Is Ground Zero Mosque really a “provocation”?


by Sunny
19th August, 2010 at 12:11 pm    

Once again, Alex Massie is spot on:

One of the recurring arguments against the plan is that, however well-intentioned its backers may be, it represents an unfortunate and unnecessary “provocation”. Even if those involved mean no harm and don’t mean to “provoke” they should have been wise enough to appreciate that their proposal was bound to provoke a hostile reaction. Which means they should think again.

That’s certainly an argument; I just don’t think it’s a very good one. It is a familiar one, however. Cast your mind back 20 years and remember the rumpus that erupted when Salman Rushdie had the temerity, the gall, the bare-arsed effrontery to publish The Satanic Verses. There were those – including plenty of so-called liberals – who effectively sided with the book-burners and maniacs who protested against Rushdie (and the Penguin group) calling for the book to be banned.

Rushdie, you see, should have appreciated that publishing was bound to provoke people and, this being so, he should have been wise enough to pulp his novel. Yes, yes, of course we all believe in the right to freedom of expression but, in this instance, is it really sensible to insist upon it in such a provocative fashion? If there’s a backlash, well, poor Rushdie has brought it upon himself hasn’t he? He should have known better.

You will not be surprised to hear that most people now complaining that GZM is a “provocation” were also arguing earlier that Muslims should learn to provocative works like Rushdie’s books. There is no reasoning with such people really.

Meanwhile – the Democrats have lost any spine they had. I am now officially depressed with the Obama administration for doing exactly what they accused previous Democrat administrations of doing – leading by polls and ineffective triangulation rather than taking strong stances and having the strength of their convictions. I hope the Labour party will learn from this, but I doubt it will.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: Is Ground Zero Mosque really a "provocation"? http://bit.ly/bLHdgt


  2. Liza Harding

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Is Ground Zero Mosque really a "provocation"? http://bit.ly/bLHdgt




  1. Thom Townsend — on 19th August, 2010 at 12:29 pm  

    One wonders, how far away from ‘ground zero’ is far enough for those people so incensed by this proposed bulding?

    My answer, probably nowhere in any of the 50 states. As many within the saner elements of the US media (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/us/08mosque.html) have ably pointed out, opposition to building mosques, or any other kind of building even vaguely related to the study, practice or observance of Islam is commonplace wherever it they are proposed, not just in NY. Couple this with regular polling US view on Muslims (for a very quick breakdown see: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=185269) it builds something of a worrying picture.

  2. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 12:36 pm  

    George Bush made the mistake of referring to the war on terror as a crusade. He was instantly accused of insensitivity as this was likely to be seen negatively in the Muslim world.
    As far as I’m aware it’s been roughly 500 years since the last Crusade and no American ever took part in one. Even so the American president was criticised for not taking Muslim sensitivities into account.
    It’s been less that 10 years since c.3000 people were killed by people claiming to be acting in the name of Islam but the feelings of the survivors and other people affected by the attacks don’t count when it comes to considering whether or not to build a mosque within sight of the attack site.

    Some disparity there surely?

  3. KB Player — on 19th August, 2010 at 12:38 pm  
  4. Thom Townsend — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:01 pm  

    @dmra something of a disparity between a state/country/democracy deciding it’s a crusade, and the actions of a small but powerful band of terrorists?

    Perhaps this is the difference. It seems your post falls into usual trap of conflating the actions of the few (those who committed, sponsored and aided the September 11th attacks) and the followers of an entire religion. Nonsense.

  5. Cauldron — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:04 pm  

    Building a mosque near Ground Zero doesn’t appear to be any more provocative than building a Catholic church near a high school.

    On the other hand, the sponsors of this project might do themselves a favour by acknowledging that followers of Islam – like followers of all religions – have not always been blameless in the past. One might argue that sticking some minarets on Sancta Sophia or plonking a mosque on top of the ruins of the Second Temple were somewhat provocative gestures.

  6. Bored in Kavanagasau — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:14 pm  

    Interesting that the Salon article above includes a dismissal of the proposed opening date as a scare story, implicitly suggesting that such a date would be tasteless:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5158470.stm

  7. Kismet Hardy — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:15 pm  

    For fudge’s sake Satanic Verses isn’t provocative. Whatever you might think of the withered old pompous gasbag, it’s a bloody good book that’s more of a pastiche of thatcherite britain and bollywood fantasy than the out and out ‘I’m so hard I shit on Islam’ controversy seeking it’s been so tediously made out to be. Similarly, I’m sure the Muslims in New York have wanted a mosque in their area for a while and now are pleased they’re getting in, just like the ones I know near where I live in Portslade, east Sussex

  8. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:26 pm  

    @Thom Townsend.

    I do not, and never will, conflate the actions of the attackers with all Muslims. That is why I used the phrase “claiming to be acting in the name of Islam” and not “acting in the name of Islam.

    As far as building of mosques in general goes then – subject to normal planning regulations and – I’m all for it. Having said that I am opposed to the building of this particualar mosque. Not becasuse it is a mosque but because of the sensitivities around the location and how those directly effected by the attack might feel about it.

    The point I was making about the disparity is that a lot of the people who would agree with criticising George for using the word “crusade” (because 500 years after the last one it still causes Muslims offence) are currently saying that the feelings of the survivors and other people effected by 9/11 should be ignored when deciding what happens with this building.

  9. Cauldron — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:34 pm  

    @Kismet Hardy.

    Compared to some other modern Indian authors, Salman Rushdie is actually quite concise. Any award for provocation and gas-baggery should go to the execrable Arundhati Roy.

  10. Thom Townsend — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    @dmra ok, how far away from ground zero would be ok? As dear George declared the attacks on NY etc as an act of war, and an attack on American, surely building a mosque anywhere in the US is by that logic insensitive?

    Also, your point around this so-called ‘disparity’ between those that opposed framing the ‘war on terror’ as a ‘crusade’ and those who object to criticism of this proposed project still makes little sense. The two approaches are entirely congruent. Bush’s ‘crusades’ comment suggested his war was a war against religion, designed to rid certain territories of that religion’s dominance-this was a direct threat against a religious group. Building a mosque in NY is a direct threat to what precisely? Also, don’t think anyone is arguing those that have suffered should be ignored, rather, that the importance of religious tolerance in a nation committed to it by their own constitution is more important in this instance.

  11. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 1:55 pm  

    @Thom Townsend.

    As far as the meaning of crusade goes try googling the phrase “crusade against…” and see how many hits you get. Few if any uses of that phrase have any association with “a war against religion designed to rid certain territories of that religions dominance”. If you look at the detail of what George said rather than taking one word out of context it is clearly nonsense that he was making a “direct threat against a religious group.”

    As for how far away the mosque should be built I’m not an expert on the geography of New York but how about something like as far away as necessary for it not to be obviously visible from the main Ground Zero site.

    I take your point on the importance of the mosque as being a visible symbol of religious tolerance. But the funny thing about tolerance is it cuts both ways. Could the people planning the mosque not perhaps be more considerate and respectful of the views of the victims? How about they voluntarily agree to build either a less obvious and less substantial building on the proposed site or agree that that they will look for a less sensitive site?

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:12 pm  

    x

  13. Thom Townsend — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:15 pm  

    @dmra You know as well as I do what is commononly meant by the use of the term ‘crusade’ and to which periods of history (and the common understanding of that history) it applies. Do we need to get into the etymology and historiography of this?

    Kind of odd to suggest that an organisation should ‘voluntarily agree’,..jumped or pushed? Perhaps it could/should be built elsewhere, but as I said in my first post, where is far enough enough when Islamic centres are protested across the US?

    Also, a note on building things elsewhere-Bin Laden’s public statements on the reasons for his attacks and ‘war’ against the US, is the continued presence of US military facilities on Saudi soil..could the US not build elsewhere?

  14. Kismet Hardy — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

    @cauldron:

    My (bitter) impression of arundathi roy and every other Bloomsbury published Indian gasbag author:

    The mood in the tiny village of Kuchai in Sylhet was one of regalement. The bananas were ripening, mangoes bursting on the trees. Urchins running down the dusty streets whipped up a hullabaloo that garrotted the quaggy whispers of the wind. An old grandmother sat under a banyan tree, watching the cavalcade go by, ringing in the farewell flight of the kalbaishaki storm with the melody: kalbaishaki chole gelo, ekhon amar plate-eh bhat ar gobi thakbe (the storm is over, now there will be rice and cauliflower on my plate).

    Jamal lazed on the nook of his ancestral veranda, pondering his previous life as he sat scouring his goat for fleas. Ah, England. So many rivers away, a rooted raft that once saved him from drowning when it could so easily have immersed him in waves of disillusionment, a castaway that should have withered away but was handed a constant supply of fish in batter, lustrous in a bed of chips. Yes, England had been good to him, but she also proved herself a jealous mistress, an old bedfellow that dare not share him with another. It was she who rejected his wife and three children’s visa application and for this, he was now tickled pink to be back in the bosom of his motherland, where jackfruits shone like suns atop trees and doel birds cooed their saturnalian sonatas along the riverine.

    Had he run to his beloved there and then, on that delicate afternoon so redolent with the fragrance of freshly ground dhaniya, instead of deciding to have a swift wank in the hills, that perfect, idyllic life might still be waiting there for him.

  15. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:40 pm  

    @Thom Townsend

    So I’m guessing that you didn’t try googling “crusade against” then! If you had you might have seen things like “Crusade against…. bullying; toy weapons; evolution; welfare dependancy, doctors, and Chelsea ” and that was only on the first page.
    I’m happy to consider any arguments about “what is commonly meant by the use of the term crusade” but I suspect that you might struggle to demonstrate that it’s principople association is with invading the Holy Land to kick out non-Christians.

    Taking your point that there is opposition to building mosques elsewhere in America other than near Ground Zero. I don’t doubt that there is. Neither do I doubt that a lot of that is due to ill informed fear or outright prejudice about Muslims.

    That does not however in my mind mean that the supporters of this mosque should be able to assume that all the opposition to this mosque is out of prejudice. Clearly there are circumstances in the current case which are unique to this location.

