Friday, August 6, 2010

In Defense of the "Ground Zero Mosque"

Just read the following article about the controversial "ground zero mosque" that's causing such a stir up in New York City.

The author makes a good point.  The assimilatory ethos of the United States--we're centered on the idea of individual liberty and self-government rather than an ethnicity like the European states--helps explain why Muslims in Europe are more prone to extremism than Muslims in the United States.  Muslims are less alienated from the dominant culture in the U.S. than they are in Europe, since our way of life is less specific to any one religion, ethnicity, or social class.

In fact, American Muslim leaders have been helpful to fighting Islamic extremism.

If American Muslims become alienated from U.S. culture, assistance like this will dry up.  That's probably a far greater risk than American Muslims going off to join al-Qaeda or some other Islamist group, since non-action is easier than action.

Furthermore, let's remember that innocent Muslims (both foreign nationals and Americans) died on 9/11, including one who was an emergency medical technician who died assisting wounded victims of the attack.

Unless the mosque is allowed and a church, synagogue, or other house of worship is not, there is no reason to freak out.  Remember, ours is a secular government that ought not play favorites in regards to religion.

The only good argument that the critics of the "ground zero mosque" have is that it is insensitive to the concerns of New Yorkers and the families of 9/11 victims, who may view the building of an Islamic center near the site of an attack committed by Islamist radicals as insulting.  Incidentally, this is a view shared by some American Muslims as well as people like Sarah Palin and company.  Perhaps it was insensitive for the backers of the "ground zero mosque" to propose the idea, but I do not see how forbidding the construction of the center is justified because of hurt feelings alone.

That is a far better argument than Newt Gingrinch's insistence that the "mosque" (I have heard it's something more akin to a YMCA, containing both worship facilities and facilities of other sorts, including a food court) not be allowed until the Saudis allow the construction of a church--the actions of the United States, a secular democratic republic, should not be held hostage to those of a semi-theocratic absolute monarchy, no matter how odious the domestic policies of said monarchy are.  We are better than that.

American Muslims are Americans and have the rights and responsibilities of any American citizen.


  1. I say, buy the land surrounding it and have a pig farm.

  2. Where mosques go up, the Sharia will follow. Islam is not a religion but a body politics. This may be different in your liberal la-la-land, but it's true nontheless.

    Letting radical islamists build a mosque on Ground Zero is a slap in the face of all victims of 9/11. Why the FBI hasn't been on their case yet is beyond me, I smell Al Qaida. Probably being too busy hunting Christians.

  3. Keep in mind that in the minds of the people behind 9/11 the absolute most insulting thing you can do to them is to build a mosque close to ground zero, since they believe the USA is an affront to Islam. Showing that it is in fact not and that it is willing to tolerate all religions would be tantamount to giving Al Qaeda and their supporters the finger.

    And is that not what America wants to do?

  4. You're calling me a liberal?

    I was an officer in my high school Young Republicans and organized the screening of the film "Red Dawn," one of the most anti-Communist films ever made.

    I was active in my college Libertarian Party and organized a screening of "Serenity," whose whole point is that too-interventionist government is bad, with the local "Browncoat" chapter.

    I wrote opinion columns critical of government spending and "campaign finance reform" that limits free speech.

    Show me your conservative bona fides please.

    And do you think America is so weak that a Muslim YMCA will inevitably lead to Islamist takeover?

    We've had Muslims in the U.S. for 100 years at least (more if you count West African Muslims who were taken as slaves) and we're nowhere near Shariah law.

    We are the hyperpower. AQ is a pirate gang. Comparing us to an elephant and them to a mosquito, they're more likely to drive us crazy until we destroy ourselves (the Iraq War?) than they are to actually kill us.

  5. Uh. Guys.

    The mosque is being built 4 blocks away and in between is a super tall building. If THAT is too close, then ban Mosques anywhere in Manhatten, or for that matter New York. Hell why not everywhere?!

    You see my point. You cannot just assume all Muslims are evil. It was Ben Franklin who called Muhammed a great mind.

  6. *yawn*
    Matt, you might think a whole bunch of things you've done in the past are somehow "credentials".
    Reality check: they are not. You are espousing liberal PoV, so you are a liberal, plain as day. The fact that you believe in ultra-liveral Kumbayah-singing with a body politics that has declared itself our mortal enemy makes it pretty clear.

