Thursday, May 06, 2010

Seriously?!


A 13-story mosque will be built on the site of a building damaged by the airliners that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people on September 11, 2001. Two Muslim organizations have partnered to open the mosque and cultural center at a cost of $100 million to create a venue for mainstream Islam to worship in lower Manhattan. The intended location is two blocks from Ground Zero.

Cordoba House, a glass and steel building, will include a 500-seat performing arts theater, a swimming pool and basketball court. 2,000 Muslims are expected to pray at the mosque every Friday.

I surprise myself with viscerally negative feelings about their choice of location. I know it is only real estate and that most spiritual disciplines urge people to move on, but this is hallowed ground to many whose loved ones died on that day. At best, it seems like tasteless nose thumbing at Americans and at worst, an attempt to replace our native cultures, square foot by square foot. In fact, the planners hope to begin construction on the 10th anniversary of the attacks that changed America forever. And that's just wrong.

74 comments:

Molly said...

You're kidding, right? Worst possible location.....

Bob said...

9/11 had nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with a political statement made by a sick individual (& his followers) with an agenda.

I hope that some Christian faith builds a church next door to the new mosque and maybe Christians will learn that Muslims really aren't really that different.

Besides, what about the fact that we've built churches in towns that stand over the ruins of ancient Indian settlements - and their graveyards. We as a culture haven't exactly been tolerant of other cultures when we're after something we want.

Jo said...

It's political correctness run amok.

I enjoyed Bill Maher's interview with Anderson Cooper that was done just a couple of days ago. I love people who tell it like it is.

Sorry, Bob, but 9/11 had everything to do with Islam, and the dozens of terrorist attacks since that time have everything to do with Islam as well. Bill Maher said it very well, when he equated Islam with Christianity during the Middle Ages. Christianity is an older religion than Islam, and it has mellowed a bit over the last few hundred years. Hopefully in time Islam will mellow as well. But right now Islamic terrorists are quite literally terrorizing the world.

Considering what was done to lower Manhattan -- in the name of religion -- I think it is highly inappropriate to put a mosque there.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Molly,

Not kidding. Serious as a heart attack.

Bob,

Normally I would agree with you, which is why I expressed surprise at my own feelings. Our culture has much to be ashamed of in its treatment of Native Americans, both living and dead.

While most Muslims are not extremists but want peace as much as we do, I think it's disrespectful to build a mosque right at Ground Zero because the horrors of 9-11 were committed in the name of Islam, like it or not. Most Christians in the 11th century did not participate in the Crusades, but it probably took a long time before other people were comfortable with them.

Jo,

I didn't see or read that interview but will try to find it. It is exactly political correctness gone wild. Where is it written that Americans must always turn the other cheek even if it means not protecting themselves?

New York city is large. There are many other places to build a giant mosque, and those who approved this site are severely misguided, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Los Angelista said...

Wow. I hadn't heard this. I'm sure the people who go pray there have good intentions but it is a divisive move because of the history. I keep thinking how this just shows that people will sell anything for money. The owners of the property didn't have to sell it.

nick said...

Difficult one. In principle I agree with Bob. Why shouldn't ordinary Muslims, who had nothing to do with 9/11, build a mosque anywhere they want? On the other hand I can see that those affected by 9/11 are offended by a large Muslim presence so close to the site. I think those involved in 9/11 should have the generosity and open-mindedness to accept Muslim worship alongside the bitter memories and say, Your religious beliefs are just fine as long as you respect our own way of life.

Lee said...

In addition to all these great points, seems like with all the rage floating about here in America right now, that it would also be a dangerous place to build a mosque.

While we here struggle to be fair and see both sides, there are others who will be completely outraged...and violent.

lee

Cecilieaux said...

Oh, please! Now all mosques are evil? Why don't we all go smash their windows one night? Remind you of anything?

I'm with Bob and the some.

Read my post on my blog today.

furiousBall said...

I agree with Lee and Bob.

9/11 had everything to do with an extremist group of Muslims, not Islam. Should we lump all abortion clinic bombings with all of Christianity too?

I don't think there is anything wrong with building a mosque there. The Muslims I have met that truly understand and live the Koran understand it is peace, not what some sick leader molded it into.

But Lee's point is spot on - if you were one of these Muslim leaders, this seems like an incredibly dangerous decision to place your place of worship there. Seems like you are putting your congregation in harms way.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Liz,

It's likely that the people building this mosque are only interested in worshiping there, but the location is a poor choice.

Nick,

In principle, I agree that people of any faith should be able to worship anywhere. But it's insensitive to break ground on that particular site on the 10th anniversary of the worst event in American history. And those who lost loved ones in that shocking tragedy should not be called upon to demonstrate open-mindedness and generosity. THEIR feelings should be respected.

Lee,

True. I am not advocating violence, but I am offended by the apparent assumption that building a nice mosque there will somehow erase what happened.