    You said that it seems odd to sugget that the builders should voluntarliy agree to change their mind about what to do once now they have seen the public reaction to what they had proposed?

    Given that one of their reasons for proposing this building was to build bridges between communities how is it odd to suggest that they reconsider now that it ahs been demonstrated that they have cleraly failed in that purpose?

    Oh and you asked about the presence of American bases in Saudi Arabia. I haven’t really given it a lot of thought before but it seems to me that if Bin Laden has a problem with it then perhaps he could have chosen a more productive way of raising the issue than setting up an international terrorist network?

  16. boyo — on 19th August, 2010 at 2:51 pm  

    The excellent Wiki entry places the debate in perspective, I think.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park51

  17. Sunny — on 19th August, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    whatever – i love Arundhati Roy you bastid Kismet

  18. organic cheeseboard — on 19th August, 2010 at 3:41 pm  

    i don’t really like whatabouterry, but i can’t help noticing that the response of many of those who oppose the ‘ground zero mosque’ is slightly different from how they reacted to the Mohammad cartoons controversy.

  19. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 3:57 pm  

    Man, since I’m living here in NYC, I wish they’d put up a different kind of space in place of the proposed mosque–like a secular space, I don’t know, a non-bourgeoisie arts center that nourishes struggling artists (not like MoMA, Lincoln Performing Arts Center, etc), another NYC public library branch, a park, or something else. Especially another library. They could strive to outdo all the other libraries the world over and build something really beautiful, open to all, since access to education is increasingly out of reach, and anyway, NYers love books (there’s a branch on Murray and E. Broadway, the closest to Wall Street, but one right in Wall Street wouldn’t hurt). Maybe they could integrate the architectural styles of architecture all over the globe to create something unique, which actually, would testify and symbolize a lot more about NY than anything else, since it’s such a melting pot (as cliche as it sounds, but it’s really true).

    If we’re talking about building a religious institution, then I have no problem with it being a mosque. My problem is that it’s yet another religious institution regardless of whether it’s a church, mosque, temple, what have you. Even 200-plus years into the founding of this country, religion is deeply enmeshed in our politics, culture, society, etc. I don’t like this. And yet, this characteristic is not going to go away. People love their gods (whether $$ or supernatural beings, or both).

  20. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:09 pm  

    Really, there are major issues both in NYC and the US, and yet the debate is on a mosque, which actually is going to do nothing but alleviate conceptual/symbolic gestures. Maybe it will employ some people, but hardly make a dent in the unemployment rate (though admittedly, neither would my proposal, like another park or library).

    This squabble is for the privileged and the ones who aren’t hanging on for dear life, it truly is. It’s not for the millions who are destitute, the ones who are homeless or losing their livelihoods, the ones who don’t have food, the ones who don’t have jobs, the ones who think about suicide because they can’t make ends meet and the future is bleak for them. Because they have more pressing concerns to think about.

    No, this construction stuff and its related monies, political time spent on arguing about this is for the ones lucky enough who can indulge in the luxury of symbolism. Well, good for them, cause anyway, they will be the only ones to survive in this jungle, so might as well build things that are significant only to them.

  21. me — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:13 pm  

    dmra
    “It’s been less that 10 years since c.3000 people were killed by people claiming to be acting in the name of Islam but the feelings of the survivors and other people affected by the attacks don’t count when it comes to considering whether or not to build a mosque within sight of the attack site.”

    The US builds huge military bases on lands where it has killed hundreds of thousands such as Iraq and Afghanistan. They dont care about the offence these cause to families of the victims.

  22. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:20 pm  

    @Kismet:

    “Similarly, I’m sure the Muslims in New York have wanted a mosque in their area for a while and now are pleased they’re getting in”

    Along with too many churches (see my comments above about not really digging religious institutions anyway), there are already some mosques in Manhattan (note Manhattan specifically, not the rest of NYC). Plug it into Google maps, with “Manhattan” in it.

    I haven’t visited any of them, and I don’t think they are like beautifully crafted, proper masjids so maybe you are right about wanting one that is.

    Still…whatever, I guess I’m in the minority that just can’t be bothered with religion.

    “For fudge’s sake Satanic Verses isn’t provocative”

    Yeah, totally. I remember having convos with people who were practically frothing at the mention of this book, and I asked them if they had actually read it and know what it’s about, and they replied with a snarl, “I don’t need to read that trash to know that it’s trash.” Um, ok…

    I personally liked his book, particularly the dessert part where it’s commerce days and there’s all these stalls set up with perfumes, incense, etc. I had a great time trying to visualize the scenes that he painted.

  23. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:23 pm  

    LOL @ Arundhati Roy

    I enjoy her writing style when she writes about politics, but couldn’t stand the style of The God of Small Things. I liked the themes in it, the narrative, etc, but not the style.

  24. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:26 pm  

    @dmra

    “the feelings of the survivors and other people affected by the attacks don’t count when it comes to considering whether or not to build a mosque within sight of the attack site.”

    It’s not true that 9/11 families don’t support the mosque. There are some that do, others that don’t. There have been several articles on this (in the NYT too, I think, but I can’t find it), but saying that *all* 9/11 families reject the mosque is actually more like spin-doctoring:

    http://www.cbs6albany.com/news/lost-1277413-tatum-met.html

    http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/9-11-families-speak-out-on-ground-zero-muslim-center/19581141

  25. FlyingRodent — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:28 pm  

    Is the Ground Zero mosque really a “provocation”? I guess that depends.

    If by “provocation” you mean “an act that incites justified indignation” then of course not.

    If “provocation” means “a threadbare excuse that allows a small cadre of evil, ultra-cynical wingnut fucks to incite their easily-terrified throng of snake-handling, pinheaded supporters into ginning up a 100% confected controversy entirely for their own political gain” then yes, it’s certainly a “provocation”.

  26. Jai — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:38 pm  

    A few points:

    1. As many people know — and as many others clearly do not — the proposed building isn’t at “Ground Zero”. It’s several blocks away, on the site of a building which has already been used by local Muslims for Friday prayers for several months in order to cater from overspill from a mosque nearby. It’s also out of sight of Ground Zero.

    2. There’s already an actual mosque 4 blocks from Ground Zero, and it’s been in use for about 40 years.

    3. The proposed building isn’t actually a mosque — in fact, the Cordoba Initiative don’t even refer to the planned prayer area within the building as a mosque at all, and insist that it’s an interfaith prayer space which will be available to anyone regardless of religious affiliation.

    4. The bulk of the building is going to contain arts exhibitions, performing arts facilities, a restaurant, auditorium, childcare facilities etc. Describing it as a “13-story mosque” is a gross misnomer for that reason too.

    5. The founders of the building are not Wahhabis or indeed Salafi Muslims at all — they’re Sufis, and have been involved in promoting pluralistic interfaith tolerance & friendship for a long time. Sufis are actually hated by hardline Islamists and especially Salafi-Jihadists like Al-Qaeda, who view them as heretics. Al-Qaeda’s ideological predecessors have been persecuting and murdering Sufis for centuries, and it continues to this day, including the Taliban’s destruction of Sufi shrines in Afghanistan, and the recent terrorist attack on a Sufi shrine in Lahore, Pakistan which caused numerous deaths. Hostility towards Sufi Muslims who are actually forcefully opposed to the Islamists and everything they stand for (and whom the Islamists themselves violently hate) is the epitome of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    6. Given that dozens of Muslims in New York were also killed on 9/11, it might a good idea for people to rethink their perspective and consider that the proposed building is effectively aligned with the American Muslim victims of the atrocity, not the perpetrators.

    7. If anything dubious is uncovered either about the building’s financial backers or the message being promoted with it, at that point it should definitely be investigated, and if any American laws are being broken, the people involved should be prosecuted. If necessary, the building itself should be shut down too. Unless and until that happens, ascribing all kinds of alleged nefarious motivations to the centre and its founders purely because it involves Muslims is grossly prejudiced and completely inexcusable. Anyone who has an accurate knowledge of global history will know where that kind of paranoid witch-hunting can ultimately lead.

    8. Newt Gingrich’s “no mosques until there are churches in Saudi Arabia” rhetoric is ridiculous — he’s effectively recommending that the US duplicates fundamentalist Wahhabi Saudi Arabian policies towards places of worship. And the notion of holding your own country’s citizens hostage to (and penalising them for) the actions of a foreign government purely because they’re affiliated with superficially the same religion (despite being from very different ‘denominations’) is both barbaric and grossly immoral.

    9. As for people viewing this as a “provocation” — how far do you indulge such irrational bigotry ? No mosques anywhere in New York or the US at all ? No Muslims in New York or the US either ? Nobody who even “looks Muslim” ? No non-Christian places of worship which are (mis)interpreted as “looking like mosques ?”

    10. Deliberately alienating ordinary moderate Muslims in countries where they’re minorities is exactly what Al-Qaeda wants. Furthermore, the kind of hysteria surrounding Park51/Cordoba House also plays right into Al-Qaeda’s hands, because they can exploit it to “confirm” their exaggerated propaganda about Muslims en masse being a persecuted group worldwide.

    11. Al-Qaeda want their psychopathic, fanatical version of Islam to be automatically regarded as the default, “true” version of Islam by the rest of the world. Therefore, indiscriminately tarring all Muslims with the same brush plays into Al-Qaeda’s hands too, because the false conflation of “Islam” and “Muslim” with “Wahhabi” and “Islamist” is exactly what they want.

    Anyone who refuses to differentiate between ordinary Muslims — especially Sufis — and militant Islamists is effectively doing Al-Qaeda’s dirty work for them.

  27. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:42 pm  

    LOL @ dmra conflating Islam with the 9/11 attacks and depicting Bin Laden somehow as the sole representative and figurehead of Islam, and therefore, equating Islam with Bin Laden.

    If we were to apply the same logic, by the same token, we should no longer allow the building of Catholic churches for what blood-thirsty popes did in the past (or present) in the name of religion. We should no longer build any Catholic churches because some Catholic priests are pedophiles. No more mandhirs should be built because of the Hindutva goons. No more Buddhist temples because of the fundamentalist Buddhists in Sri Lanka. No more gurdwaras because of Khalistanis.

