Fight Them All Together II: On Allahpundit’s questions

Citing the New York Post in a post at HotAir, Allahpundit discusses apparent links between Cordoba Initiative founder Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the “Gaza flotilla.”  As AP is creditably careful to note, the linkage at this point remains tenuous:  Rauf is a member of… a group that… made the single biggest contribution to… the group that… helped organize the flotilla which… included one ship on which… some passengers ambushed Israeli commandos.  

One might hope that, if and when Rauf seeks to explain himself, his political adversaries will apply the same rules of extenuation, attention to context, and open-mindedness that they demand when one of their own is under scrutiny.  As welcome as a clearer picture on Rauf might be, however, it would not bear directly on the piece of mine that AP linked and discussed.  My post was entitled “Fight Them All Together:  The Conservative Reaction to the ‘Ground Zero Mosque,'” and I provide the title in full to emphasize a point (not for the first time in recent days):  The piece was only secondarily about the “Ground Zero Mosque” – Cordoba House – at all.

AP provides his interpretation of my position as follows:

A few days ago, Greenroomer CK MacLeod accused the mosque’s critics of playing into jihadists’ hands by conflating radical Muslims with all Muslims. Why punish all members of the faith collectively by denying them a mosque near Ground Zero, asked CK, when it’s the Bin Ladenites who are culpable for bringing down the towers?

The first sentence summarizes one major theme of my post.  I say “one major theme” because I do not argue only that many Cordoba House critics have “play[ed] into the jihadists’ hands.”  As if that would set them apart from everyone else!  I’d like to think I’ve said much more damning things than that.

The emphases in AP’s second sentence also aren’t mine, but his rhetorical question does go to my central argument, whose basis should be obvious to anyone who does not favor collective judgment as a doctrine or policy – anyone who, for example, supports the Nuremberg approach of holding individuals responsible for what they have done as individuals, neither allowing them to hide within a collective (“I was only following orders”), nor holding them or anyone else responsible for things that others did “in their name.”  At that critical moment following the end of World War II, as victorious Americans sought both to exercise and to show themselves worthy of moral leadership on a global and historical scale, we rejected any species of moral collectivism because it conflicted with our traditions, precepts, and interests.  Put more simply, we rejected collective judgment because embracing it would have turned us into what we had fought against for so long, and had defeated at such great cost, and knew we were already facing again.

In recent days I’ve read confounding and dispiriting attempts, some from friends or possibly former friends, to reject that tradition by in effect denying that Muslims are included among those “created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  (And, no, I’m not concerned about, afraid of, or offended by Muslim pride in Ummayyad Cordoba – nor do I presume a right to judge.)  Much more frequently, I see expressions of opinion that imply such a view. 

I won’t provide a handy catalog of derogatory, intentionally blasphemous and offensive, calculatedly extreme remarks of the sort that are easy to search up at HotAir and allied sites.  (Others may prove less hesitant in this regard than I am.)  I’m not just saying that religious bigotry and lesser related offenses appear “permissible” under lax enforcement of whatever Terms of Service or, more charitably, a zealous commitment to freedom of speech.  I mean that such sentiments are common, while protests and counter-arguments are rare and weak, and, when offered at all, are more often energetically denounced than even meekly seconded.  I can’t imagine an average Muslim, or anyone sensitive to religious hatred and blasphemy, feeling comfortable on Islam-related discussion threads at many conservative sites.  What discussions are not taking place that could be – either because people are reluctant to speak up, or have long since moved on?  At what point does a failure to respond – and condemn – become tacit communal approval?

One reason for self-disfiguring and self-destructive insensitivity, aside from common xenophobia and ignorance – amplified by reaction to 9/11 and terrorism more generally, as of course intended – could be the insensitivity and aggressive stereotyping of Muslims practiced by opinion leaders, as represented, for instance, in the material I examined in “Fight Them All Together.”

Now having returned to the actual thesis of my prior post, we can also look at AP’s final question referencing “CK’s logic”:

If some imam decided he wanted to build a mosque on Ground Zero itself, at the foot of the never-to-be-completed Freedom Tower, shouldn’t we indulge him per CK’s logic? And if he decided he wanted to build it in the shape of an airplane — just to “reclaim the symbol” from the evil jihadists who attacked on 9/11, mind you — shouldn’t we indulge him that, too? At what point is it okay to question motives here?

I want to say “yes,” “yes,” and “for us, maybe never.”  We’ve become such irretrievably pathetic mockeries of what we pretend to be, we don’t deserve a Freedom Tower.  We qualify for a derisive burlesque in its place, and are in no position to question anyone else’s motives.

But I’d rather not believe that.

AP’s formulation does acknowledge what the convenient shorthand on this issue usually doesn’t.  Cordoba House is not really (planned to be) a “Ground Zero mosque.”  Even if we preserve the incessant and exclusive focus on the mosque, the mosque, the mosque, the actual location presents a difficulty for opponents – or should – in the form of a different question that once upon a time I would have presumed repugnant to an American patriot:  How far does the “Islamic worship exclusion zone” have to extend to be “OK” – maybe a mere yellow on the Outrage Scale?  (I’ve seen attempts to answer that.)

What I mainly have against AP’s three questions, however, is that they don’t have much to do with “CK’s logic” at all.  CK appealed, in passing, to a conventional sense of proportion about Cordoba House:  “You’re getting this excited about a 15-story building in Manhattan?”  CK can consistently apply the same man-on-Park-Place standard regarding absurd or exclusionary or absurdly exclusionary uses of the actual WTC site.  Additionally, following prior appeals to a conservative’s local preference, CK could consistently, and confidently, defer to the Manhattan Community Board and others if AP’s hypothetical ever came up.  CK’s screwy Islamophilia and unfair, unkind, condescending etc. up to evil, morally depraved, and treacherous judgments of good, solid conservatives don’t even enter the picture.

Nor does CK claim any copyright on the logic that tells him the following:  Those upset about any perceived absurd, insulting, or imprudent initiative – for their own sake, for the sake of those in whose name they’re arguing, for the sake of the larger community, and eventually for the sake of the political life of this country and for the sake of its particular aims and mission in the world – should consider how their words and actions are taken by those who are not already inclined to agree with them, and even by some who are or were.  They should consider how they themselves would like to be treated or would like to have their public representatives treated.  They should consider what their words and actions turn them into.

Peace be upon you.


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127 comments on “Fight Them All Together II: On Allahpundit’s questions

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  1. One avenue of analysis that I think is implicit, but so far (I confess, I haven’t read every comment carefully) unstated here at ZC, is this: Sacred Ground.

    This concept can rephrase some of what has been said in other terms.

    What is the nature of the sacredness of ground zero? How far does it extend into Manhattan? Does the nature of that sacredness allow for different radii of sacredness for different structures and activities?

    Then we can rephrase part of CK’s discussion as “Do we declare Islam as profane because of 9/11?”

    If so, wow.

  2. I’m far more afraid that we’ll miss the next Nidal Malik Hasan, and the next and the next than that Muslims will feel uncomfortable living in the US.

  3. @ bob:
    We’ve inched around that one – that 9/11 is being treated as the sacred re-founding of the national community, and that CH opponents are eager to exclude Muslims in declaring it. I’d like to hear Adam’s analysis on this.

    I realize that ecumenical observances of some sort will be included at the eventual memorial, but the exclusion zone re-voids the gesture. So, a further complication for the exclusionists would be the ghosts of Muslims who died on 9/11, other than the hijackers, condemned to haunt the environs eternally.

  4. @ CK MacLeod:
    There is no right to feel comfortable, and, more important, I believe Muslims are, in fact, perfectly comfortable here. This is a meme the Left set in motion long ago, right after 9/11–that there was or would imminently be a backlash against Muslims. It never happened. I can’t think of a single politician, not from the reddest region of the reddest state, that has campaigned, much less won, on an anti-Muslim platform. Can you? I know the Cordoba mosque is a more local issue, and I haven’t paid much attention to it–I lost interest in Ground Zero a while ago, once it became clear we weren’t going to do anything with it. But you are obviously trying to address a much larger issue here, about conservatives and “collective judgment” on Muslims. Whatever dangers lie here, they are much smaller, in my view, than our unwillingness to discuss, much less implement, international and domestic policies based on a sober assessment of the various circles radiating outward from the terrorists themselves, to their overt supporters, to tacit supporters, to those who lay low until support may be possible, to those who are afraid to openly dissociate themselves from Islamism, etc. We don’t even have a map of all this.

  5. I can’t think of a single politician, not from the reddest region of the reddest state, that has campaigned, much less won, on an anti-Muslim platform. Can you?

    We now have Rick Barber (see earlier post). We also have elements of rightwing political correctness that were arguably justifiable in their day – don’t dare mention what role U.S. policy had on the way to 9/11! – but that have become obstacles to a clear-eyed assessment, and the bases for self-destructive attacks on people like Rauf.

    I lost interest in Ground Zero a while ago, once it became clear we weren’t going to do anything with it.

    The main elements of the Liebeskind project are, last I checked, under construction. The smallest planned building project was canceled when JP Morgan pulled out and developers decided that Manhattan didn’t need that much more office space. Apparently being re-designed for alternative uses.

    We don’t even have a map of all this.

    I believe that Petraeus and others have numerous highly detailed maps and relatively highly nuanced strategies, rough drafted under Bush, for dividing and conquering – not, as our anti-jihadist jihadists have it, unifying against us. We’re all on those maps somewhere.

  6. @ CK MacLeod:
    Well, we’ll see about the Liebskind project. Is Ground Zero still a hole in the ground? I haven’t been there for a few years.

    I googled Rick Barber, since I didn’t know which of your earlier posts you referred to. Am I to understand that being against the Cordoba House mosque qualifies as “anti-Islamic” for you? If so, my bar is a bit higher–like suggesting taking away rights, or claiming that being a Muslim somehow disqualifies one as a citizen–or even calling for greater suspicion of individual Muslims.

    Petraus’s maps are for the war zones abroad. I’m referring to our expectations for Americans, and foreigners living here. How many American Muslim clerics, or Muslims more generally, think that Israel should be destroyed? That violence against apostates, or those who “insult” Islam, is acceptable (in general; under certain conditions)? Of course, they have a right to believe any of this, but we have an equal right to openly discuss what it means–or first of all, to even try and find out. If the President and other public figures are going to meet with imams or speak before Muslim audiences, whom, exactly, are they legitimating as exemplary Muslim American citizens and institutions? What kind of public discussion has been directed toward these questions–how much could be directed before the charges of “Islamophobia” start?

  7. @ adam:
    Adam, if you click on the GR post of mine (a composite of ZC posts) linked in the initial Allahpundit excerpt, you will quickly find the Barber video, along with discussion on point. I have to run an errand now anyway. So perhaps we can continue this discussion after you’ve had a chance to review the relevant materials.

  8. @ CK MacLeod:
    I’ve reviewed the relevant materials. To get started: in your post, the only player to evade withering critical scrutiny are the Cordobans themselves, whose amazingly empty blather about “tolerance” and “dialogue” is accepted at face value–while they nevertheless seem remarkably unconcerned about the concerns of others, being quite willing to jump on board with the demonization of their opponents as “like Nazis.” I’ll withhold judgment until I have some clue as to whether they believe Jews have a right to live as free men and women in the “Muslim World.”

  9. adam wrote:

    the only player to evade withering critical scrutiny are the Cordobans themselves,

    Who propose to put up a building, if they can put together financing. Merely. In the US of A. Possibly with a view of the Statue of Liberty, someday in the shadow of the Freedom Tower. Or should we write “Freedom” Tower?

    The critical scrutiny of them has been handled by others, before I got interested – otherwise I would have lacked anyone to wither.

  10. I’ll withhold judgment until I have some clue as to whether they believe Jews have a right to live as free men and women in the “Muslim World.”

    The Muslims’s don’t even have that right in the Muslim World.

  11. I’m trying to avoid (further) sarcasm here, so I’ll just say the boring thing: Since when do we treat people here according to our assessment of the injustice of whatever regimes they left behind?

  12. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Good point–should Muslim Americans interested in building bridges, etc., have something to say about that as well?

    In principle, though, I believe that Muslims would say that Muslims in the Middle East have the right to live freely as Muslims.

  13. @ CK MacLeod:
    For those who wish to alert others to and protest this building, the question of their intentions is paramount. Their website, in my view, offers no reassurances in that regard. Legally, they have a right to build (I’m guessing)–I’m not in favor of changing or ignoring the law. Politically, I think those who see this as a hostile act have very good grounds for doing so.

  14. @ CK MacLeod:
    Please don’t avoid sarcasm on my account. We treat people who claim to wish to establish dialogue in terms of the bona fides they put forth as potential partners in dialogue. What they think about the Muslim world, in the name of which they proffer themselves as dialogue partners, is extremely relevant in this connection.

