Open Thread: Aug 17,2010

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Do you think President Obama should have gotten involved in the Mosque controversy two blocks away from Ground Zero? Do you think it should be built?


Comments [31]

MacLass_19's picture

It doesn't feel like 3000 miles away....

After reading this again, and after thinking about it all night, I have to say that I am far too emotionally invested in 9/11 to be impartial.

One of my closest friends was on American Flight 11, the first plane to hit the towers. I will never forget, forgive, or understand the brutality.

As a Christian, my inability to forgive has been devastating for me personally. I wish I could move on - but, I can't. I've prayed for the strength to forgive, it hasn't worked. I know that as long as I remain angry, the terrorists win. But, the entire question of Islamic fundamentalists, and a mosque being build so close to where, someone I loved dearly took his last breath....well, it just boils my blood. 

I've been told, a million times, I'm too emotional about this subject. Believe me, I wish that I could be more logical, reasonable, and understanding - but right now, I can't be.

Not2Taem's picture

It's what we do with our anger that shows our character.


I am sorry to hear that this such a difficult subject for you. My sister also has very strong response to the topic and still gets quite tense around the anniversary. I think we need to recognize that many people may still be in the anger stage of grieving. It is what we do with our anger that reveals our true character. The simple fact that you acknowledge that you are not able to be objective about this says a lot. Somehow I don't see you ever using that anger to deliberately hurt others.

A spirit honored in memory lives forever.

SMBrown's picture

I too have a personal

I too have a personal connection to that day, though perhaps not as deep.  A college friend's husband was killed.  Her response amazes and inspires me: she opposed the war in Afghanistan and she's fully in support of the cultural center.  And, she happens to be Jewish.  

These are not the Muslims responsible for the attacks--any more than you or I are the Christians responsible for the slaughter of innocent Muslims in Kosovo.  

You might be interested to read this, about Ted Olson whose wife was also killed that fateful day:

This guy is rapidly becoming my new hero!

MacLass_19's picture

Yes, many of us have our own

Yes, many of us have our own personal experiences that surround 9/11.  I suppose that we all deal with our pain, and sense of loss, in different ways. I'm not sure that there's a right, or wrong way. I'm not an expert when it comes to human emotions, and certainly no psychologist, I just know how I feel at this moment in time.

Thank you for sharing your story Mystics....I'm sorry for your loss. 


SMBrown's picture

Mega mea culpa

I'm appalled at what an insensitive OAF I can be sometimes--I am so sorry for YOUR loss.  

Thank you for sharing your struggles in such an honest way...and also for leading by example with your condolences to me.    

My sincere apologies for overlooking your pain in my initial reply to you...

Meffle's picture

Yes, I understand and I'm not say "No Mosque," however...

If we are saying that good, patriotic American muslims have a right to build their cultural center there, my question is why, as good patriotic American citizens, would they want to?

I'm very curious about this because it seems to me that all Americans -- especially NYers -- were deeply disturbed by 9/11.  I can only imagine if I were a member of a group so clearly identified with so heinous an act, I don't think I'd want an "In your face" reminder to my countrymen that some of my brethren lost their damn minds and took 4000 innocent lives and claimed it was the will of our shared God.

The argument has been put forth that there is a need for this Islamic center in lower Manhattan.  But the fact is, since 9/11 there is a surfeit of vacant properties in lower Manhattan.  Fraunces tavern is still vacant, for example, along with lots of stuff on the east side of lower Manhattan, far enough from GZ to not be an affront anyone.

For me this issue is not a question of rights.  Obviously this group has a right to use this site.  nor is it strictly a matter of intolerance. To me it's an issue of sensitivity to those who lost  loved ones, as well as the rest of us. Muslims are not the only ones whose feelings should be considered.

What I'd like to say to this particular Muslim group: Be a good patriotic American citizen.  Pick another site!

There's a thin line...still...

SMBrown's picture

I'm always wary of the use of

I'm always wary of the use of the term 'patriotic' because nationalism is too often a divisive tool, but if by patriotic you mean upholding the ideals this country was founded upon I think this IS a patriotic act.  It sends a powerful message to the idiots who did this and those that support them that America will not abandon its most precious values of freedom and tolerance.   These moderate Muslims did not choose this site with no concern for 9/11--they chose it specifically to symbolize how this nation overcomes such hatred.  Terrorism is more than the act of violence itself. It seeks to destroy the very fiber of people's daily lives by making them afraid--afraid of violence, and also of each other. 