    You get? LOL

  28. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:46 pm  

    @Dmra

    “As for how far away the mosque should be built I’m not an expert on the geography of New York”

    Yeah, that much is clear. There’s hardly anything in Manhattan that isn’t a stone’s throw away. Manhattan is so small! You can run from the proposed mosque, but you can’t hide! LOL

  29. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:53 pm  

    @dmra:

    “I do not, and never will, conflate the actions of the attackers with all Muslims.”

    “Having said that I am opposed to the building of this particualar mosque. Not becasuse it is a mosque but because of the sensitivities”

    But you are. You equated the 9/11 attack and Bin Laden with Islam, which is why you think the mosque is “provocation” to the 9/11 families and you’ve written numerous comments on why you think it should be as far away as possible from Ground Zero (LOL, as if that makes a difference, with Manhattan being so tiny). If the 9/11 attacks and Bin Laden weren’t synonymous with Islam in your mind, then you’d have no problem with having a mosque near Ground Zero.

    BTW, seeing that you’re a spokesperson for the 9/11 families, either position you’d take–they are for or against–is correct, cause it’s a mixed bag.

    Aw, poor dmra…LOL

  30. Barbarossa — on 19th August, 2010 at 4:59 pm  

    “2. There’s already an actual mosque 4 blocks from Ground Zero, and it’s been in use for about 40 years.”

    Why do they need another one?

  31. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 5:01 pm  

    @Jai

    “4. The bulk of the building is going to contain arts exhibitions, performing arts facilities, a restaurant, auditorium, childcare facilities etc. Describing it as a “13-story mosque” is a gross misnomer for that reason too.”

    Yeah, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the peeps who want to construct this consult with the leader of a Jewish community center on the layout and all of that?

    Still, can’t see why this proposed “community center” can’t just be just that, instead of also a house of worship (let me unequivocally underline “house of worship”–meaning *any* worship!) If it’s a misnomer, why they misnoming it? lol

    Anyway, let my disliking-religion self bounce and return to work. Bye!

  32. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 5:06 pm  

    @Barbarossa

    “Why do they need another one?”

    Maybe it’s not pleasing to the eye. If any of the mosques here in Brooklyn are anything to go by, I could see why aesthetically-speaking and also logistically (meaning space-wise to accommodate more folks, etc), a bigger structure would be in order. Some of these places are dreary, makeshift masjids.

    Plus, I am under the impression that the Manhattan masjids are not like the proposed “community center” as Jai pointed out, nor of the same scale.

    Anyway, whatever the logic behind it, surely one cannot argue with what you have asked, i.e. “Let us not build another church for there are already 9999999999 billion churches around,” no?

  33. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 5:22 pm  

    Oh, look at that:

    “Killings of Homeless Rise to Highest Level in a Decade”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/us/19homeless.html?ref=us

    However, I believe that American politicians, the American Chatterati, the right-wingers, the liberals in Rush Limbaugh clothing, and all that should spend more disproportionate time on the proposed mosque. Because it is tantamount. Because it is…important…more than anything else..

  34. KB Player — on 19th August, 2010 at 5:24 pm  

    Jai – you make sane points, which would be thrown away on the gibbering loons who are getting exercised about this manufactured controversy. It irritates me like mad that anyone has to waste their time and sanity on this.

    I can imagine the Daily Mail whipping up outrage with a story based on an equal lack of facts – in fact they do, in their Muslims Murder Santa Claus kind of coverage. But would any political figure other than the BNP take it up and campaign on it? Palin & Gingrich have big followings – and they’re on one wing of the Other Party in the USA. It’s scary stuff, this popular hysteria.

  35. Kismet Hardy — on 19th August, 2010 at 5:30 pm  

    “Why do they need another one?”

    I was walking past Soho the other day and I lost count of how many Chinese restaurants there were everywhere. Imagine my surprise when I turned a block to see an empty venue with the sign ‘Chinese restaurant opening soon’.

    I’m beginning to suspect that people build things because they know people will go there

  36. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 5:57 pm  

    BTW, that Salon post by Greenwald linked to in this post is excellent. It reminds me of this recent NYT crap I read regarding the mosque:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/opinion/16douthat.html?ref=rossdouthat

    The “cultural” America this guy is talking about–and mourning for and asking everyone who doesn’t fit the “nativist” mold to conform to–will have to take a time machine to travel back to the 1950s.

    Anyway, unemployment filings in the US have increased since November.

  37. Jai — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:09 pm  

    Why do they need another one?

    Refer to point number 1 in my comment #26 above.

  38. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:29 pm  

    “LOL @ dmra conflating Islam with the 9/11 attacks and depicting Bin Laden somehow as the sole representative and figurehead of Islam, and therefore, equating Islam with Bin Laden.”

    @Desi Italiana

    Perhaps before laughing at people you might want to learn to read.

    As I said I specifically didn’t conflate Islam and the 9/11 attacks. All I said was that the attackers claimed to be acting in the name of Islam. As far as I am aware that is a fact. But not one that means that they were acting on behalf of all Muslims everywhere.

    As far as conflating Islam and Osama Bin Laden the only reason I even mentioned him was because somebody else raised his opposition to American bases in Saudi as a parallel for the mosque. I replied by saying that it would have been better if he hadn’t responded to the bases by setting up a terrorist network. I don’t see that that is controveresial unless you believe he was right to do so. Again nowhere do I day that he was doing this on behalf of anybody but himself. I certainly never said he was doing it on behalf of all Muslims.

    I also never said the mosque should be as far away as possible from Ground Zero. What I said was “as far away as necessary for it not to be obviously visible from the main Ground Zero site.” Which anybody with a reading age of more than 10 could easily see is something completely different.

    “BTW, seeing that you’re a spokesperson for the 9/11 families, either position you’d take–they are for or against–is correct, cause it’s a mixed bag.

    Well I’ve never claimed to be a spokeman for anybody. All I do is listen to both sides of an argument. Form an opinion and then express it. I’m surprised that you seem to find that such a difficult concept to understand.
    Thanks for letting me know about the split opinions but I already knew that there are mixed views on this subject. I know that becasue, unlike you, I seem to be able to look at a subject and realise that there is more than one possible view on it. Yes some of the survivors and families are pro the mosque. I think that’s really admirable and I wish I could be sure I’d be as magnaminous if I found myself in their situation. However some of them are opposed to the construction. I happen to think their views deserve to be taken seriously. You seem to think that they should be ignored. I’m happy to debate the merits or overwise of our respective positions. You might even persuade me you’re right.

    Course you might find that easier if you actually read what I said rather than making patronising comments based on what you think I’ve written.

  39. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:39 pm  

    @dmra

    I’m laughing, and yes, patronizing you, because I read your comments, and they don’t make any sense. I already quoted what you wrote, illustrating the contradictions in what you were saying.

    “I’m happy to debate the merits or overwise of our respective positions.”

    There’s no position to debate, if you actually believe what you are claiming. If you, like you claim (even if your other comments say exactly the opposite) believe that Islam is not synonymous with the 9/11 attacks, and you concede that some 9/11 families actually support it (which, though you allege that you listened to “both sides,” you’ve instead repeatedly referred to the 9/11 families as all uniformly opposed to the construction, which is why I linked to the articles saying otherwise) then you don’t see it as ‘provocative,’ and thus have no problems with it being built where it is proposed to be. End of story.

  40. Jai — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

    KB Player,

    Jai – you make sane points, which would be thrown away on the gibbering loons who are getting exercised about this manufactured controversy. It irritates me like mad that anyone has to waste their time and sanity on this.

    Agreed. And you can see another example of the level of insanity and ignorance involved in the following example too, regarding a senior member of the “Tea Party” movement who is vocally opposed to Park51/Cordoba House and apparently thinks that Al-Qaeda terrorists are Hanuman-worshipping Hindus:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/05/19/2010-05-19_tea_party_leader_mark_williams_says_muslims_worship_a_monkey_god_blasts_ground_z.html

    Palin & Gingrich have big followings – and they’re on one wing of the Other Party in the USA. It’s scary stuff, this popular hysteria.

    The fact that this kind of demagoguery has any significant support at all in one of the world’s supposedly most advanced societies and in the 21st century is certainly disturbing. Even Christopher Hitchens has condemned Gingrich etc for their ignorance and sectarian bigotry:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2263334/

  41. Jai — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:50 pm  

    The acclaimed historian William Dalrymple has also now become involved, and has written an excellent article for the New York Times providing more details about the Cordoba Initiative’s Sufi connection along with condemning the ridiculously inappropriate conflation with Al-Qaeda and “radical Islam”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/opinion/17dalrymple.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=global-home

  42. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:53 pm  

    “LOL @ dmra conflating Islam with the 9/11 attacks and depicting Bin Laden somehow as the sole representative and figurehead of Islam, and therefore, equating Islam with Bin Laden.”

    OK Desi I’m sure you’re a sweet and generous soul who loves to help people out so perhaps you can show me where I wrote anything like this. Because I’ve looked at what I wrote and I can’t see anything at all that reads like that.

    Of course if you can’t you could just throw a few more unjustified accusations around again.

  43. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 6:55 pm  

    @dmra

    “Because I’ve looked at what I wrote and I can’t see anything at all that reads like that.”

    Really……????????

    “OK Desi I’m sure you’re a sweet and generous soul who loves to help people”

    Yeah, I *am* sweet and generous (thanks, btw), and I *do* like to help people out, but with hard things. But to help someone read their *own* comments?

  44. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:00 pm  

    Right, you’ve accused me of saying that Osama Bin Laden is the sole representative of Islam and therefore equating Islam with Bin Laden. I’ve said I haven’t so why don’t you prove me wrong.
    Show me where I’ve said anything of the sort and I’ll happily make a £100 donation to the Pakistan Relief Fund.
    If you can’t how about you agree to make a $100 donation to the same charity.

  45. Boyo — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:07 pm  

    According to the wiki entry i posted, Muslim objectors included…

    Sufi Muslim mysticist Suleiman Schwartz, Executive Director of a Washington, DC non-profit organization, the Center for Islamic Pluralism. He said that building the mosque barely two blocks from Ground Zero is inconsistent with the Sufi philosophy of simplicity of faith and sensitivity towards others, and “grossly insensitive.”[26]

    You should check the entry out. I know Sufis intimately, and this does not appear consistent with their approach. As i said previously I’m not “opposed” to the mosque, but the insistence of the applicants in the face of such opposition does seem somewhat at odds with their pronounced desire to promote peace and reconciliation, etc. And it’s certainly not very Sufi.