  15. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    I’ll withhold judgment until I have some clue as to whether they believe Jews have a right to live as free men and women in the “Muslim World.”
    The Muslims’s don’t even have that right in the Muslim World.

    so then everything’ll be fair. we’ll strip the freedom from our citizens to make sure that Muslim’s don’t get any of it. !!!

  16. adam wrote:

    What they think about the Muslim world, in the name of which they proffer themselves as dialogue partners, is extremely relevant in this connection.

    I don’t buy that for a second. No one asking for a building permit gets his mind read by someone x-hundred or -thousand miles away for correct thinking. Whether you want to have dialogue with the owners or occupants of that building is 100% up to you. In the meantime, they’re not obligated to give a flying fig what you or anyone else thinks of their thoughts or of what you think their thoughts are or might be or might have been. The locals made their decision. It’s a heavy burden on opponents to explain why that decision is wrong.

    Now, Rauf et al may decide that the opposition is too strong. They may have trouble getting funding. They may have to put off their opening for a month, a year, or a decade.

    None of that makes it good for opponents of the CH to turn whatever “victory” they achieve over the CH into a victory for the worst in us.

  17. adam wrote:

    Politically, I think those who see this as a hostile act have very good grounds for doing so.

    You think maybe we should look for some of those ABMs we junked? Maybe they could be converted into Anti-Building Missiles to defend us from the barrage of bricks and windows coming our way.

  18. “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s a duck” If it’s sponsored by overseas Salafi, rationalized by loony pacifists, it’s likely to be no good

  19. @ CK MacLeod:
    I think your argument fizzles out as you proceed here. The mosque didn’t just ask for a building permit–they want to make a point. They have said what their point is, but no one is obliged to take their claims at face value. They wanted their dialogue–now they have it. If the opposition forces them to either offer a credible account of what they mean by “dialogue” or demonstrate that they have no idea, and that something else is involved here altogether, I would consider that a significant victory, one that goes some way to restoring what is best in us.

  20. @ CK MacLeod:
    Glad to see your sarcasm intact. If our struggle involves a significant ideological/ propaganda component, so does theirs–if we’re really fighting we should give no ground on any front–always using the proper weapon of course (i.e., propaganda against propaganda, etc.)

  21. By the way, regarding Barber–I would strongly encourage him (and encourage others to encourage him) to clarify who, exactly, he takes to be the enemy. He can certainly be read as suggesting that the enemy is all Muslims, all the time. I doubt very much he wishes to say that, but he should leave no doubt here. I think the question is pretty simple, and that Bush had it right from the beginning–you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists. If we had stuck with that we’d have a pretty well developed sense of how to apply the maxim by now–as it is, we have no shared way of speaking about who is “with” anyone else. If Barber and others want to restart that process of thinking, that’s fine with me, and the whole question of collective judgment is a red herring–there are plenty of Muslim institutions and organizations through which Muslims associate themselves collectively, and we can see pretty easily who each of these organizations and institutions is “with,” drawing the appropriate conclusions.

  22. The problem is, and that silly piece by Mishra, confirms it, it becomes almost impossible to criticize Islam’s chiliastic, nihlist, chauvinist character even by the likes of Hirsi Ali, or Ishad Manji, because they
    among all the religions benefit from the pretense of infallibility, hence
    Iran can be chair of the Human Rights Council, Israel is the eternal
    scapegoat, et et, Btw, one of the leaders of Al Shabaab is a half Syrian born Alabaman

  23. adam wrote:

    If the opposition forces them to either offer a credible account of what they mean by “dialogue” or demonstrate that they have no idea, and that something else is involved here altogether, I would consider that a significant victory, one that goes some way to restoring what is best in us.

    If you think the important thing is to “win the dialogue,” then having the leading voices on your side resorting to bigotry, demagogy, and the basic presumptions of American constitutionalism to make their point is a very poor way to proceed – except in a nation committed to bigotry.

    I thought we were just having this discussion and reaching agreement. If Muslims (communists, atheists, Episcopalians, conservatives, et al) aren’t free to be wrong, if they are wrong, then no one can reach right. Every participant in the conversation is entitled to a presumption of good faith, which continues even through the recitation of points you disagree with – e.g., that their critics are behaving like Nazis. Let the marketplace of ideas set the value for society. In the meantime shrieking, as some opponents have, about the “mosque” and the Muslims devalues whatever else they might want to sell.

  24. One is not supposed to call attention to the frankly antithetical nature
    of this Mosque, spearheaded by exactly this crew, just like one is not
    to call attention, to the Palestinians deliberate murder of women and children, or the radical associations of Obama, but they can call us Jews Nazis, tea party goers, terrorists, Gitmo terrorists, misundestood
    shepherds

  25. @ CK MacLeod:
    Obviously I’m questioning whether one side is resorting to bigotry, demagoguery, etc.

    I thought we were just having this discussion and reaching agreement

    .

    I’m not sure what you mean here–did I come in and upset some emergent consensus?

    Anyway, it seems hard to call for good faith when making these kinds of charges yourself. By all means let the discussion play itself out–we don’t even have to presume good faith–I, and I’m sure others, would be glad to respond to anything the Cordobans come up with, even though their slick and evasive website makes me virtually certain that it won’t be much. The problem here seems to me to be that you’d like to set the rules for that dialogue, but why should anyone follow them?

  26. @ adam:
    As for agreement, I’m referring to the “rights from God” discussion and the presumptions of a civil discourse. For some reason it sticks in your craw that someone somehow associated with the CI said something about someone’s Nazi-like tactics. Since I don’t know who, what, where, when, or why, it makes little impression on me. I know that I myself have been subjected to every form of personal and political and personal-political attack for doubting the anti-“mosque” arguments. I have seen – and could catalog if I must – the most crass imaginable statements about Islam and Muslims as a class made on a regular basis on threads relating to this and other issues at HotAir, Pajamas, Daily Caller, etc., and the whole point of the first “Fight them all together” piece was to demonstrate how people from Barber to the Conservative blogger of the year 2007 to a leading “polite” conservative were basing their rhetoric on emotionalist and otherwise forced and one-sided indictments of Islam as a whole.

    And the problem is that I’m “setting” the rules? I’m calling ’em as I see ’em.

  27. @ CK MacLeod:

    As for agreement, I’m referring to the “rights from God” discussion and the presumptions of a civil discourse.

    Thanks for the clarification (I don’t know how I could have guessed that was the reference). My own suggestion that we inquire into their views on the rights of Jews in Muslim countries, in the interest of testing them as dialogue partners, made that very same assumption.

    For some reason it sticks in your craw that someone somehow associated with the CI said something about someone’s Nazi-like tactics. Since I don’t know who, what, where, when, or why, it makes little impression on me.

    I took this from the website–it was actually a quote from Scott Springer, a NYC official. What impressed me was their willingness to use this remark from a (presumably liberal or leftist) supporter to demonize their opponents, rather than trying to engage those opponents. For me, that’s a marker of the sincerity regarding their claim to seek dialogue. I’ve been called plenty of things as well and it doesn’t bother me–that’s also part of dialogue.

    I have seen – and could catalog if I must – the most crass imaginable statements about Islam and Muslims as a class made on a regular basis on threads relating to this and other issues at HotAir, Pajamas, Daily Caller, etc., and the whole point of the first “Fight them all together” piece was to demonstrate how people from Barber to the Conservative blogger of the year 2007 to a leading “polite” conservative were basing their rhetoric on emotionalist and otherwise forced and one-sided indictments of Islam as a whole.

    Fine, but in the end, the suspicions about the Cordoba project are completely justified, even if they could have been expressed more “liberally” (in the broader, non-partisan sense of “liberal”). To me, it looks like you are using the bigoted, etc. expressions to smear the opposition to the mosque, rather than trying to refine that opposition so it might stimulate the dialogue the Cordobans say they want.

    “Setting the rules” is actually a bad way of getting at what I mean here–a sense of rules, of how to speak about these matters, is probably exactly what we need (even if we could only arrive at such rules gradually and collaboratively). It seems to me that you are focusing on the how as a way to discredit the what (the argument against the mosque–or, more precisely, the attempt to expose the CI as deceptive and very likely far more Islamist than it lets on; or, even more precisely, the attempt to get the CI to show that it isn’t, if it can.)

  28. We have pointed out, how the Muslim Brotherhood, the Perdana movement (an umbrella of far left, Islamist, nationalists) are fronting
    al Rauf and the Cordoba Mosque, which would seem to be a reasonable
    affront to those victims of 9/11, even more than the Crescent shaped
    monument to Flight 93, We have seen conversely a full court press to demonize Israel’s very existence, not unlikely what they would probably
    inflict on the US, if we pushed for a more assertive foreign policy

  29. Fine, but in the end, the suspicions about the Cordoba project are completely justified, even if they could have been expressed more “liberally” (in the broader, non-partisan sense of “liberal”).

    Assumes facts way not in evidence, and depends on the general term “suspicions”: I’ve seen everything from suspicions that they really don’t like non-Muslims very much to suspicions that they’re planning on indoctrinating and sending out suicide bombers. So, what suspicions are you talking about?

    I’m not responsible or, for purposes of this discussion, greatly interested in the “Cordobans”‘ “good faith interest in dialogue,” though it might give the opponents something to talk about that wasn’t based on prejudice and collective guilt, or built on character assassination and guilt by association (the prosecutorial version of collective guilt, of course). As a matter of fact, I don’t think an abstract judgment like the one you’ve offered – based on an item on their web site that quotes someone else’s statement! – should bear at all on their right to build a building in NYC, so long as it doesn’t violate community standards, which we have two decisions by the community board, as well as OKs from higher officials, expressing.

    Again, if the CI screws up, they should and will pay a price. It doesn’t have anything to do with “religion that killed 2,996 people” and “conquer America” and “looming horror” and “Islime” and “I hate Muslims” and “in the name of” logic, all fully in evidence long before some dude may have called the Islimers Nazi-like, and all obviously unrelated to anything else the Cordobans have said or done lately. It’s beneath the dignity of a free man or woman to call anyone, Osama Bin Laden included, “Islime,” regardless of who Rauf “really” is, and the right should acknowledge it.

  30. @ OhioCoastie:
    I’ve said my piece, and said it again, and said it again again. My current intention is to review the thread some time, and see if there’s anything worth responding to in it. That could change, but an invitation from you I don’t find very interesting as compared to taking care of some business and conversing with the regulars here as time allows.

  31. narciso wrote:

    We have pointed out, how the Muslim Brotherhood, the Perdana movement (an umbrella of far left, Islamist, nationalists) are fronting
    al Rauf and the Cordoba Mosque, which would seem to be a reasonable
    affront to those victims of 9/11, even more than the Crescent shaped
    monument to Flight 93, We have seen conversely a full court press to demonize Israel’s very existence, not unlikely what they would probably
    inflict on the US, if we pushed for a more assertive foreign policy

    I think you’re suggesting that Rauf is fronting the Muslim Brotherhood, which is not Al Qaeda, nor was it involved in 9/11. Ditto for the Perdana Movement. Ditto for the vast majority even of “Islamists” in the world, among whose number by at least one reasonable application of the term we might have to include the governments of the Islamic republics of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as numerous other U.S. allies. Even a creature like Mahathir bin Mohamad is not a declared enemy of the United States or a threat to us – though he’s certainly a critic.

    Your rather encyclopedic knowledge sometimes leads you to think and express yourself associatively, sometimes with impressive results. In this particular discussion, it’s a problem – because it leads you over and over to do exactly what it is I’m criticizing the anti-Rauf people of doing. The above-quoted paragraph is an almost pure example of guilt by association, to an absurd extent. Now the “crescent-shaped” memorial relates to this? Please.

  32. The Ilkwan Muslimiya is very much the wellspring behind Gamaa Islamiya, which composed a good portion of AQ’s original structure
    (Zawahiri, Mohammed Makkawi,the late Mohammed Atef, Hamza Rabia,
    as well Quaradawi, who blessed suicide bombers in Iraq, but not in his home base in Qatar, which still kept him on speaking terms with then
    London mayor Livingstone, the Algeria FIS, the Indonesia Jemaa. the sources of the AKP of Erdogan, the Wahhabi tribesmen of the Nejd,
    CAIR, well you get the gist

  33. @ narciso:
    I get the gist – more guilt by association based on suppositional and even more indirect guilt by association.

    You think the people we cut deals with in Iraq and Afghanistan had better resumes? Not talking about Rauf, who, unsurprisingly to me, has apparently had contact of some type with such people – I’m talking about the Brotherhood and all of the rest. We’re never going to kill all of them or isolate and imprison everyone who ever was a member of or sympathized with the Muslim Brotherhood. Unless you’re planning a genocidal war to the death and the forced conversion of survivors, there are an awful lot of people who currently feel a lot more kinship with the Muslim Brotherhood than with the Republican Party whom we’re going to have get along with.

    There’s an argument – I don’t know enough about Rauf to offer it as more than speculation – that the mediation of Sufis and others in relatively or completely non-bellicose schools of Islam is exactly what we need. People like Sistani – who, when he’s all by himself, may not like us any more than he likes his own “fundamentalists.” Just a few months ago, we were staking hopes in an Iranian revolution led by former leading members of the Iranian government and upper religious circles under Khomeini.

