Democrats & Liberals Archives

Ground Zero Reconciliation

Ground Zero in New York is where Osama bin Laden slaughtered 3,000 people. Bin Laden does not think of himself as a terrorist, but as a Muslim instigating a war with Christians in order to make the world safe for Islam. From Bin Laden’s point of view the 9/11 atrocity was a huge success: Americans have been rendered ridiculously paranoid, so much so, that many are hysterically against the building of a peaceful Islamic house of worship near Ground Zero.

If the mosque site is not approved, it will be a surrender to Osama bin Laden in the first real battle in the war he wants to start between Christianity and Islam. He wants to have what's been called a "clash of civilizations."

But bin Laden is a rogue terrorist and murderer to real Muslims. There is no and will not be any "clash of civilizations" for the simple reason that Islam is considered by its adherents to be an extension of Judaism and Christianity. Muslims believe in one God, as do Jews and Christians. Muslims venerate all the prophets venerated by Jews and Christians; they add Muhammad and insist he is the last prophet.

The essence of all three religions is the same: the golden rule:

1. Jews - When asked to explain Judaism while standing on one foot, Rabbi Hillel said "Don't do unto others what you would not want them to do unto you."

2. Christians - The first commandment of Jusus was to love God, and his second was "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

3. Muslims - Muhammad said "None of you can be a believer unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."

Let's not judge all Muslims by the violence performed by some Muslims, just as we should not judge all Christians or Jews by the violence performed by some Christians or Jews. The best way we can fight terrorism is to welcome Muslims and work together with them to build a harmonious society. Fareed Zakaria, who returned a prize from the ADL because he feels so strongly about this, says about the Imam of the proposed mosque:

Zakaria says that the man behind the proposed Ground Zero Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, "has spent years trying to offer a liberal interpretation of Islam" and "argues that America is actually what an ideal Islamic society woud look like because it is peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic.

"His vision for Islam, in other words, is Osama Bin Laden's nightmare," Zakaria says.

9/11 tested America in a big way. We were attacked and we fought back. But by now, it should dawn on us that our approach is wrong. We're not getting anywhere. Worse, we're hurting ourselves. We fell into bin Laden's trap of endless war with Muslims. We're transgressing against our own principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

We must have the mosque built and we must make it an integral part of the Ground Zero awakening. We must use it as a form of reconciliation among all religions. Let's celebrate the mosque as a fine expression of American freedom.

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 9, 2010 5:19 PM
Comment #305492

Paul If you have heard the news today, those who want to build the mosque don’t even own all the property yet. Con edison still owns part of the property they want to build on.

Posted by: MAG at August 9, 2010 6:03 PM
Comment #305497


All good Muslim hate bin Laden. I accept that. All good Muslims reject terrorist violence. I accept that too. I accept that if a person supports bin Laden and does not reject terrorist violence he/she is not a good Muslim. That person would also not be a good Christian or Jew either.

I agree with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, “that America is actually what an ideal Islamic society would look like because it is peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic.”

I don’t accept that we are at war with Muslims. We are at war with terrorist, who as you point out have killed many more Muslims than anybody else, and we have more or less kicked their asses. That is why they are no longer the serious threat they were in 2001. That is why most of us have forgotten what it was like on 9/12, why it seems so far off. All good Muslims and all good Americans should be intolerant of terrorist violence.

Posted by: C&J at August 9, 2010 9:04 PM
Comment #305501

When we sing America is the ‘home of the brave’, we are not singing of the general American public, who have always been driven more by fear than bravery, and their are countless news events to demonstrate that fact.

Bravery is knowing the risks and going ahead with the right action, anyway. Our nation was founded on Religious freedom for all the world’s major religions which includes the Religion of Islam. To now react in fear to Islam in violation of our nation’s founding principles, because some small number of Muslims have violated their own religious tenets, is to react out of fear. There is literally no difference from radical Muslims calling for preventing any Christians into their neighborhoods because of the KKK and Aryan nation’s rhetoric and terrorist actions toward non-Christians.

America is the home of some very brave men and women. But, not all Americans can lay claim to belonging to this group. That is self-evident by the reaction of many to this issue of a religious group exercising their private constitutional rights to build a mosque and worship God and just living through their own religion.

The human psychology here is as old as the species. People fear what they don’t understand. Brave people act according to just principles even though they are afraid.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 9, 2010 9:21 PM
Comment #305509


While I agree with what you posted, you seemed to omit violence that isn’t classified by some as terroristic. Terrorism is a tactic. Is it more terrifying to have a suicide bomber blow up a bar, or launch a guided rocket into a wedding?

Posted by: gergle at August 9, 2010 11:57 PM
Comment #305550


Terrorism is the deliberate targeting of non-combatants with the intent of creating terror to further political goals. I understand that in the practical application there can be some disagreement. You could argue that bombing cities in World War II was terrorism, for example. When Al Qaeda terrorists blew up that wedding party in Jordan, it turned the population against them. Of course it is an old trick to characterize your enemy as terrorists but there is a distinctions. Some of the insurgents in Iraq, for example, were not terrorists, although they attacked military targets with tools used by terrorists.

