Muslims who are better Republicans than many Republicans

Muslim and Arab Republicans Take Issue With G.O.P. on Mosque – The Caucus Blog – NYTimes.com
[Via The Caucus Blog]

A half-dozen Republicans have signed a letter criticizing the way some members of their party have responded to the proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan.

The letter – whose six signers include officials from both the Reagan andGeorge W. Bush administrations — takes issue with Republicans who have called the proposed location of the center insensitive. The letter also says that, while the signers want the G.O.P. to be successful in the midterm elections, “we cannot support victory at the expense of the U.S. Constitution or the Arab and Muslim community in America.”

David Ramadan, one of the signers, indicated via e-mail that all of the six are either Muslim or of Arab descent. He also said in a short telephone interview that the group was intentionally kept small – limited to “hardcore Republican activists,” as he put it.

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We have Republicans across the country condemning the building of a community center by Muslims because it is too close to Ground Zero (ignoring that there is already a mosque 4 blocks away – see below). They are making this a national issue, using it to drive Americans apart. This is a better wedge issue than the last one – the homosexual agenda and it will not alienating to as Hispanics as the immigration issue. A lot of manufactured rage during the month of August and in an election year, what a coincidence.

Here are six highly placed Republican activists writing an Open Letter, reminding the Republican party that Americans are not in a fight against Muslims but against Terror, reminding them that their Party has a history of standing up for the Constitution:

We are deeply concerned by the rhetoric of some leading members of our party surrounding the construction of the Muslim Community Center in downtown Manhattan. These comments are not only constitutionally unsound, they are also alienating millions of Arab American and Muslim American voters who believe, as we do, in the principles of our party – individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.

As you know, our party has had a long history of inclusion – beginning with our great President Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership on the slavery issue was monumental, and continuing through President George W. Bush whose public statements and actions on the differentiation between Islam and the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were critically important. We are particularly proud to note that President Bush appointed more Arab Americans and Muslim Americans to his administration than any other president in U.S. history.

After stating that the Constitution does not allow the government to prevent the community center, they then attack the “they should be more sensitive” argument and asking some hard questions:

While some in our party have recently conceded the constitutional argument, they are now arguing that it is insensitive, intolerant and unacceptable to locate the center at the present location: “Just because they have the right to do so – does not make it the right thing to do” they say. Many of these individuals are objecting to the location as being too close to the Ground Zero site and voicing the understandable pain and anguish of the 9-11 families who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy. In expressing compassion and understanding for these families, we are asking ourselves the following: if two blocks is too close, is four blocks acceptable? or six blocks? or eight blocks? Does our party believe that one can only practice his/her religion in certain places within defined boundaries and away from the disapproving glances of some citizens? Should our party not be standing up and taking a leadership role– just like President Bush did after 9-11 – by making a clear distinction between Islam, one of the great three monotheistic faiths along with Judaism and Christianity, versus the terrorists who committed the atrocities on 9-11 and who are not only the true enemies of America but of Islam as well? President Bush struck the right balance in expressing sympathy for the families of the 9-11 victims while making it absolutely clear that the acts committed on 9-11 were not in the name of Islam. We are hoping that our party leaders can do the same now – especially at a time when it is greatly needed.

This is especially cogent since there is already a mosque 4 blocks from Ground Zero.

So, four blocks is okay but two are not.


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And one point they don’t bring up is how many disapproving people does there need to be to prevent the building of this community center? It sounds like some people feel that if even one person finds something insensitive, then it should not be done. Can legal things only been done when everyone finds them the right thing to do? How about if 60& think it is wrong? How about 40%? Just how much objection makes it insensitive?

It would be nice if the adults took some responsibility here instead of letting the screamers have center stage. Some of them look like they might be. The irony is that it is Muslim Republicans that are doing this.