    We tend to see things strictly through our own eyes, hardly pausing to consider how we’re seen by and what we’re asking of people who come from very different places. To give another example, we have a tendency to view Shariah as though it’s a single uniform tradition that equates with hanging homosexuals from construction cranes and chopping people’s hands off. Shariah is a much broader phenomenon than that, with a range of discrete schools of interpretation. We focus on the luridly fundamentalist interpretations practiced by people with the express intent of returning to the 7th Century. We hardly ever recognize that for a resident of a 3rd or 4th world country who’s never known anything but the arbitrary rule of tyrants and imperialists, and who associates modernity with the massive disruption of settled village lifestyles and destruction of kinship and tribal relations, even the 7th Century is a vast improvement.

    It’s not perversity that leads people to the Taliban or to Khomeinism or the MB. That doesn’t obligate us to tolerate any particular action of Taliban or Khomeinist or MB-influenced governments or non-state actors, but it may obligate us – unless our only answer is death and destruction virtually without end – to do exactly what rightwing political correctness prevents us from doing: understand and divide the opposition. It’s how we originally “won” in Afghanistan. It’s how we eventually “won” in Iraq. And it’s how we’ll have to conduct ourselves, and better, going forward if we hope to keep all of our victories from turning into ever worse defeats.

  34. We’re not talking about supporting local tribal leaders, who may have been prompted to take up arms against the US, till they found the Salafi were much more trouble than they were worth. It’s actually
    quite the reverse, we are allowing those who would bring Chiliastic
    Islam to crowd out the moderates, why is that so hard to understand

  35. @ narciso:
    It’s not hard to understand, it’s just very, very far from proved. A list of names and associations is nothing. And “we” aren’t doing anything – we’re at worst letting the marketplace absorb this particular. If the nameless moderates are so weak that someone putting up a cultural center in Manhattan is going to destroy them, then we should stop worrying about them altogether, but I don’t accept that theory either.

  36. @ CK MacLeod:

    Fine, but in the end, the suspicions about the Cordoba project are completely justified, even if they could have been expressed more “liberally” (in the broader, non-partisan sense of “liberal”).

    Assumes facts way not in evidence, and depends on the general term “suspicions”: I’ve seen everything from suspicions that they really don’t like non-Muslims very much to suspicions that they’re planning on indoctrinating and sending out suicide bombers. So, what suspicions are you talking about?

    I suspect they want to trumpet to Muslims throughout the world the conquest of Muslim space on the site of the 9/11 attacks. That’s enough for me to support keeping a very close eye on this, dissecting the propaganda they produce, and monitoring what they say to Muslims throughout the world.

    I’m not responsible or, for purposes of this discussion, greatly interested in the “Cordobans”‘ “good faith interest in dialogue,” though it might give the opponents something to talk about that wasn’t based on prejudice and collective guilt, or built on character assassination and guilt by association (the prosecutorial version of collective guilt, of course). As a matter of fact, I don’t think an abstract judgment like the one you’ve offered – based on an item on their web site that quotes someone else’s statement! – should bear at all on their right to build a building in NYC, so long as it doesn’t violate community standards, which we have two decisions by the community board, as well as OKs from higher officials, expressing.

    We clearly disagree about the purposes of this discussion which is, for me, to get a clear sense of whether there are good grounds to oppose the CI. The purpose for you seem to be to condemn a particular type of rhetoric, but part of what I’m saying is that the ways of criticizing Islam and Muslims you are opposing result from the lack of any sustained, honest discussion about these issues–and that lack derives from the fear of being tarred a racist, Islamophobe, etc. The question isn’t the narrow one of whether they have a legal right to build–clearly they do, and the people against them also have a right to say whatever they want about it. So far, not very interesting–what’s interesting is what we think should be said about it. I’m willing to agree that “Islime” isn’t one of those things, but your notion of avoiding “collective judgment” obviously wants to exclude a lot more than the obvious slurs. I want to give the opponents something else to talk about–you certainly don’t.

    And my judgment isn’t based on an “item” on their website, but on a reading of the website as a whole. This group has very deliberately thrust itself into our collective consciousness, and yet they have nothing to say–they want to build bridges, but don’t say why we are at odds in the first place; they claim to want dialogue but don’t say what they want to talk about–they have no diagnosis, no prescription. And yet they want to place themselves at the center–why? I’m interested in the possibility of genuine reciprocity here–of Muslims, Christians, Jews, secularists (and everyone else) addressing each other without presumptions of superiority or grievance. In the long run that’s more important than the endless simulated civil war game in which some Americans show themselves to be more enlightened and tolerant than other Americans, with the “other” serving as a mere background.

  37. So the new recruits for Al Sahaab were devotees of Anwar Aulaqi, one of those who tried to explain September 11th to us, while priming the
    next cadre of jihadists, that was right around the time he was first
    contacting Major Hassan, I’m sure those are just coincidences as yoy say

  38. @ narciso:
    never used the word “coincidences,” so I don’t know who the “you” is that’s supposed to be “saying” anything. And all of that has what specifically to do with Rauf, or is it just more Neo-McCarthyism?

  39. adam wrote:

    And my judgment isn’t based on an “item” on their website, but on a reading of the website as a whole. This group has very deliberately thrust itself into our collective consciousness, and yet they have nothing to say–they want to build bridges, but don’t say why we are at odds in the first place; they claim to want dialogue but don’t say what they want to talk about–they have no diagnosis, no prescription. And yet they want to place themselves at the center–why?

    Maybe to advance, providing one of many settings for, the dialogue that you accuse them of not seeking to advance.

    It seems obvious to me that the notion of an equal voice for an Islamic-friendly point of view is threatening to those who find such a point of view impermissible. The mere claim that the “other side” might have a point of any kind is treated as a danger and a symbol of “conquest.”

    Because I don’t, in fact, think the CH on its own terms should be judged a threat or even as more than potentially significant – and more likely a positive than a negative if so – I focus on the things that I feel more certain are significant, especially the embrace of a xenophobic, ignorant, un-American, counterproductive, and inestimably dangerous politicization of religion across the conservative right, including from people I would have expected to be immune or at least healthily resistant to such pathologies.

    We may indeed need a public discussion of comparative religion, especially when a popular rightwing blogger and self-appointed leader of the “anti-mosque” forces (the appropriateness of that appellation should already tell you, though apparently it doesn’t, how odious this whole line of discussion is) calls for to her-offensive passages in the Koran to be “expunged” for implicitly all use in the United States. (That’s whose side you’re on.) Unfortunately, and this is why the deep American preference is to declare such discussion with any view to policy off-limits, we always and inevitably enter into such discussion deeply self-interested and generally incapable of being fair to the “other.” For that reason, politicized religious disputes have been the source for history’s most destructive wars and revolutions, and the basis of the most tyrannical and inhuman governments. We once understood this very well.

    More on this later, time permitting.

  40. @ CK MacLeod:

    Because I don’t, in fact, think the CH on its own terms should be judged a threat or even as more than potentially significant – and more likely a positive than a negative if so – I focus on the things that I feel more certain are significant, especially the embrace of a xenophobic, ignorant, un-American, counterproductive, and inestimably dangerous politicization of religion across the conservative right, including from people I would have expected to be immune or at least healthily resistant to such pathologies.

    Because I am focused on whether there is an Islam that can unambiguously affirm basic human and civil rights I am concerned with a different set of pathologies, that seem to me more of a hindrance to reasonable discussion than the “politicization of religion.” More precisely: victimary thinking, and it’s complement, White Guilt.

    when a popular rightwing blogger and self-appointed leader of the “anti-mosque” forces (the appropriateness of that appellation should already tell you, though apparently it doesn’t, how odious this whole line of discussion is) calls for to her-offensive passages in the Koran to be “expunged” for implicitly all use in the United States.

    Malkin?

    we always and inevitably enter into such discussion deeply self-interested and generally incapable of being fair to the “other.”

    In this case, being fair to the other will mean taking what they say seriously and being clear about our own expectations. To take one example, I have no interest in dialogue with those who can’t unambiguously acknowledge the rights of Jews, or “apostates” (first of all to be free of violence). I understand we need to deal with states that fall below these norms, but when it comes to cultural dialogue, I have not patience for obfuscation on these issues. And the less patience we have collectively, the better dialogue will proceed–even if it proceeds to a recognition of irreconciliable differences.

  41. @ adam:

    when a popular rightwing blogger and self-appointed leader of the “anti-mosque” forces (the appropriateness of that appellation should already tell you, though apparently it doesn’t, how odious this whole line of discussion is) calls for to her-offensive passages in the Koran to be “expunged” for implicitly all use in the United States.

    Malkin?

    Never mind, you must mean Pam Geller.

    (That’s whose side you’re on.)

    I must be on so many people’s side in so many ways and against the same people in other ways that there’s no point trying to keep track. You are participating in the construction of an “anti-Muslim” or (not your word but a very common one, at least in the academy) “Islamophobic” position that can be placed beyond some boundary of civil discourse. Who will then decide what counts as “anti-Muslim”? According to the rules existing now, the most enterprising victimologists. Islam is not sacred–it can be questioned and criticized in whatever terms those critics like. If there are then compelling examples of Islams that counter the representations of those critics, by all means let them be put forward. To return to my theme, that would be what one might think the Cordobans would do in establishing their 9/11 mosque. They seem to show little interest in such an approach. Perhaps the opposition will lead them to consider something along those lines. Such a discussion has been strongly and effectively discouraged thus far–hopefully in vain, as we will need to have it sooner or later.

  42. This is an explicitly Salafi enterprise, backed by people who doesn’t
    care about coexistence, but submission, that is quite clear. Now if we can’t call something by it’s true name, for fear of what you might call
    ‘green baiting’ since red baiting is so 1991, then it becomes very hard
    to discern useful enterprises

  43. adam wrote:

    Islam is not sacred–it can be questioned and criticized in whatever terms those critics like. If there are then compelling examples of Islams that counter the representations of those critics, by all means let them be put forward.

    To the contrary, Islam is “sacred” to believers. Just as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., are sacred to adherents, and different elements to different sub-groups within each religion.

    In our public discourse, we can criticize religions, but in any political context – any discussion carried forward with a view to political action – that criticism inevitably, inherently will be conducted according to partial (in both senses of the term) and provisional representations that will be alien and taken rightly as implicitly hostile to some or all of those most directly concerned. A philosophical consideration of the meaning of Islam might be undertaken in “academic time” or “scholarly time,” though even in that context it would be subject to distortion and misunderstanding, but is virtually impossible in “political time,” even in those instances where the setting for such a discussion isn’t super-charged by events and clashing interests. For that reason, as proven through long and inexpressibly ugly history – much of if the Western history that the anti-Islamists wish to privilege as intrinsically superior to, say, Ummayad Cordoba – a politicization of religious belief is completely contraindicated in a liberal democracy. It is, immediately and inherently, in itself, the termination of liberal democracy.

    The Cordoba House presents itself as a gesture of de-politicization – equal and non-pre-judged entry into the social-political sphere – not Ground Zero, but, through disavowal and negation of the terrorists’ intentions and actions, a return to square zero.

    Doubting (or claiming to doubt) the honest intentions and good faith of the Cordoba Initiative, the opponents claim justification for negating that gesture and putting in its place an escalated, intensified, and broadly expanded (Geller et al) politicization. If religion can and should be politicized, then in a free society the Cordobans would have every right to pursue a religious-political agenda. And we can all look forward to a post-modern resumption of the great religious wars, perhaps with new model armies for secularists, non-Abrahamic, and who knows how many other sects and coalitions.

    If religion shouldn’t be politicized, then the opponents should respond with de-politicizing gestures of their own. Because, however, that would apparently require them to accept the heinous Muslim presence in sight of the sacred site, at time of the ritual marking of the site – preferably as a declared Muslim-free or Muslim-subordinating sacred ground – they refuse, and proceed to sketch out in word and deed their favored setting, one in which all claims against Islam go un-answered by those who authentically sympathize with Islam, because anyone speaking on behalf of Islam has already been marked by the prior exclusion as defective and deficient, and therefore disqualified.

    The more knowledgeable and authentically representative of Islam, the more clearly disqualified, under this formula. Every proof that the speaker is qualified will be written into the great book of anti-Islamic judgment as a suspect and disqualifying connection. Only people who know nothing or know only the wrong things about Islam, who have been cast out or have cast themselves out of the community, or who have shown sufficient “dhimmitude” within the counter-Sharia of anti-Islam, will be allowed to speak.

    You can’t converse with someone who is required to remain absent. You can’t have an equal conversation when you have defined yourself as superior and the other as inferior, yourself as beyond suspicion, the other as suspect.