Cecil,

How can you compare Chrystalnacht to my discomfort that this structure is being built on the ashes of 9-11? And breaking ground on the anniversary is cynical and disrespectful. If you will re-read my post, you will see that I did not characterize mosques (or Islam) as evil.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Van,

Point well-taken about the abortion clinic bombings. But surely a better location could be found in Manhattan which would not rub salt in very ugly wounds.

For the record, I believe that all true religions are peaceful, and equally capable of being perverted by evil and stupidity. It hadn't actually occurred to me that the mosque itself might be endangered - violence is not the first reaction that comes to my mind, but Lee's point is also valid.

secret agent woman said...

Personally, I'd just as soon not see any religious buildings go up there. One of the things that attack did was bring out the worst in so many people over the issue of religion - assertions that we are a Christian nation, divisions between citizens of various religions, and so on.

Jen said...

I agree with Bob.

Although, it would be in better taste to build a multi-cultural center, recognizing all paths to God.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Agent,

Isn't it strange that religion, which is supposed to bring out the best in people, often does the opposite? I wish our society, and the world, could finally get past the religious competitiveness that creates violence and hatred.

Jen,

A multicultural center would be a far better idea than any individual house of worship.

Thanks for your visit!

Cecilieaux said...

Back at ya.

1. It's Kristallnacht in case you're interested. The comparison is almost exact: you are adopting a misguided, fanatical and visceral response whose logical consequences might well be violence against Islamic places of worship, just as happened in 1938. It starts with name-calling, you know.

2. I re-read your post. You called the building of "13-story mosque" as "tasteless nose thumbing at Americans" and "an attempt to replace our native cultures" (what native culture, pale face?). Sounds like you think the mosque is pretty "evil."

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cecil,

I apologize for misspelling Kristalnacht, but not for anything else. My objection is with the location, not with Islam or mosques in general, but can you really tell me it is politically correct for them to build a mosque on the ashes of 9-11? Perhaps it's a New York thing - I am a New Yorker although I presently live in California.

And in 1938, Kristalnacht was the destruction of ALL Jewish buildings, not just synagogues, as part of a systematic attempt to eradicate Jews from the earth. There is simply no comparison to my objecting to the LOCATION of this house of worship and destroying an entire people.

I already addressed the fact that our treatment of Native Americans was and continues to be shameful. This is an issue very close to my heart. My use of "our native cultures" was sloppy writing as I was actually referring to all the immigrant cultures that came here, mostly through Ellis Island, and became the "melting pot" which is NYC.

Cecilieaux said...

@HSF again:

Spelling schmelling. Feh! I suppose that, according to Godwin's law, I lose -- even though Nazi analogies to your position are perfectly justifiable.

One cannot simply tar an entire religion for the actions of a few. Islam itself had nothing to do with 9/11, any more than Judaism had anything to do with the Roman execution of one Yehoshua bar Yossif roughly two millennia ago. (I've always wondered why anti-Romanism never took hold in European Christendom.)

The entire tone of your post surprises me. I am a native New Yorker, too. Frankly, I thought the WTC towers were an eyesore on my beloved Manhattan skyline -- albeit not such an eyesore as to require mass murder. Also, I'm appalled at taking recourse to the right-wing's red-baiting with the phrase "politically correct."

Where is the HSIF I know and appreciate and what have you done with her?

Jo said...

This is precisely the point why I believe all religion should be kept private and in fact *gasp* eliminated altogether. Americans cannot pray in schools anymore, Christmas is pretty much politically incorrect, all religions icons are removed from public places, and yet we are discussing whether a mosque should be built on the places where a particular religious group perpetrated the worst terrorist attack on Americans, in American history.

What am I missing here? ALL religions do nothing but cause trouble.

Even the debate and the debators here on this post are getting hot under the collar -- and for what??? For religion. It's a waste of time and energy. We are all the same. We come into the world the same, and we leave it the same. All the rest is just open to speculation.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cecil,

And where is the intelligent correspondent who is able to distinguish between an objection to locale and a blanket objection to an entire cultural-religious group?

Further, the ugliness of the Twin Towers is hardly relevant. And, while I identify as a Liberal, I try to think about issues without mindlessly subscribing to one narrow position because it's the most liberal. I consider such flexibility true liberalism.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ah, Jo, you are such a voice of reason. I have always eschewed organized religions because they all seem to believe that they alone have God's ear and everyone else is going straight to Hell.

I firmly believe that building a mosque at the site of these horrendous attacks which affected so many Americans personally is an affront. This is not an assault on Islam, as some seem to believe, simply an objection to the obvious symbolism that such an edifice personifies. It's highly insensitive and again, breaking ground on the ANNIVERSARY of that dreadful event seems like crowing in victory, no matter how well-intended.

Cecilieaux said...

@Jo: I disagree that all religion should be banned. That would not be fair and democratic for those who want theirs.

@HISF: Oh, since it's just a matter of location, you would not object to a church or a synagogue there. In other words, it's only a mosque there that bothers you, or am I getting something wrong here?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cecil,

The devastation of 9-11 was not committed in the name of Jesus or Yahweh, but to praise Allah.

It seems odd for any house of worship to be in the financial district but perhaps it is becoming residential - I am not up on NYC real estate trends.

