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No more victories for Bin Laden - Comments

mummymonkey's Avatar Comment 1 by mummymonkey

Bravo! Beautifully written, clear and persuasive. It'll never catch on.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 09:59:54 UTC | #501722

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 2 by AtheistEgbert

America takes its cultural and traditional values too seriously, while we British don't take our cultural and traditional values seriously enough.

I sense cognitive dissonance at work here on this particular topic. For those who see the world through simplistic eyes, it is either that you defend secularism (or your narrow interpretation of it) to the death without seeing the obvious blind spot or flaw (no-one is suggesting a ban only that it not be placed so insensitively near a place that still resonates as the most horrific atrocity on American soil), or otherwise support bigoted simplistic narrow-minded conservatism. Please, some of us are intelligent people with more complicated views.

The trap is, that America is still idealistic about itself, and views its constitution and the words of the founding fathers as sacred. Not only among the uneducated god fearing, but among the American educated elite. There is no room for pragmatism as one valid interpretation of freedom. (And pragmatism is what we suffer from most here in Europe after the devastation of the idealogies of last century.)

I don't care about the American constitution (I'm not American) and I don't care about the British non-constitution and its archaic Christian laws. Our values aren't being attacked, corrupted, threatened nor destroyed, it is our inability to think or feel beyond them that is. Conventional values don't inform my moral outlook, I do.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 10:18:07 UTC | #501728

ridelo's Avatar Comment 3 by ridelo

"We have something here that is far greater than religion, we have law." What a beautiful sentence!

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 10:20:34 UTC | #501731

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 4 by Steve Zara

The trap is, that America is still idealistic about itself, and views its constitution and the words of the founding fathers as sacred.

No. The trap here is considering that the Muslims who want to build the Mosque/community centre share any kind of guilt by association with the terrorists who flew the planes on 9/11. If they don't share guilt, then there is no strong reason to take offence. Well, there is perhaps a little: this is a building celebrating religious faith, and religious faith was certainly a strong factor in 9/11. But that's not the point being made by those against the building. It's a real "us and them" situation, with the "them" being fellow citizens of the USA. That's deeply worrying.

This is difficult, I know. I do think it is insensitive to build the Mosque near Ground Zero. But I would also think it insensive to build a Church near Ground Zero. Or carry a handgun near Ground Zero. Perhaps a large area should have been bought up by the government and set aside as an area of peace and secularism.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:15:33 UTC | #501745

cheesedoff17's Avatar Comment 5 by cheesedoff17

What do American Muslims have to say about this issue? Has anyone Polled them?

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:31:44 UTC | #501751

SteveN's Avatar Comment 6 by SteveN

It seems to me that one sensible option for those who own the piece of land in question would be to build, instead of a mosque, some sort of community centre aimed at bringing together people of different faiths. If these islamic US citizens were to openly admit and condemn the major role played by their faith in the horrors of 9/11 and work towards open discussion between the less fanatical members of both islam and christianity then perhaps something constructive could come of this debacle.

Of course, this is never going to happen, I know ;-(

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:34:21 UTC | #501752

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 7 by Russell Blackford

If it's built on private land the only issue is whether it meets the same zoning regulations as would be applied to anything else that might be built there: a cinema, an arts complex, a Christian church, a nightclub, or whatever. If it falls within those regulations, that's the end of the story. You can't apply one law to building mosques and another law to everything else. Conversely, if it doesn't meet the terms of the zoning regulations it should get no special favour.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:59:57 UTC | #501760

mmurray's Avatar Comment 8 by mmurray

Comment 6 by SteveN :

It seems to me that one sensible option for those who own the piece of land in question would be to build, instead of a mosque, some sort of community centre aimed at bringing together people of different faiths. If these islamic US citizens were to openly admit and condemn the major role played by their faith in the horrors of 9/11 and work towards open discussion between the less fanatical members of both islam and christianity then perhaps something constructive could come of this debacle.

Of course, this is never going to happen, I know ;-(

If you look at this wiki site

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

there is some confusion about exactly what is being built. A community centre definitely with a prayer space or a Mosque ??

Also some polling information and opposition from other Muslims.

