Thursday, August 26, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Gilad Schwartz z"l

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 11:09 AM PDT

Based on the searches for "Gilad Schwartz," I assumed the worst.

Unfortunately, I was correct. Info is here.

The bigoted non-bigots

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 04:13 AM PDT

Nina Shea in Ground Zero Mosque:Who's in Charge? concludes:

Regarding the Ground Zero mosque, based on the information provided by the two partners in the project, we know very little about who will eventually be its directors, or who will fund it. It is the answers to these questions that will determine whether the Ground Zero mosque will be an "affront to extremists everywhere," or, alternatively, whether it will threaten our homeland security by hindering our war against a dangerous idea that has "corrupted" Islam.

However, even if Imam Rauf is not going to play a significant role in the project, currently he (along with his wife) is the public face, so I don't think it's unfair to judge the project by Imam Rauf.

Jeffrey Goldberg defended Imam Rauf last week for saying at a memorial for Daniel Pearl, "I am a Jew." (via memeorandum). Goldberg asserted that by making such a declaration, Imam Rauf put his own life in danger.

Daniel Pearl's father, was impressed by the statement of solidarity. However, according the JTA (via Contentions) he doesn't see it as enough:

Such appearances seem unlikely to sway at least one opponent of building an Islamic center so close to Ground Zero at this time -- Judea Pearl, Daniel's father and a computer science professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Pearl told JTA that while he was "touched" by Rauf's appearance and speech at his son's memorial, "many Muslim leaders offered their condolences at the time." More to the point, Pearl said he is discouraged that the Muslim leadership has not followed through on what he hoped would come from his son's death.

"At the time, I truly believed Danny's murder would be a turning point in the reaction of the civilized world toward terrorism," said Pearl, who engages in public conversations with Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University, on behalf of the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding. The established Muslim leadership in the United States, Pearl said, "has had nine years to build up trust by pro-actively resisting anti-American ideologies of victimhood, anger and entitlement.

Reactions to the mosque project indicate that they were not too successful in this endeavor."

He views the controversy to be a vote of no confidence in the organized Muslim leadership, not specifically against Rauf.

Had the statement not just been a one time thing, it might have convinced Dr. Pearl that there had been a change is Islam. Apparently Dr. Pearl wanted to see actions to match the words.

Another surprising opponent of the Ground Zero Mosque, is civil libertarian, Nat Hentoff who writes in Am I also a bigot? (via memeorandum)

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg charges that opponents of Imam Rauf's mosque "should be ashamed of themselves" and are bigots.

Me, too, Mr. Mayor?

If you want to join Speaker Pelosi in investigating me, your honor, I'd be glad to oblige. I'm just doing my job as a reporter. I wish more reporters had gone beneath the shouting on both sides. There's another part of the First Amendment in addition to the free exercise of religion: The press is free to investigate the reasons for Imam Rauf's fixation on the 9/11 location of his mosque.

And why does this location make Hamas glow?

I don't think that anyone else would consider Judea Pearl and Nat Hentoff to be bigots. Yet by opposing (verbally) Park51, there are many of our political elite who would deem them bigots.

There's a lot more to Imam Rauf and the Islamic Center than its supporters let on. By framing the issue as one of "religious tolerance" and conveniently deeming its opponents bigots, the Islamic Centers supporters are refusing to face uncomfortable facts about the project.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Tolerance is a two way street

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 03:52 AM PDT

The New York Times collected reactions to the Park51 controversy from around the world. I have no idea how representative the reactions are to the societies they're from, but some are interesting. I thought this one was particularly good:

One Cambridge University researcher, writing in the Palestinian daily Al Ayyam, said Muslims could win their case for a center near ground zero in a court of law, only to end up losing in the court of public opinion.

"Provoking the other side will eventually create public opinion that will undermine the very laws that the Muslims evoke today," wrote the researcher, Khaled al-Haroub, adding that many Muslim states do not tolerate Christian or Jewish houses of worship: "We keep increasing our religious demands vis-à-vis the West, while refusing to meet even a few of the demands made by religious minorities living among us."

Will still in israel

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 03:48 AM PDT

Today he writes, In the Mideast the peace process is only a mirage:

The biggest threat to peace might be the peace process -- or, more precisely, the illusion that there is one. The mirage becomes the reason for maintaining its imaginary "momentum" by extorting concessions from Israel, the only party susceptible to U.S. pressure. Israel is, however, decreasingly susceptible. In one month, history will recycle when the partial 10-month moratorium on Israeli construction on the West Bank expires. Resumption of construction -- even here, in the capital, which was not included in the moratorium -- will be denounced by a fiction, "the international community," as a threat to another fiction, "the peace process."

