feel about that, since I know your judgement to be as perverted and wicked as your morality. (November 7, 2008)

Your Christianity is a farce. (July 19, 2008)
Gary said…
Thank you, anonymous, whoever you are. I printed that out for my scrapbook.
John said…
Since Gary isn't making any converts, I have to wonder what it is about this blog that keeps Gary engaged. Surely there are many blogsites he could explore where he could rant and rave just as easily, sites where the participants are far more liberal and make far easier targets for his "wit". And there are an enormous number of conservative sites where he could preach to and with the choir.

I can only assume that beneath all of the bluster he feels a genuine kinship with the participants in this blogsite, no matter how strongly he may disagree on various issues.

I think that should be honored.

Gary said…

Kinship??? No, it isn't that.
David Mc said…
"I have to wonder what it is about this blog that keeps Gary engaged."

Better here than a progressive Muslim site.

I think Gary returns because we've grown to love him (cure able?) warts and all? How can anyone resist that?
David Mc said…
I didn't notice anon's list 1&2. I better not ever see one for me. Gary seems more tolerant than I would be. Sorry if I embarrassed you Gary. You are lovable in a Christ inspired way.
David Mc said…
I enjoyed the comments on this post.

RSBL is similar to Gary, in reverse-

David Mc said…
Why did no one object to the "Pentagon mosque"?

John said…

I found the article quite disturbing. Just enough truth to be dangerous.

David Mc said…
hmm, which one?
John said…

The article from Homeland Security Examiner.

foxofbama said…
Saw your essay this morning at ethicsdaily.com and I'm linking it for discussion at baptistlife.com
I would love for you to come back to this effort after engaging the thought of Ali Hirsi from her recent interview on Booktv.org, interviewed by a Harvard proff.
How do you integrate the witness of Hirsi into your exploration of Christian/Muslim dialogue?

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