  46. Thom — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:08 pm  

    Anyone want to bet on how many comments on this post it’ll take to prove Godwin’s law correct? Always a fun game!

  47. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:08 pm  

    @dmra:

    Sweet mother of Jesus—

    As I said, it’s very clear. In case not, let me break it down for you *again*:

    1. You said: “I do not, and never will, conflate the actions of the attackers with all Muslims”

    +

    2. Therefore Islam and a Muslim mosque are not synonymous with the 9/11 attacks

    =no provocation of any “sensitivities”, thus

    NO PROBLEM WITH THE MOSQUE BEING BUILT WHERE IT WILL BE .

    You can go round and round and round, but logically, it will not make any sense. Period.

  48. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:10 pm  

    Right, as I thought you clearly can’t substantiate the lies you’ve posted about me.

    I tell you what if you’re too cheap to make the donation I’ll settle for an apology.

  49. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:15 pm  

    Oh and Desi, if you think there are no sensitivities involved you might want to look at Boyo’s post at 7.07.
    Or perhaps you think that the Muslim objectors to the mosque also conflate Islam with Terrorism.

  50. Don — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:17 pm  

    Jai @#26,

    Outstanding, again.

  51. Sarah AB — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:18 pm  

    I *hated* The God of Small Things.

    Interesting to read about the proposed opening date being a possible fabrication – I suggested this might be the case when someone brought this up elsewhere but didn’t follow it up.

    I tend to agree with Alex Massie, Jai etc – but Dmra surely makes a fair point about crusade being a widely used word, but one which, nevertheless, undoubtedly triggers sensitivities. It’s perhaps not a precise parallel but still …

  52. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:19 pm  

    For god’s sake–

    All of you arguing here in opposition of the proposed mosque (in a place you don’t even live in)–

    Let me tell you something. In case you haven’t been to NYC, Muslims make up a pretty sizable population of NYC. The people who are the so-called architects of this mosque are also law-abiding US–I repeat AMERICAN–citizens, and most Muslims contribute to the economy of NYC, like everyone else. They are the ones who are making your fucking falafels and shish kababs in the sweltering heat on Broadway and near Fulton in Wall Street, very close and next to Ground Zero, grinding and busting their asses everyday to make a living, right next to the (mostly Christian) white male bankers who take leisurely lunches, fuck up the economy, ruin millions of lives, and take home a fat check while they’re at it. You don’t see folks baying for their blood and demolishing churches, do you? Can you legitimately make that kind of direct link? Of course not. You can’t do that with this mosque issue and 9/11. Get a fucking grip.

    Whether you like it or not, Muslims are part of the NYC fabric, like countless others, and if they want a mosque like the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, et al have their religious institutions, so be it. If you don’t like it, too fucking bad. If you’re going to argue otherwise, you are being racist, because that means you are conflating the acts of some people with the entire population en masse that didn’t have any fucking thing to do with the attacks. Like I said, if you want to be real, then you’d be baying for the Wall Street bankers’ blood who have fucked up this economy and country so bad I don’t even know where to begin, destroying *millions* of lives, and so on. Or, what about the American soldiers who were dropping bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan? Most of them are affiliated with Christianity or come from Christian backgrounds. Is it fair to say that we should burn down their fucking churches because they are affiliated with a particular religion? I think not.

    Done, case closed.

  53. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

    @ Sarah AB

    Thanks for at least trying to understand the point I was making. I don’t mind if you agree or not as long as you at least consider what I said.

    Desi,
    or out it another way. You still can’t prove that I said what you think I did.
    You’ve accused me of having said a number of things I’ve not said on this forum. You’ve accused me of having a number of views I don’t hold.
    I guess that’s fair game for the internet buyt before you get too much on your high horse you might want to read this.

    It’s something I posted on another site. One called Harry’s Place. It’s quite long but if you do read it you might find out that our views on Muslims and Islam aren’t as far apart as you might think. Which is one reason why I got so angry when you started making false assumptions and allegations about me.

    “There are times when I go to other sites and I see Harry’s Place accused of being anti-Muslim. Normally I feel like rushing to its defence but sometimes I struggle to. Those are the times I read comments like some of the ones posted here in this thread.
    What I dispair of is the thinking that sees all Muslims as effectively enemies. Not because of what they do or say but simply because of their religion. Thinking that considers 1.5 billion people part of a monolithic mass so blinded by hatred and ideology that they are unable to think for themselves and be anything over than automatons driven by blind hatred for anything non-Islamic.
    I’m not blind to the threat of Muslim fundamentalism. I live in London and was using the tube on 7/7 and 21/7. The thing is I was also living in London when the IRA were doing their stuff and had more narrow escapes than I care to think of. So I had just as much reason to be scared of the Irish as I did of the Muslims. Except I wasn’t because I had enough sense to know that not every Irish person was the same. Yes some were murderous killers but really not that many.
    Yes, every time I get on the tube or train I face death from a sucide bomber wanting his virgins but then again so do the Muslims I work with. And the ones whose shops I use or who I pass on the street. The ones who are glad to be here because of the opportunities they have. The ones who want to see their children -boys and girls – go to school and do well. The ones who are perfectly happy to celebrate Christmas and go to the pub even if they don’t join in the drinking. The ones who are proud of their culture and traditions and see no reason why we shouldn’t be of ours.
    The ones I prefer to think of as human beings rather than “Muslims”.
    But then again I’m probably just a deluded weak liberal.”

    Maybe in future you’ll think of this before you start deciding that people who disagree with you on something must automatically be motivated by hatred or ignorance.

  54. KJB — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

    *applauds Kismet and Desi*

    I do hope we will see a novel from you someday Kismet, that was brilliant and you could probably out-write Nirpal Dhaliwal in your sleep for sure.

    Good comparison by Alex Massie. The religious nature of hardline American patriotism really seems to be showing here. The way some people are reacting against the proposed mosque, it is as if Ground Zero is some kind of religious site already. I do wonder whether Cordoba House can go ahead at this rate; the only reasons for opposing it seem largely to be illogical.

  55. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

    RE: Sufis opposed to the construction, blah blah blah–

    I don’t give a shit, because it is neither here nor there. You know why? Because the fact is that some of you commentators have consistently put up the smokescreen of using the 9/11 *families’* “sensitivities” about the construction as a legitimate ground of opposition. That is the underlying thread you’ve been using to obfuscate the situation and to validate your opinions. That is your argument, so let’s stick to that, none of this other crap about Sufis are actually this and that, etc.

    You said that the mosque should not be built, or it should be built reasonably “away” from Ground Zero (ha ha ha ha, in the limited space that is Manhattan) in order to respect the sensitivities of the families, whom, you’ve depicted here, as uniformly opposed to the construction.

    This is not true. There are 9/11 families who support the construction. If we were to engage in your whataboutery about Sufis and shit knows who else opposed to the construction, moot point as well, cause there are freaking rabbis that are for the mosque construction.

    1. Some 9/11 families support it

    +

    2. Some religious “leaders” or dudes or whatever you want to call them (priests, rabbis, etc) support it

    =

    “Sensitivity issue” as a premise is largely debunked

    =

    Your argument is null

    Lots of hugs, kisses, and fish from NYC to my cousins across the Atlantic.

  56. Sarah AB — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:51 pm  

    nice HP comment dmra – I also get irritated by kneejerk assumptions that HP is Islamophobic – but some of the comments are, as you say, depressing.

  57. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:57 pm  

    Sarah AB,
    Thanks for that. I’ve noticed that you’re also one of the few people who posts on here and HP who doesn’t seem to be influenced by the tit for tat rivalry the two sites seem to have.
    At the risk of being creepy I’ve always found your posts on both sites interesting. Not that I’ve always agreed with what you said but you do at least keep an open mind and try to keep the debate honest and polite.
    I just wish I could say the same about a few more of the posters on both sites.

  58. An Old Friend — on 19th August, 2010 at 7:58 pm  

    @Desi Italia,

    But all but 2 floors of the Mosque will be used as other things. The above to floors will be a prayer space. Not a mosque but two rooms with carpets in them, a place to put your shoes and possibly to wash your body parts. This 54 Park Place (I hope I got the name right) will be the Muslim version of http://www.92y.org/92ytribeca/default.asp?redirect=MakorHP. Thats where the idea came from. Since you are in NYC why not visit the place.

  59. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 10:03 pm  

    @ “An Old Friend”

    Yeah, sure, I’ll go visit it.

    Look, if this community center will allow me to check my email for free as I am out and about in Manhattan, or will sell mango lassis to counter NYC summers, maybe throw in a bit of Maqluba as comfort food for the blistering winters, then I might change my mind about it being a religious institution (whether in practice or name). J/K, lol

  60. dmra — on 19th August, 2010 at 10:30 pm  

    Desi,
    I was going to let our argument lie but since you still don’t seem to be willing to apologise for lying about me I don’t think I will. Only this time instead of trying to resolve things nicely I’ll use your tactics and see how you like it.

    In your post at 7.37 you said that “Sufis opposed to the construction, blah blah blah–

    I don’t give a shit, because it is neither here nor there”

    Or in other words you don’t think Muslim opinions are worth listening to. How dare you say something like that! Clearly you regard all Muslims as stupid and worthless. YOU ISLAMAPHOBE.

    And yes I know that is trolling but no more so than you accusing me of saying that Osama bin Laden is the representative face of Islam and that all Islam=terrorism.

    Perhaps now oyu now what it is like to have people lie about you and your opinions you might be a be more careful about doing it yourself in future.

  61. joe90 — on 19th August, 2010 at 10:34 pm  

    did i miss something are these guys building the cordoba house on the site of the twin towers?

    no, so whats the problem.