For Will's previous columns in this series see here and here.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Submitted 08/26/10

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 03:42 AM PDT

This week's Watcher's Council nominations are up!

Council Submissions

Non - Council Submissions

Read. Enjoy. Be informed.

The need for bigotry

Posted: 25 Aug 2010 04:13 AM PDT

Richard Cohen (via Contentions)

If you believe that an entire religion of upward of a billion followers attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, then it is understandable that locating a mosque near the fallen World Trade Center might be upsetting. But the facts are otherwise. Islam was not in on the attack -- just a sliver of believers. That being the case, those people with legitimate hurt feelings are mistaken. They need our understanding, not our indulgence.

If, on the other hand, you do not believe that the attack was launched by an entire religion, you have a moral duty to support the creation of the Islamic center. Lots of people fall into this category -- or say they do -- and still protest the mosque. They include Newt Gingrich, New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio and that Twittering Twit of the Tundra, Sarah Palin. They indulge in a kind of pornography of analogy -- a bit of demagogic buffoonery that is becoming more and more obvious. They pretend that they have a solemn obligation to defend the (powerful) majority from the demands of the (powerless) minority and champion people whose emotions are based on a misreading of the facts.

To Cohen the choice is binary - either you're for the Islamic center or you're a bigot - but Lynn shows that it is not.

The 9-11 terrorists did attack America in the name of Islam and their associates continue in their attempts to do so today.

Islam has a long and undeniable record of proliferation by force, of which the historic conquest of Cordoba is a particularly prominent example.

There is a growing (?) body of evidence that Imam Rauf is not the model of tolerance and moderation he is made out to be by GZM defenders. To the contrary.

Whatever good intentions the proponents of this mosque may have, the message that building it will send to those who seek to destroy us is a potentially dangerous one.

The developers refuse to rule out funding of the project from Iran and Saudi Arabia, which should raise serious questions as to the true message the mosque is intended to convey.

These and like-minded families (yes, of course others differ, so what?).

This mosque could well have the effect of eroding interfaith dialogue, tolerance and understanding rather than facilitating it.

There are many reasons why one could be opposed to the building of Ground Zero Mosque. Given that the public face of the effort, Imam Rauf, has said that the United States is an "accessory" to 9/11, he's hardly the one to be claiming that his Islamic center is being built to promote understanding. It's one thing to say that America has made mistakes in its foreign policy, but to use the term "accessory" is inflammatory. The position of another of the Islamic center's proponents that the effort wouldn't rule out taking funds from Sauid Arabia or Iran is also troubling.

Until two years there was a question if America was ready for a black president. In November, 2008, the country showed that it was. Most of those who did not vote for Barack Obama didn't because they viewed him as too liberal, not because they didn't approve the color of his skin. America was shown to be sufficiently open minded.

Now however Rasmussen reports that 62% of Americans oppose the building of the Islamic center near Ground Zero (via memeorandum):

Now 62% oppose the building of a mosque near where the World Trade Center stood in Lower Manhattan, compared to 54% in the previous survey. Twenty-five percent (25%) favor allowing the mosque to go ahead, and 13% more are not sure.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the Political Class, however, favor building the mosque near Ground Zero. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Mainstream voters are opposed.

So in two years Americans went from being open minded to being a bunch of bigots? I don't buy it.

The poll numbers, of course, show the difference between the political class and the overall population of the country.

J. E. Dyer shrewdly observed:

The U.S. media have comfortably framed the debate over the Park 51 mosque as a case of Middle America versus Islam, but in a very real sense, as others have noted, it's a case of Middle America versus our leftist cultural elite.

In essence. our elites are saying to those who feel that building the Islamic center near Ground Zero, "We don't feel your pain; you shouldn't either." That's a very insensitive approach. Quite a few of those who feel that way actually lost relatives and friends on 9/11. So attributing opposition to the Islamic center is a defense mechanism. If the other side consists of victims, telling them that you don't care about their sensitivities is cruel; if they're bigots it's the proper approach.

By attributing opposition to the Islamic Center to bigotry it allows our elites to feel better about themselves. Sensitivity is not required.

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