  44. CK, you seem to be arguing from a principle of religious freedom. Namely, that people have a right to espouse a body of religious doctrine, and they should not be judged or discriminated against because of that espousal. I am aware that this principle has a long and distinguished history, but it has outlasted its’ utility.

    Islam is an agressive ideology, which grants its’ adherents an absolute right to prey upon everyone else. In terms that can not be misunderstood, it requires them to attack us, enslave us, take our property, force their laws and practices upon us, and if we resist in any way, to kill us. In this, it resembles the creeds of the mafia, the Crips, the Bloods, and lots of other gangsters. And a glance at the map will tell you that it has been, and continues to be, very
    successful. Like fire ants, the Muslims have spread, driving all others before them.

    If, as a matter of diction, the fact that there are a couple of primitive superstitions attached to this sociopathic worldview makes you want to refer to it as a “religion”, well, fine, then a “religion” it is. But it is nonetheless an ideology, and one which is no more compatible with the US Constitution than communism or nazism. It is a deadly threat to our way of life, and it must be resisted. Those who call themselves “Muslim” call me “Slave”, and I am not inclined to extend them any tolerance whatsoever this side of the grave. If that makes me a “bigot”, well, I prefer that to “dhimmi”. By a substantial margin.

    So, just to put my position in the terms you prefer, the margin of tolerance we grant to Islam should be the same as the margin of tolerance we grant to the mafia, the Crips and the Bloods. I’ll let you tell me where that line should be drawn.

  45. Jerome wrote:

    Islam is an agressive ideology, which grants its’ adherents an absolute right to prey upon everyone else. In terms that can not be misunderstood, it requires them to attack us, enslave us, take our property, force their laws and practices upon us, and if we resist in any way, to kill us.

    Which is exactly how most religions and other totalizing ideologies have proceeded, even the ones whose sacred books consist more of stories, than instruction, and even the ones whose instructions include apparent incontrovertible instructions against, e.g., mass murderous warfare, assumption of state power, forced conversion, violent suppression of dissent, unequal treatment, etc.

    So we are free to ask whether it makes any difference what a sacred book, or a part of a sacred book, happens to say, or seems to the uninitiated to say.

    Looking at history, we can even ask whether the adherence to the words of a “prince of peace” and a merciful savior doesn’t seem to have a peculiar, paradoxical effect on believers, turning them into even more merciless mass killers and oppressors, rendering them incapable of admitting to themselves what they are, and in the experience of that contradiction driving them to ever more escalated cruelties. It may even make some of them incapable of recognizing when they’re violating one or more of the most sacred commandments (which, incidentally, are also the basis of Islamic law, but I digress).

    Read a fair and accurate history of the late Western Roman Empire, of the Byzantine Empire, of the Knights Templar, of the Teutonic Knights, of the Conquests of Peru and Mexico, of the settling of North America, of the 30 Years War, of the Taiping Rebellion, of the suppression of the Huguenots, just to bring a few famous and central dramas of politicized Christianity to mind, and then tell me how important the central Christian instructions turned out to be. We can leave an honest discussion of the spread of democratic liberalism for some other time.

    In this, it resembles the creeds of the mafia, the Crips, the Bloods, and lots of other gangsters. And a glance at the map will tell you that it has been, and continues to be, very
    successful.

    Eh – it’s been somewhat successful. The cross overall has blown the crescent away, firepower, body count, and spread-wise.

    Like fire ants, the Muslims have spread, driving all others before them.

    See above – but also note how ludicrous it is. Islam hasn’t spread, significantly, except by demographic pressure, in centuries. Of course, there’s only one sure and final solution to demographic pressure from such insect people. Is that what you propose?

  46. We’re talking about a particular current of Sunni Hambali Islam, Deobandi and Wahhabi, which has recently spread only in the last
    century, and that is the main point

  47. @ CK MacLeod:
    CK, if your point is that Islam does not have a monopoly on violence, I grant it. The Old Testament is no Disney comic. Moses instructed his followers to kill all the adult male Moabites (I think it was), and all the women who weren’t virgins, and enslave the boys, and “marry” the girls. Pretty much like Mohammed, who was reported to have “married” the widows of his slaughtered enemies while their ex-husbands’ bodies were still warm. However, neither Judaism nor Christianity teaches that Moses is a good role model, let alone that his conduct is beyond reproach.

    And since you bring up Peru and Mexico, are you suggesting that the Inca would have been fine if his followers had just been a little less xenophobic? Maybe you think Pizarro came in peace, and just wanted to build a couple little cathedrals? Some of the Mexicans tried your approach, you know. They were tired of being bossed around by the Aztecs, so they allied themselves with Cortes. We all know how that worked out.

    But let’s cut to the chase, CK. You talk about “demographic pressure”. You think that’s why there aren’t any Jews in Arabia? Maybe the pressure of Muhammad’s sword on their throats had a little something to do with it. And I seem to recall that the pressures applied to the walls of Constantinople involved cannonballs, although it’s true that damned few Christians got themselves born around those parts thereafter. If the choice you are offering is my children enslaved by ignorant savages or your lofty principles getting a bit scuffed up, then I’m glad that, as a pacifist, you won’t be involved in making the decision.

    “A Liberal is someone who is too high-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

    Robert Frost

  48. @ Jerome:
    So let’s see. If not being gung-ho for a worldwide genocidal religious war makes me a “liberal,” gosh darnit… have to think real hard about it here… I’ll put on that uniform!

    Or were we talking about a 15-story cultural center with worship area on Park Place (presuming financing)?

  49. @ CK MacLeod:

    a politicization of religious belief is completely contraindicated in a liberal democracy. It is, immediately and inherently, in itself, the termination of liberal democracy.

    In that case the fate of liberal democracy is in the hands of Islamists, whom we must count upon not to politicize their religious beliefs.

    The Cordoba House presents itself as a gesture of de-politicization – equal and non-pre-judged entry into the social-political sphere – not Ground Zero, but, through disavowal and negation of the terrorists’ intentions and actions, a return to square zero.

    You can say this, but based on what? The response makes it political; only if they could not have anticipated such a response would their gesture be a de-politicized one. Why not back off and engage their audience if they genuinely want to de-politicize? The whole formulation doesn’t make sense–if you want to de-politicize religion, why make it the basis of a dialogue? Are you imagining a de-politicized dialogue? What are we talking about, in that case?

    they refuse, and proceed to sketch out in word and deed their favored setting, one in which all claims against Islam go un-answered by those who authentically sympathize with Islam, because anyone speaking on behalf of Islam has already been marked by the prior exclusion as defective and deficient, and therefore disqualified.

    The more knowledgeable and authentically representative of Islam, the more clearly disqualified, under this formula. Every proof that the speaker is qualified will be written into the great book of anti-Islamic judgment as a suspect and disqualifying connection. Only people who know nothing or know only the wrong things about Islam, who have been cast out or have cast themselves out of the community, or who have shown sufficient “dhimmitude” within the counter-Sharia of anti-Islam, will be allowed to speak.

    I don’t understand much of this. Someone says he wants to speak with me, presumably as a representative of the West, or liberalism, in the name of Islam–he has a right, if I take him up on it, to ask me about slavery, American policy in Iraq, poverty levels under capitalism, etc.–all this may be very illuminating regarding the strengths, weaknesses, hypocrises, etc., of Western liberal societies. In turn, I must be able to ask him about apostates, women, Jews, etc. I think any informed Westerner will have reasonably satisfying responses to the inquiries I just mentioned, even if those responses involve one’s own critique of Western liberalism. If the individual representing Islam (who has chosen, in this hypothetical dialogue, to represent Islam), doesn’t have responses that he square with both those within and those outside of his community, what are the implications? Someone who could forthrightly say, here is the reading of Islam I am ready to fight for, one which embraces Jews, etc, and situates me thusly in relation to other trends within Islam, I’m certainly not going to disqualify him–I would be ready to support him. But if he ends up speaking only for himself, again, what can we do about that?

  50. They certainly need the equivalent of a Sistani, it is tragic this is not in the offering, and to pretend otherwise is foolhardy. It’s similar to those who told us to ignore Obama’s long list of verifiable dubious affiliations, but told us to focus on some fictional shortcomings of the
    McCain/Palin ticket, Brooks, Buckley, Frum, Parker, Noonan, all were
    disastrously wrong and rarely have had a rendesvous with common sense

  51. @ CK MacLeod:
    It strikes me that one way of summing up our disagreement is that you think that we should act as if Muslims have already entered the pact of civil society, and should not provide them with a cause for exiting the terms of that pact. I am completely willing to do so for individual Muslims, who make claims only as citizens; but not for Muslim groups or representatives, because the costs of allowing such groups to game the system outweigh the costs of levying too high an entry fee. In the end, demanding unequivocal demonstrations of allegiance to liberal democratic principles (more than, for historical reasons, we might demand from, say, Buddhists–much more, in fact) will be in the interests of Muslims themselves, as individuals at least, if not, perhaps, of all of their “representatives.”

  52. No, skip the 15-story “cultural center”. Unless you mean that you basically agree with my view of Islam, except you think maybe we should let them build one last monument to their gangster ideology in NYC, just so we won’t forget how close we came. But I don’t think that is where you are headed.

    What I am suggesting is that we — meaning, those who still prefer that the regime established by the Constitution should be and remain the law of this land — need to treat Islam the same way we treated Communism during the Cold War. Or perhaps I should say, the way we occasionally treated Communism during the Cold War, those of us who weren’t too busy defending Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs. We should publically scorn and despise it. We should vilify it, harp on its’ flaws and crimes, point out its’ absurdities and laugh at the fools and frauds who hide behind it. We should be vigilant for its’ lies and strategems, and swift to oppose them by the most vigorous means available. We should call out its’ adherents for the ignorant, tyrannical, murderous, primitive, credulous, bigoted (ahem) losers that they are. Certainly, we should regard allegiance to Islam as sufficient grounds for refusal of visas and deportation of non-citizens.

    Islam, by the way, is a choice, not, as you imply (by the term “insect”) a species. Not, as you imply (by the use of the word “genocide”) a race. It is a choice which is, on the face of it, inconsistent with acceptance of, let alone support for, our Constitutional government. Those who make that choice are not fit to be US citizens. Some of them are already citizens, and I don’t have a ready plan to deal with them. I hope the measures you support — individual responsibility for individual crimes — will prove sufficient to prevent them from doing what they very publicly claim they want and intend to do. At 12 dead and 30+ wounded for one Muslim agent somewhat inconvenienced, I have to say I don’t like the odds thus far.

    Look, CK; You have argued that Christians have done bad things. I gave you that. Now you imply that my logic leads to global war. I grant the possibility. There comes a point when drastic measures are all that remain, and I only hope that we recognize that point, should we reach it. But where does your logic lead? Your view seems to be that there is no such point. Muslims are just not a problem. There are many places in Europe where it is unsafe for non-Muslims to walk, but that is not a problem. Muslims in Europe have killed people for slighting their “prophet”, but that is not a problem. They sit in their ghettos, spewing their hate while they suck on the teat of the Eurostate, but that is not a problem. A little “demographic pressure”, maybe, and you sure as Hell wouldn’t want to live next door, but nothing to get excited about. They are developing nuclear weapons, for the stated and explicit purpose of carrying out a second Holocaust, but genocide is not a problem. They openly threaten people in the US with death, but that is not a problem. They oppress and murder their wives and daughters, here, in our country, but that is not a problem. Now the murderous bastards want to build a triumphal monument on top of the graves of the 3000 Americans their good buddies massacred, but that is not a problem. What would be a problem, CK?

  53. adam wrote:

    @ CK MacLeod:
    a politicization of religious belief is completely contraindicated in a liberal democracy. It is, immediately and inherently, in itself, the termination of liberal democracy.

    In that case the fate of liberal democracy is in the hands of Islamists, whom we must count upon not to politicize their religious beliefs.

    No, liberal democracy is in each of our hands at the moment we enter the political sphere and choose to do so either as free and equal citizens or as something else.

    The Cordoba House, and Rauf in particular, have asserted their de-politicizing intent. It goes without saying that a de-politicizing gesture will have to enter a politicized setting. Otherwise, you’d be de-politicizing the already apolitical, which would be an absurdity.

    They wish to assert a non-extremist, anti-terrorist, ecumenical Islam. Such gestures should be encouraged. Whatever attachment to suspect actors should be openly examined, but not with the presumption that, e.g., a connection to the Muslim Brotherhood or even to the Free Gaza Movement is a grounds for expulsion – unless you’re ready to move to have all Americans with such sympathies or connections expelled, imprisoned, denied, etc.

    To declare such projects impossible, and to seek out reasons to reject them, and in the crudest possible, most maximally dismissive way – “Muslims go home! Islam not welcome 2 blocks from Ground Zero! Odious religion that killed desecrating our memories!” – is incredibly self-destructive, unless you are taking the position of Pamela Geller and the other radicals. And, yes, her statement about the Islamic threat and the mosques that are a threat to our way of life do remind me of Nazi propaganda. The similarities are inescapable: A religion defined as unacceptable, inherently counter to “true” national values, its doctrines re-assembled and re-ordered in the most hostile manner possible, and all of the visitors to this blog and other sites showing off their blood-curdling machismo without consideration of consequences and implications.

