Home > GOP & The Election, Political Game-Playing > Issue Clean-up: Near the Sacred Ground of Zero

Issue Clean-up: Near the Sacred Ground of Zero

August 14th, 2010

So, having a mosque community center with an inter-faith chapel built by peaceful, anti-terror Sufi Muslims within a few blocks of Ground Zero is not OK, but having these establishments within a few blocks of the same site is just fine (several are NSFW):

Pussycat Lounge & Hamilton Room
A-1 Metro Parties
Adult New York Escorts
New York Dolls Gentlemen’s Club
Male Strippers
Adult Models Dating and Escorts

I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of those places started business after 9/11. I’m pretty certain that if another strip joint or escort service were to go up in the area, no one would object.

Glad we have our respectfulness for the sacred nature of the site in order.

Also, it was found last week that since 9/11, Muslim prayer sessions have been held regularly in an inter-faith chapel within the Pentagon.

Along the same lines of my comments of the repeal-the-Fourteenth-Amendment movement, whether or not you agree with the idea of Muslims of any stripe keeping a respectful distance, the fact remains that such feelings are not what this discussion is about. This is election-year politics. If the demagogues felt that the community center was not a good target and the strip clubs were, then it’d be all about the strip clubs. The public row is fueled not by indignation, but by stark, aggressive, uncaring opportunism.

Addenda: I forgot to mention that the Imam behind the NY project was tapped by Karen Hughes of the Bush administration for overseas tours representing a more moderate Islam. Also, Obama finally threw his hat in, probably now seeing the matter as being resolved enough for his comments to not inflame things and wants to help put the matter to rest.

  1. stevetv
    August 15th, 2010 at 11:19 | #1

    I think there may be some confusion regarding the mosque/interfaith chapel issue (and is it inter-faith or multi-faith?). Cordoba House is not the community center itself, but only a part of it. The entire project is called Park51, and although Cordoba itself won’t be a mosque, there will be a mosque within the facility independent of Cordoba House.

  2. Luis
    August 15th, 2010 at 13:37 | #2

    You are correct, sir. Earlier sources I found said only “interfaith chapel,” and not a mosque. But now all sources include an independent mosque.

    Does not change the issue in anything but a cosmetic fashion, however; mosque or no, it is not an affront to the memory of the 9/11 victims–quite the contrary. It’s still a Sufi branch, as peaceful as they come. And we still have freedom of religion, and (in theory, at least) tolerance of all beliefs.

  3. Troy
    August 15th, 2010 at 20:46 | #3

    ^ and we’re supposed to lead with our example.

    “Turn the other cheek” — excellent philosophy, but being professionally butthurt about something is where the money’s at

  4. Kensensei
    August 16th, 2010 at 01:37 | #4

    The more details I hear about the new facility, the more disconnected I feel to it. I will be attending neither the multi-faith chapel/mosque nor the Pussycat Lounge, so I will let New Yorkers decide what should be built.

    (By the way, give me a call when all the various religions of the world decide to give up their separate denominations and all worship the same God. Then maybe I will come on board. Until then, “I wish no part of it.”)

  5. Geoff K
    August 16th, 2010 at 10:17 | #5

    I must have missed it in 2001 when crazed strippers killed 3000 people at Ground Zero.

    It’s not a “religious site”, but it’s a place where frenzied Muslims caused a world of hurt. So putting up a Muslim worship site there remains completely inappropriate.

    You’ve apparently decided that it’s more important not to offend Muslims than not to offend the victims families and friends. That’s an understandable decision–crazed NY Firefighters probably won’t riot or plant bombs to kill you as a result of their having being offended.

  6. stevetv
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:22 | #6

    I must have missed it when American Muslims killed 3000 people at ground zero.

    You’ve apparently decided it’s more important to run minorities out of neighborhoods where you don’t want to see them than to acknowledge there’s a Constitution you’re supposed to abide by.

    “crazed NY Firefighters probably won’t riot or plant bombs to kill you as a result of their having being offended.”

    Nor will American Muslims who live in New York City. Guess they all look alike to you, right?

    Can’t wait to see you blame Muslims when Cordoba House gets firebombed.

  7. Geoff K
    August 16th, 2010 at 14:25 | #7

    Here’s a question for you — Why is it “Cordoba House”? Do you think naming it after another Western region that Islam conquered is a coincidence? They’re rubbing your face in it and you don’t even notice.

    Not all American Muslims are terrorists (or support terrorists). Not all American Muslims hate Jews and oppress women. There are even some American Muslims who have discovered deodorant and how to wash clothes. But there are enough hard-line fanatics who do fit this former description that I can’t simply say “American Muslims are just like you and me”.

  8. stevetv
    August 16th, 2010 at 14:57 | #8

    “Here’s a question for you — Why is it “Cordoba House”? Do you think naming it after another Western region that Islam conquered is a coincidence? They’re rubbing your face in it and you don’t even notice.

