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  • Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria returns ADL’s award over ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

    by Sunny
    7th August, 2010 at 12:14 pm    

    Good for him. Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek has returned an award back to the Anti-Defamation League in the US after the Jewish group came out against the supposed ‘Ground Zero Mosque’.
    He explains:

    Bloomberg’s speech stands in stark contrast to the bizarre decision of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly side with those urging that the center be moved. The ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” But Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, explained that we must all respect the feelings of the 9/11 families, even if they are prejudiced feelings.

    “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted,” he said. First, the 9/11 families have mixed views on this mosque. There were, after all, dozens of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. Do their feelings count? But more important, does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they’re victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?

    Spot on. I linked to an excellent piece on the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ controversy by Alex Massie earlier.

    In other news: The Guardian reports that the repulsive Iranian regime is trying to execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in secret, and want to do so because she’s a woman.

    The answer is quite simple, it’s because I’m a woman, it’s because they think they can do anything to women in this country. It’s because for them adultery is worse than murder – but not all kinds of adultery: an adulterous man might not even be imprisoned but an adulterous women is the end of the world for them. It’s because I’m in a country where its women do not have the right to divorce their husbands and are deprived of their basic rights.

    Well done to her for speaking out.

    And lastly: Muslim group Minhaj ul-Quran runs ‘anti-terrorism’ camp

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    Filed in: EDL,Muslim,Organisations,Terrorism

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    1. sunny hundal

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    1. Random Guy — on 8th August, 2010 at 1:16 pm  

      Lol, look at the responses in the link to the Fareed Zakaria article…and I mean “lol” in the most “it beggars belief” way as possible.

    2. joe90 — on 8th August, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

      Ground Zero Mosque? this building if built is not being built on the site of the former twin towers its not even in the same street its couple of streets away. You might as well call it mosque being built in new york city ahhhh start screaming or mosque being built in north america Armageddon is coming talk about media hyping and making scare stories!!!

    3. damon — on 8th August, 2010 at 3:01 pm  

      Interesting that the head of the ADL at least tries to explain himself. You’d think that the thing to do would be to try to explain to those objecting to this mosque as to why they were being unreasonable and that christian cults no more represented christianity as the 9/11 hijackers did islam.

      But the idea of majority rights or the rights of ”bigots” is one that can crop up in many areas.
      There could be objections from a religious community to having a ”house of debauchery” in their neighbourhood - or even protesting about a nightclub calling itself ‘Heaven’ which happened recently in Cookstown County Tyrone. Some christians thought it was blasphemous or something.

      And the ”debate” about the Orange Order parades is completely polarised. Some see them as the cultural expression of a community, and others want them banned from any areas where they ”are not welcomed” - which is a rather ambiguous and catch all idea.

    4. Jai — on 8th August, 2010 at 3:15 pm  

      Fareed Zakaria also discussed his actions at the start of his “GPS” show on CNN this week. As Sunny said, ‘Good for him’. It was definitely the right decision, and Fareed explained his reasons very well.

      There is also an excellent article about the “Ground Zero Mosque” in the current issue of the Economist ( ).

      Some extracts:

      Build that mosque

      The campaign against the proposed Cordoba centre in New York is unjust and dangerous…..

      …..Barack Obama has followed suit: the White House national security strategy published in May says that one way to guard against radicalisation at home is to stress that “diversity is part of our strength—not a source of division or insecurity.” This is hardly rocket science. America is plainly safer if its Muslims feel part of “us” and not, like Mohammad Sidique Khan, part of “them”. And that means reminding Americans of the difference—a real one, by the way, not one fabricated for the purposes of political correctness—between Islam, a religion with a billion adherents, and al-Qaeda, a terrorist outfit that claims to speak in Islam’s name but has absolutely no right or mandate to do so.

      Why would any responsible American politician want to erase that vital distinction? Good question. Ask Sarah Palin, or Newt Gingrich, or the many others who have lately clambered aboard the offensive campaign to stop Cordoba House, a proposed community centre and mosque, from being built in New York two blocks from the site of the twin towers. Every single argument put forward for blocking this project leans in some way on the misconceived notion that all Muslims, and Islam itself, share the responsibility for, or are tainted by, the atrocities of 9/11.

      In a tweet last month from Alaska, Ms Palin called on “peaceful Muslims” to “refudiate” the “ground-zero mosque” because it would “stab” American hearts. But why should it? Cordoba House is not being built by al-Qaeda. To the contrary, it is the brainchild of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a well-meaning American cleric who has spent years trying to promote interfaith understanding, not an apostle of religious war like Osama bin Laden.

      …..True, some relatives of 9/11 victims are hurt by the idea of a mosque going up near the site. But that feeling of hurt makes sense only if they too buy the false idea that Muslims in general were perpetrators of the crime. Besides, what about the feelings, and for that matter the rights, of America’s Muslims—some of whom also perished in the atrocity?

      …..The Saudi non-sequitur

      …No such plea of mitigation can be entered on behalf of Mr Gingrich. The former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives may or may not have presidential pretensions, but he certainly has intellectual ones. That makes it impossible to excuse the mean spirit and scrambled logic of his assertion that “there should be no mosque near ground zero so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia”. Come again? Why hold the rights of Americans who happen to be Muslim hostage to the policy of a foreign country that happens also to be Muslim? To Mr Gingrich, it seems, an American Muslim is a Muslim first and an American second. Al-Qaeda would doubtless concur.