    Why not back off and engage their audience if they genuinely want to de-politicize? The whole formulation doesn’t make sense–if you want to de-politicize religion, why make it the basis of a dialogue? Are you imagining a de-politicized dialogue? What are we talking about, in that case?

    Why don’t the opponents “back off and engage”? Are you assuming that all exposure to other religions must be immediately political – in the sense of actionable? A dialogue that would be de-politicized in this context would be an exploration of points of contact and a nurturance of Islamic traditions of reason and acceptance of the will of God, beginning with joint recognition of the 10 commandments, and the defense of philosophy common to Maimonides, the Islamic philosopher Farabi (“the Second Aristotle”), Plato – and Pope Benedict and John Locke and Cicero. It would be turning CH, and CH-like efforts, not into the beachhead in some paranoid-fantastical assault on North America by the Muslim fire-ant hordes of antiquity, but into a portal to the Islamic world whose best traditions are fully susceptible and accessible to Judeo-Christian ethics – and incidentally as beautiful, complex, and refined as the calligraphy that testifies to the Islamic love of the Word.

    It would be political chiefly, and perhaps only, in the sense that it would require detachment from treasured enemy images and pet-hatreds.

    I don’t understand much of this. Someone says he wants to speak with me, presumably as a representative of the West, or liberalism, in the name of Islam–he has a right, if I take him up on it […] But if he ends up speaking only for himself, again, what can we do about that?

    I was referring to the gesture of opposing on principle the participation of Muslims – in effect opposing the existence of Islam, declaring Islam taboo – within a 3-block exclusion zone around Ground Zero… the declaration of a culture center as a “looming horror” and an offense to sacred memory…and about what that says about the nation of the “Freedom Tower.”

    That someone is treated as a free and equal fellow citizen doesn’t mean that he or she becomes an empty atom or cipher. Your interlocutor can represent many things to you without being a “representative” in some political sense. You don’t have to assume that talking to Imam Rauf is talking to “the Islamic world” in order to learn something about the Islamic world different from what you knew before.

    Of course, the discussion that you describe is what your side has declared a scandal, so long as it takes place too close to the future Freedom Tower.

  54. @ Jerome:

    There may be lessons to be learned from the Cold War, but I don’t draw the same ones you do. Oddly enough, we saw religious Muslims as our allies back then. That’s when we pretended that we respected religious differences, and also welcomed belief in God-Jehovah-Allah as a bulwark against communism.

    I haven’t been to Europe in a very long time. I’m certainly not about to take responsibility for the mistakes that Europeans have made. But the ghettos of the Paris suburbs, etc., aren’t Islam, they’re the ghettos of the Paris suburbs, etc. – hardly the only places in the world, or in history, where an alienated, unassimilated, minority makes life miserable for outsiders. There are lots of places in American cities where it’s also unsafe to be an outsider. I can see you already working to increase their number and extent.

    Have you ever visited a Muslim land, Jerome? Have you ever had a Muslim friend? Have you ever been penniless, homeless, a strange foreigner wandering, hungry, treated with heartbreaking kindness and selfless charity by Muslims for whom there was nothing in it and never would or could be? If that had ever happened to you, how would you feel about people speaking blithely about a campaign of remorseless vilification and regrettably or maybe not so regrettably harsh measures against them?

    You know very little about that which you are interested in vilifying and destroying, and you’re very upset about one small effort to enable people like yourself to learn more. You appear to think you know enough. You appear to have consumed a multi-course feast of propaganda. It’s sitting in your stomach as congealed hatred, and I doubt I’m qualified to make you expel it.

    The “insect” reference was yours, Jerome. You’re the one who spoke of fire ants.

    It’s hard for me to imagine a worse outcome than your way of thinking triumphing in this country.

  55. Yes, and for a time, we thought Stalin was our ally against fascism, when he had been a collaborator with it, and a leading force behind
    it’s success, ie; the Second International. We actually thought back
    then that Mawdudi, Ramadan, and co, were worthy opponents of
    communism, when in truth they were almost as bad, this is how we
    ended up with Hekmatyar, Raisul Sayyaf, Haqquani, and Khalis (two
    recruiters from whence AQ arose, and two major figures behind the
    Taliban. How we brought Sheik Rahman into the fold, how did that
    work again, and how Bin Laden came into the picture

  56. @ adam:
    When did you study Islam? How many different Muslims have you known? When did you learn enough about Islam and about Muslims to say something like the following?

    I am completely willing to do so for individual Muslims, who make claims only as citizens; but not for Muslim groups or representatives, because the costs of allowing such groups to game the system outweigh the costs of levying too high an entry fee.

    What is an average Muslim supposed to glean from a statement like that? If I were a Muslim and became convinced that Americans thought they way, the Muslim Brotherhood would start looking a lot more welcoming, and a lot of other things – like blowing up buildings and getting rid of outsiders – might start looking a lot more appealing. I’d have a lot less interest in anything other than solidarity, and would forgive an awful lot on the part of my brothers, because the citizens of the richest, most powerful, most well-armed, and most self-ignorant and hypocritical nation in the history of the world hated people like me and would never accept us until we had submitted, as hopeless reviled atoms, to their mastery.

  57. @ CK MacLeod:
    “a politicization of religious belief is completely contraindicated in a liberal democracy. It is, immediately and inherently, in itself, the termination of liberal democracy. ”

    CK, look. “Any integer that is a multiple of 4, is also a multiple of 2.” That’s a theorem of integer arithmetic, and it follows from the properties of multiples of 4.

    You seem to think that there is a similar piece of logic, that goes like this;

    “Any set of notions that somebody holds to be a religion is necessarily compatible with the American form of Constitutional government.” If this is a theorem, where is the proof? Which of the properties of religion are you relying on? What is it about “religions” that makes you willing to accept them uncritically? Or, more precisely, makes you unwilling to entertain the idea that they could be flatly unacceptable?

    Can you imagine a religion that you would be willing to call “odious”? How about the stuff the Aztecs were up to? Should we build a nice big sacrificial pyramid down there on the Avenue of the Americas? How many hearts will they have to rip out and offer to the Sun God before CK decides that religious tolerance has its’ limits?

  58. @ CK MacLeod:
    I think we’re talking past each other at this point. Perhaps we’ll come at these questions in other ways in the future. I’ll just repeat what I said before (itself a sign of the exhaustion of the dialogue): you take the Cordoba House and Rauf at their word, on principle, seemingly, because to do otherwise would undermine liberal democratic principles. I don’t take them at their word, but there are things they could say that would incline me to do so. One way to de-politicize religion is to sever religion from citizenship–to simply be an American in public life and a Muslim, Jew or Christian in private life. If you want to de-politicize religion as a Muslim (or the others, of course) the way to do that is to make a case for the compatibility of your faith with civil society, and, even more, for the way your faith can further enrich that civil society. At this point, though, gesturing back to the commonplaces of the “three great monotheistic religions” won’t do it–maybe 15 years ago, but not now. I won’t be convinced and it seems many others won’t either. The field is wide open for Muslims to associate their faith unambiguously with freedom and equality. What’s the problem?

  59. @ CK MacLeod:
    I hadn’t noticed this before my previous comment.

    I’m not claiming expertise in Islam. I have only observed how hard it is for representatives of Islam (those elevated as spokesmen by whatever mechanisms) to be explicit and consistent about their commitments to liberty and equality in anything resembling the way most of us understand these terms; not to mention regarding the morality of blowing up civilians who happen to be Jews (or, if you like, Israelis–I am sensitive to refusals to recognize the humanity of the Israelis). A leading “moderate” Muslim will say something soothing, and then it turns out he heads a Hamas supporting mosque or gives to a Hezbollah supporting “charity,” etc. It happens over and over again.

    What is an average Muslim supposed to glean from a statement like that? If I were a Muslim and became convinced that Americans thought they way, the Muslim Brotherhood would start looking a lot more welcoming, and a lot of other things – like blowing up buildings and getting rid of outsiders – might start looking a lot more appealing. I’d have a lot less interest in anything other than solidarity, and would forgive an awful lot on the part of my brothers, because the citizens of the richest, most powerful, most well-armed, and most self-ignorant and hypocritical nation in the history of the world hated people like me and would never accept us until we had submitted, as hopeless reviled atoms, to their mastery.

    I imagine many Muslims would respond this way, and that may be because of Islam, or because of the legitimacy granted certain kinds of grievances today. There was once a time when newcomers to an extraordinary society in which they had access to unimagined opportunities would want to ensure their new neighbors that what seemed threatening really wasn’t, that what needed to be modified to fit that new world would be, and even that the old principles (of both the newcomers and the society) can be revived and revised in surprising and pleasing ways (even while protesting against egregious violations of the principles of that society). It seems to me that was more or less the approach Catholics and Jews, who faced similar suspicions and hostilities when they came here en masse, took. Those days are gone, and I don’t think they are coming back; my back-up plan would be to incorporate this recognition into our immigration policies; alas, the double bind here is that if we could do that, we wouldn’t need to–we would already be communicating our expectations sufficiently clearly. So it may be, for now, that the only thing we have is the right of private citizens to say that Islam, as a public faith wishing to join the pantheon of American religions, hasn’t, in their view, sealed the deal yet. And to insist that law enforcement do its job, if there are Muslims who “interpret” statements like mine along the lines you suggest.

  60. @ Jerome:
    hey, Jerome, how about listing all the beliefs that the Constitution says are incompatible with our form of government?

  61. @ Jerome:
    If someone rips out someone’s heart, he can be arrested. If someone thinks or believes that ripping people’s hearts out is terrific, he can get a production deal with HBO.

    People are free in this country to believe anything they want to believe, and to form groups that peacefully and lawfully advance their beliefs. It doesn’t matter what people like them back where they came from do. It doesn’t matter what people who have similar beliefs, or claim to, but have no material connection to them, may do here. Of course, we’re capable of establishing limits according to community standards of decency, and general prudence. If we’re at war with a country, or with a transnational movement, we can certainly submit citizens or people who fit the “profile” to intensified scrutiny. But we have traditionally, and with very good reason, required the very highest level of justification prior to any religious test.

    Islam isn’t just some made-up excuse for privileges. It’s been around for 1300 years. It’s practiced across this country, and internationally we have good, close, and critically important relations with a number of Islamic states and of course countless individual Muslims. Anything we do that embraces collective punishment, rejection, humiliation, exclusion, etc., of Muslims will involve serious trade-offs, and create opportunities for third parties as well as for the very forces within Islam that we need to suppress for our own good and for the good of Muslims, too.

  62. “It’s hard for me to imagine a worse outcome than your way of thinking triumphing in this country.” – CK

    Well, I would have thought you had a pretty good imagination, but I’ll take your word for it. Here, allow me. How about a government that stones adulterers? How about a government that amputates thieves’ hands? How about a government that suppresses ALL thought?

    Now, can we get back to my question? Do you feel that anything that calls itself a “religion” is deserving of uncritical acceptance, or is there something special about Islam that sends that tingle up your leg?

    “hey, Jerome, how about listing all the beliefs that the Constitution says are incompatible with our form of government?” – First Lesson is Free

    Well, actually, FLiF, the hitch isn’t with the Constitution, it’s with the Koran! The Koran claims to be the only legitimate basis for a government. Since the Constitution is not based on the Koran, that’s that. From the Koranic standpoint, the Constitution is blasphemous, and anyone who tries to uphold it deserves death. Now it’s time for you to explain that just because it says that doesn’t mean it means that. Just watch who you say it to, because you could get your head chopped off. Better tie a string to it.

  63. I imagine many Muslims would respond this way, and that may be because of Islam, or because of the legitimacy granted certain kinds of grievances today.

    How about they’re having a normal, respectable, and totally justifiable reaction to a statement of hatred from an outsider?

    I really can’t let this go. You wrote that they’re not allowed to have representatives, but must only present themselves individually, because you’ve seen numerous news items about certain duplicitous figures connected to political issues that you happen to care about. (You are keeping in mind, by the way, that you’re talking about 1.5 billion or so people worldwide, several million in the U.S.) So that apparently makes all Muslims unqualified even to have spokespeople!

    I’m wondering if “spokespeople” is the right word, however. I mean the “people” part. Once upon a time we considered the right to choose representation – like freedom of religion individually and communally, freedom of assembly and a whole bunch of related things – an inviolable human right. We helped author a universal declaration to that effect, invited others to join us in signing it, and threw a celebration in honor of our high moral character and vision, tempered by years of the worst warfare the world had ever seen, against ideologies that were built around the identification of the dangerous, inferior other who could never be a part of the true community. The main non-signatories at the time include several political entities that no longer exist, ending with the letters SSR (also Saudi Arabia, so there’s a point for your side – or maybe not – gets confusing here).