  62. persephone — on 19th August, 2010 at 10:50 pm  

    dmra

    For sure Desi is so mortally chastised by that resounding polemic that she is unable to apologise

  63. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 10:57 pm  

    Oh wait, hold up. Check this out:

    “Plans are for the facility to include a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare area, bookstore, culinary school, food court serving halal dishes, and Islamic prayer space for 1,000–2,000 Muslims.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park51

    Say what? Is this part from Wiki true? Culinary school and food court?

    Hell, let email the folks behind this mosque-community center-cum and start helping them put together menus for the food courts! What about the drinks? Mint tea, lassi? And the desserts? Halwa, anyone? Gulaab jamun? Better drop in some baqlawa! Or a nice, steamy dish of ful for the chilling, biting frost of January in NYC! And they better have an internet center, too!

    You know what they should do is have a library in there, right, and have a little program where people from all around the world, like the vapid and annoying tourists wearing fanny packs who descend upon Manhattan, donate a book or two from their country. This way, it will be an international treasure house of the Written Words! Maybe they should have a wall where visitors can pin up notes!

  64. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 11:03 pm  

    @Persephone

    Hey you, I remember you.

    “dmra

    For sure Desi is so mortally chastised by that resounding polemic that she is unable to apologise”

    Give me a break. Apologize for what? Being able to read? LOL

    I said what I wanted to based on what was written previously, and that’s that.

    Personally, I have moved onto visions of falafels dancing in this new mosque/center.

    Since it’s highly possible that the mosque is going to be built whether you think ya’lls debating chops are sharp enough or not, it’s better to start imagining what can be done with this space. Do you suggest perhaps a hookah bar there too?

    Oh wow–if they set up a hookah bar at the Cordoba House, I am SO FUCKING IN.

  65. Boyo — on 19th August, 2010 at 11:33 pm  

    desi, i don’t really give a shit about the mosque, but you’re irritating newyoikese reminds me what a vapid place it is. you don’t write for village voice do you?

  66. Desi Italiana — on 19th August, 2010 at 11:44 pm  

    @Boyo:

    “you’re irritating newyoikese”

    Really cute, but I’m actually a Californian.

    “you don’t write for village voice do you?”

    No. You don’t work for the Conservative Party though, do you?

    “i don’t really give a shit about the mosque, but…what a vapid place it is”

    But you cared *enough* to comment here about a mosque in a vapid place though, right?

  67. Kismet Hardy — on 20th August, 2010 at 12:21 am  

    “you’re irritating newyoikese reminds me what a vapid place it is”

    How unnecessarily rude and pointlessly jingoistic of a poster to mock a fellow poster’s way of expressing herself

    Play nice

  68. Desi Italiana — on 20th August, 2010 at 12:24 am  

    Oh man, I am sorry about my comment above (#66). I shouldn’t have stooped low to where Boyo’s comment is, which is resorting to personal insults (“you’re irritating newyoikese reminds me what a vapid place it is,”) when one doesn’t have anything else to say.

  69. persephone — on 20th August, 2010 at 12:54 am  

    Desi @

    Hey – I remember you & why I was having a little fun at dmra’s ‘argument’.

    ——————————————————-

    Given that a large part of Manhattan buildings were built over Indian & African burial grounds it seems odd that this wish to recognise ‘sentiment’ over commerce/development arises.

    The Blitz in London killed over 30,000 & the buildings were re-built.

  70. Desi Italiana — on 20th August, 2010 at 2:07 am  

    @Dmra:

    All right, I am off “work.”

    “As far as conflating Islam and Osama Bin Laden the only reason I even mentioned him was because somebody else raised his opposition to American bases in Saudi as a parallel for the mosque.”

    I see why you have vociferously protested; you are right, which makes my comment #27 and part of #29 off the mark, so please accept my humblest apologies (I am being sincerely serious here).

    But I stand 100% behind the rest of my comments, as I see I made no mistake of what you wrote regarding “sensitivities” in the same breath as claiming to adhere to the idea that Muslims and anything Muslim can’t be collectively held responsible for the 9/11 attacks and the contradiction in your position.

    Plus, I don’t get your analogy about George Bush using the word “crusade” and this situation here. George Bush sent fucking troops that dropped bombs on another people, destroyed the infrastructure, tortured people, etc. The people who want the mosque here in NYC are not foreigners who have descended upon Manhattan with armies and tanks with the purpose of invading this country, nor are they looking to take over the natural resources of Manhattan and/or monopolize its economy, set up permanent foreign military bases, and I don’t think they plan on taking prisoners of war and then torturing them (I won’t lie, if they DO take Wall Street bankers as prisoners of war, I might not be too sad about that. J/K, LOL). They are people who live here, pay taxes here, and because they are part of the fabric here, want to make a space, and from the looks of it, want to invite in everyone else. I do not see what the problem is *if* one does not have a problem with religious institutions in general in and of themselves.

    So I entirely stand behind my other comments (that is, besides #27 and #29 where I was wrong about you equating Islam with Bin Laden).

    Either way, it looks like the mosque-community center-food court-cum will be built. If it does, OK. If the center does not unfold, I seriously hope that a kind of secular space is conceptualized, one that is productive, open to all, not affiliated with any religion, perhaps offer refuge and patronage. To be honest, I actually would happy if they set up a community center/home of sorts for the homeless people here in NYC. We Americans treat our homeless as waste to be discarded, as non-humans, which is really frightening, because technically speaking, *anyone* could become homeless–except the lucky top 1% that controls the wealth of the bottom 90% COMBINED*–given that we live in a capitalist jungle where there is a thin–or even non-existent–social and economic safety net. It’s really fucking sad and mind-boggling. Arguably, this is not civilization; it’s a jungle.

    *Here’s the source, in case anyone thinks I’m pulling these numbers out of thin air and engaging in “leftist” propaganda.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2007/01/08/plutonomics/

    And if anyone has the time, read the Citibank memos the WSJ article is referring to. Google it; the docs are up on Scrib. These memos just underline why no one really cares for anyone in the US that is not uber-wealthy–cause they don’t need us, the rich can sustain themselves and have an economy for themselves by themselves, and that is all that matters. And this is why politicians will spend their energy on not, say, thinking about changing public policies that will help the nation get back onto its feet, but on this stupid ass mosque subject and a slew of other symbolic issues; and for the citizens who spend their time mobilizing against stuff like this, including Prop 8 where the majority of voters weren’t even fucking gay so it doesn’t even personally affect them anyway–well, they are fulfilling an American politician’s dream come true, which is working against their own interests, fighting the wrong people and the wrong issues, when really they should be haranguing and lynching the folks who put us in such a miserable mess. The Tea Party doesn’t fucking understand that, they think they are so smart, but the truth of the matter is that they’re not fighters and leaders, but slaves to an ideology that places the blame on all the wrong places and people. They’re sheep, though they behave and roar like they are lions.

  71. Desi Italiana — on 20th August, 2010 at 2:09 am  

    @Persephone

    “Given that a large part of Manhattan buildings were built over Indian & African burial grounds it seems odd that this wish to recognise ‘sentiment’ over commerce/development arises.”

    Yes, great point.

  72. Desi Italiana — on 20th August, 2010 at 2:20 am  

    Excuse the long footnote in comment #70 please, lol.

  73. Boyo — on 20th August, 2010 at 7:57 am  

    “Really cute, but I’m actually a Californian.”

    I knew that – which is why i found it so irritating!

    But apologies – i think i projected my general irritation upon you.

  74. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    Desi,

    thanks for the apology at 2.07. I’m sorry as well that looking back some of my own language could have been a bit more moderate. Anyway I glad we can agree that I don’t think Osama bin Laden is any kind of representative of Islam.

    Like I said in my earlier post of 7.34 I don’t think that our views on Islam and Muslims in general are very – if at all – dissimilar. However we clearly disagree about the current case.

    It might help you understand where I’m coming from if I expand a bit on my point about the reaction to George Bush’s crusade commment versus the reaction to criticism from some of the survivors and relatives of 9/11 of the planned building.

    When he used the word “crusade” George Bush was clearly not advocating a military expedition to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims. Instead he was using it in the contemporary sense. The one where – to use a trivial example – Batman can be called the caped crusader not because he wants to go to liberate Jerusalem but because he wanted to fight crime.

    The problem was that – for obvious reasons – the term crusade isn’t seen the same way in the Muslim world. There it has far more negative connotations.

    Now at the time the critics of George Bush didn’t say to the Muslims “Hang on! Why are you making a fuss. There hasn’t been a crusade for centuries. Besides that no American has ever gone on a Crusade so why you would even think that that was what Dubya was saying”

    No they said that it was important that we respected Muslim sensitivities around that period of history and bahave accordingly.

    Now lets look at the current position.

    A proposal is put forward to build an ostensibly Islamic building in the immediate vicinity of Ground Zero. Some of the survivors and relatives of the victims say they don’t like that idea because it reminds them too much of the motivation of the attackers.

    At which point the type of person who criticised George for being insensitive to the historical sensitivities of the Muslim world about something that happened 500 years ago came out and said that the survivors and relatives were wrong to feel that way about something which happened less than ten years ago.

    Now I feel that those sensitivities deserve respect in exactly the same way as the Muslims ones about Crusades do. Which is why I said that I didn’t think construction should take place. Which is also why I was suggesting either building a less conspicuous building in the proposed site or keeping the current plans but building somewhere further away.

    I hope that that is clear and that you can see why I think that I can say that I don’t support the building without that meaning that I think Islam=terrorism.

    There has been a lot of debate around this proposal and the issues have changed as more information becomes available. One thing I haven’t heard though is anything new from the people planning the building.

    I know that one thing they originally said was that what they wanted was a building that could help build bridges and bring reconciliation between communities. Clearly in the current climate it seems unlikely that that will happen – at least not in the short – medium term.

    I’d be really interested then to see how they have responded to the debate and, in particular, what if anything they have to say on the objections of those of the survivors and relatives who don’t want this building in this location.

  75. Kismet Hardy — on 20th August, 2010 at 10:48 am  

    “the term crusade isn’t seen the same way in the Muslim world”

    It’s worth noting the term jihad, which probably gives you the beegees shrieking in falsetto terror, was actually regarded as quite a moderate word by moderate muslims before the you-know-who hijacked it

    Sticks and stones don’t stand a chance against words, you know…

  76. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 11:33 am  

    @Kismet Hardy

    “It’s worth noting the term jihad, which probably gives you the beegees shrieking in falsetto terror,”

    Wow somebody else proving my point that liberals can be as intolerant, prejudiced and downright wrong as the most hardened conservative.