A legitimate goal in war is to terrify your adversaries. One of the reasons for our victory in Western Iraq is that potential insurgents became terrified of the coalition forces. To put it in a nicer way, they developed a reasonable expectation that they would be killed if they committed violence against coalition forces.

But here the distinction is clear. There is a difference between behavior and status. They are targeted for what they are doing, not who they are.

So, IMO, it is a gray area, but not as gray as some people say. Al Qaeda is always a terrorist organization,for example. They don’t have a legitimate fighting division. They attack civilians targets and almost never attack armed troops.

There is also the obvious practical matter. If someone is trying to kill me, I am less concerned with what he calls himself and more concerned with stopping him. I take a very self-centered view that nobody in the world has any justification for killing me. I think most people feel this way, so much of it comes down to the power equation.

Posted by: C&J at August 10, 2010 9:48 PM
Comment #305555

One mentioned the facts that the person who purchased the property for over 4 million dollars was, in 1992, a waiter. They asked “Where did he get the money?” I think it’s a ligitimate question and shouldn’t be pooh poohed because of his religion. Follow the money. Trust but verify.

Another thought. The building is supposed to be 13 stories tall and that’s understandable in New York City. But with it’s status as a place of worship, it’s income won’t be subject to the same burdens the neighboring building is subjected to. This could make “following the money” very difficult. Given the tactic Muhammad used to gain access to Mecca, shouldn’t we be wary?

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 10, 2010 10:35 PM
Comment #305560

Since no one has added anything I would like to extend my remarks.

There are two different types of Islam. Even the followers of Muhammad are divided. One type is the Sunni and the other is the shi’ite.

Know thy enemy.

I think, from what I’ve read. The majority of the people of Islam follow the Sunni perspective. This is apparent by the large Sunni populations of the south east, middle east region of asia. Mostly peacefull countries.

The Shi’ite view is held by people mostly in Iran, with pockets of people in the neighboring countries around Iran. They also hold the minority view of who is the rightful successor to Muhammad.

In my view, the Shi’ite movement is the aggressor. But, I think Osama bin Laden is a Sunni?
(verification needed)

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 11, 2010 12:01 AM
Comment #305563


Terrorism is not the targeting of civilians anymore than carpet bombing is targeting of civilians. It is well known, for example that the Chinese embassy was targeted in the Bosnian war. It is likely that news agencies were targeted in Iraq. These were US targets. The wedding targeted in Afghanistan was supposedly a military target. Wikileaks has demonstrated that many of these tactics are lied about.

Destabilizing and terrifying an occupying force is the military objective of both sides. Terrorism is mostly a nonsense term with political overtones. We are good, they are evil. All war is terrorism. Insurgency or counterinsurgency are more appropriate terms. Smart counterinsurgency limits civilian casualties. Not all counterinsurgency is smart.

Enemies target vulnerable and tactical places. War isn’t about being nice. Politics isn’t about being nice. Winning politics and winning a long war IS about serving the population.

Posted by: gergle at August 11, 2010 1:31 AM
Comment #305566

Who’se population, gergle?

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 11, 2010 2:31 AM
Comment #305567

What population are you refering too, gergle?

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 11, 2010 2:51 AM
Comment #305568

Never mind, gergle. Your post is two hard to understand.

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 11, 2010 2:53 AM
Comment #305575


My point is that the term terrorist is a pejorative term with political purpose to minimalize the enemy.

Terrorism is a tactic of any war, carried out by both sides
(or as many conflicts are multi factional, all sides).

Posted by: gergle at August 11, 2010 10:04 AM
Comment #305577

For your information, the Bath Party in Iraq was a Sunni faction.

Bin Laden does align himsef with Sunni’s in Pakistan, as do the Taliban, but there have been cross alliances in the Afghan troubles.

The truth is most Muslims are peaceful. Tyrants co-opt the religion to suit their goals.

Posted by: gergle at August 11, 2010 10:14 AM
Comment #305578

Shock and Awe was a terrorist tactic, the moreso, in light of the premises for invasion of Iraq having had no factual basis whatsoever. You make a very strong and valid point about terrorizing the population of a country invaded as standard strategy and tactic of any invading force.

However, there is also a valid counterargument which postulates that effective terrorist tactics can have moral and ethical purpose if they serve to bring hostilities to a rapid close and minimize the casualties which would mount as a result of a protracted war.

For the U.S. to now engage in terrorist tactics such as drone attacks upon civilian villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan, after 9 years of engagement, fails the moral and ethical justification argument in my opinion. The time for such tactics was in the first years of invading Afghanistan, not a decade later.

Philosophically, there can be no moral justification for war by invasion of another nation to retaliate against a very small number of that nation’s population. None. NADA! 9/11 required an international criminal pursuit, not a declaration of war upon an entire nation of people who had nothing to do with 9/11’s attacks. The people of Afghanistan did not attack the U.S. A Saudi Arabian with a handful of thugs operating out of Afghanistan did. That is a fact that should never have been ignored by the U.S. government, as the Bush government did.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 11, 2010 10:23 AM
Comment #305616

The people of Iraq had nothing to do with 911 and that war could be considered an act of terrorism.