14 thoughts on “Muslims who are better Republicans than many Republicans

  1. The measurements in blocks mean nothing since in the rest of the country, blocks are necessarily measured the same way they are in NY so people can be easily confused. I have heard it measured in feet which makes more sense. What really confuses me is why are they so insistent on building this close and upsetting a whole group of Americans, when they already have a mosque in the same vicinity? To us idiots out here in the boonies, that looks as if they want to shove it down our throats and that doesn’t sit well.
    If that makes me a childish screamer, so be it.

    1. They are two different sects. One is Shia and the other is Sufi. One is a very conservative mosque and the other is more spiritual. It is like saying why do the Lutherans need another church when there is a Baptist one nearby?

      The current Sufi mosque is about 12 blocks away from Ground Zero (about 3/4 of a mile). It is overcrowded and can no longer accept new worshippers. They started holding prayer services for the overflow at the Burlington Coat Factory a while ago. They now want to continue worshipping there, while they also do something for the community. Was there a large nationwide outcry when they were simply holding prayer services? I don’t remember that. Yet now that they have decided to also build a community center for the area they are being condemned.

      They have the opportunity to build something not just for themselves but for the whole community. There will be a 500 seat auditorium that is open to all. There will be a swimming pool. Built by the sorts of moderate Muslims that we keep asking for.

      Explain to me just how they are shoving anything down your throat? I see an expanding church, which can no longer provide room for its members, looking for a temporary place to worship and then having an opportunity to not only own the place they are in temporarily but also building something of value for the whole community, regardless of religion. A typical American story. One that should demonstrate the best of America. But because some people do not like their religion, this has become a divisive, national story driven by partisan politics.

  2. Some people don’t like them building so near ground that still may hold molecules of people who were killed by ones who claimed the same religion. This has less to do with religion and more to do with insensitiveness on their part. I am not defending, I am giving another point of view. And I don’t see where partisan politics come into it until you bring it up. I reject your view and substitute my own.

    1. But they have already been there for months, holding prayer meetings and breathing molecules. The point of view you submit is based on ignorance and only holds water if people believe that all Muslims follow the same faith in some sort of monolithic fashion, so that there are direct links between the Sunni Saudi Arabians who destroyed the Twin Towers and the Sufi New Yorkers wanting to build the community center. There is no evidence that is the case at all.It is like saying that Catholics and Baptists follow the same faith in some sort of monolithic fashion. I can apply similar’ logic’ to the Oklahoma bombings:

      Timothy McVeigh was raised a Roman Catholic and stated that he still followed its core beliefs. There is a Catholic Cathedral across the street – not blocks away but across the street – from the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the site where McVeigh killed 168 people. Why are they allowed to breath the same molecules of the people killed by someone who claimed the same religion? It might be a legal thing to do but is it the right thing to do?

      The connection between Sufi Americans and Sunni Saudis is even less clear; at least McVeigh was a Catholic. This viewpoint you bring up would be like saying there can not be a Methodist Church near the Memorial site because McVeigh was raised a Catholic. (And there is a Methodist Church across the street so I have that covered also). If someone had that viewpoint, we would know that it was an ignorant one.

      As for partisan politics, the whole issue of a local building decision becoming national has been a typical August ginned up controversy by the Republicans. I wrote a blog post dealing with attempts by some Republicans to make this a national issue for midterms. The only reason anyone knows anything about this at all – and most of what they do know is probably misinformed as the media has done a very bad job actually educating anybody – is because the GOP decided it was a good wedge issue.

  3. So Republicans are the bad guys and not entitled to point of view that you decide is ignorant and doesn’t hold water. Thanks. You seem to have a very simple point of view about most things—Progressives, right—Republicans, wrong. You do realize, don’t you, that there are Republicans who agree with you?

    1. The post we are talking about directly discusses Republicans who agree with me. So of course I know that there are Republicans that agree with me.

      How in the world does does demonstrating that the point of view you brought up is logically inconsistent, and that it based on a simplified view of a complex religion, translate into ‘Progressives, right—Republicans, wrong’?