    Before deciding on what I am or aren’t afraid of you might actually consider what I have written rather than what you seem to think I have said.

    In all my posts I have repeatedly tried to make the point that I do not regard Islam as a threat or consider all Muslims as potential terrorists.

    But, because I happen to believe that it would be insensitive to go ahead with the proposal to build this specific builing in this specific location you think this must mean that I am some sort of gibbering Islamophobe seeing Jihadists in every shadow.

    If you want to see my real views on Muslisms and Islam can I point you in the direction of my post at 19 August 7.34. Read that with an open mind and then try telling me I’m scared of or hate Muslims.

  77. Kismet Hardy — on 20th August, 2010 at 11:48 am  

    Woah calm down there buddy. I wasn’t deciding you were anything. You’re a free man, play in the garden of epicurus to your heart’s content fella, we can play netball naked there. I was just tagging on what I know about jihad to what you said bout crusade, is all. No more, no less. You keep feeling persecuted, you know that? No need. I don’t have a god, but if I did, she’d love you.

  78. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 12:12 pm  

    Kismet

    Right so you think that saying that the mere word “jihad” gives me “the beegees shrieking in falsetto terror,” was simply “tagging on what you know” to something I said.

    Well let me know when you do decide to insult or judge somebody because, if this was an example of what you do when you’re just passing on information, it must be really special when you do let rip.

  79. Kismet Hardy — on 20th August, 2010 at 12:51 pm  

    Oh dear lord don’t be a madman.

    You do realise that when people say ‘you’ in a blog populated by many, chances are it means ‘you lot’, or ‘you people’, or ‘you hoo, is anyone paying attention to me?’ and doesn’t actually mean YOU and just YOU.

    Dude, honestly. I saw you (in this instance YOU rather than you) go round the houses with Desi Italia feeling persecuted about some cheese being placed in the wrong board or what not, so I’ll say this to you just once and then we can start our naked netball game.

    You (yes, YOU) are entitled to YOUR opinion.

    If someone picks a hole in it, it is THEIR opinion.

    YOU can’t take things personally in a site made up of faceless folk going by made-up names.

    Right. Shorts off now please. Play time

  80. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 1:15 pm  

    Kismet,

    well it’s good to know that I have your permission to have an opinion.

    And in my opinion you’re either lying or can’t speak English.

    You quoted something I said and then used the word “you” in the following sentence. You now say that “you” was not intended to be me but all the commentators on the board.

    So you either think I am somebody who when he hears the word jihad gets “the beegees” and begins “shrieking in falsetto terror,” or that everybody reading the board does. Or in other words either I’m Islamophobic or everyone visiting this site is.

    Are you really saying that the readership and commentators on this blog are all Islamophobic. Somehow I doubt it. That leaves the only concluison being that you think I am.

    I wouldn’t mind the false accusation being made if you were at least willing to try to defend it. But having been called out on something instead of having the courage to stand by it or the decency to apologise you instead try to weasel out of it by denying you said it in the first place.

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 20th August, 2010 at 1:25 pm  

    DMRA, I think you take things a bit too seriously and far too personally and while I don’t know you or your life even in the least bit to sugges why you have this Victim Complex, I wish you nothing but peace and happiness, and leave you with the sentiments of a man far wiser than me:

    “If all in all is true,
    If all is true
    Won’t you please fawn over me

    Shaky shake… Shakey
    Levitate me

    Come on Pilgrim
    You know he loves you
    Levitate me

    If all in all is true,
    If all is true
    Won’t you please run over me ”

    Goddess be with you xX

  82. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 1:36 pm  

    Kismet Hardy,

    Re my victim complex. As the old saying goes “You aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you”.

    I notice that you find the time to quote a poem/song lyrics but not the time to defend or justify what you said. Nice to see you taking the cowards way out again.

  83. Jai — on 20th August, 2010 at 3:57 pm  

    Jai @#26,

    Outstanding, again.

    Thanks Don, very kind of you to say so. The first part of my own article on the subject has now been published on PP, so hopefully that will also be of interest to you.

  84. Desi Italiana — on 20th August, 2010 at 5:14 pm  

    @dmra #74

    Forgive me for saying this, but the point you are making is moot, because again, it doesn’t make sense, because you are drawing a comparison between a case where “sensitivities” were cynically raised to make a war more popular and accepted i.e. PR move, in contrast to a community center wanting to construct a…well, a freaking community center. So it’s kind of a waste of time for me to write this, but I’ll bite the bullet anyway if only to put to rest your argument.

    First of all, what I remember is that when the war was called a “crusade,” PR hacks immediately pounced on that to give it a better spin in order to lessen any kind of resistance towards the war. The war then became “fighting for democracy.” But whether it is cloaked as a “crusade” or “fighting for democracy,” it’s the same shit, there’s a solider beneath whatever clothing you put on it–war to expropriate and control the resources of a country. The only difference is that for some, there really *was* a religious component to it, so you are wrong about that. And you are wrong about people and supporters of the Bush administration not seeing this as some sort of Holy War/Crusade, and extending this fact, gleefully hoping to see a full Israeli conquest of the Holy Land as part of fulfilling some biblical crap. I know this for a fact because once upon a time when I actually had a career, I interviewed a bunch of these guys. They weren’t fucking around when they said that conquering all of the Middle East, putting down the Muslims, and having “Jews” control the Holy Land will herald the second coming of Christ. Anybody who claims that there was no religious component to the wars during the Bush administration–however little–clearly did not follow the guys in the Bush administration, and the folks who bankrolled the GOP.

    Now, in terms of what you are saying here about the mosque NEAR (not in) Ground Zero and drawing an analogy to the usage of PR and spin-doctoring for garnering support of a war that’s unnecessary and useless except for rich Americans and their European friends (including you guys)—totally baseless, because the community center, as I said in comment #70, is not calling itself a community center and operating as such in this guise, with wholly other intent–unless you seriously believe that this community center is actually going to be an terrorist training cell madrassa or an invading army hellbent on occupation of Manhattan right in the heart of the Financial District. If you do, I want to see some valid reasons to believe so.

    Furthermore and equally important, the community center is not going to send tanks to roll into the homes of 9/11 families’ victims’ homes, rape their 14 year old girls and then burn the entire family to hide the evidence like American soldiers in Iraq did. They’re not going to go to their homes and plant some Islamic flags or whatever the fuck. They are not planning on barging into the homes of 9/11 victims and beating the menfolk at gun point. They’re not looking to crash into the homes of Wall Street bankers, shoot them, and then sit on their furniture and smirk and take photos. THAT would be “offending” the “sensitivities” of 9/11 victims. If you believe this is the case, again, I’d like to see what led you to believe so.

    And they are not going to engage in warlike practices like the Iraq war, they don’t have a vision of a Spain-like conquest and making Manhattan into a Moorish empire–all the while calling themselves a “community center” in order to convince people that what they are doing is in fact good for them and the rest of humanity, as the Iraq War and even Afghanistan Wars were touted as. If they did, THAT’S when your “analogy” about the Iraq War being called a “crusade” and then changed to “fighting for democracy” under the false pretense of “respecting” the “sensitivities of Muslims” makes sense.

    OK, I need to finish working and then I’m off, so if I don’t respond right away, have a lovely weekend :)

  85. Desi Italiana — on 20th August, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

    @Boyo:

    “I knew that – which is why i found it so irritating!

    But apologies – i think i projected my general irritation upon you.”

    Back-handed apology or just another immature antic, and clear you don’t have shit to say, so you just resort to attacking and mocking someone’s geographical locations.

    Grow the fuck up.

  86. boyo — on 20th August, 2010 at 5:46 pm  

    are you calling me a geographist?

  87. Don — on 20th August, 2010 at 6:16 pm  

    On the use of the word ‘crusade’ by GWB, my understanding was that the issue wasn’t that muslims were still traumatised or grieving over medieval wars but rather that Bush had characterised his entire campaign as a crusade i.e. all out war on Islam by Christianity. So a different kind of ‘sensitivity’.

    To Bush and others it may have had the connotation of ‘righteous struggle’ or similar. To muslims it meant ‘This war is about destroying you because you are a muslim.’ So not about being sensitive to people’s feelings of loss or grief, but just basic historical literacy and awareness that words have meanings.

    If the builders of the proposed centre had called it ‘The Jihad Centre’ and argued that ‘jihad’ didn’t carry the same connotation for most muslims that it did for most non-muslims, that would have been a closer comparison.

    The claim that the name ‘Cordoba’ was triumphalist is clearly spurious.

    If the motive is really to foster mutual respect and understanding etc, then why would you throw in your hand because of artificially and maliciously produced outrage from those who do not want mutual respect and understanding etc? Go ahead with it and trust that in time your sincerity will result in that desideratum.

  88. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 6:19 pm  

    Desi,

    Thanks for taking the time to argue your case. I may not agree with everything you say but I can see that it’s something you’ve given a lot of thought to and feel passionate about.

    It’s clear we’re not going to agree on this issue. Because of that I won’t take up any more of your time repeating arguments that I’ve already put forward.

    Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to make the arguments and have a great weekend yourself.

    Regards
    dmra

  89. Soso — on 20th August, 2010 at 6:24 pm  

    On the use of the word ‘crusade’ by GWB, my understanding was that the issue wasn’t that muslims were still traumatised or grieving over medieval wars but rather that Bush had characterised his entire campaign as a crusade i.e. all out war on Islam by Christianity. So a different kind of ‘sensitivity’

    That the crusades were a Christian war on Islam is a common error people make, post 1960s.

    The crusades were triggered by repeated atrocities committed against Christian pilgrims by Muslims. Christians were attacked, robbed, raped, enslaved and even killed, and this after repeated promises by Muslim authorities to stop doing so.

    I’d also like to ask you just how you think Islam invaded and controled what was once the heartland of the Christian world.