    Actually, the Moors had been in the region for three-quarters of a century before any of the groundwork for the Great Mosque was laid. And Abn-al Rahman who oversaw the project in the 8th century… read this very carefully, Geoff… PURCHASED THE LAND to build the mosque on. The facts creates an image in one’s mind that’s different from Newt Gingrich’s (whom you fail to cite) drama-queen rendition you put out there.

    Of course, you forgot to mention that in the 16th century, the peace-loving Catholic king Charles V conquered – in the true definition of the word – that very mosque in his quest to outlaw Muslims in Spain, which he succeeded in doing. No doubt he pleased his predecessors, who did the same number on Jews during the peaceful Spanish Inquisition in the prior century. Look it up.

    What other subjects did you fail in school, Geoff, other than history?

  9. stevetv
    August 16th, 2010 at 14:59 | #9

    @Geoff K

    “There are even some American Muslims who have discovered deodorant and how to wash clothes.”

    There are even some who don’t fuck camels. I admire your restraint for not saying that.

    There are even some Catholic priests who don’t molest children, at least not on a first date. (Oh, wait. We can’t say that! That would offend Geoff!)

  10. Kensensei
    August 17th, 2010 at 03:03 | #10

    Back on topic, please…
    The issue is complicated because it comprises both the 1) Religious Freedom issue and 2) the Proximity issue.

    Although Geoff is still dealing with the first issue, I believe most Americans (sorry if I sound like I’m speaking for everyone!) have moved on to the second. In short, I say say let us drop the former because the Constitution already recognizes that right. The latter is a far more emotional issue (and yes, a “slap in the face” as Geoff points out) to many Americans and 911 victims. Remember that 911 victims are not only white Christians, but a diverse group of all backgrounds and religions.

    So the question becomes, “how close is too close?” “How far is far enough?”
    In my view, since it is their “backyard” and not mine, it is an issue for New Yorkers to decide. That’s the end of it.


  11. stevetv
    August 17th, 2010 at 03:21 | #11

    A). No, you’re wrong. Inalienable rights are not decided upon by the will of the people. They are already assumed granted to us according to the Constitution.

    B). But if you insist: a Quinnipiac poll already found that more Manhattan citizens are in favor of the Mosque than they are against. You can’t get more “backyard” than that.



  12. Anonymous
    August 17th, 2010 at 05:57 | #12

    @ Steve
    So where do we disagree??


  13. Luis
    August 17th, 2010 at 10:53 | #13

    I think the question becomes, “when does your right to be offended trump someone else’s freedoms?” That’s really what we’re talking about here, right?

    In an ordinary situation, taking offense means little or nothing. You would never (hopefully) say that mosques could never be built in an area where even one person says they don’t like the idea. Your reply would be, “tough, this is a free country.” Because one could potentially be offended by anything.

    In this case, we’re giving extraordinarily special status to “families of the victims of 9/11,” who we are supposedly protecting–but tell me, who here has heard directly from how many family members? Essentially, the group consists of thousands, if not tens of thousands of people. We know that at least a few objected at a meeting which helped spark this.

    But what is the standard? What percent of those people have to take offense? And what if 90% think it’s a great idea, but 5% are mortally offended?

    At another level, we are giving this special status just because of 9/11, it being a special event in our history, in the way it affected us all.

    But you know what? The First Amendment is the First Amendment: it doesn’t matter how offended we are, people have a right to practice their religion, and they can do it wherever they like so long as it does not compromise someone else’s freedoms–not their feelings. This is not Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or wherever else you might find religious intolerance. This is the USA we’re talking about. And that means we have to put up with being offended because that’s one of the prices of freedom. We talk about that, even brag about it–but here we are, discussing maybe curtailing freedoms because we feel we might be offended.

    You know what? Tough, this is a free country.

    What we are really doing is having a discussion on what the Cordoba people should be discussing internally and deciding for themselves–should we or should we not do this in the face of possibly offending people? But that’s their decision to make, not ours, and if they decide to build, then tough, this is a free country.

    Me, I am deeply offended by what the Tea Partiers are saying and spreading and often doing. Tough, it’s a free country. I can criticize, I can even ridicule if I want, but I can’t prohibit them from speaking or demonstrating or running for office.

    As for the mosque near Ground Zero, here’s my opinion, for what it’s worth: if anything, it’s nine years late in coming. In my opinion, as soon as the smoke cleared, we should have put up a prayer/meditation space on ground zero, with all belief symbols including Islam, and asked an Imam to say a prayer. You know why? Because then we would have owned that. We could have taken the right to say “we’re speaking for the people who believe in Islam” from the terrorists, we would have looked like the mature, tolerant people who were victims but were also wise and knowing, and our stock would have doubled.

    Instead, even now, we tell Muslims to leave us, and for many of them, it drives them at the very least in the general direction of the people who approved of 9/11.

    That just doesn’t strike me as very smart. But hey, at least we get to feel righteously offended.

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