You are deliberately missing my point because you so badly want to make me wrong and you right, by inference. So you win - you are more politically correct than I. And since this is still a democracy, we are both free to disagree. I hope that doesn't change.

Cecilieaux said...

HISF:

So it's not true that it's merely the location as you earlier argued; it's the mosque that bugs you because it is Islamic and, in your mind, intrinsically linked to 9/11.

Again, I remind you that some Christians look upon Judaism as intrinsically linked to the crucifixion. If you accept one link, you have to accept the other -- which I just know you possibly can't.

So call a spade a spade (for the unschooled: this is an ancient Greek saying) and admit that you just don't like Islam or anything that reminds you of it, allegedly because of 9/11. But stop this charade about being liberal.

This position is not liberal. It's prejudice; that's a fact. Yes, you are as free as you want to be prejudiced and we are also free to disagree -- you on the side of prejudice, me against it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cecil,

Your analogy fails because the Jews did not kill Jesus - the Romans did. Even the Catholic church admitted this some time ago. Weren't you paying attention?

I will not stoop to flaunting my Civil Rights credentials to disprove your charming accusations. I have to go out now but if you have any more insults you burn to deliver, it's still a free country. I'll read them later after a breath of fresh air.

Cecilieaux said...

HISF: I'll abandon all analogies and argue straight.

Notwithstanding your past connections to the civil rights movement(which you cleverly managed to bring up by declaring you wouldn't "stoop" to mentioning them), it remains a present fact that your posted beef is not with the location but with the mosque being put there.

And what is your reason for this beef? That a mosque that, as of today in 2010, hasn't even been built, somehow had, has or will have something to do with what happened on September 11, 2001, merely because it's Islamic.

Is everything Islamic to blame for 9/11? Is even anything Islamic to blame for 9/11? If you think so, prove it.

Jo said...

I wonder what the outcry would be if there were a giant cross built at that site? In fact, if I remember correctly, that was once suggested, and shot down -- in flames.

A monument of the Ten Commandments was removed from an American courhouse because Judge Thompson ruled that "Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's placement of the 2.6-ton granite monument in the state building two years ago violated the U.S. Constitution's principle of separation of religion and government."

A mosque at the site of the devastation of several buildings by a particular religious group -- who for argument sake shall remain nameless -- would be an insult of the highest degree.

By the way, one of the buildings destroyed by this particular religious group -- who shall remain namess -- was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

Doesn't that look clever of that particular religious group -- who shall remain nameless? Destroy a church and erect a mosque.

Hmmmm....

Cecilieaux said...

@Jo

My paragraph by paragraph response:

1. It's not a symbol. It's an actual mosque.

1b. It's not going on the actual Ground Zero. Even HSIF wrote "two blocks from Ground Zero."

2. The Alabama case had to do with placing a religious symbol on state property. There is no state property involved here.

3. See 1b.

4. I trust the Greek Orthodox do have a cross on the spire of their church. Is that objectionable?

5. Do you have any evidence that two Muslim organizations HSIF said "have partnered to open the mosque and cultural center at a cost of $100 million" had anything to do with any damage to St. Nicholas' Church on 9/11/01?

steadyjohn said...

You say; "A 13-story mosque will be built on the site of a building damaged by the airliners that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people on September 11, 2001"

Excuse me, but "airliners that destroyed the WTC"! That's like blaming SUV's for traffic deaths or guns for murders. Let's be clear, it was Islamo-Fascists that flew the airliners into those buildings. Sure, putting this big mosque in the proximity of ground zero is a big poke in the eye to New Yorkers. What is an even bigger poke in the New Yorkers' eyes is the plan to hold the trials of the 911 gang in lower Manhattan rather than before military tribunals. It seems, to me anyway, the bigger issue than the proposed mosque.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

John,

Since nearly everyone on earth knows what happened on that day and at whose hands, it should have been clear what I meant despite my poor choice of words. I do realize that unmanned SUV's don't kill people and so forth.

I also believe the confessed mastermind and his cohorts should be tried in a military court, not on US soil, because they committed multiple acts of war against this country. However, I do not know what legal basis determined the decision to try them in a Civilian Court, which seems to dovetail neatly with Obama's intention to close Guantanamo.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

John,

I still stand by my belief that the site of the mosque is inappropriate. And it will be there long after the trial is over.

Jo said...

I read an interesting quote on the internet today, "Upon completion of the mosque, all New Yorkers in the area will be able to hear the prayerful chanting of “Allahu Akhbar” on a regular basis, at the very site where it was heard just eight years ago — moments before the planes hit the towers."

It's just wrong. Surely to goodness anyone can see that. It's just wrong.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jo,

How nice. I predict a raging epidemic of PTSD in New York.

Pea said...

Uh. I'll just be honest here and say I'm still not quite sure how to feel about this. What I'm hoping and trying to assume is that the builders of this Mosque didn't intend to make anyone uncomfortable....

BTW thanks again for filling me in about our friend Chani.

Jameil said...