    The Crusades were defensive wars in every sense of the term

  90. Don — on 20th August, 2010 at 6:41 pm  

    Soso,

    I dispute that it is an error.

    Whatever triggered the crusades they were most certainly a war of Christianity against Islam.

  91. Jai — on 20th August, 2010 at 7:25 pm  

    I’d also like to ask you just how you think Islam invaded and controled what was once the heartland of the Christian world.

    If people are going to start referring to historical sequences of events, then using the same logic it may be worthwhile considering exactly how Christianity had ended up controlling what was once the heartland of the Jewish world.

    And by “Christianity”, I mean the formalised religion post-Council of Nicaea along with the associated political & military authorities which became involved in that era and during the subsequent centuries. I’m not referring to Jesus himself or the events during the great man’s own lifetime.

  92. me — on 20th August, 2010 at 8:44 pm  

    Soso
    “The Crusades were defensive wars in every sense of the term”

    Wow this is like Bin Laden saying 9/11 was defensive. Loony.

  93. dmra — on 20th August, 2010 at 9:38 pm  

    Anybody thinking that the Crusades had a single cause like religion would do well to remember that there are historians who make their entire careers writing books about them. They could hardly do that if there was a single simple cause.
    Religion was certainly a factor but so were the chances to make a fortune; to seize territory for yourself; the desire to promote your own image for political reasons or to get on the good side of the Church.

  94. Don — on 21st August, 2010 at 1:24 am  

    dmra,

    agreed.

  95. Don — on 21st August, 2010 at 1:29 am  

    I’d also like to ask you just how you think Islam invaded and controled what was once the heartland of the Christian world

    Largely by force of arms, which is how the world worked and mostly still does. Doesn’t mean we have to like it.

  96. Kismet Hardy — on 21st August, 2010 at 3:56 am  

    “I notice that you find the time to quote a poem/song lyrics but not the time to defend or justify what you said. Nice to see you taking the cowards way out again.”

    It’s 4am. I’m many miles out of my head. Not having that.

    What did I say again that you demand I defend and justify?

    “It’s worth noting the term jihad, which probably gives you the beegees shrieking in falsetto terror, was actually regarded as quite a moderate word by moderate muslims before the you-know-who hijacked it”

    Meaning what?

    The word jihad scares people, PROBABLY you too

    And why not? It scares most people. So it’s worth pointing out it’s a word that’s been misinterpreted.

    Why did I point this out?

    Because you were talking about how crusade is a word that’s been misinterpreted.

    I. was. echoing. you.

    Are we on the same planet yet?

    Quite possibly. Your persecution complex is clearly rubbing off on me.

    Honestly Sunny, I don’t know how you do this day in day out. Your forehead must break brick to the touch

  97. halima — on 21st August, 2010 at 7:24 am  

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tdxpr#synopsis

    I heard Douglas Murray on Any Questions – the man ( i use the term loosely here) couldn’t hide his contempt for Muslims even if he tried – it isn’t what he is saying, it’s the way he talks about Muslims as though they were a breed apart. The tone with which he talks about Muslims is a bit like when reactionary white south africans used to talk about black south africans, it wasn’t the words, but the utter contempt they showed for their fellow country folks. All contained within the law of coarse, because we have to still maintain perceptions in polite society. Radio is great for this, though, isn’t it, revealing more than what we intend to share with our audience, and no bubble gum image to disguise our real intent. I wonder what a recording of Douglas Murray would sound like if he was an an EDL gathering? Rich, I would’ve thought.

    Then there is Ruth Deech. First I’ve heard of – the conservative voice of legal Britain, little wonder she can’t actually handle any progressive views. Did she say on the show that she applied to Oxbridge 9 times before she got in? I mean- why was she so desperate? Would her self-esteem be less in tact had she not studied in our best universities?

    Are these people the best British role models we have? Give me some real Britons, please, who know how to stand up for Britain and everything Britain is – not the crappy version that Douglas and his cronies want us to believe in. His Britain is the same Britain as the Redneck version of America – totally ape man land.

    Alex Von Tunzelmann . We hope we hear more from you, a breath of fresh air.

  98. Sarah AB — on 21st August, 2010 at 8:48 am  

    halima – that sounds like an interesting edition – Murray’s said some objectionable things in the past but some people claim he’s modified his views so I’ll catch up with it later and compare my impressions with your own …

    I completely agree with you about applying for Oxbridge nine times!

  99. Boyo — on 21st August, 2010 at 10:28 am  

    In my experience, people who make a point of having attended Oxbridge are usually pretty dim.

  100. Sarah AB — on 21st August, 2010 at 2:38 pm  

    Just been listening to the relevant bit of AQ and I completely agree with halima. I found the tone of Douglas Murray’s comments quite offensive and disparaging. Maajid Nawaz countered his points effectively – and like halima I was most impressed by Alex von Tunzelmann – sharp, logical and well informed (I thought Deech had it wrong when she invoked a play about Muslims’ treatment of women being closed down and as Alex von T was able to confirm it was of course a play about the Sikh community.) It was a pity the audience seemed so keen on Murray.

  101. Trofim — on 21st August, 2010 at 3:23 pm  

    halima @ 97:

    “he talks about Muslims as though they were a breed apart”.

    I can’t let this go unchallenged – they are regarded as a breed apart, because they behave as a breed apart.

    As part of my work I worked as a psychotherapist running therapeutic groups. A group is a little microcosm of a society, in which individuals ultimately display their characteristic individual behavioural traits, such as unsociability, bossiness, being a know-all etc., and the social effects in the group can then be observed, acknowledged, addressed and hopefully amended by members of the group.
    One very common scenario is that of the individual who gives off “vibes”, conscious or unconscious, voluntary or involuntary, subliminal or obvious, which deter others from engaging with them. They thus, by virtue of their own behaviour, become the outsider in the group. Eventually this will be addressed by the other group members, who will tell the individual that s/he comes across as stand-offish, remote, unsociable and so on, because s/he makes less eye contact, doesn’t seem to initiate or participate in conversations as much as others, deters others from approaching him/her, and so on. The essential factor which is clarified by this process, is that it takes two to tango. People who feel or are perceived as outsiders, almost always play a part in the process.

    So it is, it seems to me, with Muslims. They discourage or avoid engagement with non-Muslims, and often make strenuous efforts to signal their difference by not adopting western dress, not observing western mores, and thus make themselves the outsider, and then they blame others for it. It all demonstrates the glaringly obvious truism, that the more cultures differ, the less likely they are to become part of a cohesive society. In my part of the world, Hereford and Worcester, where the new immigrants are primarily east european, miscegination is already underway. Poles run the village shop and post office in a village near Hereford, without problems. Their children will as likely as not marry non-Poles. In the fifties there was an Italian quarter in Worcester. Now there isn’t, because the Italians married non-Italians, and have dispersed in all directions. Ditto the Poles and Ukrainians who came after the war. Herbert, a German prisoner of war in our village, married an English woman, and his children are now part of our society. Now look at Muslims, by comparison. Does it tell you anything?
    Muslims are the ones who don’t want our children and grandchildren to marry their children and grandchildren. Are they surprised that they are regarded as outsiders? If Muslims want to be accepted as part of British society, they can signal their willingness by agreeing to share their genes with us. If they refuse to intermarry with us, then they are clearly stating that they wish to maintain their own society – as a breed apart.

  102. KB Player — on 21st August, 2010 at 4:00 pm  

    Comment @ 93

    Religion was certainly a factor but so were the chances to make a fortune; to seize territory for yourself; the desire to promote your own image for political reasons or to get on the good side of the Church.

    There’s been a good series about the Normans. The third programme in the series deals with their invasion of the Middle East in the First Crusade and it’s pretty much as you said in your comment.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00thpzb/The_Normans_Normans_of_the_South/

    Much as any invasion/expansion/colonisaton – a mixture of motives and consequences.

    Mind you, I’m still pissed off with their invasion of Britain and the accompanying cultural genocide.

    As for the word “crusade” – it was used in phrases as “a crusade against litter in the school playground” but I guess no-one will use it in that sense again, at least when it comes to foreign policy.

  103. KB Player — on 21st August, 2010 at 4:01 pm  

    Comment @ 93

    Religion was certainly a factor but so were the chances to make a fortune; to seize territory for yourself; the desire to promote your own image for political reasons or to get on the good side of the Church.

    There’s been a good series about the Normans. The third programme in the series deals with their invasion of the Middle East in the First Crusade and it’s pretty much as you said in your comment.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00thpzb/The_Normans_Normans_of_the_South/

    Much as any invasion/expansion/colonisaton – a mixture of motives and consequences.

    Mind you, I’m still pissed off with their invasion of Britain and the accompanying cultural genocide.

    As for the word “crusade” – it was used in phrases as “a crusade against litter in the school playground” but I guess no-one will use it in that sense again, at least when it comes to foreign policy.

  104. Boyo — on 21st August, 2010 at 4:11 pm  

    “Glaringly obvious” perhaps, but completely unacceptable, as you know. Why does this “feel” so unpleasant, from a psychological perspective?

    Historical echoes I think – our cultural association with the Holocaust. If we resent people being different, does that make us “Nazis”?

    Furthermore, why just Muslims, and not Jews or Sikhs (who more often invoke curiosity)? Or is it simply a case of visibility, vocality and mass?

  105. Trofim — on 21st August, 2010 at 4:49 pm  

    boyo @ 104
    Did you read what I wrote?

    “It all demonstrates the glaringly obvious truism, that the more cultures differ, the less likely they are to become part of a cohesive society”.

    Unacceptable? To whom?
    But why should reality be acceptable? Reality simply is. Full stop. Acceptability is a different matter.

  106. Boyo — on 21st August, 2010 at 4:54 pm  

    oh, i know, i know – but that’s the point i was making, the gulf between the two

  107. me — on 21st August, 2010 at 4:54 pm  

    Trofim
    “If they refuse to intermarry with us, then they are clearly stating that they wish to maintain their own society – as a breed apart.”

    Ignoring the numerous white Muslim converts in mixed marriages. Your post was Nazi-like btw.

  108. KJB — on 21st August, 2010 at 5:11 pm  

    Alex Von Tunzelmann . We hope we hear more from you, a breath of fresh air.

