The Out-of-Towners

[Update: The local NBC affiliate is reporting that the developers of the Islamic Center have told Gov. Paterson they don’t intend to change the location. Good for them.]

Eric Kleefeld documents that opposition to the so-called “ground zero mosque” intensifies the further away one goes from “ground zero.” But we knew that. See also Nate Silver.

I had a let’s-bang-heads-against-the-wall moment this morning when I found an editorial in the Joplin (Missouri) Globe written by some guy who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He wrote of the builders of the Islamic Center: “These folks should not expect a neighborhood welcoming party.”

Excuse me? Where the bleep does somebody who lives in Tulsa Bleeping Oklahoma get off talking about the “neighbohood welcoming party”? Clue, dude: Manhattan ain’t your neighborhood.

15 thoughts on “The Out-of-Towners

  1. um, as of nine one one:

    ‘we’re all manhattanites, now!’


    obviously, if they consider this ‘hallowed’ ground (whatever that is, practically speaking), then they have claim over it as their place of remembrance and worship -their mecca, if you will- and think of it as “theirs”, too…
    (that it is a marginal issue of little practical consequence and ignores a slew of real issues we do need to address sooner than later, is simply bidness / propaganda as usual…)

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    [email protected]

  2. I am a Tulsan, and can tell you that the Christian Right here is nearly apoplectic over this issue. It amazes me that people who continually are very concerned about government involvement in their faith would be so insistent on government involvement in someone else’s.

  3. I read today that the real “hallowed ground” will include an underground shopping mall. I guess that is more acceptable (to me, it seems like shopping in a cemetery).

  4. As a native New Yorker, I support the mosque and decry the actions of the in-town and out-of-town bigots, Republican opportunists, and the screaming teapots of the radical right who want to remake New York in their own sad image.

  5. Not only is it NOT that Tulsan’s neighborhood, it IS the neighborhood of the people who want to build the center. That’s why they want to build it there.

    Besides, what self-respecting New Yorker ever expects a neighborhood welcoming party??

  6. I had to come in 9/12 (and the next 37 days) to get servers running. I drank a lot of coffee and the employees of the deli where I got the coffee looked Middle Eastern to me. I do not see why they should not have a place to “hang out”. See Ryszard KapuÅ›ciÅ„ski on what they do in mosques.

  7. Besides, what self-respecting New Yorker ever expects a neighborhood welcoming party??

    WHAT? They *don’t* personally greet *everyone* *by name*? And throw a party?

    You mean, like, if I visited Manhattan, no one would *notice* or *care*?

  8. I have some Muslim friends. I expect I have more in common with them than I do with some bigoted editorial writer in Oklahoma.

  9. The atmosphere of personal greetings went out the window when Rudy ran off of the squeegee men. The out of towners were put off by them because they didn’t understand New York culture, but for us native New Yorkers they served the same purpose as Walmart greeters.

  10. Did any of you folks see the “live broadcast” of the last combat troops crossing into Kuwait tonight, leaving Iraq? It was a real amateur propaganda job on msnbc. I could not believe what I was seeing, it was true bullshit complete with the stink. Is this the end of KO’s countdown? I thought I was watching FOX, they had Engel over doing it, several live stages of the last man standing, like a cheap stage scene. It was mission accomplished by intermittent satellite.

    Over and out, these folks are to compete with the republicant echo chamber? No chance, the dimwits will always win, they got no fucking standards to lose.

    The example that this country has provided over the last few weeks on the subject of tolerance has really tanked. The whole of our media has aided and sold religious bigotry. Ask yourself what country does this bigotry benefit. All of us being forever hostile to Islam benefits one nation. The news cycles for some reason.

  11. The less you’ve actually experienced war, the more you love war (Dick Cheney, W, etc…).
    The less you know about, and the further you live from, NY City, apparently the dearer that ‘hallowed ground’ becomes.
    This is a bad analogy, but would any of these same people get as amped up at a VA Psychiatric Hospital being built near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City? What? Too soon?

  12. This is a bad analogy, but would any of these same people get as amped up at a VA Psychiatric Hospital being built near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City?