Michael

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:01:39 UTC | #501761

SteveN's Avatar Comment 9 by SteveN

Thanks for the link, Michael (#8). Maybe there's hope yet. Although I agree with most others that they should not be banned from building whatever they want as long as it adheres to zoning regulations etc, it does seem a bit tasteless and unneccesarily provocative to simply build a mosque at that site.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:08:23 UTC | #501765

the4thNeutralNuclide's Avatar Comment 10 by the4thNeutralNuclide

@Russell

Which is, of course, exactly what Obama said and is now being pounded into the ground for becuase it's close to election time. There is hope in some of the comments posted at the BBC website under Mark Mardell's blog today.

The link is here: [1]: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/mosque_row_exposes_obama_on_tw.html

Tom

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:12:30 UTC | #501769

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

No. The trap here is considering that the Muslims who want to build the Mosque/community centre share any kind of guilt by association with the terrorists who flew the planes on 9/11. If they don't share guilt, then there is no strong reason to take offence.

This isn't about the feelings or non-feelings of the Cordoba Initiative, but the feelings of the victims and all those who sympathize with them (including head-in-the-sand muslims) and the injustice of the atrocious crime made in the name of Islam on 9/11. The Cordoba Initiative show no sensitivity to those feelings and rather than promote their so-called aim at bringing better understand of Islam, they're showing Islam's true colours.

If they want to build a massive mosque disguised as a community centre, then let them do it elswhere, and not near where the largest atrocity ever committed in America by Islam.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:13:27 UTC | #501771

CleverCarbon's Avatar Comment 12 by CleverCarbon

Comment 4 by Steve Zara :

No. The trap here is considering that the Muslims who want to build the Mosque/community centre share any kind of guilt by association with the terrorists who flew the planes on 9/11. If they don't share guilt, then there is no strong reason to take offence. Well, there is perhaps a little: this is a building celebrating religious faith, and religious faith was certainly a strong factor in 9/11. But that's not the point being made by those against the building. It's a real "us and them" situation, with the "them" being fellow citizens of the USA. That's deeply worrying.

This is difficult, I know. I do think it is insensitive to build the Mosque near Ground Zero. But I would also think it insensive to build a Church near Ground Zero. Or carry a handgun near Ground Zero. Perhaps a large area should have been bought up by the government and set aside as an area of peace and secularism.

Americans certainly had no problem having a Giant steel Cross at Ground zero

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

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:18:57 UTC | #501775

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

And you have fallen right into the trap I described.

The Cordoba Initiative show no sensitivity to those feelings and rather than promote their so-called aim at bringing better understand of Islam, they're showing Islam's true colours.

How much sensitivity to the feelings of those relatives of the victims of 9/11 is being shown by the media who are making such a big issue about a building that isn't even on Ground Zero? There is a lot of nasty exploitation going on here.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:24:22 UTC | #501778

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 14 by Stafford Gordon

The building of it is far less important than how it's administered.

S G

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 12:29:59 UTC | #501780

genes4all's Avatar Comment 15 by genes4all

Always find it amusing when people bring up Bin Laden in discussions about the events of September 11th 2001. Even the American goverment couldn't provide a direct link to him and its hardly suprising that a nutter like OBL would love the adulation of his misguided Muslim supporters who think that he is some kind of criminal "Bond villian" mastermind. He is just another "Bogeyman" created to hide the real financial reasons for this mass murder. Religion is a terrible blight on society but I don't think it can be blamed for 9/11.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:11:29 UTC | #501807

mlgatheist's Avatar Comment 16 by mlgatheist

This is a truly magnificently written article. It expresses my thoughts exactly.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:11:37 UTC | #501808

Wuht2Ask's Avatar Comment 17 by Wuht2Ask

What a sweet sensitive flowing article. Drivel usually is. Dont worry dear author and her sheep. Just rest and sleep. There will be someone who will clean up your messes. Someone stronger and less sensitive. Someone with shovels and then with hammers and nails. You see children, its the human cycle of trip, fall, make a mess, and get up again, only to trip once more.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:03:05 UTC | #501827

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 18 by Dean Buchanan

There is a lot of nasty exploitation going on here.

