Imam: It Will Be Built

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has an op ed in the New York Times in which he declares the cultural center will be built:

We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons.

He’s calling it Cordoba House; OK, fine.

At Cordoba House, we envision shared space for community activities, like a swimming pool, classrooms and a play space for children. There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths.

So if containing a Muslim prayer space makes any building a “mosque,” does that mean the Center will be a “church” and a “synagogue” as well?

It really is a lovely essay, and once again my impression is that the imam is a good-hearted, sincere man who means exactly what he says. Andy Sullivan:

As the far right seems to relish a clash of civilizations, his op-ed strikes me as so transparently constructive, so evidently in the interests not only of domestic peace but of strategic victory against Jihadist terror that I’m again at a a loss to understand why so many have reacted so ferociously to this project.

Because they are howling ignorant crazy bigots, that’s why.

I do not believe that we defeat them by empowering them, by giving them noxious symbols of Western intolerance in order to justify their own far far worse bigotry. We defeat them by the example of our toleration and the precision of our military power. The rest is poison.

Well, yes, exactly, and it remains astonishing that anyone bright enough to remember his own phone number can’t see that. There are border collies that could figure this out.

Elsewhere, Laurie Goodstein reports for the New York Times:

Prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders held an extraordinary “emergency summit” meeting in the capital on Tuesday to denounce what they called “the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry” aimed at American Muslims during the controversy over the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero. …

… The Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, said: “To those who would exercise derision, bigotry, open rejection of our fellow Americans of a different faith, I say, shame on you. As an evangelical, I say to those who do this, you bring dishonor to those who love Jesus Christ.”

That’s good to see.

Update: the Hartford, Connecticut, City Council steps up

The Council announced Tuesday that it has invited local imams to perform Islamic invocations at the beginning of the Council meetings in September.

An e-mail from the Common Council called it “an act of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

I don’t have to tell you that the rightie blogs are having apoplectic fits. I think if they use the word “dhimmitude” much more they’re going to wear it out; the poor thing won’t have enough strength left to display on a monitor.

See also New York magazines tongue-in-cheek “Feisal Abdul Rauf Details His Harrowing Vision for Terror-Victory Mosque.”

Update: In Gainesville, Florida, home of the Quran burning pastor

At least two dozen Christian churches, Jewish temples and Muslim organizations in Gainesville have mobilized to plan inclusive events – some will read from the Quran at their own weekend services – to counter what Jones is doing. A student group is organizing a protest across the street from the church on Sept. 11.

Gainesville’s new mayor, Craig Lowe, who during his campaign became the target of a Jones-led protest because he is openly gay, has declared Sept. 11 Interfaith Solidarity Day in the city.

27 thoughts on “Imam: It Will Be Built

  1. I see the Imam is taking an “if you build it, they will come” mentality to the project. It’s good to see that he (and others) aren’t simply buckling under the pressure of mob will, but I wonder where they’re going to find the funds to actually build the center.

  2. It seems as if the regrettably fearful and ignorant voices are still amplified over all others if what I hear about Sufi Muslims from Thom Hartmann is true (his assertions ahve always feact-checked affirmatively and when he’s mistaken he admits it). According to Hartmann, the Sufis are peaceful and have even been maligned by radical Islam. If we are to give more than lip service to forming bridges with peaceful Muslims this sounds more like an opportunity for bridge-building and something that will repudiate radical Islam…not by us but by other Muslims.

    We’ll never see the light of day as long as the voices of a minority that lumps Muslims all together into one big, evil whole are amplified over all others. Muslim wingnuts do hate us for our freedoms, in particular freedom of religion. Why are so many hell-bent on giving those radicals exactly what they want?

  3. I can see the Christianist righties now: “Let’s burn a Quran in celebration. YEAH!!!”
    Unfortunately, most of the Christians I know comprehend The Bible about as well as 5th grader would “Finnegans Wake.” This includes that zipperhead 4th-rate preacher from a backwater Florida strip-mall church who wants to Zippo another faiths Holy Book.
    If we have to have religion, let’s appeal to the best in each of them to join us together. This is a most worthy project.

  4. I’m certainly old enough to remember the stories about WWII and how everyone contributed by rationing, working to build weapons, etc., and especially the motto, “loose lips sink ships”. I have to wonder why every little thing the “howling ignorant crazy bigots” ( I love that line, Maha) why they get sooo much publicity. Shouldn’t our news also desire to be part of not harming our country while we have men at war? If they don’t get any national publicity, ( minus faux news, that is) wouldn’t the reward no longer be there for the infantiles to keep getting more verbal garbage out there?