I started talking too much so I just wrote a blog post on this. Suffice it to say I thoroughly disagree with the idea that Muslims shouldn't be able to practice their religion which many believe IS INTOLERANT TO TERRORISM & the idea that an 'our culture' exists in this hodge podge melting pot of a nation. ANYWHERE in America is a potentially dangerous place for a mosque. EVERYWHERE there are people who believe all Muslims are evil.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

I hope so, too. It would be far better for the world if 9-11 had never happened, but it did. And it changed things in ways we could never have anticipated.

I hated to be the bearer of such sad news but knew you would want to know.

Jameil,

I couldn't find your blog post and would like to read it. I did not state or imply that Muslims should not be free to practice their religion, nor do I believe that all Muslims are evil. I just think that building a mosque on the site of destruction from 9-11 is highly insensitive.

Bruce said...

It's strange to find myself disagreeing with you!

I spent 9/11 with a Muslim kid, one of my former students. For much of the day, I was talking him down; the morning of the attacks, he'd stood between a bunch of violent frat boys and a frightened Afghan kid.

The thing is, although I don't really worship God in any sort of organized fashion, I can't bring myself to criticize religion. At its best, it draws us to contemplate the divine in our world, ourselves and each other.

At its worst...well, Ayatolla Khomeni, Osama Bin Laden, Jerry Falwell, Jim Jones...the list goes on.

The growth of fundamentalist Islam has been caused by a lot of things, including poverty, repressive regimes in the Middle East, Israeli hard liners and -- to be honest -- our own oil addiction, which makes it impossible for us to criticize some of the most foul regimes in the world.

On 9/11, a lot of things died along with the people in the towers, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. One of the biggest and saddest deaths was our own tendency toward inclusion and tolerance. If this mosque preaches moderate Islam, showcases the beauty of Middle Eastern culture, and works to erase the lines between Americans and Muslims, then there may be no better place for it.

TaraDharma said...

This post, and its comments, have really got me thinking. After much back and forthing in my mind, I agree with Bob's comments. I wrote a post for tomorrow, about religion and the good it can do, not only for the faithful, but for those they help in the world. It is sad that when any religious extremists pervert and distort the basic, honorable intentions of a religious creed. I don't practice any specific religion, but for the good people who practice it honorably, I say 'horray!' And the word "honorably" is the key here. I believe the people proposing this mosque have the best intentions. I can understand the post-traumatic reaction to the idea, but maybe it's time to re-examine those reactions based on a broader knowledge of Islam.

TaraDharma said...

Correction: Bruce's comments, right above mine.

nick said...

I've been reading all the comments with great interest. But I still see no good reason for prohibiting the mosque. I can't see what's so threatening about it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Bruce,

This is the kind of open, honest and non-accusatory dialogue I hoped for when I wrote this post. Like you, I try to consider issues from all possible standpoints rather than responding with a knee-jerk spewing of party line rhetoric from either party.

I agree that one of the casualties of 9-11 was curtailing our national tendencies toward inclusion and acceptance. But since we are creatures with a dominant instinct for self-preservation, it could hardly be otherwise.

I believe there is beauty in every culture, but admit to a preference for those which are content to live and let live. I am open to the idea that the Muslims building the mosque in question are good people who also deplore the events of 9-11, but I think the lines between them and their non-Muslim neighbors might be more readily erased in another location.

In this case, truly, location is everything.

Tara,

Of all human inventions, religion has the most potential for good and also for harm. I believe that all true religions preach love and tolerance for all, and are equally vulnerable to being perverted for power.

Bruce's views are sane and well-reasoned. I would also like to believe that the people building this mosque want nothing more than to be a force for good in the world. Perhaps they are even more intent on doing so because of the dire deeds visited on us by their co-religionists.

But I still hold that if they were sensitive to the many families whose loved ones died horrifically on that day, they would have chosen a different location from which to perform their healing ministrations.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Nick,

Threatening is not the point. History has proved that they could be threatening from anywhere if they choose to be. Again, my point is that it is, in my view, very poor taste and insensitive to the feelings of the many survivors of those attacks to build there. Surely there are numerous other locations in Manhattan which would accommodate a project of this size. Why are they so insistent on building it there?

Jo said...

The site of the mosque is the old Burlington Coat factory. It was damaged during the attacks on 9/11, and has not been used as a business since then. In the last few months it has been used as a mosque. To quote a newspaper journalist, "So, in the ruins of a building reduced to rubble in the name of Islam, a temple to Islam will arise."

Americans are to be commended that they are so forgiving and open-minded.

My own personal opinion is that, for Muslims to build a huge mosque there, is extremely insensitive. If they truly are a religion of peace and love, they should move their mosque to another site that is not considered sacred ground by millions of people. It's not about religious intolerance. It's about sensitivity to the feelings of others. Surely to goodness that should not be so difficult to understand.

I completely agree with everything Susan has to say.

Bruce said...

Susan-
I understand your side on this: under the circumstances, inclusion is a hard concept to stand behind!

