The Mosque Mess

August 19, 2010

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I may be considered “The Crunchy Conservative” but I also consider myself a feminist. NOT a femi-nazi, but a feminist. I believe in what is best for women and we should be treated equally. That being said, I believe in what is best for ALL women, born and in utero. I guess that’s where the conservative part comes in (and being raised and a practicing Catholic). I believe the feminist movement allows women to make their own decisions (unless it hinders the life of another, like in the case of abortion). If a woman chooses to work outside of the home, great. If she chooses to stay at home and raise the children, that’s great too.

I intended this column to be about the mosque mess, but the reason I bring this up is it’s been 90 years since women were given the right to vote. 90 years. And we have yet to have a female President or even Vice President. That’s a shame. However, I recall in second grade telling my teacher I wanted to be someone that “even the dumb kid in the back of the class got right on a history test.” The first female President. I had dreams … and maybe it could still come true. After all, Sarah Palin was a work at home mom for years … she wasn’t an attorney or corporation owner. Crunchy Conservative for President in 2020?

Anyway, the mosque mess. Our great country was founded on freedom of religion. A freedom to believe and practice wherever one pleases. However, I do believe it is distasteful to build a mosque next to Ground Zero. VERY distasteful. Do they have the right to build it there? Sure. Should they? No. That ground is sacred to the family members in the planes, in the towers and the firefighters who gave their lives saving others. Building a mosque, the religion that the terrorists “were following” right next to Ground Zero would only cause more issues.

I’ve never been to New York but I know New Yorkers. They’ll take it upon themselves to make sure this doesn’t happen. If it does, it won’t last long. New Yorkers won’t stand for it. And neither should other Americans. We all recall how we felt on September 11th. The terrorists took our towers from us but they should not build a mosque next to Ground Zero. Worship where you will, but not on sacred land.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kosmo
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 09:07:16

    Note: As the editor-in-chief, I’ve been aware of the subject of Crunchy’s article for several days and have been kicking ideas around in my head – this isn’t a spur-of-the-moment response.

    It’s definitely a shame that it took so long for women to get the right to vote. I don’t think it will be long before we see a female president. I think (hope) we’re at the point where voters are more concerned about issues that gender. If you promise to appoint me baseball commissioner, I’ll vote for you in 2020.

    As I understand it, the Muslim facility would be located about 2 blocks from Ground Zero (actually, I just verified this with Mapquest – yep, 2 blocks). Am I to understand that this is supposed to be a “Muslim-free” zone of some sort? If you go two blocks in all four directions, that’s an area of 16 square blocks. Is 3 blocks too close? That’s 36 square blocks. 4 blocks too close? That’s 64 square blocks.

    [A couple of caveats. First, the estimates are on the low side. If you go two blocks in each direction, this isn’t a 4 X 4 square – it’s a 2 block wide ring around ground zero, which is going to be more square blocks than a simple 4 X 4 square. The second caveat is that you’ll end up in the water if you go to the west very far.] But the estimates should be accurate enough to make the point].

    Bear in mind that Manhattan has about 40,000 Muslim residents (many of whom are citizens). I don’t have the statistics, but it seems rather likely that quite a few innocent Muslims died in the World Trade Center, and that even more had friends (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, etc) who died in the attacks. Perhaps they want a place near ground zero where they can gather to reflect on the tragedy.

    Something to keep in mind is that our enemy is not Islam, it is al Qaeda. The attacks were carried out in the name of Islam? Well, John Hinckley shot Reagan to impress Jodie Foster – but we don’t place any blame on her. There are many domestic terrorists who have waged in the name of our Christian God – should we prevent churches from being built near the scenes of their crimes?

    The extremists who call themselves Muslims attempt to create animosity between the Judeo-Christian world and the Muslim world. If we are painting all Muslims with a broad brush, we’re doing half the work for them. It’s important to separate the extremists from the larger group. The vocal minority in any debate often makes much more noise than the silent majority.

    Stories of hatred being preached in some mosques by Muslim leaders? Certainly it happens. But is this something specific to Islam? Surely there are no prominent Christian leaders engaging in this behavior?

    Take a close look at Pat Robertson. Not only did he call for the assassination of a foreign head of state (Hugo Chavez ) in direct contrast of that little “thou shalt not kill” commandment, but also blamed Haiti’s earthquake on a pact with the devil and agreed with Jerry Falwell that blame for the September 11th attacks should be placed on abortionists, gays, and feminists (among others) – and there are a lot more Robertson stories if you dig around for a minute.

    Doesn’t that make you wonder if some of the Muslim leaders preaching the hatred are the Pat Robertsons of Islam? I’m a Christian and I certainly hope people don’t judge me based on the rhetoric of Pat Robertson.

    Worried about the Cordoba Center becoming some sort of Jihad University? That would be a pretty bad strategic location – essentially in the shadow of 26 Fed Plaza, home to the New York field office of the FBI (and other assorted law enforcement and government offices).