    I have the current task of potty training a two year old great granddaughter who is much too smart and cunning for her age, or, for my age. She reminds me that it is all about rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad…simple concept. It does require patience, but in the end, it is the only thing that works. Sometimes I have to beg her to go pee pee so I can get a yummy gummy candy from the box on the toilet. I don’t mind that the news and pundit, bloggers etc. mention these things in passing….but why all the follow up stuff…our country is in a place where we can’t afford to be so easily refocused. My hope is great that ‘our’ people, those with intellect, open-mindedness, and love of country, will get out and vote out everyone of those bigots who have won primaries. My family members will get out and vote with me or they will not get any sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving.

    I apologize for the long windedness and hope that what I have written makes is the writings of a woman who has just gotten her computer out of the repair shop. AAAAh, good to have my ‘baby’ home.

    Bye the way, heard on the local news last night that Jindal is not supporting Vitter…and I say ‘Whaaaaa…???’ they gave no other info. Love you guys and missed you all. Back on board, Kat

    • Kathleen: I thought I had potty training all figured out with my daughter. I waited until she was two and a half, and then just explained it to her. Walked her through the procedure once, she said OK, and that was that. She was big for her age and didn’t even need a “training” potty. All I had to do was keep an eye on her to be sure she flushed and washed her hands.

      But then, four years later, I tried to potty train my son

  5. Kathleen, welcome back.

    My only thought on why Jindal might turn his back on Vitter would be because, unlike your great-granddaughter, Vitter is unwilling to give up diapers.

    • JerseyJeffersonian: Thank you for the link. Ashoka the Great was one of the most important figures in Buddhist history. Under his patronage, Buddhism went from being a minor little sect to the most important religion in his kingdom, which took up most of modern-day India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He was kind of the Buddhist version of the Emperor Constantine, only nicer.

  6. On reading this very constructive op-ed this morning, the capsule description of medieval Cordoba reminded me of the importance of Islam in preserving the literature of the ancient world. Without this (not to ignore the work of Irish monks, as well), there would likely not have been a renaissance and Europe might never have emerged from feudalism. Very likely, there would never have been an America.

    Think about it.

  7. Looks like Pastor Terry got himself into a jam of sorts. He’s generated a lot of heat and either he is going to be eating a big slice of humble pie on the national stage, or he’s going to be eating whatever they are serving up in the Alachua County jail. There’s always that possibility that he might be eating some lead if he gets really stupid by believing he’s got some constitutional right to set a bonfire in defiance of authorities telling him he can’t, and he’s packing heat when they come to put out his fire.
    Personally I wouldn’t have a firearm in my possession if I was heading into a confrontation with civil authorities…especially after making a public statement that I was prepared to die for my beliefs. You never know, Florida police just might accommodate him. They get a little touchy in dealing with people who are armed and defiant.

  8. Did I read that right? You’re asking the right wing to have the brains of a border collie?? Surely you jest. You were thinking of a rabid golden retriever, I’m sure.

  9. 1. *sigh* as a longtime resident of the gainesville area, it is embarrassing and annoying that our relatively liberal enclave in la florida is being painted with the bigot brush… i can assure readers who are not familiar with this area, 99.99%+ of us are NOT okay with this cheap reincarnation of jim jones…
    to see national news shows, democracy now, the daily show, etc, etc, highlight this fucktard, his cultists, and the stupid shit they say and do, is a total bummer, man… fortunately, like on democracy now, the media have taken some pains to show how other religionists in the area, the local gummint droids, and others have taken great pains to refute this maroon and his followers…
    we ARE a tolerant, open, and inclusive community…
    2. oddly enough, i have not had a response to my email to ‘pastor’ jones asking if i could bring some marshmallows and bibles to his bonfire of the vanities…
    3. ickily enough, i actually defend his right to burn books of any sort as a means of free speech and symbolize their feelings through this protest… IF he were an atheist (as i am), and they were symbolically burning the quran AND bible AND all the other ‘holy’ scriptures, then i would be all for that !
    4. obviously, this is not a principled protest of any sort, but mere fearmongering, hating, and 1st class bigotry of scared and ignorant authoritarians… the supremely ironic thing being, these super xtians would GLADLY enforce their own version of sharia on ALL OF US, if they had the power to do so… how is it they don’t ‘get’ they are mirror images of the extreme fundie moose limbs they decry ? ? ?
    (or, well, ALL moose limbs, extreme or not; if you did not know, ALL religions except their flavor of xtians are ‘of the devil’ to these xtianofascists…)
    5. funny, ain’t it: it takes ‘immoral’ atheists and agnostics to defend the rights of stupid fucking religionists… the huge injustice being: atheists don’t want to get rid of religionists, i just want them out of my life and gummint; BUT, nearly ALL religionists -especially fundie types- WOULD try to get rid of atheists, if they could…
    tells me all i need to know about religions, right there…
    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    [email protected]