But if we lump all Muslims together, I wonder if we will create a self-fulfilling prophesy, in which even the more moderate among them will decide that Western civilization is the eternal enemy of Islam. Tolerance is tough, but I feel like we need to strive for it, especially now, when the enemies of liberalism -- both Christian and Muslim -- are so unwilling to allow inclusion.

You have a good point about the hallowed ground, but the mosque isn't going to go in the actual site once occupied by the twin towers; rather, it will go in a nearby area that was also damaged in the attacks. I understand your anger at the proximity to the towers, but it wouldn't be too hard to follow this into a reductio ad absurdum: after all, there aren't too many spots in Lower Manhattan that weren't damaged or disrupted by the attacks.

For that matter, it's worth remembering that there are churches and synagogues all over the financial district; on some levels, this is a pretty natural move for an area that has more and more Muslim workers.

Under the circumstances, I completely agree with you about the poor choice of timing. I wonder if the planners saw this as an opportunity for healing, or were just monstrously insensitive.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jo,

Thank you. ALL I am saying is that I object to the chosen site of this mosque, not to its presence in NYC, or America. If those building it want only to spread good in the world, why are they so intent on doing so in a place guaranteed to hurt people who have already been devastated, and to inflict further pain by breaking ground with much ceremony on the ANNIVERSARY of that event?

We do not have the right to be understanding and open-minded on behalf of those families. I wonder why so many of us are more concerned with the feelings of the mosque builders than with those who lost loved ones on that day.

Bruce,

I understand that there are "good" Muslims and "bad" Muslims, just as there are good and bad members of all faiths. I also see your point about how far from Ground Zero must it be to be ok, and honestly, I don't know. I believe that Muslims are a legitimate population in this country as anywhere else, but perhaps paradoxically, most have kept a low profile so that for the most part, the rest of us are only aware of them when they commit acts of terrorism here and abroad. I certainly don't want to lump decent, hardworking people of any faith with lunatics who believe that all Americans should die. It must be incredibly difficult for them to be regarded with suspicion when they, personally, harbor no ill will toward others.

So again, and this is growing tiresome, I am not opposed to Muslims or to their houses of worship. But someone really needs to remember the many innocent victims of 9-11, and be sensitive to the ongoing pain of their families. Much as we might like to erase those events with a Phoenix rising from the ashes, they are indelibly engraved upon the American soul. We did not ask for this. It happened anyway. I think the least we can do for those we lost, many of whom died heroically, is to honor their memory, not to spit on it.

Pea said...

I'm glad I came back to read the rest of the comments. This was a good post Susan because of the discussion that ensued whether we all agreed or not. These are the kinds of discussions we as Americans should be having with each other instead of the polarizing "debates" 24hour news forces down our throats. (And I use the word debate very generously.) Call me a naive optimist, but after reading the rest of your comments here I'm beginning to think maybe this is actually a great opportunity for the people in that community to come together when they see Muslims practicing their faith and participating in their community. Maybe people will see that they are not the "Big Bad Wolf". *The loudest voices in my own Christian faith have not been the best of representatives either and I certainly don't want to be lumped in the same category as those who bomb abortion clinics or those crazy "Christian" militias we hear of late. People near Ground Zero will have a chance to see the faces of those we're supposed to be afraid of and maybe realize that they are not that different from us. That they are human beings with dreams and families who are perusing their own American dream. Maybe this could be a good thing.

BTW I heard the other night that it was a Muslim American who reported that failed car bomb attempt in Times Square to the police. As a minority living in this country who knows what it feels like to be treated differently, I was actually ashamed of my earlier comment and the fact that I had immediately jumped to the conclusion that it might be a bad thing. At the same time I am in complete understanding of anyone who might be uncomfortable with that mosque being built there. But I think if we stay in that state of fear, then we make victims of ourselves. And as an American, I don't believe that's who we are.

(oh oh!My word verification is "bless")

Jo said...

It is a Muslim tradition to build a great mosque at the site of a military victory. A friend equated it to the Japanese building a monument at Pearl Harbor. The only difference is, the Japanese would be sensitive enough not to do it.

What happened in Lower Manhattan is still too raw, and is the last place on earth where a 13-story Muslim mosque should be built. It is not about inclusivity, it's about sensitivity -- or lack thereof. There are other ways to build bridges between people of different faiths.

May I make a prediction? The mosque is going to cause nothing but trouble. It will be bad for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Cecilieaux said...

I cannot believe the insanity going on here. I reply to all of it on my blog here.

witnessing am i said...

Heart, please do not let the venom of some of your readers get you down. I think they have misunderstood your point. Your blog has always been filled with looking out for others. Through this blog, I know you to be as open-minded and sensitive to any and all cultures as anyone I know. You are not a hateful person at all.

I see your point about the insensitivity of the location of a mosque. I know you are not against mosques, in general, just the location, in this one instance. There are a million and one other spots (in America) for a mosque to be built. That one particular spot is probably not the best location.

Regardless of the religion, a great tragedy occurred on that spot. It would be nice to honor those who died on that spot.