I understand that for some people this is a big 'ask.'  To quote the Founding Fathers: Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Meffle's picture

Quoting the founding fathers... sometimes a little like quoting the Bible.  You can make it support just about any position if you try. 

I understand the "we will not be moved" point of view, but let's not let our national pride make us ignore a possible "in your face" attitude coming from the other side. 

We Americans have a right to have our national sensitivies considered as much as our multiculturalism.  The entire debate can be ended by this group moving less than a mile away.  Why wouldn't they do that in the recognition of our national sorrow and in the interest of keeping the peace? 

This is a two way street.

There's a thin line...still...

SMBrown's picture

Who is 'we Americans'?  And

Who is 'we Americans'?  And who is 'they'?

I, a Christian American, support the building of this center, as does Mayor Bloomberg, a Jewish American.

Meffle's picture

"We Americans" is..., me, that guy standing next to you.  Your religion has nothing whatsoever to do with this. Let me restate that RELIGION has nothing whatsoever to do with my argument.  I know muslims who don't support this location. 

There's a thin line...still...

SMBrown's picture

It's near-impossible to

It's near-impossible to un-hitch this from religion/ethnicity.  No one would object to a church.  Nor a temple.  Nor, apparently, a strip club.  There are more than a billion Muslims in the world, and 19 wackos did something heinous so now all Muslims must bear the burden of their insanity?  And what about sensitivity to the significance of 9/11 to Muslims?  To having their faith both defiled by the terrorists and suddenly reviled by many Americans?  They lost something too that day, and I think it was a beautiful idea to build this center as a symbol to the world of moving forward in peace.  Too bad many in the opposition (not you) have, in their xenophobia, completely missed the point. 

theStephy_Chicago's picture

Mosque Hoopla

We are a multi-cultural country. If we want freedom for ourselves, we MUST give freedom to everyone. Maybe I don't want to attend the Islamic Cultural Center, but there are American Citizens who do want to attend functions there, and will do so. Since this principle is so fundamental an American freedom, in my opinion President Obama MUST speak out against discrimnination of any kind.  That is his job.  He makes me proud of my country for the first time in years.  How on earth can we expect our rights if we are unwilling to respect the rights of others?


SMBrown's picture

Couldn't have said it better

Couldn't have said it better myself, theStephy.  I cannot comprehend how anyone who is gay and clamors for equality could not see that our rights are inextricably linked to the freedom of Muslims to practice their faith wherever they so choose.  

p.s. dig your avatar!

Meffle's picture

With rights come responsibilities.

Just as freedom of speech does not afford one the right to cry "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, any right come with at least a modicum of responsibility.

Do they have the right to build the cultural center on this site.  Yes, they most certainly do, but my question remains, given the controversy... and given the circumstances of the selection just recently come to light, why would they?

I am a minority's minority's minority.  I am a educated, fat, black, lesbian from NYC, so I know about rights and stereotypes and knee jerk reactions. But given the choice to, say live in one very nice, convenient neighorhood that is multicultural and another equally nice and convient neighborhood that is monocultural and not me friendly, particularly, guess where I'm going to live!

My question is not about their rights, but about their consideration or lack of same.

There's a thin line...still...

Grace Moon's picture

If the Islamic Ctr is NOT

If the Islamic Ctr is NOT built at GZ -- then I want every single Kebab and Falafle cart banned from Warren to Wall Street too.


Why are uneducated ideologues so dense they can't understand what the issues at stake are?

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Erika Davis's picture

Anyone else hungry?

I've got a hankerin' for street meat, Katz's pastrami, and fries with a giant iced coffee all of a sudden

Erika has spoken.
Now, go read my blog Smile

Julia Watson's picture

Word! And dammit. Now I'm

Word! And dammit. Now I'm hungry for something off of the Moshe's truck...

Tex's picture

Goldarnit! :-)

I want a dog off a Sbarro cart....or a Reuben from Katz's!

It's sooooo hot when all yous get riled up!

Twitter Time @kdhales

SMBrown's picture

Ditto on the falafel carts!

Ditto on the falafel carts!  

And while we're at it let's get rid of all the pizza joints, because HELLO, Mussolini was a fascist.