    Not a bad analogy at all Gulag, compared to, say, Newt’s. These Sufis = Nazis next to a Jewish cemetery or Japanese next to Pearl Harbor. (Who wants to tell Gingrich there are lots of Japanese in Hawaii, and some of them may own property near Pearl Harbor?)

    And those same anti-Cordoba House loons would argue: “Hey, the psych hospital might help prevent the next McVeigh from doing something terrible.” (But interfaith understanding won’t help prevent the next 9/11.)

    Honestly, this issue has become a litmus test for me; right and wrong is so clear, and the wrong side are such liars. I know Gingrich understands that his analogies are utterly bogus, but he’s playing to the ignorant hateful base he established for himself back in the day. Anything for power, with that guy.

  13. This should not be a political issue. And many Democrats have shown themselves to be cowards on this issue, thus allowing the right to politicize it. Shame!
    Shortly after 9/11 we had a class of new-hires at the major company where I was the Training Manager in NC. And in that group was a young man who was of Hispanic heritage and grew up in a bad section of Houston. He had turned to Islam to turn himself around and try to build a better life. Newly married, he had moved to the Raleigh area with his wife who was expecting a child.
    To make a long story short, he had requested a solitary place to pray. We had a “Quiet Room,” but that was too often occupied to serve his purposes. We had a ‘space crunch’ so there weren’t too may options. My Manager, a VP, came to me and asked if I had any ideas. I suggested our Training Room, as long as it was empty.
    Now remember, this was in early ’02, and when people found out what I suggested they asked “How could you?” I looked at them, and I’m non-religious, and said that as a company we try to accomodate the beliefs of all of the employees – within reason. And an emptly training room was just that – empty. So, this was not an unreasonable request. And “Corporate” agreed with the decision.
    Shortly after that, we also started hiring even more Muslims, mostly women, who came to training and to work with covered heads. ‘What about them? You gonna let them us the room, too?” If someone wanted to use it for quiet prayer, it was fine by me and the company. Christians could do the same. The only qualifier was that the room not have a training class in it, as that was a business priority.
    If it didn’t disrupt training classes, who was I, or the company to judge? Now, if the room was being used for training, well, I’m sorry.
    Our Muslim employees appreciated the accomodation, and we developed a sense of loyalty to the company because of this decision.

    The Cordoba House is being built on the site of a former Burlington Coat Factory, blocks away from Ground Zero. It’s neither directly on the site of Ground Zero, nor is it replacing some Christian Megachurch, or Jewish Synagogue – and even then, so what?
    There is a need for it as, from what I’ve read, the nearby Mosques are crowded and can’t accomodate all of the Muslims working or living in that area.
    The Cordoba House should be looked at as a gesture of peace and accomodation. If you want to piss off people of any religion, deny them their right to worship where and as they wish. And that’s what Republicans are doing, all for some perceived gain in the xenophobe vote, which they already have sown up, so the only reason for this is to try to move people from American principles, to American Taliban “Principles.” I fear they’re succeeding, because people of ‘good will,’ are doing nothing. Democratic politicians, I’m looking at you!!!

  14. I have no quarrel with the mosque–which is actually, according to what I’ve read–a community centre that will include a pool and prayer space, amongst other things.

    This is all definitely a tempest in a teapot. Pun intended.

    As far as friendly Manhattanites go, all I can say is that as a tourist in NYC a few years ago with hubby and two pre-teens in tow, I have rarely met a friendlier bunch of people:
    -a man driving a huge, swanky black SUV stopped his car to help us out when he saw us standing staring at our map;
    -a woman went out of her way to guide us through construction in the subway and get us to the right line;
    -a construction worker gave up seat (totally unprompted) so that I could sit with my kids and have lunch at a snack bar;
    -a scuzzy looking man made sure we got off at the right stop on the subway when he saw we were looking unsure.

    And those are just a few examples of how nice we found people to be.

    I love New York.

  15. The last thing I want to see is crazy Pam Geller claiming a “win.” She is as narcissistic as Sarah Palin and gets all sorts of press while the MSM ignores her crazy side.

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