    That you try to hide behind meaningless drivel is more proof that you've been infected by the liberal brain bug. I hope you'll get rid of the disease soon enough. Maybe in November, when we'll kick the 'rats out of power and impeach the Liberal in the White House.

    I'm pretty sure people like you will quickly forget that they ever were for giving in to dhimmitude and violating the memory of the Americans that died on 9/11, but don't worry - I'll be here to remind you! :)

  7. Raiderdebate,

    I know that the Cordoba Center (which more a Muslim YMCA that a true mosque) isn't located at the Ground Zero site.

    My comments were more addressed to conservatives who opposed it, since they would know it as "the ground zero mosque."


    And why aren't they credentials? Because you haven't got them and therefore are trying to deny they matter?

    Islam as a whole is not a monolithic entity, so it cannot declare itself our enemy anymore than Protestantism can. There is no Muslim hierarchy analogous to the Catholic one that could, in theory, do this.

    We are not at war with all Muslims--we are at war with an Islamist terrorist outfit claims the U.S. is the enemy of all Muslims. By acting like a bunch of tools re: the Cordoba Center, we risk handing the enemy a propaganda victory.

    (Insurgents try to provoke atrocities against populations they want to join them, to radicalize said populations. Lenin actually wanted the workers in Russia to be oppressed so they'd join the Bolsheviks, while the Kosovo Liberation Army provoked Serb attacks on uninvolved Albanians.)

    You are playing into the hands of the enemy and so are the ones who are trying to use the coercive power of the government to prevent the construction of the Cordoba Center.

    Raider's comment reminded me that there's the image of Mohammed on the Supreme Court building. It's been there since the 1930s. Is the Supreme Court under control of a "body politic" that is "the enemy"?

    And this "meaningless drivel" I'm "hiding behind" happens to be the principles this nation was founded on and counterinsurgency common sense.

    And allowing Muslims religious freedom is not "dhimmitude." "Dhimittude" is paying the jiziya tax as an alternative to conversion or death and we're not doing that, nor will we ever.

    (Again, we can turn the Islamic world into a sheet of glass in an hour. We've got the whip hand here, not them.)

  8. I love the assumption that American Christianity is not itself a body politic. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, I guess that in the South I can buy liquor on Sunday and go to my friends' gay wedding?

    Any religion can become a political force.

    Anyways, the actual religious area, the actual mosque, was already there in that building. These folks bought the rest of the building and are fixing it up, fixing it up from damage caused by 9/11. And they're not even converting the whole thing into one giant mosque, though that would technically be by rights and free trade legal.

    Of course libertarianism goes both ways. They're free to construct their Islamic Center, you can build a strip club across the street if you can afford it. I would caution against a "anti-Islamic" museum or that sort of hate, but there's nothing intrinsically hateful about pork and sexual promiscuity.

    The real irony is people thinking a group named for Cordoba are interested in imposing some sort of Wahabi theocracy in the US. Moorish occupied Spain was a center of multiculturalism and learning if I recall, and in general the actual caliphates of the Islamic Golden Age were as a whole very tolerant of the competing Abrahamic religions.

    Furthermore, the whole strategy of Al-Quaeda is to provoke the US into taking away liberties and lives from the Muslim diaspora and the Islamic world. Reactionary measures like mosque banning would only serve to help further AQ's goals of creating an army of disaffected Muslims.

    To paraphrase an article in this week's Time, banning the mosque would be a victory for the terrorists.

  9. Matt, well said (written?). As a conservative/right-libertarian Muslim American, this uproar over the "ground zero mosque" only serves to alienate Muslim Americans, conservative Muslim Americans in particular. The Founding Fathers had no problem with Islam and in fact were explicit in declaring that in America "Muhammedans" and "Hindoos" and people of all other faiths would be free to live and practice as they pleased. It's good to be assured that there are conservatives out there who are not enraged by the Cordoba center.

  10. Btw, Matt. I picked up your blog from the Alternate History forum. Maybe write a timeline where the Cordoba center does lead to the Caliphate of America? ;)