And Cecil, regardless of what I think of your opinion, I think it tasteless to use this blog -- which you so vehemently disagree with -- as a direct link to yours.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

There is nothing wrong with optimism. It was one of the founding principles of this nation, and it was certainly one that brought people of other cultures to our shores in search of a better life, which many of them found here.

Again, may I say that my post was not about fear, but about sensitivity? Even if the people building this mosque have only good intentions, shoving them down the throats of other people who are still hurting terribly over what happened there is not the way to accomplish them, no matter how blameless these particular people are.

Jo,

As you suggest, the best way to build bridges which badly need to be built is by exercising appropriate sensitivity. Without that, even the best intentions fall flat.

Cecil,

I suggest you work on your reading skills so you can stop reacting to things that were never said. I see you have taken your Jihad against me to Facebook, too. You might consider renting a plane with streamers castigating me, and when you're done you could fly it into my house. Does that sound like a plan?

David,

Thank you for your kind and wise words. Perhaps it's time for me to stop blogging because my blog has become a forum for mud-slinging, insults and attacks.

I think it's a very sad thing when someone who claims to be liberal is so opposed to anyone exercising freedom of speech and worse, expressing thoughts which are contradictory to his own and refusing to spout party line rhetoric.

nick said...

I hope you don't stop blogging because one particular post has become the vehicle for some very heated (and over-heated) debate! It's a most unusual occurrence. Personally I'm very glad you put up this post because it was an issue I knew nothing about and the thorough discussion has been very thought-provoking.

Bruce said...

Kudos to Nick and Sweet Pea for nailing it on this one. Regardless of whether we agree or not, this was a very important conversation to have, and many, many thanks to Hearts for opening communication on it.

When these sorts of discussions usually happen, they're between people who agree with each other. The fact that people who disagreed -- often vehemently -- were able to talk together here was pretty awesome.

As for Cecil, it might be worthwhile to take a little time to explore the important difference between liberal discussion and liberal dogma, because it seems to have taken you about 47 seconds to jump to the reductio ad Hitlerum, a deeply unwarranted response to this discussion. Dissent from the liberal party line does not immediately equal racism!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Nick,

Thought-provoking discussion was my intention, not spiteful name calling by playground bullies. I'd like to continue blogging because I enjoy writing, and have always delighted in the exchange of ideas with others. But if I could be so badly misunderstood, I must question my own communication skills.

Bruce,

Oh, God yes! Thank you for understanding and stating so eloquently what I was trying inexpertly to express. I even remarked in my post that the intensity of my reaction surprised me because my views are normally at the liberal end of the spectrum. And now I am being forced to reconsider if I even want to identify with ANY position which does not allow individual thought.

To my knowledge, I have never before been called a racist. It would be amusing if it were not so hurtful.

Jo said...

Susan, if this topic can create this much heated rhetoric on one little blog post, just imagine what is going to happen when the mosque is actually built. The people who live and work in that area are going to be offended beyond belief. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to actually have experienced what happened on that beautiful morning, September 11, 2001.

Please don't stop blogging simply because one person doesn't know how to have an intelligent debate and exchange of ideas, without making it a personal attack.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jo, thank you so much for your kind words of support. You raise a most interesting point about the possible consequences of building the mosque there. I would hope this could be resolved peacefully as the world does not need more violence.

It occurs to me that retiring my blog would be giving up my own autonomy. I enjoy interacting with my readers and visiting their blogs, and don't want to stop doing so.

9-11 was so unbelievably horrific that it still can't be adequately described all these years later. My niece and cousin were both there helping with the aftermath. The images are seared into my eyeballs and memory, and it's impossible to think of that area as mere real estate.

mischief said...

*And* this space is yours and you are not required to tolerate free speech here although you have done so very graciously. I would have deleted people ruthlessly. It is abundantly clear to anyone who has followed you for any length of time that you are compassionate and kind to human beings. Perhaps in tolerating this abuse you have been too kind. Please try not to be hurt. Who you are is very clear.

Lisa

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Lisa,

Have you ever worked as a bouncer? If not, do you think you could learn? Have I got a job for you!

Thank you for the encouraging words. They - and you - are very much appreciated.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Now wouldn't it just be wonderful if they chose to create a memorial for every person lost in 9/11??

It could be a place to visit; as serene as any 'place of worship' (of any religion), and there would be no friction or argument if we'd create this permanent memorial.

I truly hope this will be re-thought again, and there will be no religious building erected for any faith.

Just my thinking.....

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Happy,

I couldn't agree with you more. It's a wonderful idea, and I believe there is a 9-11 Memorial and Museum planned for the site of the Twin Towers. I don't know when it will be completed, though, because of the economy.

Jocelyn said...

Wow, I put my head down to grade research papers for a week, and this place goes crazy.

I am firmly with the Bob, Furiousball, etc. contingent. The religion's traditions and tenets were besmirched that day, but Islam should not be held accountable for the actions of extremists.

The choice of building site could be, if you look at it symbolically, a way for Muslims to reclaim their trashed reputation by showing infinite good where unthinkable bad took place.