    Do you think maybe we should set aside some segregated communities for Muslims, their leadership subjected to the veto of people that all good, ideologically sound Americans can trust? I’m sure you could do a much better job of picking the “right” people to oversee their interests, and enforce ours, than they can.

    And then you blame them for grabbing whatever representation insists on standing up for them whether you happen to like it or not.

  64. Jerome wrote:

    Now, can we get back to my question? Do you feel that anything that calls itself a “religion” is deserving of uncritical acceptance, or is there something special about Islam that sends that tingle up your leg?

    See above. The existence of governance that includes stoning of adulterers is pretty bad. Good thing there’s nothing anyone could point to about our system that’s pretty bad. Since you’re going to drive the Islamic world further into the arms of the most radical and hateful forces in their societies, you can take responsibility for the future stonings – at least the ones that they manage to get in before you send the bombers.

  65. @ Jerome:

    nope, J, it’s not that time. it’s time for you to explain why we have to worry about what’s written in very old books rather than what it is that people are doing now.

    we regulate conduct, not books and not thoughts.

    if people think that their holy books tell them that the Jews should be killed because the Jews killed Jesus, we don’t much care.
    if people start killing American Jews because of that belief, sometimes we arrest them to discourage the killing, but we, perhaps unwisely, haven’t yet outlawed Christianity.

    and I watch what I say because I’m afraid of the gas chamber more than the scimitar.

  66. @ CK MacLeod:

    You wrote that they’re not allowed to have representatives, but must only present themselves individually, because you’ve seen numerous news items about certain duplicitous figures connected to political issues that you happen to care about.

    But I didn’t write this at all. I wrote that while the rights of individuals are unquestioned and unqualified unless they break some law, representatives are there to present a collective identity and interest (and therefore responsibility as well) and should therefore be ready for comments, questions and criticisms, If an individual Muslim applies for a job, a loan, a law school, etc., I don’t have any call to ask him about Bin Laden, Israel, polygamy, etc.; and I don’t know the law here very well but I’m also glad to say we should accommodate his desire to observe Ramadan, etc. Once a group forms, though, calling itself, say, “Muslims for Inter-faith Dialogue,” and they put out the obligatory statement of intent, set up their website, etc., I have every right to say things like “wait a minute–you say you’re in favor of principle y and yet you support activity x…” And I have every right to stick to that line of questioning even if they try and fob me off with some empty phrases and I have every right to conclude that they’re full of it, that there’s something else going on here, and that we should look into who’s funding the group, whom they fund, etc. And they are free to ignore my questioning, but, then, I am free to try and convince others not to be deceived. So, it seems to me that groups trying to represent Muslims as full participants in American society and culture will want to develop satisfactory answers to those kinds of questions, and that groups that don’t develop such answers are interested in something other than such participation. And in either case, I’m going to say how things look to me–and, of course, the questions I’m going to ask come from the world I see. I’m not going to ask a spokesperson for “Buddhists for Inter-faith Dialogue” what he or she thinks about Sharia law, or violence against civilians.

  67. Lets not be thoeretical, how about the head of Bridges TV, that lopped off the head of his relatives, another Interfaith enterprise,
    or the fellow who ran over another in Arizona, why is it almost all affiliated groups are either silent on this, or act like the Menendez
    Bros defense team. I don’t know Zuhdi Jasser’s particular stance
    on this, but he doesn’t cotton to Salafi intriguesm or Ali Ahmed
    or a host of others.

  68. CK, I am still waiting for you to explain to me why you think this thing called Islam is deserving of special consideration, while this thing called the Cosa Nostra is not. You keep talking about how “we” did this and “we” do that. Have you got an imam in your pocket? The First Amendment specifically states that the Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. You seem to take that to mean that all religions shall be regarded as established. How many kool-aid-sucking pinheads have to agree to a body of noxious rubbish for you to accord it special legal consideration?

    First lesson is Free, I’m not sure what you are trying to say. It appears you are a member of the Islam-is-not-a-problem-camp. Or are you guys a religion? There are enough of you, and you certainly have some rather idiosyncratic beliefs. I gather that you are from the we-have-laws-for-that-already sub-cult. Your theory is that if 8 guys fly a couple of airplanes into the World Trade towers, by Golly we’ll see to it they don’t do that again. And I have to admit, they haven’t, though I really don’t think our laws have much to do with it.

    Still, it appears you are ready to consider outlawing some religions. But justr the big problem ones, like Christianity. Islam, gets a pass from you. Hasn’t killed enough Jews yet, or something. Hmmm. Maybe I don’t understand your position after all. Are you sure you have one? And where is this gas chamber you are afraid of?

  69. @ adam:
    Ask questions, fine – but your statement went further than “we can and should ask questions,” it went to “levy a higher entry fee” to those groups (into civil society) because the trade-offs were better. I am saying absolutely not. That’s completely unacceptable. Muslims, like everyone else, are 100% completely free, on a permanently level playing field, to form their own associations and compete in the marketplace of ideas on a 100% equal footing with every other association in our society, and anything else is the end of any possible equal dialogue, the end of the historical American commitment to a free society, a violation of core American values, the destruction of American democracy from within, and a much more serious blow against this country than 9/11 or 100 9/11s, and realization of the most fervent real world wish of Mohammed Atta – not to mention the confirmation of the anti-American propaganda and of widespread suspicions and beliefs about the real meaning of our supposed reverence for liberty.

    And not just for Muslims. On a very practical-political level, when Pamela Geller gets on CNN and self-righteously confirms her particular brand of bigotry, she simultaneously reinforces the images of those crazy conservatives who can’t stand difference and are utterly clueless about how they come across to all of the members of “victimary” groups you’ve discussed. You think a Latino, Black, Asian, liberal Jew, homosexual, etc., has any difficulty substituting himself for “Muslim” as the tirade ensues?

  70. Jerome wrote:

    CK, I am still waiting for you to explain to me why you think this thing called Islam is deserving of special consideration, while this thing called the Cosa Nostra is not.

    I already answered that. See above. It’s a religion of est. 1.5 billion people that’s been around for 1300 years, and is exercised by millions of your fellow citizens peacefully. And even if it wasn’t, even if it was just an assembly of people with beliefs you fear, why would this thing we can call right wing anti-Muslim conservatism not also be deserving of “special consideration”? Why shouldn’t its practitioners be subjected to extra scrutiny? I seem to recall some bombings and shootings and numerous other anti-social and lethal acts, recently and going back decades, well-known to be associated with the outlooks common in those groups. Shouldn’t we just assume that conservatives, especially white conservatives, especially white 2nd Amendment obsessive “pro-life” conservatives are a clear and present danger? Shouldn’t we look through their literature and require that certain passages and statements that attack other groups in our society and paint them as sub-human or morally deficient, or call for violence and violation of rights, be expunged? Maybe we should start with people who compare a religion, which they understand only through what they’ve read on hate sites on the internet, to a criminal gang.

    The proper comparison isn’t the “Cosa Nostra.” It’s Catholicism.

  71. @ adam:
    “If an individual Muslim applies for a job, a loan, a law school, etc., I don’t have any call to ask him about Bin Laden, Israel, polygamy, etc.; and I don’t know the law here very well but I’m also glad to say we should accommodate his desire to observe Ramadan, etc. Once a group forms, though …”

    Adam, the “group” we are discussing formed more than a thousand years ago. I have the same question for you as for CK. Why do Muslims get all this good-god loving from you guys, but a poor little mafioso who is just trying to get by and hasn’t been convicted of any serious felonies yet just can’t get a break from you?

    The story these guys tell is that they know what God wants, and what he wants is for them to take over the world. When somebody says, “Yeah, what’s in that book, that’s what I believe”, and you look in the book, and it says he is supposed to kill you if you don’t do what he says, I think it might be appropriate to ask him a couple of questions about interpretation before you put him on the payroll.

  72. That why I focus on Perdana, Rauf and his connections. You honestly
    don’t see anything wrong with them, with his group underwriting the
    Marmara and the Rachel Corrie. It’s like with the question of the Gitmo detainee attorneys in the Justice Department, like Dystal from HRW
    that didn’r believe in KSM’s confession, it’s an issue of judgement

  73. narciso wrote:

    Lets not be thoeretical, how about the head of Bridges TV, that lopped off the head of his relatives, another Interfaith enterprise,
    or the fellow who ran over another in Arizona, why is it almost all affiliated groups are either silent on this, or act like the Menendez
    Bros defense team. I don’t know Zuhdi Jasser’s particular stance
    on this, but he doesn’t cotton to Salafi intriguesm or Ali Ahmed
    or a host of others.

    No, “being theoretical” is necessary in the absence of comprehensive and objective data, and in the presence of heavily ideological and irresponsible attacks based on collective guilt, guilt by association, character assassination, ignorance, xenophobia, and raw emotion – an atmosphere, in short, of self-righteous bigotry, capable of doing lasting damage well beyond the success or failure of someone’s project to build a cultural center on Park Place.

    (I used to live within walking distance of Scientology’s HQ, taller than 15 stories – which made it a “skyscraper” considering that it was in Hollywood, where, unlike Manhattan, there’s not much of a skyline. One day my German girlfriend and I decided to check it out. We walked into the lobby, speakers blared an L Ron lecture, and a welcomer made a bee-line to us, immediately starting the big pitch. My German girlfriend handled all of the discussion while I pretended not to understand. Anyway, somehow, we emerged with our freedoms intact, and with an “enhanced understanding,” or a somewhat more concrete one, of Scientology. Not a more positive one. Incredibly, large numbers of residents in the area had similar reactions – or maybe they found the Realization Fellowship of Yogananda, just next door, more appealing. Or the Methodist Church. Or the strip club.)

  74. @ CK MacLeod:

    Ask questions, fine – but your statement went further than “we can and should ask questions,” it went to “levy a higher entry fee” to those groups (into civil society) because the trade-offs were better. I am saying absolutely not

    The questions and the levying are two sides of the same process. I would ask more probing questions, be more insistent in my follow ups, less willing to take claims at face value, with representatives of Islam than with other groups–that’s what I meant by a “higher entry fee.” That’s just in the nature of the situation–we need to know whether Islamic representatives believe that suicide bombing is a justified means of war; whether they are ready to speak in defense of the rights of those who publicly renounce or “insult” Islam; whether they think democratic decision making can override Islamic law, etc. The questions I would want to ask of the representatives of a group of, say, Ukrainian or Caribbean Americans would be less demanding.

    With regard to the other victimary groups, I agree we may confront difficulties. Many in those groups, especially their better known representatives, have thrown in with the Left, which has in turn thrown in with the Islamists. I see the opposition as a Global Intifada–in the end, we can only hope that a steadfast defense of freedom and equality will convince those groups their interests lie in giving no ground to Islamism. And maybe, ultimately, in surrendering victimary status. There is, now, the occasional Bruce Bawer and Phyllis Chesler–hopefully we’ll have many more like them. Maybe there is political gain in not insulting people’s intelligence or flattering their self-image. It will have to be long term, though.

  75. @ narciso:
    It’s an issue of you get to say whatever you want, too, indulge in whatever lines-and-dots stuff you want, but that doesn’t give you the right to prior restraint, and in the meantime a bunch of Muslims-go-home nutjobs are bad for the conservative movement, bad for American interests, and just plain bad – unless you take the position that destroying the conservative movement and making Americans look like hypocrites is a good thing. In which case I think you may all be on the right track.

  76. adam wrote:

    That’s just in the nature of the situation–we need to know whether Islamic representatives believe that suicide bombing is a justified means of war; whether they are ready to speak in defense of the rights of those who publicly renounce or “insult” Islam; whether they think democratic decision making can override Islamic law, etc.

    Who’s “we” and with a view to “what”? We as in the decision-makers charged with allowing a building to be sited are one thing. We as in private citizens are something else. “Entry fee” is an odd concept. You mean the fee before you let them enter your mind, or the jizya they pay before they’re allowed to function as less-equal-than-other free citizens in our not-so-free society?

  77. @ CK MacLeod:
    OK, I guess I’ve got your answer;

    The Muslims deserve special treatment because
    1 – there’s a lot of them.
    2 – They’ve been selling the same schtick for a long time.
    3 – They aren’t Catholics.

    I’m still a little fuzzy on 3 there. Don’t they get a pass for 1 and 2?