    Yes. I have met her (rather by accident), and she is BRILLIANT.

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/outrage-over-plans-to-build-library-next-to-sarah-palin-201008193017/

    Perhaps if people stop treating all Muslims like they have something to prove, ‘being apart’ might not be such an appealing option for them? And while miscegenation is a step forward in many senses, it is not a panacea – which is partly why, after the experiences of the 1st-gens, so many South Asian communities are less than keen on it.

  109. Trofim — on 21st August, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

    107:

    I’m not talking about race, and I think you know that. I’m talking about Muslims wanting to exist as a society apart from, for want of a better word, mainstream society. If Muslims want to be part of society, then let them marry non-Muslims. If they’re not willing to, then let them stop complaining about being outsiders. I know Hindus, Sikhs who’ve married non- Hindus and Sikhs respectively. Catholics marry non-Catholics, Christians marry atheists, Jews marry Jews.

    By the way: the primitive tactic of hinting at Nazism, Islamophobia, racism etc. is somewhat passe. Nevertheless, it is commonly used by those who are unable to muster a logical argument.
    My post was about those who complain about the consequences of their own behaviour. You make your bed – you lie on it.

  110. halima — on 21st August, 2010 at 5:18 pm  

    Sarah Ab @100

    Glad you listened to the show.. It’s also the first time I heard Maajid Nawaz speak, and he came across well enough, though started out a little serious, but then relaxed.

    Guess I worry more broadly about these individuals who are potentially in positions to lecture others on a topic which they absolutely disagree about in letter and spirit. Murray on social cohesion? It would be better if he didn’t pose as an advocate for cohesion as he clearly isn’t one, and to head up an organisation which sets to build bridges across communities, is utterly wrong.

    The point about Ruth Deech is that she is also teaching at Oxford these days, sigh…

    Trofin,

    You’re going to have to try harder to make your point: it wasn’t Nazi enough.

  111. me — on 21st August, 2010 at 5:42 pm  

    Trofim
    “By the way: the primitive tactic of hinting at Nazism, Islamophobia, racism etc. is somewhat passe. Nevertheless, it is commonly used by those who are unable to muster a logical argument.”

    You mean people who make generalisations about millions of people and refuse to accept certain groups as part of British society because they dont conform to certain random behaviours the bigot defines as “British” , despite them having been here for decades nay centuries ?

  112. Trofim — on 21st August, 2010 at 6:02 pm  

    me @ 107:

    There you are, me, right on schedule, from halima @ 110 an excellent example of what I predicted. Oh, and from you at 111, this time employing the term “bigot”.

    Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt – if she grasped it, she probably didn’t agree with my suggestion, and rather than produce a cogent argument, she thinks “Now let me think, how can I discredit what Trofim says without having to produce a cogent argument? I know, I’ll use the old tried and tested tactic of hinting at racism, Islamophobia or Nazism. Which one shall I use? Yeah, I’ll settle for Nazi”. And hey presto, there you are.

    But this kind of intellectual dishonesty is par for the course at PP. Gricean Maxims are conspicuous by their absence.

    But do I need to point out one other constant trait of those I described at 101, who engender unpopularity by their very behaviour, and then complain that they are unpopular? They always, without exception, deny that their behaviour plays any part in the process. It’s always, but always, everybody else’s fault. Ring a bell? I think not.

  113. Boyo — on 21st August, 2010 at 6:06 pm  

    er, i think i rest my case ;-)

  114. Trofim — on 21st August, 2010 at 6:19 pm  

    And me boyo. I’ve got to go and iron my tefillin – ooh, forgot – I’m not allowed to do that on the sabbath. I shouldn’t really be doing this. Shalom.

  115. me — on 21st August, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

    The Bosnian Muslims were the most secular of Muslims with huge rates of inter-marriage with non-Muslims. This didnt stop them being victims of genocide from the likes of Trofim. The same could be said for Germanys Jews under Hitler.

    The head of state of this country is forbidden to marry a Roman Catholic. So according to Trofim , the Queen/King is un-British! LOL

  116. Don — on 21st August, 2010 at 9:50 pm  

    May I suggest we drop the term ‘miscegenation’?

  117. douglas clark — on 22nd August, 2010 at 12:24 am  

    I have read this thread fron Trofims quite ludicrous posr @ 101. It would be 101, wouldn’t it?

    That post is so full of psychobabble it is unbelievable.

    look Trofim, I don’t care how many degrees you have in psychology or whatever, but this is horseshit:

    The essential factor which is clarified by this process, is that it takes two to tango. People who feel or are perceived as outsiders, almost always play a part in the process.

    So, bloody what, I thought. Look, I would be as uncomfortable as heck in a murder of psychoanalysts. (‘Murder’ being a collective name for ravens, who are particularily nasty birds who also see themselves as somewhat superior to the rest of their feathered friends.)

    For I’d assume, probably quite rightly, that you were trying to ‘psychoanalyse’ me

    And that is never a comfortable experience. Let those that need your ministrations run to your doors Trofim, for they ar weak and lonely and you can prey on them.

    I do not need to be psychoanalysed, or told by either my chums or your idea of social norms, that I do not conform to your ideas of social normality.

    Thank fuck!

    It seems to me that you are playing a socialising game here, and, fail to understand that, apart from being ‘nice’ occasionally to folk we love or respect, we are not the social constructs you wish to make of us.

    We are individuals, and for you to ‘mark’, or indeed comment, on how folk behave or interact is enough to make me want to strangle your entire trade at birth.

    _________________________________

    Which I wouldn’t have even bothered my arse commenting on, but you then went on to say this:

    In my part of the world, Hereford and Worcester, where the new immigrants are primarily east european, miscegination is already underway. Poles run the village shop and post office in a village near Hereford, without problems. Their children will as likely as not marry non-Poles. In the fifties there was an Italian quarter in Worcester. Now there isn’t, because the Italians married non-Italians, and have dispersed in all directions. Ditto the Poles and Ukrainians who came after the war. Herbert, a German prisoner of war in our village, married an English woman, and his children are now part of our society. Now look at Muslims, by comparison. Does it tell you anything?

    Yes it does Trofim, it tells me that you couldn’t see an ongoing process if it hit you in the face. Each of these groups you refer to were, either isolated for being on the wrong side in WW2 or were just seen as ‘the other’, a reflection of your own views, writ large. Why would you see muslims as ‘different’?

    I see Asian – at a guess – muslim girls walking down my streets holding hands with white guys. And vice versa. Do they get shit for that? Well, maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. But it is certainly not your world Trofim.

    What an utter lot of shit people say:

    I’d die, if my son married a Catholic!

    If one of them Blacks moved in next door, I’d be mortified!

    See them Jews, you’ve got to look out for them, they’ll do you, so they will

    Or to the point:

    See them Muslims!

    Your entire arguement comes down to these sort of clichés, and that is not nice….

    We try to be ‘nice’ Trofim.

    Try it sometime….

  118. Trofim — on 22nd August, 2010 at 12:55 am  

    You’ve just come back from the pub, Douglas. You’ll be OK in the morning.

  119. douglas clark — on 22nd August, 2010 at 12:57 am  

    Don @ 102,

    Unless it refers to us and donkeys, then, well, yes.

    It is a sickeningly stupid term used by sickeningly stupid people.

    You could probably write a new ‘Godwins Law’ on the basis of it’s use.

    Anyone that uses it has lost the plot….

    Or the science…

    Or the frigging facts.

  120. douglas clark — on 22nd August, 2010 at 1:01 am  

    Trofim @ 118,

    Not good enough as a response:

    So far, a fail Trofim.

    Z minus.

    _______________

    Advice to candidate:

    Must try harder.

  121. douglas clark — on 22nd August, 2010 at 1:07 am  

    And accusing your examiner of being drunk when he commented, suggests that the candidate was stoned when he wrote the shit for brains at 101.

    Just saying, Trofim. Perhaps the drugs will have wore off by dawn, or maybe that is when you turn to dust or summat?

    Oh!

    Not the sunlight!

    Aaaargh…..!!!

    Anyway, one mark for trying. Nothing for originality though…

  122. James — on 22nd August, 2010 at 9:57 pm  

    In fairness, the US government has been building ‘ground zeros’ near Iraqi mosques since March 2003.

  123. dmra — on 23rd August, 2010 at 9:04 am  

    James
    just as a matter of interest if, in a spirit of reconciliation and community harmony a Chrstian charity offered to build a community center around the corner from the mosque, how do you think the locals would react?
    If they were against it who would you support?

  124. Kismet Hardy — on 26th August, 2010 at 8:11 pm  
  125. Don — on 26th August, 2010 at 8:29 pm  

    Kismet,

    It’s a sad fact that nowadays the best journalism is often at comedy websites.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/3-reasons-the-ground-zero-mosque-debate-makes-no-sense/

    Or perhaps not so sad.

  126. Random Guy — on 27th August, 2010 at 12:14 pm  

    Trofim @101, your post is so utterly full of FAIL that you should seriously consider putting yourself through some sort of normal education system again. What utter rubbish you spout about intermarriage – there are manny many intermarriages already between non-muslim and muslim males/females, up and down the country. If you let yourself out of your conservatives/whites-only club that you sound like you belong to, then I think you might notice it.

    And your utter idiocy in failing to mention that while Jews marry non-Jews and Sikhs/Hindus do the same, this is in no way the rule because a large proportion of familieis in these communities practice exactly what you are accusing muslims of (discouraging intermarriage) either tacitly or overtly. In your sorry excuse for a viewpoint, you fail to mention the extreme prejudice that muslims have undergone since 9/11, which will only encourage us to keep things within the community. All that BS in the media, the stupid, ignorant attitudes in mainstream society, and general lying and racism – what else do you expect?

    What you propose – some sort of forced assimilation – is strikingly colonial, completely unworkable and contrary to human nature. If you had an inkling of concern about mixing of cultures, you would be advocating a completely different approach which would be inclusive and involve community bridging etc.

    That people with your attitude even exist is enough of a scare/warning to the rest of us of just how far we are from harmony. Racists/Segregationists after all, just want to be free to practice their hate – whichever community they hail from.

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