Jo said...

I still say it's the same as building a Japanese temple at Pearl Harbor.

America and Japan have been great friends for the past 60 years, since the end of the Second World War, but a Japanese temple at Pearl Harbor would be as inappropriate as a Muslim Mosque at the site of Ground Zero. And it is inappropriate for the Muslim faith to request building one there -- for any reason. It is the height of insensitivity, and I believe it is counter-productive to Muslims reclaiming their trashed reputation.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jocelyn,

It's unfortunate that Muslims have a trashed reputation to reclaim, but I don't believe they have the right to do so at the expense of the many who lost loved ones there, and must respectfully disagree. Can't they perform their good works even more effectively from another location?

Jo,

When 9-11 happened, many compared it to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, but there were enormous differences: The Japanese act was a military maneuver against a military base, a declaration of war on one country by another. 9-11 was a vicious attack on civilians by madmen who did not represent any national entity. The only similarities are that both events took place on American soil - and actually, Hawaii was not yet a state so even that was not exactly true.

I personally believe that few cultures have the exquisite sensitivity of the Japanese, but this situation represents the most crass kind of INsensitivity.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ceciieaux,

Please stop sending me private emails. Removing your blog from my blog roll had nothing to do with pettiness, as you claim, but with distaste. Do not insult me further by second-guessing that I, myself, do not even agree with my stated position, and suggesting that I am going to continue my temper tantrum until you agree with me.

I do not care if you agree with me. You could have disagreed in a civil, respectful manner as many other folks did, yet you chose to be inflammatory and to call me names. Do you really believe that hearts and minds can be bullied into embracing different views?

I cannot imagine what your comment that my heart may not even be in SF is supposed to mean. Are you laboring under the simple-minded misconception that everyone in this city has interchangeable parts and uniform views which are slightly to the left of whoopee?

You really need to hone your people skills, but not through communication with me.

Cecilieaux said...

Susan:

Since you insist on responding to what I thought was a personal e-mail to someone I thought I had befriended on the 'net, let's start with the e-mail, so everyone can see it.

Text of e-mail =======

Evil tongues say you've taken my blog down from your blog roll. Are you that petty?

I disagree with you. Indeed, I think that in your heart of hearts, which may not be in SF, you disagree with you. You're going to stamp your feet and hold your breath and take your marbles until I agree with you?

What is happening here?

==== end of e-mail

Is that public enough for you? Now comes my equally reply, paragraph by paragraph.

1a. "E-mails" is false and potentially defamatory (if you are attempting to create the impression that someone is "stalking" you). There was only one e-mail from me, just today, on the subject of this blog. I had not written to you since our extensive bilateral correspondence ending April 30.

1b. To assert credibly that your removing my blog from your roll isn't petty, you'd have to explain what you mean by "distaste" what specifically is distasteful. So far, all I see is that you have decided to blot out any sign of my existence because I had the effrontery of disagreeing with you and showing you that you were wrong.

1c. I don't see why it is an "insult" to give you the benefit of the doubt and suppose your visceral response to this mosque that doesn't even yet exist is out of character with the otherwise sensible person I thought you were. However, if you want to feel offended by my generosity of spirit, be my guest.

2a. I don't see what was uncivil about asking two obviously rhetorical questions to express an idea.

2b. You're going to have to quote the "names" I called you, because I don't recall calling you any.

2c. Same for "bullying."

3. The parenthetical mention of SF was intended as humor. No ulterior message intended. The humor was weak. I admit it. Sometimes what strikes me as funny falls flat. Sue me.

4. Fascinating to be called on my alleged lack of "people skills" by someone who has absurdly overreacted to disagreement.

Finally, I don't understand what has provoked this fury, but no one is waging jihads against you. I thought I understood who you were. Obviously, I don't.

Anonymous said...

Susan:

Since you insist on responding to what I thought was a personal e-mail to someone I thought I had befriended on the 'net, let's start with the e-mail, so everyone can see it.

Text of e-mail =======

Evil tongues say you've taken my blog down from your blog roll. Are you that petty?

I disagree with you. Indeed, I think that in your heart of hearts, which may not be in SF, you disagree with you. You're going to stamp your feet and hold your breath and take your marbles until I agree with you?

What is happening here?

==== end of e-mail

Is that public enough for you? Now comes my equally reply, paragraph by paragraph.

1a. "E-mails" is false and potentially defamatory (if you are attempting to create the impression that someone is "stalking" you). There was only one e-mail from me, just today, on the subject of this blog. I had not written to you since our extensive bilateral correspondence ending April 30.

1b. To assert credibly that your removing my blog from your roll isn't petty, you'd have to explain what you mean by "distaste" what specifically is distasteful. So far, all I see is that you have decided to blot out any sign of my existence because I had the effrontery of disagreeing with you and showing you that you were wrong.

1c. I don't see why it is an "insult" to give you the benefit of the doubt and suppose your visceral response to this mosque that doesn't even yet exist is out of character with the otherwise sensible person I thought you were. However, if you want to feel offended by my generosity of spirit, be my guest.