    Now, as to your comments on “this thing we can call right wing anti-Muslim conservatism”. I would say that if
    1 – there were 1.5 billion of us, and
    2 – we had been selling the same schtick for, oh, say, several generations, and
    3 – we had a book that said we have a perfect right to kill anyone who doesn’t join us, and
    4 – we had a long, bloody history of doing just that, with
    5 – a recent incident involving thousands of your fellow countrymen, then

    yeah, you would be well advised to subject us to some special scrutiny before you let us into your ham radio club. Like, ask us if we had read the book, and if we agreed with what was in it, and if not, whether we would be willing to help you track down and imprison the folks who do agree with what’s in it. Before they kill any more of you. Yeah, I think that would just be common sense. As several wise men have noted, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

    CK, you seem to think this is all pretty much abstract. We are having a little debate, about how we should treat our fellow humans when they don’t see things the way we do, and what is at stake is your ability to call yourself a jolly good fellow. Do you even care what happens in the world? I lived in Manhattan in the 80’s, on the north side of Houston Street. We used to party on the roof on summer nights, very pleasant. To the south, over the trees of the park, we could see the Towers, standing tall, with hundreds of lighted windows, even at four in the morning. To me, they stood for the energy and promise of America. They were beautiful. Well, won’t be seeing those again. What else are you ready to give up, so you can call yourself a good liberal? Do you have children, CK? Do you have any skin in this game?

  78. I never got to see the Towers, when I lived in Jersey, one never thought they would never go away, outside of some kind of natural
    disaster. Some of the folks involved lived unconfortably close to me for my lights, so did Abdullah Muhajir who found his way to Yemen, and
    El Shukrijumah, who our local alt rag had Poppa tell us, was not a terrorist, they never corrected for that

  79. @ narciso:
    I mean – is it really so hard for you to see that you’re doing the same thing to these people that, from the other side, turns Sarah Palin into a Young Earth Creationist abortion doctor-shooting racist birther?

  80. I think the issue is one of duty to the constitution – which all citizens give an oath to defend if they are not naturally born.

    Islam has a real problem with identifying the differences between their religion telling them to subjugate or kill all the non-believers and the constitution telling them everyone can believe as they choose. This is not a problem our other religions seem to be carrying with them at the moment.

    I think the moderate Muslim is under attack from groups like the one proposing to build the mosque near ground zero and when we try and validate them we hurt the moderate muslim who is trying to ignore the call to jihad.

  81. @ Jerome:

    The Muslims deserve special treatment because
    1 – there’s a lot of them.
    2 – They’ve been selling the same schtick for a long time.
    3 – They aren’t Catholics.

    No. Muslims deserve the same treatment. Period. Regardless of what some Muslims did or how some Muslims interpret the Koran. Just like Catholics, white evangelical conservatives, Wiccans, and everybody else who rightly declines to take responsibility for anything in particular that someone else did “in their name.” And until you get that, the only thing American about you is maybe where you or your parents were born.

    And your twisted, reductive, and self-interested recitation of Islamic history is getting tiresome. It would be easy to indict Western civilization, Christianity, particular Christian sects, America, conservatives, in just the same way. People in fact do, and, when they do, people like you get self-righteously upset about the unfairness of it all. The only thing that gives any “exceptional” excuse to America/The West/Christianity is, or would be, our commitment to a better idea, the exact same idea that you’re ready to junk.

    “Skin in the game”: 3000 people and two symbolic buildings were a tragedy, and a warning that we were right to heed, and that justified a response that treated it as something other than a one-off. Doesn’t even begin to stack up next to what others of a mind to hold on to their hatreds could put on the big poker table.

  82. @ CK MacLeod:

    That’s just in the nature of the situation–we need to know whether Islamic representatives believe that suicide bombing is a justified means of war; whether they are ready to speak in defense of the rights of those who publicly renounce or “insult” Islam; whether they think democratic decision making can override Islamic law, etc

    .

    Who’s “we” and with a view to “what”? We as in the decision-makers charged with allowing a building to be sited are one thing. We as in private citizens are something else. “Entry fee” is an odd concept. You mean the fee before you let them enter your mind, or the jizya they pay before they’re allowed to function as less-equal-than-other free citizens in our not-so-free society?

    Good questions. For me, the “we” is the private citizens (who ultimately elect the decision makers, of course–but I’m not thinking in terms of a legal or political decision in this case). But I can’t be sure of who comprises the “we”–I don’t know who agrees with me, and to what extent.

    With “entry fee” I suppose I had in mind Heinrich Heine’s reference to his baptism as the “entry ticket” to Western Civilization. It’s my way of saying that there is always a price paid by both newcomers and the society they enter; a price which is always negotiated, which might be more fair to one partner than another, and where the benefits might be disproportionate to the price. And where no one can know all these things in advance.

    With a view towards what? Very simple: not being held hostage to violence; to our fear of violence, or even to our use of our own force (I think that’s what scares many in the West the most). If someone tells me that I’d better watch what I say because I’m going to make someone angry (maybe not him, but someone else out there) and then: you’d better look out!–I will not speak further with that person, and I would warn others against it as well. When someone is actually saying that is the question.

  83. JEM wrote:

    I think the moderate Muslim is under attack from groups like the one proposing to build the mosque near ground zero and when we try and validate them we hurt the moderate muslim who is trying to ignore the call to jihad.

    That’s really rich. The “moderate Muslim is under attack” from a group that proposes to build a culture center explicitly dedicated to interfaith communication and a rejection of Bin Ladenism. And the brave protectors of “moderate Muslims” are the non-Muslim conservatives who ceaselessly claim that all Muslims are directly and inextricably responsible for Bin Ladenism.

  84. adam wrote:

    If someone tells me that I’d better watch what I say because I’m going to make someone angry (maybe not him, but someone else out there) and then: you’d better look out!–I will not speak further with that person, and I would warn others against it as well.

    And that is exactly what you and others are requiring of the Cordoba Initiative. Better not keep that name “Cordoba” – it makes some people angry. Better not build your center in the Muslim exclusion zone we’ve created around Ground Zero – it makes some people angry. And so on. And then, true to your words I guess, if backwards, you propose a pre-emption of dialogue, the burning of the bridge at the moment you arrive at it, out of fear of the unexplored hinterlands that you know only by rumor and legend.

  85. @ CK MacLeod:
    There is no threat of violence here–if we don’t understand the difference, how can we expect anyone else to? If anyone were to commot a violent act against the Cordoba House or anyone who uses it, I want them arrested and prosecuted vigorously. If anyone class for such violence, I want them ostracized or, if they cross over the boundary from free speech to threat, arrested. We can’t even allow for arguments on this point–I think very few conservatives would offer such arguments (I am certain that Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom and Andrew McCarthy would agree–I even assume Pam Geller would). We can’t expect less from anyone else.

  86. CK MacLeod wrote:

    JEM wrote:
    I think the moderate Muslim is under attack from groups like the one proposing to build the mosque near ground zero and when we try and validate them we hurt the moderate muslim who is trying to ignore the call to jihad.
    That’s really rich. The “moderate Muslim is under attack” from a group that proposes to build a culture center explicitly dedicated to interfaith communication and a rejection of Bin Ladenism. And the brave protectors of “moderate Muslims” are the non-Muslim conservatives who ceaselessly claim that all Muslims are directly and inextricably responsible for Bin Ladenism.

    Ok – now you are losing me on this one. We know who is financing this place. We know which groups they are affiliated with. If YOU can’t see that don’t deflect your blindness as some discriminatory affliction of the rest of us. If you don’t think that battle is currently taking place within the observers of Islam then you need to pay more attention.

    And where do you come off with the bin laden rap anyway. I didn’t say that. You know what – your “tolerance” is responsible for lots of deaths. Yes – yours. If you don’t want to own it – if you cannot deal with that reality – then so be it.

    I think my time here at ZC is done, because if I read your comments in this thread – you are linking tolerance to moral bankruptcy.
    You can sugar coat it as you like, but your attitude is one of please observe how morally superior I am while they kill somebody who isn’t close to me. You sir, and it pains me to say this, are a coward with that last crack.

    I am not suggesting that other religions haven’t had their episodes, we all know they have. Guess what – that is pretty far in the past. Islam and its problems are here and now – and blood has been on its hands since its founding – and it has never stopped – never. If we are to help them find their reformation, or whatever we want to call it, we have to quit hiding behind wishy-washy words and concepts that they reject out of hand. My grand kids will not wear the burka. And the first person who tries to make them will be dead. And if the moderate Muslim wants me to keep thinking they are moderate, I need to see groups that are moderate and renounce jihad and act in the middle east the way they talk to the west. It is in very short supply.

    Your path is death – I choose life.

    Good afternoon – see the rest of you around the internet.

  87. Like I say, I prefer a more focused approach, but I understand why
    Geller and co, get exercised. Too many in that city don’t even think there is a problem with radical Islam, starting with Mayor Bloomberg, who still wanted to pin Times Square on Tea Party goers, even when
    the facts pointed otherwise. How many plots have their been in and
    around the city, since 9/11. a dozen or so, leaving out the Al Shahaab
    groupies

  88. “No. Muslims deserve the same treatment. Period. Regardless of what some Muslims did or how some Muslims interpret the Koran. Just like Catholics, white evangelical conservatives, Wiccans, and everybody else who rightly declines to take responsibility for anything in particular that someone else did “in their name.” And until you get that, the only thing American about you is maybe where you or your parents were born. ”

    Ck, “the same treatment” as whom? As the KKK? As the National Socialist party? I am not talking about things people do “in their name”. I am talking about things people do in the name of an organization, and then you join that organization. If I join the KKK, knowing that they have lynched Americans and say they intend to lynch some more, people who don’t care for that flavor of BBQ have a right and more importantly a duty to inquire as to just WTF I think I signed up for. If I wander around downtown with a swastika banner, giving the Hitler salute, people who give a damn have a right and more importantly a duty to ask which parts of the program I am up for.

    Look, CK, SOMBF are Catholics, but if they were to tell me in all seriousness that they favored the reinstatement of the Inquisition, they would no longer be SOMBF. But it appears they would still be SOYBF. Or, I guess, entitled to a polite hearing and a couple acres of downtown Manhattan.

    And by the way, you are not going to get a rise out of an atheist like me by bashing Christianity, but you are welcome to keep trying. To a dark place with all superstitions, say I.

  89. @ JEM:
    Go in good health. Anyone who has bothered to inform himself with eyes open – who has examined the materials I have painstakingly assembled and analyzed in prior posts – knows exactly where the justification for my last statement comes from. As for anyone else who’s ready to leap to conclusions and exclusions based on one-sided and parochial views on the other – there’s no hope for discussion anyway.

  90. @ adam:
    Speaking of Spencer, last I heard from narc Spencer had vouched for Rauf. Maybe that’s changed. And maybe that’s irrelevant.

    Again, I’m willing to discuss Cordoba House on its own terms, even though I don’t consider the project, as I said, as more than potentially significant. What I object to and consider more significant are the assumptions and the mode of thinking applied by many opponents. Every time we rehearse these arguments, the opposition returns to the same thing: “I don’t trust them 1) because they’re Muslims and 2) because they appear to be associated (either directly or at various levels of removal) with people with whom I disagree or who frighten me.”

    The first point is, I believe, fundamentally and absolutely unacceptable in the United States, from the founding to the present day, and indisputably – according to our values and in the present circumstances according to our concrete interests as well.

    The second point is debatable, but to whatever extent it relies upon or is tied to the first point – to the extent that acceding to whatever prudential, utilitarian, etc. concerns also comes to constitute a victory for prejudice – then the trade-offs regarding CH itself are skewed heavily in favor of the project, even before we examine the validity of arguments on either side. It becomes more and more essential for those who favor a free society and the American idea to swallow their perhaps legitimate concerns and support the CI’s right to make their case – their freedom of speech, religion, assembly, movement, petition, self-determination, etc. – including by building a culture center on Park Place.

    You are highly unlikely to prove that CH will be a threat to anyone’s security – or any greater threat on balance than denying CH. The NYC Chief of Police is in a much better position to assess that issue in all relevant dimensions than you or I can be. The locals are in a much better position to assess the affront to community standards and sensibilities, and they have voted through their lawful representatives overwhelmingly in favor.

    Left over are anti-Muslim zealots like Pamela Geller, our new friend Jerome, and our departing friend JEM, who are trying to convince the world that letting Rauf set up shop 10 blocks closer to GZ than in his current location significantly increases the odds that their grandchildren will be threatened with the burka, requiring acts of violence from their grandparents.

    I strongly believe the opposite is true. In the meantime, the American tradition and American values strongly favors that ties at First Base, and even situations that fall far short of ties, go to the runner, to more speech and more freedom – even repugnant, if you find this repugnant, speech – not to less.

    So proud we are of that insight, we plan to build a Tower in its name, someday to dwarf any 15-story, and even 50- and even 100-story buildings.

  91. Jerome wrote:

    And by the way, you are not going to get a rise out of an atheist like me by bashing Christianity, but you are welcome to keep trying.

    Politicized atheism has rather a lot to account for as well.

  92. @ CK MacLeod:
    It seems to me that a lot of people are “left over,” but that’s beside the point. I think that each situation should be examined on its own terms, so I don’t think my arguments fit into the ones you identify here. And I certainly haven’t evoked immediate security concerns–this immediate issue operates in the realm of politics and symbols. The only question for me, since I started looking at it, is “what do they [i.e., the Cordoba Initiative] want”? If they want what you (any “you”) want, then support them; if not, then not. And it doesn’t look to me like they want quite what they say they want. More broadly, I think we are already extremely tolerant, including towards Muslims–it is only the proximity to GZ, not some emerging or intensifying animus towards Muslims, that is involved here. I’m not so sure that, to many Americans, there is anything more to “America” than a vague notion of “tolerance.” So I am far more concerned about losing the distinction I just made, between the exclusion of violence in politics, and the sense that violence is just part of a continuum starting with “anger.”