The majority of Muslims are peaceful but their religion is controlled by the conservative elements for the most part.

Posted by: jlw at August 11, 2010 4:48 PM
Comment #305626

I wonder how many Vietnamese who suffered the horrors of Napalm attacks were not terrorized…I wonder how many who watched their forrests and paddies shriveling up due to Agent Orange were immune to the terrors of what they were seeing…I wonder…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 11, 2010 7:26 PM
Comment #305649
George Washington, was to welcome “the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions,” notably Jews and Muslims. For centuries the land of Islam, from Cordoba to Baghdad, through Fes, Tlemcen, Bejaia, Constantine, Kairouan and Alexandria, has been the ultimate land of hospitality and refuge for all the oppressed and persecuted.

John Adams, declared that the Prophet of Islam was one of the greatest personalities of a humanity concerned with coexistence.

Thomas Jefferson, learned Arabic and claimed that he read the Quran. During his administration, he once organized the iftar to break the Ramadan fast at the White House.

Benjamin Franklin, studied Islam and the great texts of the Islamic culture. To express his respect for Islam and his dedication to coexistence, he invited the Mufti of Istanbul to come and introduce Islam to the Americans”.

The founders, drew on the values of the Muslim civilization, when they adopted our political system.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 11, 2010 11:43 PM
Comment #305696

The Imam who everyone on the right is so fearful of has been a part of the right…well, who’d a thunk it…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 12, 2010 5:49 PM
Comment #305729

Good heavens, dude, you just threw a bunch of people into a tailspin they may never recover from!
And to copy you……… “who’d a think it?”

Posted by: jane doe at August 12, 2010 10:27 PM
Comment #305730

Actually that should be thUnk it…..

Posted by: jane doe at August 12, 2010 10:29 PM
Comment #305735

jane doe,

That came from a sing-song poem I heard in upstate New York, back in ‘63. An old boy was shoeing a work horse in his barn and while he worked he sang, “Who’n hell ud ever a thunk it, the littlest girl had the biggest trunket”. That damned thing has never left my mind in all those years…who’d a thunk it?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 12, 2010 11:38 PM
Comment #305791

The Muslim cultural center would be a center of learning, recreation and reaching out to others according to the builders. Unless we can find something about these people that suggests they present a threat, the American way is to welcome their center. Bin Laden and other terrorists cannot take away our freedoms and everything that make us American. Only we can do that. It does not matter how we define terrorism or what the history of Islam is, although it is interesting. What matters is that we support what makes us American: the Constitution. Give up our Constitution because we’re angry or afraid is to give our enemies victory. Be slow to make decisions in times of fear and anger. See the following article: When a ‘Ground Zero mosque’ really is neither - What a difference two blocks makes - by Jean Marbella, The Baltimore Sun, August 14, 2010
Her perspective is quite useful.

Posted by: Hanky Panky at August 14, 2010 11:49 AM
Comment #305794

One of the fundamental tenets in right wing philosophy is that some Americans are inherently more American than are other Americans. Muslim Americans comprise one of several groups who are part of the latter subset of the Republican view of Americana, Progressives another, poor people another and people of color yet another.

Tea Baggie Klan folk and other conservative groups are adamant that there should be no mosque erected near Ground Zero — or anywhere else for that matter, because any symbol suggesting that most Muslims are peaceful, God-loving members of society conflicts with their attempt to portray Islam as a violent, malevolent cult bent on destroying all of Western civilization.

Civil rights and religious freedoms should never be subject to popular vote. If the Constitution, as it is written and amended, would not be ratified in America today.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2010 3:55 PM
Comment #305796

Excuse me…drop the ‘If’ in that last sentence.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2010 3:57 PM
Comment #306010

Paul Siegel, this is astute insight. Ho Chi Minh understood that the way to win over the Americans was to pit Americans against Americans in the U.S. He was successful in fueling that conflict to the point of American withdrawal from his country in total abdication of the war.

Bin Laden, a student of history, no doubt took a lesson from that page of history. I am pleased to say, however, that his implementation never achieved the same results. He won a lot of battles in America thanks to emotional reactionaries in the U.S., but, he has steadily been losing the war against the West, as evidenced by increasing cooperative business and diplomatic relations between the majority of Islamic nations and the Western nations. And he is still a person on the run without a state to call home. Ho Chi Minh had a home and never relinquished a square foot of it.

bin Laden is a student of history. But, a very poor one despite his family’s wealth. Half of history is learning the parallels. The other half is learning the differences. I give bin Laden a D in history.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 16, 2010 7:37 PM
Comment #306057

Has anyone noticed that the Republicans have really gotten exited and rallied around particular issues lately.

Issue 1: Mexicans

Issue 2: Foaming at the mouth dislike for the President.

Issue 3: Gays

Issue 4: Muslims


Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at August 17, 2010 1:34 PM
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