. Reid my lips: the Downtown "mosque"
Yup. Which makes singling out Islam seem even more misguided and unhelpful.Spend a buck, light a number for one the 400,000 victims in Darfur: darfurwall.org
If I might opine again about Islam and America: It's disingenuous of Americans to take issue with Islam, as if it is some newfound religion they have never encountered before. One of the great American folk heroes -- Muhammad Ali -- is a Muslim. I think the real issue is RACE, and not religion. Whitefolks once again are swinging jingoistic about a a nonwhite group of people who want a piece of the American Pie and the freedom to be who they are as they eat it. Critical statements about 'Muslims' and 'Islams' are often merely code words for 'nonwhite' and the pejoratives for nonwhite. Yeah, I do think that sensitivity to the pain of the victims of the WTC disaster is a viable variable in this discussion, but so is race. I have a sense of smug about this to be honest, because most non-black (yet non-white) folk who come to this country often initially have a difficult time appreciating the plights of Blackfolk in America. They go around 'tsk-tsk'-ing Blackfolk until that fateful day when they get what is known in African American parlance as their 'Nigger Wakeup Call'. I think the Imam and others got such a call with their attempt to build Cordoba house.
I agree about the jingoism/racism Over the centuries (after we killed all the indigenous people) it was the Irish, then Catholics as a whole were scheming to take over the country, then communists, and now Muslims. (and of course blacks were going to rise up against the white man the whole time)
But let's get misty-eyed about this for a second.: The beauty of this country is that there are these conflicts -- racial, cultural, religious, gender, sexual mores, etc. -- and there is DUE PROCESS. There are laws which govern the sanctity of recognized cognizant life. These laws are important, and a great deal of the world looks at how they are used here with AWE. Carnivore, despite your ad infinitum posting of gay bashing, and bashers -- the fact remains that if the perpetrators are caught, they are subject to laws and penalties for their actions. All of what you describe are de facto actions taken by bigoted individuals. The laws of this country don't condone those actions. I find it very interesting that you would add the post about violence against gays because it raises a point about bigotry and differing opinions: Just because someone believes that difference should be treated equally under the law does not mean by default that difference itself is approved of. What ought to matter is NOT how someone chooses to live their life, but rather the laws of the land protect how we choose to live our lives. I think it's safe to say that someone can think religion is malarky without being branded a bigot for this belief. What would define that person as a bigot is if they act violently towards someone who is religious, makes attempt to breach the law to limit the quality of life of religious people. In essence, bigotry is the CHOICE to limit the quality of life of another because of how the other chooses to live their life, but not the OPINION that how they live their life is 'wrong'. America is a conjunction of pluralities: This is a plural society. A great man (Harold Cruse) wrote an excellent book, 'Plural But Equal', that explores this concept. There are going to be conflicts between different groups of people. What matters are not the fact that there will be conflict, but rather HOW the conflicts will be handled. Succinctly, conflict is inevitable, but how you handle it, is not.
MHA, I disagree with your definition of bigotry. I believe bigotry is indeed a matter of opinion, in which an opinion is held about an entire class of people, and then applied to individuals within that class. The expression of that opinion (what you refer to as the "choice to limit the quality of life of another...") is actionable under the law, whereas the opinion itself is not. There are some bigots who generally keep their opinions to themselves, or share them with like-minded friends; the less cautious bigots tend to get arrested.
Indeed. And our courts are supposed to decide based on rights, not emotions. Hence, not everyone should be a judge, or member of the jury, but to a certain degree, we give everyone the opportunity to be. Managed chaosFor better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
It's my understanding that bigotry is intolerance. However tolerance doesn't mean acceptance or accord with HOW someone chooses to live their life. Tolerance means something else. It means, within the context of society and difference, the belief that we can agree to disagree. I can believe that Islam, or Christianity or Judaism are malarky; I can believe that gays and Blacks and Chinese or whatever ethnic group one might not 'like' is the cause of the country's problems. These beliefs aren't what makes me a bigot. What makes me a bigot is if I try to limit the freedoms or the quality of life of those who do believe it. What I often find troubling about social discourse is that we often equate a differing stance with bigotry. I think that one can hold critical opinions about race, gender issues, religious issues, and political issues without being considered a bigot: - Just because one doesn't agree with Israeli foreign policy doesn't make you an anti-semite. - Just because one doesn't think homosexuality is 'normal' doesn't make you anti-gay. - Just because one doesn't think racial identity is important doesn't make you a racist. - Just because one thinks racial identity IS important doesn't make you a racist. During our discussion about the Islamic Center and those who stand against it, there was this prevailing effort by those who are in favor of it to immediately consider those who are against it as bigots, and such is not accurately the case. There is no doubt that there are are bigots, But there is this 'illiberal liberalism' which runs rampant throughout the rhetoric 'socially tolerant' crowd, and it stifles discourse, and builds resentment.
Just call it political correctness. But then we are back to trying to convey respect without being forced to agree. Not an easy balance, one that may never be achieved to the satisfaction of either side.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
It is fun to hear the right wing accuse the Muslims of not being sensitive to their causes, after stating for years how much it hates having it's rights (especially speech) mitigated on the basis that it has been insensitive. Politics make people hypocrites, and me smile.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
Also, for those people looking for Muslims that stand up for terrorism:
Park 51 has now opened to the general public.
It sounds nice.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
Not with a bang, but with a whisper.If you're happy, you're not paying attention.
spurn Productions, Inc.
As expected, the actual opening of this mosque and community center affects the average American, New Yorker, 9/11 survivor, 9/11 family member, ABSOLUTELY ZILCH.