  93. @ adam:
    Now I’m confused about what your concern would be. Are you disassociating yourself from McCarthy/Geller/JEM/Jerome and their fears of a Shariah society, conquest of America, all Muslims presumed to be sleeper agents for worldwide violent Jihadism and burkas for the grandkids until proven otherwise?

    As for intensifying animus toward Muslims, I think that’s clearly the aim of McCarthy et al. Whether what we’ve seen so far is escalating animus or revealed animus is hard to say. Either way, the CI has already done a tremendous service to would-be designers of interfaith bridges by revealing just how wide and treacherous the raging river is at important points.

    Without that animus, rational or not, there would be absolutely no reason to care about proximity to GZ. The opponents say “We associate Islam with 9/11” and so the Muslim presence is unwelcome in the environs. I don’t see any other explanation for their position. Everything else is just a variation on it: “Well we should associate Islam with 9/11” or, at best, “These Muslims, whatever they say, have connections to people who bear arguably important similarities to people arguably like the people who did 9/11.”

    The last is, in a word, arguable. It still rests on guilt by association applied from a remove by people who wish to replace the judgments of those directly involved with their own judgments, and is far too weak to justify a gesture of total non-differentiated exclusion, which is what McCarthy et al are calling for, the obnoxiousness of their call further escalated by the emotionalism and demagoguery of Barber, Ace o Spades, Podhoretz, and even the superficially polite Dreher.

    So you may personally, on the basis of your own examination of the currently available evidence, differ with me as to whether the CH is a good thing in itself, just as you and me or anyone might differ as to whether a new Jehovah’s Witness center or Sikh Temple or Scientology Center or Catholic church is a good thing in the neighborhood, and may question whether belief in the imminent end of everything, infallibility of the Pope, etc., are at some level compatible with true adherence to liberal democracy under the Constitution. Under a commitment to tolerance we accept the abstract or arguable contradiction and the theoretical danger. We even accept proven risk – that, i.e., Skinhead rock-n-roll groups are more likely to beat up innocent people, that hard right Christian Identity groups are more likely to produce murderers and twisted kids, that tolerating Mormonism probably means that a fringe of polygamists will continue to operate, etc. Because the cost of blanket judgment and intolerance would be the destruction of the good society that’s more important to us.

    I also don’t think we’re in a position to judge how sincere, deep, clear etc. that commitment is until it’s put to the test, and I’m fairly certain what grade we should hope to receive.

  94. Final point, you want to ignore the last 20 years of Salafi/Wahhabi activity, like we did the previous twenty with Mawdudi, Ramadan, and all their disciples, all the examples I mentioned down thread, well it doesn’t work that way, it hasn’t worked that way in Londonistan, or
    Sydney, or Hamburg, or Ottawa

  95. @ narciso:
    Nope: A) There are no final points for Zombie Contentions (prior to heat death of universe or anyway end of humankind) and B) The question isn’t “ignore or attend” – the question is what kind of attention, always has been. Every approach carries risks and trade-offs, including familiar bathwater/baby risks.

  96. Or consumption by giant star goat, or unsanitized telephone, yes I get that. OT, Futurama’s coming back in two weeks or so, so let the absurdity begin

  97. @ CK MacLeod:

    Are you disassociating yourself from McCarthy/Geller/JEM/Jerome and their fears of a Shariah society, conquest of America, all Muslims presumed to be sleeper agents for worldwide violent Jihadism and burkas for the grandkids until proven otherwise?

    I would not formulate things the way some or all of them would, and there might be specific claims I would reject from each or all of them–I would not disassociate myself from them in the sense of either placing them beyond some boundary of civil discourse or of (figuratively) walking around with a sign saying “I’m not with them.” I don’t think McCarthy, at least, sees things the way you represent him here, but I certainly welcome the voices of those who have a critical view of Islam and are skeptical of its possibilities for change, because they notice and are willing to speak about a lot of things others prefer to ignore. (And Geller is willing to fight for people others would sacrifice to “multiculturalism”).

    My way into the discussion is not some general claim about Islam, though–it is a response to the claim of the CI to want dialogue, to really want dialogue, because they are clearly going out of their way to get a lot of attention. I have conditions for dialogue; in those conditions I may share a lot with other Americans. I don’t want to speak with Tariq Ramadan style dissimulators–there are many of them out there, and there are also some fairly easy ways to show that you aren’t such, and from what I’ve seen they haven’t availed themselves of any of them. So, I say we should give them dialogue, but it may not be exactly what they want, and sometimes dialogue leads to more conflict, not less, and I wouldn’t make any promises. And if dialogue doesn’t work, there are still rights and I don’t want to take those away from any law abiding citizen or resident, but you are just left with saying who you think people are.

  98. CK Says; “The first point [ I don’t trust the, 1) because they’re Muslims] is, I believe, fundamentally and absolutely unacceptable in the United States, from the founding to the present day, and indisputably – according to our values and in the present circumstances according to our concrete interests as well.”

    “Fundamentally and absolutely unacceptable”? Well, I guess there are some ideas that you are willing to condemn without a bunch of dithering and let’s-all-be-friends. Come on, CK. Can’t me and you and a bunch of my gun-nut friends build a cultural-interchange-and-mutual-understanding firing range in your back yard? Maybe we could compare and contrast our views on the second amendment over the smoldering bones of a couple of your not-too-close relatives. Bygones be bygones. Water over the dam. No? I guess some people are just beyond the pale.

    Well, since you feel that way, I guess I am going to make like JEM and head for the tall timber now. I did want to make one last self-destructive, bigoted, counterproductive observation. You have said that to the extent that Islam has made inroads on its’ neighbors in recent times, the cause has been “demographic pressure”. Presumably, you are referring to the large and growing Islamic presence in metropolitan Europe.

    Since all I know about Islam is what I learned on hate-dripping racist websites, maybe you could direct me to some more nuanced works on just how Anatolia came to be predominantly Muslim. As you no doubt know better than I, at the start of the 20th century, there were numerous thriving communities of Christians, some of Armenian ancestry, some Greek, in Anatolia. In fact, Anatolia had been largely Greek since the time of, well, the Greeks.

    Then, at some point, there were some cultural interchanges, and some lovely interpretive centers were constructed, and all the Armenian men wound up dead, after which their women and children were raped and enslaved, or systematically starved to death, or both in succession. Peace Be Upon Them, right?

    Then there were the Greek Orthodox communities, which also seem to have felt a need to be moving on down that long, lonesome road. It’s funny how Islam’s neighbors get that urge to ramble. I guess once your family has unaccountably expired on you, and your house belongs to someone named Mohammed, there just really isn’t much reason to stick around the old homestead, is there?

    I know, ancient history. There are people alive who saw it take place, but the same could be said of 9/11. They’ve changed, they’re not like that any more. They apologized, right? Well, actually, no, Muslims don’t apologize. They have deluded clowns like you to apologize for them. Hey, what’s a little genocide, everybody does it. I’m sure they didn’t really mean it.

    You might want to point out to your friends at Cordoba House that lower Manhattan is easily accesible by water. Not really a very good location for any structure that is intended to outlast the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the Islamic Republic.

  99. @ Jerome:
    Don’t know for sure where you get your ideas, but you might want to keep on looking, since, in your desire to come up with The Dirt on Islam, you’ve now transformed the actions of the radically secularist Ataturk – so radically anti-Islamist that he installed a constitution allowing the military to step in if things diverged from secular rule – into a long-term conspiracy on behalf of the Superduper Caliphate of your nightmares. His design worked for 90 years, and is now being put to the test. Demographic pressure explains a lot of it, actually. But one way or another it won’t represent a major expansion of Islamic influence. It may reflect a change in government or regime.

  100. Yes, the Itijihad , what they colloquially call the Armenian massacres
    were more part of Kemal’s deal, although there were warnings going
    back to the 1890s, it was allied with the Germans in the First War, and
    a dodgy neutral during the second, they sent Von Papen out there, and there were as many ratlines into the Middle East, as the German
    Mutajid points out. Maybe the military will have to take over again,
    as part of the recurring pattern in their history, for the AKP, in part
    with the help of Gullen and the IHIH, is trying to undermine the remainig strands of Kemal'[s handiwork

  101. narciso wrote:

    Too many in that city don’t even think there is a problem with radical Islam,

    How many is too many …….6?

    Have you any flaming idea how loony you sound when you say that NYC is overfilled with people who don’t understand radical Islam to be a ….problem……

    read this and have the decency to blush.

  102. They picked Bloomberg, they dissed Guiliani, who brought the city back they gave Hillary the other Senate seat , they send Nadler back year after year, geniuses like Schumer, Peter King’s good, but tell me their fine sense of judgement again

  103. What a perfect example of selective perception in action, by the way, in Jerome’s little cracked history lesson. No matter what happens, it’s Islam’s fault, never mind that by that same rationale, Stalin’s reign of terror was a product of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The Nazis were some kind of Christian phenomenon. The French Revolution and Napoleon were also Catholic I guess. World War I (except for the Turks): Another Christian production. I guess the Khmer Rouge were Buddhism’s fault. Rwanda was another Catholic-Protestant production, like the world wars.

    A pro-Islamist might claim that the Armenian genocide shows you what happens when Mohammedan rule finally breaks down, but there is no particular religious rationale in any of this at all, of course. It’s just human beings doing what they do best.

  104. Yeah, CK, Ataturk thought he was performing ethnic cleansing, not religious cleansing. And folks in Louisiana thought they were ckearing the yard for grass, not fire ants. Looks like they were bothl wrong, doesn’t it? If that is humans doing what they do best, then Muslims are the very best humans. Certainly, that is their view of the matter.

  105. By the way, this is part of the background I was drawing on, for my wider argument

    C:\Users\Eric\Documents\Chapter 2 The Saudi Big Brother, By Hassan A El-Najjar.mht

  106. That’s just it Rex, with the new ‘shake and bake’ living constituition, you don’t have to do anything as pedestrian as actually go through
    the Amendment process, or even pass legislation; ‘stroke of a pen’
    as Begala mused one day

  107. Heading Hugh Pope’s Modern History of Turkey, one sees the clear line between the Kemalist factions, like those represented by Ozal and Ciller, and the WelfareAKP’s Erbkkan, and his successor in Erdogan,
    and the latter hasn’t been shy on their stated geopolitical preferences

  108. @ narciso:

    narc, Giuliani was no great shakes. A neighbor of mine (and a friend of the family) was a very early and very earnest supporter of his. A fierce advocate for the idea of electing Giuliani as mayor.

    read his book about Rudy,,, it’s called “Prince of the City”

    he was a very mixed bag.

  109. It could go either way

    The guy before Rudy was an empty bag

    Rudy was about 11 lbs of slurry in a 10 lb sack.

  110. @ factualizing frog:

    Considering the challenges that must attend to the inexorable conversion of most cities into nothing but public employee feeding troughs over time it seems to me NYC hasn’t done all that badly.

  111. Guiliani was not a machine politician, like D’amato or Pataki, his style, both good and bad came from his experience in the US Attorney and
    Justice Department, he challenged the establishment. Dinkins was a cipher, put up by the left, Bloomberg, well don’t get me started on him

  112. @ Sully:

    NYC has seen the worst of the pampered public employee and was rebounding away from it before Guiliani.

    We managed (or mis-managed) Off-Track Betting into a position to where we became the first large bookie operation to consistently lose money.

    It was so bad that in ’93………………………………………………

    Governor Mario Cuomo is calling for Legislative action in the privatization of Off Track Betting

  113. @ narciso:

    and Giuliani didn’t challenge the establishment as US Attorney………
    he filed cases based on how much publicity he could get out of them…
    He took big cases against big people and got convictions ………
    and about every conviction that his office won was reversed.
    The publicity was good though.

  114. As compared to Spitzer, who indicted innocent persons, and left the guilty in charge, at AIG like Cassano, and if it wasn’t for the Client # 9, would probably be in line for the Democratic nomination for ’12

  115. @ factualizing frog:

    We managed (or mis-managed) Off-Track Betting into a position to where we became the first large bookie operation to consistently lose money.

    That’s classic. Only a government operation could lose money on a bookie business.

  116. @ narciso:

    narc, I’m perfectly willing to admit that it’s possible to do a worse job than Guiliani (the mayor he replaced wasn’t qualified to clean around the urinals in the Ministry of Silly Walks)

    but what’s the flipping point?

    You wanna debate whether Karl Donitz would have been a better administrator than Adolf?

  117. You’ve lived through Wagner, Beame, Koch, Dinkins, Guiliani and Bloomberg, probably Dwyer in your childhood, how do they rank

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