      The point of view you brought up and that I discussed (i.e. breathing the same air molecules,… ) never mentioned politics at all. But, yes, it IS a viewpoint based more on ignorance than on knowledge – it is based on conflating different forms of Islam into one and is not logical; the same viewpoint could be used to prevent Catholics or Methodists from worshipping in Oklahoma. We would know it is an ignorant point of view if it was applied to Christianity as I tried to demonstrate.

    1. Well, free speech means that we have to allow and permit people to voice political opinions that we find not only wrong but disgusting or even hateful. Otherwise, then the politicians get to decide what is or is not correct political speech, which is a very slippery slope indeed.

      I may not like the political posturing of so many conservatives on this issue but they certainly have the right to be wrong. I would not like officials elected by the majority to hold legal sway over what can be said.

      I simply do not trust politicians with that right. It will eventually get abused. Even with a written Constitution, free political speech has been nibbled at the edges. You can now be prevented from directly making a political statement to a politician and instead can be shunted to “Free Speech Zones” miles away. So even with a written Constitution, politicians have decided that, while you are free to make any sort of political comment you want, they can prevent anyone from hearing you.

  4. I’m passionate about free speech but the limit is when what you say is so inflammatory that it endangers others.

    That’s why in Britain this advertisement would be a criminal offence of “incitement to cause racial hatred”. It goes beyond the pale and breaks the rules of civilised life.

    Mind you, I think the Islamic activists behind this are stupid and they demean their own beliefs by their provocation.

    1. Incitement to riot is also against the law here in the US and the makers of that ad you discuss are VERY cognizant of the law. While I agree with you that this sort of ad is beyond the pale for any sort of civil discourse, what exactly in it would hold up legally in Britain for incitement?

      They never tell anyone to commit any act of violence against any other person. They present all sorts of lies and misstatements but that is not incitement. They may make implications or provide dog whistles about violence but they know that if they came right out and said “Kill the muslims” they would be under arrest. They very obviously imply something should be done but their only direct invocation of violence in their speech is saying to “Kill the Ground Zero Mosque”

      Which I would believe any lawyer would claim is simply metaphorical because you can not kill a building. It is like a magic trick to make you think they said something that they can claim they really did not say.

      This is a very sophisticated ad which has been well vetted by very smart lawyers. It does not just get thrown together. It uses emotional advertising tricks and rhetoric to sway opinion (If I did not know they were lying, I would be pissed off also.) No wonder people think the mosque is being pushed down their throats.

      Which is why fear works so well. People will disengage their fore brain, not think things through and respond quickly in ways that are actually incorrect in reality but suits the purposes of the people creating the ad. We evolved to do that – make snap decisions under fearful pressure. You see a lion for the first time you had better make a rapid decision or you are food.

      I think that this ability – to make adaptive choices based on very little information – has helped put us where we are but it is also being misused by blaggards and cheats to push their own agenda, even as it hurts the rest of us.

  5. Excellent analysis.

    I think a British jury and/or judge would find that this ad goes too far. It is not, after all, just the defined meaning of words that create its message. It works on myriad and subtle levels, by association and through cultural and media triggers. The accumulation of them all takes it beyond reason to a point where it is likely to create violence, directly or indirectly.

    If I was the regulator/judge/jury I would say, you’re entitled to your point of view but you must accept some responsibility. You’re going too far. Clever evasion or semantics cannot excuse the effect your ad will have on those who see it. Its flashpoint is too low. It’s too dangerous on public safety grounds

  6. But, then, the Archbishop of Canterbury wanted to incorporate Sharia Law into British Law. And Muslims yelled and hollered at British troops coming home from war. SOMEBODY must have incited them.

  7. Both these stories are media hype, greeted with outrage and indignation by the British people, universally condemned. No chance!

  8. However, that doesn’t mean that they weren’t “incited”. Anyway, as far as I can see the whole thing is mute since it all started with a blast against Republicans. Now, it turns out, Democrats are against the mosque at Ground Zero, also. Howard Dean and Harry Reid have both come out against it being built in the Burlington Coat Factory building.
    Let us go back to arguing about the Oil Spill in the Gulf and which group of Scientists are correct!

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