  10. cundgulag – I don’t think any of this crap has much to do with hatred of Islam, Muslims, the Koran…it really has to do with, finally, making a fast buck. Beck, Gingrich, Palin, Limbaugh… and a lot of along-for-the-ride Republicans have been actively engaged in making a ‘fast buck’ off demonizing and hating (anyone or anything will do) – in some cases, for years.

    I suspect that Mr. Jones and Mr. Old will be able to increase their congregations by at least ten-fold in the coming months, which means, of course that their Sunday collection plates will be a lot fatter – and that’s what this crap is all about. (It is, after all, the true American entrepeneurial spirit at work, isn’t it?)

  11. and that’s what this crap is all about

    Amen, sister! speak it out…can I get a witness?

    Several years ago I attended an evangelical event in Lakeland,FL called “Transformation Florida”. During the Pentecostal antics the speaker,a second generational Assembly of God evangelist with big name recognition, received a word from God in the course of his preaching. The Lord offered those in attendance an act now,one time only deal where they could break the bonds of poverty and be loosed from the spirit of poverty in exchange for a $50.00 cash/check seed of faith. What struck me as truly bizarre was the amount of people who rushed to take advantage of the Lord’s generous offer.
    Being somewhat of a doubting Thomas I was left wondering how anybody could hope to escape poverty when they are throwing their money away..Oh,me of little faith.

  12. Re Swami’s link above to the Revolting Terry Jones’s latest about-face, there’s really only one response to Jones at this point:

    Bitch, please.

  13. Ah, bummer.. Terry folded.. I was hoping he’d get to meet his Jesus. Maybe in a place like the county morgue.

    I don’t understand his latest ploy of lying about the Imam of Park51 agreeing to move the location of the cultural center.. It only boxes him in as being a bigger nut job than he’s already shown himself to be.

  14. “howling ignorant crazy bigots”
    I’m using that one. I think it’s perfect for tea-partiers, right-wingers, etc.

  15. @bill bush :

    Hadn’t read that one in particular, but I have read other writings from James Galbraith. He’s a leading proponent of MMT — Modern Monetary Theory. I’ve mentioned his work in the comments here before.

    It’s truly a stark contrast he presents against “conventional” economic thought. More importantly, I don’t find anything mistaken in his critical assumptions and facts.

    Once you’ve broken your previous mental frame on the issue of thinking about the government’s finances as though they were an ordinary household, person, or business, it truly does make a lot of sense. After all, the government simultaneously controls both supply and demand of its currency. Supply, through issues of physical currency and deficit spending. Demand, through taxation. Counterfeiting is illegal (and enforced), so it’s not possible for people to interfere directly in the supply chain. On the demand side, taxes are only payable in the government-issued currency. Nothing else works, and you can’t evade taxes forever.

    If the government were a business, it would in effect be able to (1) force people to buy its product [pay taxes] and (2) create as much product as it cared, using little to no materials and no labor [print money or deficit spend]. Quite a sweet deal.

    The only real risk to the system is in letting supply and demand run too far out of sync. In case supply exceeds demand by far too much, inflation starts to become a serious issue. Or in the reverse case, where demand exceeds supply by a wide margin, the currency deflates. Either case is bad for price stability and keeping the economy running smoothly, but minor fluctuations of the currency are not only tolerable but expected. Perfect price stability can only be accomplished in a centrally managed economy, and even then only for virtual commodities that have no physical limits being placed on them.

  16. Well, if he did, he got his 15+ Warhol minutes.

    I think a lot of the people on the right (like Geller) where chastising him not because they thought he was doing the wrong thing by the burning, but that they didn’t think of it first. Grifters hate it when another one of them comes up with a new scam first.

  17. @kagerato:
    Your summation is excellent: short and complete. Thanks. I had been looking for an explanation of Social Security finances that countered the conservative home budget approach.

    The framing is certainly the key. I know from teaching how hard it is to get people to step beyond their traditional approaches. And when those traditional approaches benefit certain persons, those persons will cling despite facts or better explanations.

    There is probably as much chance of an intelligent political approach to this topic as there is to the Gainesville Griller.

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