Steve Zara is correct. As is the4thNeutralNuclide. As is Russell. For those who want to honor the memories of the 911-dead, or their living families, there are more productive ways to help.
I don't believe that I personally know anyone who hasn't heard of this issue. Why? There is no serious legal question raised.
I would argue that it is a potent political weapon here in the U.S. Mad people vote and send money. We are arguing about symbolism and its political meaning. I come down on the side of the U.S. Constitution not because I am naive @#2, but because I have looked at the available evidence and arguments and concluded that this one isn't even a close call.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:04:52 UTC | #501831

sundiver's Avatar Comment 19 by sundiver

I, for one, see this as the Repubs jumping on a bandwagon, and singularly xenophobic one at that. The lies told about the imam who's behind this whole thing are outrageous, calling him a radical muslim and all are repulsive. This guy is about as radical as a Unitarian. However, if the fuckwads don't shut up, or at least tone down the rhetoric, a new radical may be created. They went through all the hoops the local laws require and that's that. Unless we want to rewrite the Constitution to only allow religious freedom for religions we like.....

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:44:45 UTC | #501849

Elisabeth Cornwell's Avatar Comment 20 by Elisabeth Cornwell

Firstly, let me thank everyone for their thoughtful responses to my article (with the exception of Wuht2Ask who doesn't make any sense).

Secondly, let me expand on the major comments

Regarding American idealism - well, yes, perhaps we are idealistic at times - and I hope we do not lose that idealism as it provides a framework on which to build. The tenets of science are idealistic: self-monitoring, self-correcting, always aiming for the truth - yet on a practical level, it is operated by very fallible humans and thus will always fall a bit short. But it is good to have something at which to aim.

The same is true with self-governance. Americans are much more cynical than you perceive us to be, and there are times when those of us who have always been politically active feel like giving up (the election for Bush’s second term is a case in point - I was not the only one who tuned out politics for sake of sanity); however, it has been the idealism of the goal that brings people back to go at it again. It is idealism that inspires individuals to take action and it is indifference that we should worry about.

So, I hope you are right, we are idealistic, but I don’t want to see it end anytime soon.

In terms of the community center/mosque - the Cordorba Initiative (http://www.cordobainitiative.org/), which is promoting the center, advocates inter-faith engagement. I would like to see atheists actively seek involvement - letting theists know that we too have a place at the table and our sensibilities need also to be addressed as well. And, we need to remember to stop and listen now and again. One way to encourage people to question their own faith is for them to engage in conversing not only with atheists, but with all people who believe differently. It is perhaps one of the best tools we have in our attempt to strengthen rationality and logic.

Muslims in the US had shown mixed feelings regarding the location of the site, but the over-reaction of the media to the plan has probably swayed Muslims to support the location if only on principle. It is a predictable psychological phenomenon that when feeling threatened, minorities become stronger and more unified. Conservative Christians have used this psychological manipulation to unprecedented success, and positioning themselves as the underdogs against the Bogeymen that haunt their clouded delusions keeps their coffers full and their supporters in tow.

The feelings of the victims are not to be ignored, but grief and loss are not ideal when it comes to viewing the overall issues. Nor should we assume that the victims or their families are speaking in one unified voice. It is simply impossible to carry out every wish of every victim or their loved ones regarding the site. Sensitivity yes, but we cannot allow ourselves to turn a blind eye to the guiding principles of the First Amendment as a form of comfort.

In all, it is good this conversation has bubbled to the top and engaged the public. While there will be a lot of noise and a lot of chest pounding, in the end, I think most Americans will be persuaded by the idealism of the Constitution. Religious freedom is something we learn about in public (State supported) schools from the get-go, and if threatened it will be those who oppose secularism who will lose the debate.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:52:26 UTC | #501851

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 21 by Dr. Strangegod

Very good little article.

I can't believe it, but for the first time I'm aware of, Mayor Bloomberg is not being a complete shit about something. I actually agree with what he has said on this subject, although I am always suspicious of his motives. One thing he said that I was surprised by, and that has been a secret thought of mine for years, is that he wishes New Yorkers and Americans in general could freaking get over 9/11. Stop crying about it already! Yes, very tragic loss of human life. I'd never want to detract from that, but for fuck's sake, we're going on a decade now. How long are we normally sensitive to a person who's family member has died? How long before we think they're taking it a bit too hard for a bit too long?