2a. I don't see what was uncivil about asking two obviously rhetorical questions to express an idea.

2b. You're going to have to quote the "names" I called you, because I don't recall calling you any.

2c. Same for "bullying."

3. The parenthetical mention of SF was intended as humor. No ulterior message intended. The humor was weak. I admit it. Sometimes what strikes me as funny falls flat. Sue me.

4. Fascinating to be called on my alleged lack of "people skills" by someone who has absurdly overreacted to disagreement.

Finally, I don't understand what has provoked this fury, but no one is waging jihads against you. I thought I understood who you were. Obviously, I don't.

The person you've also blocked. (Shakes head.)

witnessing am i said...

Wow, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. That response was amazing. Actually, more scary than amazing.

mischief said...

Susan, I have never been a bouncer but wrangling seventeen year old Drama students sometimes feels similar. If only I could delete students as easily as you can delete posts... I would not exercise the restraint that you have (which, by the way, speaks loudly to demonstrate the kind of person you are, and I am not)!

I really appreciated reading your views on what is happening in NYC right now which I had not heard about here in the Great White North. I am learning a lot from your readers who are choosing to debate this civilly. For example, I had no idea that it is a Muslim tradition to erect a mosque on the site of a military victory. I also have much to learn about the religion itself, which I find fascinating. I appreciate how you have provided a forum here for people to share their conflicting views about this important issue and to learn from each other.

Although I do adore your posts about cupcakes, this one has really taken the cake. ;)

L

heartinsanfrancisco said...

David,

In duplicate yet. I wonder which one is the evil twin.

I'm not sure what is meant by "blocked" as I haven't blocked anyone, and don't even know how to do so.

Lisa,

I think this is a subject that should be discussed because there are obviously strongly-held opposing views. I learn from my readers every day as I certainly don't have all the answers. My views are just that, my views.

You've mentioned that you are reading the Koran and I hope you'll share some of what you learn. Meanwhile, if you're ever in San Francisco, we should go for cupcakes.

mischief said...

And I'm reading your views because you express them well and in ways that make me think. It's always a good idea to hang out with smart people so you can get smarter. I don't want to post this to your next entry about Lena Horne because I think it doesn't need my touch --- but I wanted to tell you that after reading it I felt an overwhelming desire to start shrieking that you are *obviously* a racist. (Guess I have a black sense of humour. Snort.)

the walking man said...

What would happen if the Jews destroyed The Dome of the Rock and rebuilt their temple on that sight? The temple Solomon built and the Babylonians destroyed predates the Dome and is sacred ground to the Jews?

Of course the Muslims would be offended and get extremely violent over the loss and misuse of what they consider sacred ground.

Why as an American should I feel that what a majority of my countrymen feel is sacred land be allowed to be fettered forever by a mosque? Land that will never be able to be reclaimed to a use that reminds us in perpetuity what happened there.

I do not buy into the Muslim propaganda that Islam is a religion of peace. It is a religion of commerce first and violent response towards all that will not wish it well. Most Muslims I have met face to face do not even follow the tenets of their own book. They give to groups that aid in radical Muslim causes, they do not support widows and orphans, they are extremely misogynistic. They are not for female education in most of their countries where they live, they do not assimilate into countries where they migrate to.

Al Quieda came out of the Wahhabi branch of Islam and until someone can explain to me how they are not doing all they can to radicalize every Muslim in the world to destroy everything they consider profane they can all go to their own hell.

All religions mark themselves at one time or another as Cain. Now that Islam has willingly taken that sign upon itself they are no different than the "crusaders" they still rail against.

Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heartinsanfrancisco said...

Lisa,

Oh, you do have a dark sense of humor. I like that in a person. And I agree that it's smart to hang out with smart people, which is why I allow and encourage comments to my blog posts.

Mark,

I love that you have a poet's sensibility and a warrior spirit, and I admire your fearlessness and honesty.

My position on the 9-11 mosque is already clear. I will never praise any religion in this space, or denounce one in its entirety, but unthinkably horrible acts committed in the name of religion DO give that religion a bad name. If those who worship at the same altar do not themselves denounce such acts, it does not beget trust. And I find it shocking that anyone is ok with this building on the site of that American and human tragedy.

Jo,

:)

Christine said...

"It is a religion of commerce first and violent response towards all that will not wish it well. Most Muslims I have met face to face do not even follow the tenets of their own book. They give to groups that aid in radical Muslim causes, they do not support widows and orphans, they are extremely misogynistic. They are not for female education in most of their countries where they live, they do not assimilate into countries where they migrate to": You see here "Intelligence and reason", Jo? Tell me I am dreaming...

Cecilieaux said...

Now, Christine, we don't post disagreements here. Be nicey, nicey.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Christine,

Thanks for your visit. I welcome all views here no matter how contradictory to mine, as long as personal insults are not directed at anyone.

Your name has no link but if you have a blog I would be interested in reading it.

Cecilieaux,

Here's a helpful hint for you: Civility enables people to focus on what you're saying without feeling attacked.