    I don’t have a lot of Muslim friends, as Muslims are not a very large group in Iowa. I have known a handful over the years, though. One summer during college, the university assigned me to a room with a guy from Palestine by the name of Said. Said was a pretty normal guy, and was sad that his homeland saw so much violence – he was hoping for a lasting peace. He was active in student government. Hardly the sort of person to start a jihad against the US.

    Several years ago, we had a Muslim woman working on the team that I coordinate. She was born in New Jersey and is a US citizen. She did a good job working with internal customers and was a very good troubleshooter – a very valued member of the team. She’s no longer on the team, but I keep in some contact with her. It seems like the two biggest joys in her life are shopping and watching her little boy grow up – something she shares with countless Americans.


  2. Squeaky
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 14:50:24

    Crunchy 2020! You have my vote. You shed a good perspective on both topics today. I was just emailing Kosmo when he told me you had a piece up on the mosque. I felt horrible that I hadn’t visited my favorite blog yet today, but it’s been a bad week at work and I’ve been under the thumb of one of our AVP’s today.

    Kos, I appreciate where you’re coming from but I feel you’re a little off target. The whole topic about 2 blocks versus 4 blocks is tough to say. New York IS a very different area with VERY different residents. It’s very tight knit in some regards and I would think 2 blocks, 4 blocks and likely 6 blocks IS too close for them. There are wounds there that have not healed and likely won’t for many years to come.

    However, I’m shocked at the insensitivity of the group wanting to build there. Knowing that the community doesn’t want it…why would they want to continue with the project? Like Crunchy, I have friends that grew up in New Jersey and New York but now live in Fort Collins (IT jobs). They have made it crystal clear that they and their families have no intention of letting the mosque build there. Is there an unreasonable fear? Probably. Is their fear founded in fact? Somewhat. Do I agree that they should stop this using any means? Of course not.

    I agree Kosmo—-not all Muslims or those practicing Islam are bad. I also know that most people are somewhat delicate when discussing/practicing their religion openly—especially when in the presence of others that may not be comfortable. I am confident that any Muslim in NY knows the insecurities of other New Yorkers when it comes to their religion. Yes, it’s been reported that these hideous acts were carried out in the name of Islam. I agree that it doesn’t make every Muslim or person practicing Islam bad. I would bet that most New Yorkers would agree with that position too.

    I believe that this is the New Yorker’s way of expressing that they are not past 9/11, they still have open wounds and they’re not ready for this next step. Most “good neighbors” would respectfully agree to honor those insecurities, those wounds, etc. The Governor of NY was even willing to give land to the Muslim group to build on…that tells me that it isn’t a situation where they just won’t have the Muslims in New York. Why the group didn’t take the free land I have no idea. New Yorkers just want this precious ground where their families, their friends and their acquaintances died to be respected. Placing a religious icon in this location (an icon that represents the religion of the killers) will certainly hurt the relations for many years to come.

    In my opinion, time and respect are not too much to ask.


  3. Martin Kelly
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 20:10:49

    I have been to NYC and have some relatives that live there. The anti-mosque move is just like most emotionally charged political statements, a very small very loud group. I have an opinion just like everyone else. My problems with this building is the special privileges that are being extended. The requirement to publicly disclose the funding sources has been waived. The approvals have been expedited. The leader of the effort has publicly (several times but most painfully on September 12, 2001) stated that the U.S. deserved the attack, which puts him in that “bad” group of Muslims.

    In the end, if the current owners are willing to sell and the building meets the city codes, it will be built and used. Since it is planned to be a 13 story building, the people who don’t like it should fund a 14 story building between it an ground zero, there are two bocks available after all.


  4. kosmo
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 22:03:30

    @ Martin – Can you provide the quote and context for the Sept 12 quote? Wikipedia references this quote from shortly after 9/11:

    “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”

    You can debate whether or not this comment was appropriate, but it’s clearly not the same as saying that the US deserved the attack. In fact, the first sentence says that he would not say that. It might not be the best choice of words, but I understand what he is getting at – he is saying that US policies create some animosity against us in some parts of the world, and that this animosity can end in terrorism. Is this new news? Whether those policies are appropriate or not can be debated, but certainly some of them do create some animosity.

    The US government is currently paying for him to be on a bridge-building trip overseas, so apparently they’ve vetted him and are OK with him.

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean about the funding sources. I’m not sure why this would be a requirement, unless it’s an NYC zoning thing. My own church could build a building without disclosing funding sources to any authorities.

    I’m fairly certain that there will be quite a few taller buildings between ground zero and the Cordoba house. This is not a tall building by NYC standards – it will by no means dominate the landscape.


  5. Crunchy
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 08:59:26

    Squeaky-Thanks! My slogan might have to be “Were you ever unsatisfied when a blonde did the job?” 🙂

    Martin-I have to disagree with you. Almost everyone I’ve talked to, both liberal and conservative disagree with the mosque. I don’t think it is a “very small loud group”.


  6. Anonymous
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 13:46:48

    I lived in NY and actually during 9/11.

    The city is tight so as Kosmo points out with the number of Muslims you will have Muslim establishments near the 9/11 site.

    So I am not sure if this is right or wrong but if it makes the victims of 9/11 feel bad then they should consider being more sensitive and moving the place.


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