What's worse is that I don't think many of the 9/11 victim's families are actually still crying about it at all! It's just that the idea of them doing so is a very useful but cynical political tool. I've lived in Manhattan for four years and I don't see many people still frozen in fear and despair. New Yorkers, in general, are pretty tough and can take a blow without being crushed. Jon Stewart has pointed this out a few times as well. Who do the anti-mosque crapheads think they are defending? They are the ones pouring salt into the wound, not the the mosque builders, by insisting that the wound is still open and fresh. It's not. Saying that it is still open is almost insulting. You assume an awful lot of weakness when you do that. Let it heal. But Gingrich et al. will continue to milk and milk it, and they should be ashamed.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 15:35:49 UTC | #501864

Wuht2Ask's Avatar Comment 22 by Wuht2Ask

Yes, Elisabeth Cornwell, there is much that makes no sense to you. However your drivel does make sense to you and to others, and it is your cherished right to continue it. To Bin Laden the Cordoba Innitiative is the natural courageous continuance of Islams cherished victorious acts of 9/11. This latest victory again demonstrates the cowardice of the american satan to challenge the will of allah. Yes, Elisabeth Cornwell, there is much that makes no sense to you.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 16:55:08 UTC | #501926

Joel Jacobson's Avatar Comment 23 by Joel Jacobson

... Who do the anti-mosque crapheads think they are defending? ...

They are conveniently ignoring that there already is a "mosque" in the Pentagon, which was also attacked.

... But Gingrich et al. will continue to milk and milk it, and they should be ashamed.

Fat chance - Gingrich has no sense of shame.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 16:44:27 UTC | #501927

tll's Avatar Comment 24 by tll

It wasn't that long ago that Jews were prohibited from building synagogues in New York City...

I have to admit I am really on the fence with this one. As I notice massive new construction for places of worship here in Toronto, it really does turn my stomach. I personally feel the money could be much better spent. However, freedom of right's or religion is extremely important in a secular society and worth fighting for either way!

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 16:50:09 UTC | #501929

Elisabeth Cornwell's Avatar Comment 25 by Elisabeth Cornwell

Oh dear, you make even less sense expounding on your previous nonsensical post.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 17:28:21 UTC | #501957

Wuht2Ask's Avatar Comment 26 by Wuht2Ask

Honestly Elisabeth Cornwell, I tried to change the word drivel to ideas but the system locked me out. If my drivel, I mean ideas, are really that nonsensical, it would not have mattered anyway. But I really do think Bin Laden sees Cordoba NY as another victory.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 18:00:57 UTC | #501975

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 27 by Dr. Strangegod

Elisabeth - This is a case for the moderators, should they choose to accept it. You have now fed the troll (who should have been removed days or weeks ago). But you're the ED, so maybe you can make them do something now that the troll is harassing you personally.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 18:25:34 UTC | #501987

sundiver's Avatar Comment 28 by sundiver

Lucas: Your post #21 brings to mind something I've been thinking about for years and may have brought up here; think about it ya'll, what in our lives has really changed since 11 Sept, 2001 (remember all the comparisons to Pearl Harbor?). Lucas, your point about New Yorkers is dead on. They've gotten over it, I just wish people who don't fucking live here would quit telling us how to run our country ( are you listening Mr Condell? ). If I recall, the imam behind this is a Sufi, who are about as intimidating as a bunch of Quakers. So get the fuck over it folks and worry about something important, like when are the Nationals gonna get Bryan Harper to the big leagues.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 19:00:23 UTC | #502011

sundiver's Avatar Comment 29 by sundiver

Lucas: Your post #21 brings to mind something I've been thinking about for years and may have brought up here; think about it ya'll, what in our lives has really changed since 11 Sept, 2001 (remember all the comparisons to Pearl Harbor?). Lucas, your point about New Yorkers is dead on. They've gotten over it, I just wish people who don't fucking live here would quit telling us how to run our country ( are you listening Mr Condell? ). If I recall, the imam behind this is a Sufi, who are about as intimidating as a bunch of Quakers. So get the fuck over it folks and worry about something important, like when are the Nationals gonna get Bryan Harper to the big leagues.

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 19:01:30 UTC | #502012

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 30 by Dr. Strangegod

sundiver - I hesitate to share this, as it may be mistaken for... whatever, but it is funny. When I moved to NYC in 2006, a joke was told to me by an NYC native:

"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"

"9/11."

"9/11 who?"

"YOU SAID YOU'D NEVER FORGET!!!" (in a whiny, half crying voice)

Yep, that's kinda messed up, but that joke was circulating amongst New Yorkers four freaking years ago. So go ahead, dipshits, "protect our feelings." Don't let what is essentially a YMCA be built in Manhattan.

Updated: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 20:29:53 UTC | #502048