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Total number of comments: 3 (since 2013-11-28 16:53:22)


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  • Burning the Qur'an? 'Wherever they burn books, they will in the end Burn Human Beings'
    • It seems odd that there is now an outpouring of anti-Muslim bigotry that was largely confined to the fringes immediately after September 11, 2001. Immediately after 9/11, there definitely was some growth in anti-Islamic hate speech and hate crimes against Muslims. However, nearly all prominent public figures spoke against bigotry, emphasised the similarities between the three monotheistic faiths, and spoke about universal values shared by Americans of all faiths.

      The recent public debate about Cordoba House in Lower Manhattan seems to have started a new "guilt by association" meme that would have been regarded as unacceptable back in 2001.

      Today, we see Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich making no distinction between ordinary Muslims and the violent fanatics who join Al Qaeda. Gingrich in particular has tried to argue that the use of the term Cordoba House is offensive to non-Muslims, ignoring the fact that the period of dominance of Cordoba Caliphate over most of the Iberian Peninsula gave rise to the golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Additionally, his demands to see the operation of churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia make no mention of the fact that someone who wished to convince the Saudi authorities of the wisdom of religious tolerance would point to the example of Cordoba Caliphate.

      I am most angry now at the Anti-Defamation League in arguing that "strong passions and keen sensitivities" make Cordoba House inappropriate. Jews should be the first to recognise that passions and sensitivities that compel reactions to an entire religious or ethnic group are based upon ignorance and bigotry. The appropriate reaction is not to capitulate to people's discomfort, but rather to educate them.

      Building community centres where people can learn about other cultures might help reduce discomfort that people experience when encountering Muslims. Keeping copies of the Koran intact so that people may read them might also help.

      The video that you link shows Terry Jones expressing his opposition to Islam as opposition to Islamic law, or Sharia. What he does not mention is that Halacha is filled with all sorts of prohibitions and Biblical requirements to use the death penalty against violators. Just as moderate Jews and Christians can interpret these provisions out of use or at least recognise that they should not be the basis for a criminal justice system, moderate Muslims do the same with some of the more inflammatory parts of Sharia. However, those moderate Muslims will have trouble gaining prominence in their communities when their voices are drowned out by Muslims and non-Muslims who argue that Islam is synonymous with fanaticism.

  • Palin on the Ground Zero Mosque vs. the Founding Fathers
    • Further to my earlier comment, I have discovered that there are four churches that are at least as close to Ground Zero as the proposed mosque and community centre: St Paul's Chapel, St Peter's Roman Catholic Church, St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, and John Street United Methodist Church.

      Sarah Palin's more recent tweets describe the proposed mosque as "provocative". I suppose it is insensitive and provocative in the sense that it is insensitive and provocative for American Airlines and United Airlines to continue having their stock traded only a few blocks from the site where their planes were used to commit mass murder.

      What's that? United and American were victims of Al Qaeda? It's absurd to consider their presence as somehow upsetting when the blame for the attacks rests on a small group of fanatics? Maybe it's a bit similar with ordinary Muslims who want to build a mosque and community centre.

    • St Paul's Church is even closer to Ground Zero than the proposed mosque and Islamic community centre. What is wrong with letting Muslims pray near Ground Zero as Christians have been doing for years? Does Sarah Palin not realise that most of Al Qaeda's victims have been Muslims and that Muslims would have at least as much reason as Christians to pray for the eternal damnation of Osama bin Laden?

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