      Mr Gingrich also objects to the centre’s name. Imam Feisal says he chose “Cordoba” in recollection of a time when the rest of Europe had sunk into the Dark Ages but Muslims, Jews and Christians created an oasis of art, culture and science. Mr Gingrich sees only a “deliberate insult”, a reminder of a period when Muslim conquerors ruled Spain. Like Mr bin Laden, Mr Gingrich is apparently still relitigating the victories and defeats of religious wars fought in Europe and the Middle East centuries ago. He should rejoin the modern world, before he does real harm.

    5. Jai — on 8th August, 2010 at 3:19 pm  


      This simple point about the fact that neither Islam nor Muslims are monolithic, homogenous blocks is something I’ve repeatedly stated on PP, especially in some of my articles (and repeated again in my recent responses to Nirpal Dhaliwal’s Daily Mail article). People in certain quarters seem to have a severe problem with grasping this concept; both formally and informally, Muslims worldwide have different interpretations of their religion just like (for example) Christians and Hindus do when it comes to their own faiths. Anyone who has an accurate understanding of the Indian subcontinent in particular, including the last thousand years of Indian history, will be perfectly aware of this.

      On a personal note, I can also add a specific historical precedent: As has previously been discussed on PP here: , the 6th Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind, had a mosque built for the Muslims who had settled in the town he founded in the Punjab region of India, despite the fact that his own father was horrifically tortured under the orders of the Mughal emperor Jahangir and eventually died of his severe injuries, resulting in the Guru beginning the transformation of the Sikh population into a full-fledged political and military group. The mosque concerned was recently renovated by Sikh and Muslim volunteers as part of a major restoration project.

      It is clear that the type of people who object to the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” and wish to ascribe the concept of collective guilt & collective punishment to Muslims do not share this simple ability to differentiate between them, including the cases of Sufi Muslims such as the founder of the “Ground Zero Mosque” who has actively been involved in trying to forge amicable mutual understanding and friendship between people of different faiths.

    6. alex the awesome — on 8th August, 2010 at 3:40 pm  

      Is it any wonder that right wing nut jobs like Gingrich and Palin have a closet admiration for Saudi intolerance?

    7. Jai — on 8th August, 2010 at 3:49 pm  

      And lastly: Muslim group Minhaj ul-Quran runs ‘anti-terrorism’ camp

      I was actually planning to write a PP article about this, but Sunny has beaten me to it again.

      I discussed Minhaj ul-Quran’s leader Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri in my PP article “The Music of Unity and the Politics of Division” a few months ago ( ) and more recently in my article about Salman Ahmed of the Pakistani Sufi rock group Junoon ( ). As previously mentioned, Dr ul-Qadri is part of the Qadiri Sufi order, which has a very long history of non-sectarian, anti-extremist and interfaith bridge-building activities in the Indian subcontinent, going all the way back to the early Mughal era.

      Regular PP readers will already be aware of this, but (for the benefit of new arrivals to the website), various historical examples include the following: Mian Mir of the Qadiri Sufis was invited by one of the Sikh Gurus to lay the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar; Mian Mir was also the main religious teacher of the Mughal prince Dara Shukoh (the son and chosen heir of Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal), who was himself heavily involved in numerous activities promoting liberal pluralism, tolerance and interfaith understanding. Dara Shukoh was also provided with assistance by the Sikh Guru of the time on a number of occasions, both when he was severely ill and also later during the civil war with his fanatical brother Aurangzeb, who had overthrown his father and eventually murdered Dara Shukoh in order to seize the imperial throne.

      A few decades later, Bulleh Shah, the famous South Asian Sufi, was also affiliated with the Qadiri order, and forcefully opposed the religious bigotry and extremism of Aurangzeb’s administration (especially the increasing conflicts with the Sikhs); Bulleh Shah’s songs are still popular amongst non-Muslims as well as Muslims in both India and Pakistan, and he is one of the historical figures who have been a strong influence on the Fateh Ali Khan family, including the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

      It is great to see that Dr ul-Qadri is continuing the considerable legacy of the Qadiri Sufi order, and is once again doing some fantastic work in the same spirit of idealism and humanitarianism as his historical predecessors.

    8. June — on 10th August, 2010 at 4:40 pm  

      Who cares. To judge from Mr Zakaria’s intemperate, knee-jerk reaction, unjewish if ever there was, he never really earned the award, did he?

      To put this mosque’s obscenity into perspective, imagine a group of beligerant, inconsiderate, insensitive Japanese nationalists erecting a 15 story Shinto shrine just next to the wreck of the USS Arizona.

      And doing so just after WWII.

    9. Muslim — on 10th August, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

      “Who cares”

      You obviously do as you post of every effing thread concerning Muslims. I liked you much better when Terry was with you.

    10. earwicga — on 10th August, 2010 at 6:00 pm  

      Is Terry dead? Well that’s just ruined my day :(

    11. June — on 10th August, 2010 at 6:57 pm  

      You obviously do as you post of every effing thread concerning Muslims

      Muslim considerations don’t even enter into my opposition to the Ground Zero mosque.

      It may shock and surprise you, but sometimes Muslims mean nothing and are not even part of the equation when I adopt a stance

      My concerns and considerations rest, in fact, with the families and friends of those who died on 911, as well those connected common human decency…a concept SOME Muslims have yet to master.

      Ecumenical outreach. Building bridges. Promoting understanding. This one’s for you Muslim. Cheers!

    12. June — on 10th August, 2010 at 7:05 pm  

      More outreach!

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