Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh, Come On Muslims! Just Give it Up!

Ground Zero Mosque - Quinnipiac just released a poll that surveyed not just NYC residents, but voters throughout New York state, and everyone agrees on the same things (Republicans, Democrats, and even the Tea Party):

1. We know you have the right to build it there. (Well, at least 80% of us know it. The other 20% didn't understand the question.) Nobody's arguing with you. We've all read the Bill of Rights.

2. Only 21% of people think you actually should build it there. Most, 67%, think you should voluntarily move the plans somewhere else. Don't you already own property in Tribeca? So you outgrew the space and you need a bigger building. Why not stay in Tribeca? Renovate your building. Why not blow it up and build a bigger one? I'm sure you can find construction workers in New York willing to destroy your mosque for you. Probably for free. Which is great because they definitely won't help build the Park51 center.

Even the Muslim former Miss USA, Rima Fakih, thinks it's a bad idea to build it there. And she's pretty. So you should listen to her.

So let's recap.

You have the right to build it, but you don't have construction workers. Try building something in Lower Manhattan without the support of the workers unions. Good luck.

You have a 21% approval rating. Did you know that no U.S. President has ever had that low of an approval rating? Ever. Not Bush. Not the other Bush. Not even Truman (the lowest at 23%). You know what Nixon did when his approval rating dropped to 24%? He resigned.

This is not an attack on Islam. It never has been. If all of the hijackers on 9/11 were Mormon, do you think we'd let a Mormon temple near ground zero? Or if they were all gay or black or women or any other random group that had 1 thing in common, do you think we'd allow a community center for that 1 thing anywhere near ground zero? It sucks that all the hijackers were Muslim. It really does. I'm sorry there are some bad apples in your religion. Every group has them and it's sad that so many of your members, great people and wonderful New Yorkers, have to deal with the ignorant slander, hatred, and stupidity of so many people. But this is not about that. New Yorkers love muslims. I wish there were more of you here. Because I think that would get us more Rafiqi's. And that's a better New York for everyone.

Just give up the mosque at ground zero. Do you think your congregation cares where they meet? Is the Park51 location crucial? Will you lose membership if you moved it up by Canal or over to South Street? Or just stay in Tribeca. If De Niro is cool with you there, I'm cool with you there.


JohnR said...

Brian, my old friend, there are so many holes in your logic that I had to respond. Please do not take my words as being argumentative, but rather as an means of prolonging an interesting discussion... I will try and use my words carefully.

You can not possibly think the American public sees Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, etc, in the same light, can you? Can you imagine the public's reaction if there was a epidemic of sexual abuse against children by Imams in the US? Or if Muslims started communes that involved underage girls being forced to marry adults?

The alarming issues here are twofold. How people so casually make connections between Islam and terrorism and ACTUAL terrorists making us question what was thought to be an inalienable right of all Americans - to worship your religions within the confines of US laws.

If you were an actual terrorist would you be more psyched about a Mosque being built by Muslim-Americans (who, by the way, are considered by extremists to be greater enemies than non-Muslim Americans) or that you have Americans fighting amongst each other over a principal our country was founded on?

While the statistics you cite are interesting they are easily made irrelevant. Just because something isn't popular does not mean it is wrong. 400 years ago 100% of the population KNEW the sun orbits the earth. Furthermore, you are comparing a social issue with a personality - a President is a slave to public opinion to remain in a position of power, this concept does not pertain to a civil rights issue. You so casually suggest it would be easy to move the site elsewhere. Can you imagine if African Americans had compromised during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s?

I would like to believe that people can see past one's religion. Have you not seen/heard the accusations being thrown at President Obama in regards to his true religious beliefs? If what you say is true, than why do so many accuse the President of being Muslim? As if being one was an actual crime or a valid reason to be thrown out of office!

I could go on, but alas, I am meeting people for a drink. Nice job on the website and I look forward to your response. Again, I am just debating... like they would on "News TV" if they weren't fighting The Jerry Springer Show for ratings.


PS - I didn't proofread this, so please excuse the errors.

John R said...

PS - Nixon didn't resign because of his approval ratings.

Brian said...


Good to hear from you and thank you for your comments and thoughts. You do bring up some good points, and I'm more than happy to debate. :)

First, you're right about the non-equality of religions, at least in the eyes of most Americans. Sad, but true. That's why I added the part at the end where "it sucks that the hijackers were Muslim." They already are looked upon as a somewhat untrusted religion, I think mainly because American's don't really understand it. Islam is new to us. Christianity and Judaism is about all we can handle easily. So to not really be trusted and then have terrorists claiming they did bad stuff in the name of Allah, Americans are bound to draw a (albeit false) connection between Islam and terrorism.

I have to disagree about the country fighting over a basic principle. That's what the first part of the poll revealed. 80% of New Yorkers agreed that they have the right to build it there. The controversy isn't a rights issue. It's a sensitivity issue. We, the President, and Mayor Bloomberg all acknowledge that they have that right. We're not trying to take away their right to build it there, we're trying to persuade them to voluntarily move it a little farther away from an extremely sensitive area as a gesture of respect for those who have lost loved ones there (at the hands of terrorists who happened to be Muslim). And I believe it would be the same situation if "Muslim" were traded for any organization in that sentence, religious or secular.

The approval rating comparison was mostly sarcastic. I realize there was more to the Nixon resignation than how the American people viewed him. I just thought it tied in nicely to my theme of "Give up." :)

And I don't think it's fair to compare this incident to the civil rights movement. We're not taking away the rights of an entire religious group in the entire country. We're asking that a small (relatively speaking) congregation of Muslims modify their plans to help foster a more harmonious relationship with the community around them. It's not about winning or losing a religious battle, or standing up for their rights, it's about what's best for the community. And I've watched the Imam in interviews. He's all about keeping the peace and keeping a good relationship with the community. If those are his main goals, and the Park51 project is being met with overwhelming controversy, why doesn't he compromise and appease everyone? Hence, keep the peace and please the community.

John R said...

I apologize for taking so long, I was battling the flu last week.


How? No one has been able to explain this to me. What about the mosque/community center being so close to WTC makes it "insensitive"? When has this ever been an issue of defiance for the developers?

I know that some of the families don't want this Mosque there (and a lot do want it there.) Does being a victim of 9/11 somehow give you a free pass to be prejudice? Why isn't anyone asking the 100 or so Muslim-American families who lost loved ones on 9/11?

You have a cultural center that claims it will promote religious tolerance. And the majority of people against it base their opinions on intolerance. Think about what you are asking Brian... you want people like me, the forward-progressive-minded, to compromise with ignorant uneducated racists who can't be bothered to open a book or newspaper but have no reservations about letting TV personalities (or amateur bloggers and their friends, tee-hee) tell them what to think.


No, but it would be setting a VERY dangerous precedent. And sending dangerous message... not only to the world but to millions of Americans who hate Muslims by validating their racist thoughts.

There are parallels to draw from the Civil Rights movement and the fight for gay rights. Consider this question, Brian: Why was one so successful while the other continues to struggle to this day?

I wish that were true. Sadly, there are countless examples debunking your assertion (THE OKC Bombing, The Catholic Church, US Israeli/Palestine coverage... how many characters do I have left in this comment box?)

If you truly believe that the reaction would be the same, I propose that you and I hold a press conference to announce that we will be holding a rally in Times Square where we will publicly burn the Bible to test your theory. I will provide the fake mustaches.

JohnR said...

Hmmm... I should have used quotes and not html script by accident.

This first was:

"It's a sensitivity issue."

... and the second...

"We're not taking away the rights of an entire religious group in the entire country."

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