And sushi?  PULEEAZE!  Pearl Harbor, baby.

And on we go...

Grace Moon's picture

oh yeah

and all the beer gardens with that German sauerkraut and Kielbasa... the Holocaust, hello?

And what about the French Fry?! The french -- those socialist commie pinkos -- with the God damn social welfare and healthcare...


tweet tweet @gracemoon

Steph's picture

I was going to say it's nice

I was going to say it's nice to see that the Brits have not been included in the culinary cleansing but then I realised there probably aren't many roast beef and yorkshire pudding carts on the streets of NYC!!

toodlin's picture

Yorkshire pudding cart--I

Yorkshire pudding cart--I believe you have stumbled onto a new niche market!  

SMBrown's picture

Only if we can wash it down

Only if we can wash it down with a nice warm lager....

Tex's picture

Ooooooooo, Gracey!

You took the lord's name in vain! 


Shut down all the 'home cookin' joints too - the "American" fanatics are worse than them all!

Twitter Time @kdhales

Erika Davis's picture

YES!! and YESS!!

The whole "ground zero mosque" thing has me fired up!  I'm not going to rant because that's what I'll do on my personal blog sometime this week but definitely he should have gotten involved.  Like Robin said, it's his job to stand behind the constitution.  Has "all men are created equal" been lost on this country?

Oh wait, it has because I can't get married to my GF unless I move to a few, select states and Muslims are all of a sudden the devil and bible pushing christians are god...

On a non-ranting note I found this article on Huffington Post interesting.


Or to make everyone happy we should build a cultural center.  Right?  One giant building with an Islamic Floor, a Jewish Floor, a Christian Floor, a Buddhist Floor, a Taoist Floor, a Pagan Floor, an Amish Floor, a Quaker Floor, a Hindu Floor, an Athiest Floor...did I miss anyone?

Erika has spoken.
Now, go read my blog Smile

SMBrown's picture

Was it politically wise?  No.

Was it politically wise?  No.  Was it the morally right thing to do?  Absolutely!  And I hate to say it but George Bush would have said the same thing, and essentially did, after 9/11, reminding people that Islam is a peaceful faith.  It is the duty of the President to represent all of our people, and to remind us of the principles that America was founded on, and that Americans have shed blood for.  

I commend Mayor Bloomberg as well for taking the strong stand that he has especially in light of the ADL's hypocritical opposition to the cultural center.  First with the Palestinians and now this the ADL has demonstrated that it only supports minorities and the oppressed when it's convenient, and when it does not conflict with the state of Israel's interests.  I've lost all respect for it.

I am sickened, but not surprised, by the politicization of this issue by Republicans and the Tea Twits who have been screaming about the Constitution for months now but abandon it in an instant when those 'truths' challenge us to make difficult, sometimes painful decisions.  And every time we abandon those ideals terrorism wins. And every time we abandon rational discussion and start screaming at one another terrorism wins.  

buggleM's picture

a RESPECT for the families [of ground zero ]

my honest opinion it should not be push through the plan of building a mosque adjacent to ground zero, there is a good place ..... somewhere else but for the sake of our respect .Mr President should  have a respect  to the people's reaction and Im not talking about  the religion this is about a respect. PEACE  .....

BuggleM the dmd

Grace Moon's picture

This need not be pointed out,

This need not be pointed out, but I really can't help it on this site where we embrace diversity of all stripes.

Islam doesn't equal terrorism. The religion did not send 12 hijackers on a plane to the twin towers. Islam is not to blame, fundamentalism is.

Salam Alaykum


tweet tweet @gracemoon

minniesota's picture


Actually, it was Osbama bin Laden's organization, al-Qaeda, although the Taliban in Afghanistan gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda training camps.

EDIT: My comment was meant for ivrandafighter below.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Robin Rigby's picture

These asshats who are going

These asshats who are going on the tv & radio saying he's been unclear or changing his stance are just trying to stir up trouble. As Keeli said- he just defended their rights and that's as it should be. The president should defend the constitution. In fact, isn't that what he swears to do when he takes the oath of office?

Keeli M's picture


Muslims didn't attack WTC, the Taliban did.  If nothing else it's important to discuss and create clear distinction between the two.  The Prez's words were actually rather benign and defends freedom of religion in general.  I'm personally rather pleased that he spoke up.

blow up my ego @lvrandafighter