Pre-emptive fear is so often a let down for those who embrace it.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
We now get a Brooklyn version of this story:
NYT » A cluster of young Muslims in matching yellow T-shirts and broad smiles handed out free school supplies to a line of needy families in front of a gated construction site in the waning days of summer. Across the quiet residential street, two men glared at them, holding up protest signs.
Young Muslims last month gave away school supplies in front of the construction site of an Islamic center in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Across Voorheis Avenue, Leonid Krupnik, front, and Victor Benari protested the center and the Muslim American Society, which is behind the project.
The narrow avenue divided the two views of a three-story mosque and Islamic community center that is slowly being built on Voorheis Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, capturing the lingering tensions over a project that has split this multiethnic, but mostly Russian-Jewish, residential neighborhood that hugs the Atlantic shoreline.
The mosque’s backers say 150 to 200 Muslim families who live within walking distance are in need of a local place to pray. The mosque, they want to reassure neighbors, will be an asset, providing afterschool activities to children, a Boy Scout troop open to all and charity events, like the school supply giveaway.
“Wherever we go, there’s always going to be that negative first reaction, because a lot of people aren’t educated about Islam,” said Jose Luis Solis, 27, of Bensonhurst, who helped at the charity event. “We just got to stand our ground and be positive.”
But a determined group of opponents see in the half-built concrete and brick frame a provocation. To them, it is a blight, a source of future traffic congestion and worse: a beachhead for Muslim expansion in Brooklyn and a beacon for anti-Semitism.
“Yes, they are smiling, but you know what’s behind their smiles?” said Leonid Krupnik, 62, one of the two protesters late last month. Like many of the mosque’s opponents, he has strong memories of anti-Semitism as a Jew from the former Soviet Union. “Hatred. They want to create a caliphate. They want to push people out of this neighborhood.”
It was a variation on a scene that has been repeated across the country when Muslims want to build a mosque, most memorably in the fight over a proposed Muslim community center near ground zero. Though federal law makes blocking construction of a house of worship very difficult, in the decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, the federal Justice Department opened more than 28 investigations of efforts to interfere with the construction of mosques and Islamic centers, according to department statistics.
In Sheepshead Bay, a group of opponents to the mosque who call themselves the Bay People have grown increasingly frustrated as each of their legal efforts failed. Now, they admit they have little legal recourse left.
Mr. Krupnik and other opponents say they are being unfairly typecast as xenophobes and racists. They do nevertheless worry that the neighborhood will change so much that non-Muslims will want to leave and they fear that the mosque will be used to promote radical thinking.
“If the area, suddenly, is like a suburb of some Muslim country, it’s not very pleasant,” said Alexandr Tenenbaum, who lives several blocks away. “I am always scared because you see these kind of people, but we can’t say it.”
The Muslims behind the mosque say they have heard it all before. They have fought the legal challenges with the hope that the anger will subside once the building opens. Even as the dirty looks continue, the level of opposition seems to have eased.
Last year, the back-to-school giveaway drew so many protesters, the police responded to keep order; this year, there were only two, which the mosque’s backers suggested is a good sign.
The dispute began in 2008, when Allowey Ahmed, a Yemeni immigrant and laundromat owner, paid $800,000 for a single-family home on a double lot at 2812 Voorheis Avenue with the intention of replacing the house with a mosque.
Mr. Ahmed did not tell the neighbors about his plans until the initial permits were approved by the city and construction was under way. When they found out, from a worker on the site, they protested to the community board and rallied in opposition.
Eventually they sued, arguing unsuccessfully that the organizers of the mosque, which stretches to the edge of its lot amid small single-family bungalows, should be required to provide parking.
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They still hope, though their own lawyers say it is highly unlikely, that the city will change the zoning law and retroactively render the structure illegal.
“We understand that this is the First Amendment, that everyone has a right to pray, but what about our rights as a residents?” said Victor Benari, 58, the other protester last month. “It’s provocation, 100 percent. Why here? Why not build on a nice big commercial street?”
With local elections coming up, politicians, even those who do not represent the area, have amplified the issue in recent months.
David Storobin, who squeaked out a victory in a special State Senate election in March and who is now running in a newly drawn district that spans much of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, wrote in June to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, saying the mosque’s institutional sponsor “has links to radical organizations” like Hamas and Hezbollah. Ben Akselrod, who is running for the State Assembly in Brooklyn, has expressed similar fears.
Mr. Storobin’s current district includes the mosque, but the site is outside both his new district and the one Mr. Akselrod seeks to represent.
Mr. Ahmed and the Muslim American Society, which bought the property from him, say the suspicion is unfounded. They also say the statements by the politicians engender hate.
Mr. Ahmed, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1997, said that because of the tolerance he found in Brooklyn over the years, he had not expected such determined opposition.
Though its construction has been slowed by frequent complaints to the city’s 311 help line, and the constant need to raise money — he estimated $500,000 had been spent on the building so far — he was hopeful the mosque would open next spring.
“I wish we could do something to make them like us,” he said, “but thank God our rights aren’t subject to people whether they like us or not. We have guaranteed rights, and that’s what makes this country wonderful.”For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
So, it's ok for all the Russian Jews to take over Sheepshead Bay/Brighton so much that it's now called "Little Odessa" but anyone else who doesn't share their religious views or lifestyle or whatever they want to call it is "persona non grata." As for the Muslims pushing people out of the neighborhood...just see Crown Heights south of Eastern Parkway between Schenectady and New York. I guess it's ok when religious Jews do it.
Well, it's certainly always ok from the perspective of the previous generation of arrivals. It's less a question of Jews versus Muslims than it is of yesterday's immigrants versus tomorrow's immigrants.
No matter what you call it, it is all pretty similar. It merely lies dormant until something stirs it up: Fear of difference. Fear of change. Desire for control.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.