A voice in the rightwing wilderness

I still await news of a single statement at National Review or The Weekly Standard, or a single comment from a major Republican politician or conservative pundit, acknowledging that anyone on the right may have gone a bit too far on the “Gound Zero Mosque” – and not just in exaggerating it as an issue, as a few have at least suggested.

It’s in this context that I applaud Amy Ritter at the HotAir Greenroom for calling out Bryan Fischer of the “American Family Association,” who made a bit of a splash yesterday with his call for a complete moratorium on construction of all mosques in the United States.  Ritter rejects Fischer as a valid spokesperson for conservatives, whom she asks to consider the rights of Muslims and the sensibilities of Muslim Americans and their non-Muslim friends – in which latter group she openly places herself.  In a follow-up comment she mentions the notorious “Verse of the Sword” – Sura 9:5 – an ideological touchstone for both Islamophobes and Islamists, and she speaks to the variant interpretations of its meaning among Muslims, before she finally calls for “a balance of caution and also openness.”

Ritter is the proverbial voice crying out in the wilderness, at least for now.  I wish her luck, and I hope she finds echoes beyond the couple of commenters standing with her against Hot Air-as-usual.  Her gentler and more narrowly focused approach may allow her to make progress with hardcore conservatives where I couldn’t, but I don’t know how far she’s likely to get.  My own disheartening experiences and my observation of just how far how many conservatives have stuck their necks out on this issue (or set of issues) don’t make me optimistic.

56 comments on “A voice in the rightwing wilderness

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  1. and, of course, the bunghole known as MadCon is complaining in the comments about how this is oh so far from the reasoned and principled position being advocated. why, something like this might cause those idiots on the left to think that he and the other Know-Nothings were bigoted or something!

  2. New York’s Governor Paterson has proposed giving state land to build the controversial mosque at a less controversial location. His proposal seems to have gotten nowhere.


    Compromise is generally ideologically inconsistent. Yes, you have freedom to build a mosque anywhere. Yes, you ought to respect the sensibilities of those–especially relatives of victims–who find the proposed location an affront.

    It seems that those who chose the site have the upper hand, at least at the moment. They don’t have to compromise. Of course, one might choose to compromise even if one doesn’t have to, in order not to make more enemies than necessary. But compromise is not in the air.

  3. Yes it seems like a blanket prohibition, not every facility is going to be a Dar Al Hihra, (Aulaki’s place in Falls Church) or Al Kuds in Hamburgor Finsbury Park, It’s just like we don’t ban twitter because of two schlubs
    in the Massachussetts and New Hampshire Democrats, yadda, yadda

  4. @ George Jochnowitz:

    The governor, wading into a fierce national debate over freedom of religion, said “there is no reason why” the center, known as Park51, should not be built as planned, two blocks from the former World Trade Center.

    George, you agree that Jews shouldn’t live or worship in Hebron if it offends the other folks living there?

  5. @ fuster:
    I think that Jews should understand that living and worshipping in Hebron offends the other folks living there. Compromise is the answer. I also know that Jews living anywhere in Israel offends Hamas, as is written in the Hamas Charter. I think compromise is the answer.
    Israel and its founders comromised by accepting the UN Partition Resolution of 1947, by accepting the Taba Agreement in 2001, by creating an independent state in Gaza (now run by Hamas), and by creating an autonomous state on the West Bank (now ruled by Fatah).

  6. @ Fuster:
    Limited numbers and limited locations–to be worked out in negotiations.
    If ever the day comes when Palestinians are willing to accept a state, the deal will probably involve the evacuation of all Jews from Hebron. A Palestinian state, however, would be a recognition of Israel’s legitimacy, and since “virtue” always triumphs over need, I am not optimistic.

  7. @ George Jochnowitz: So you’ve no problem with a Palestinian state that allows no Jews to safely reside in it?

    Would you see no injustice in forcing Jew to neither reside nor worship near Ground Zero?

  8. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    I also know that Jews living anywhere in Israel offends Hamas, as is written in the Hamas Charter.

    Well, as a matter of fact, the Hamas charter doesn’t really say that. It takes the position that Hamas is at war with the Jews, but what offends them is the state of Israel, not the Jews themselves, whom Hamas claims – you are not obligated to believe this, I’m just pointing out that this is what the charter says – would live peacefully with Christians and Muslims “under the shadow of Islam.” They take the position that only Islamic rule in that region could lead to peace.

    They also quote the Medina Suras against the Jews, but they disclaim a Nazi-like intent, among other things by condemning the Israelis as Nazis.

    Please do not ask me now to make consistent sense of the thing. Not saying it couldn’t be done, or could be, just saying that, if you’re going to indict a political movement through its founding statements, you should indict those statements accurately – not to do Hamas a favor, to the contrary: for the sake of exploiting their contradictions, rather than resolving those contradictions for them, in a way unfavorable to your own interests.

  9. @ Fuster:
    I see a problem. Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that a deal with a Palestinian state–already unlikely–would be possible with Jews living there. A Palestinian state would no doubt turn out to be as judenrein as Saudi Arabia.
    The Ground Zero question is entirely theoretical. There is no movement to exclude Jews from there. There are no restrictions against Muslims living in the area, and I assume there are some Muslims in Battery Park City. As for the mosque, I understand why there should be no restrictions on religious sites, and I also understand why there are people who would be shaken by a large, highly visible mosque near Ground Zero. Individuals, of course, are free to worship openly in the neighborhood. America is a free country.

  10. So, it seems McCarthy is right again, by their own words of Article 2:

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era. It is characterized by a profound understanding, by precise notions and by a complete comprehensiveness of all concepts of Islam in all domains of life: views and beliefs, politics and economics, education and society, jurisprudence and rule, indoctrination and teaching, the arts and publications, the hidden and the evident, and all the other domains of life.

  11. Article 11, seems to be very clear, like the Shelliat Collective

    he Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection. Who can presume to speak for all Islamic Generations to the Day of Resurrection? This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This [norm] has prevailed since the commanders of the Muslim armies completed the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and they asked the Caliph of Muslims, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, for his view of the conquered land, whether it should be partitioned between the troops or left in the possession of its population, or otherwise. Following discussions and consultations between the Caliph of Islam, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, be peace and prayer upon him, they decided that the land should remain in the hands of its owners to benefit from it and from its wealth; but the control of the land and the land itself ought to be endowed as a Waqf [in perpetuity] for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. The ownership of the land by its owners is only one of usufruct, and this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators.

  12. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    A Palestinian state would no doubt turn out to be as judenrein as Saudi Arabia.

    There’s plenty of reason to doubt – including simple humility about characterizing an unknown future. The religious and ethnic composition of such a state would depend greatly on a range of other factors, including especially the circumstances that immediately preceded its creation

  13. @ miguel cervantes:
    Yes, we can all read it for ourselves if we choose to do so. If you read to the end, you will also find, Article 31 ” The Members of Other Religions[/]The Hamas is a Humane Movement,” including:

    Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect.

  14. The precedent is quite nearly laid out in the example of Khaybar and Yathrib, convert or die, sometimes the first part is inoperative, do you really want Israel to take that chance,

  15. I think that quaint custom called abrogation seems to apply in this case, the latter articles are cancelled by the earlier ones

  16. @ miguel cervantes:
    Israel taking “that chance” is not on the table.

    Khaybar and Yathrib are precedents among many. The larger precedent in Islamic history, including early Islamic history, is “no compulsion in religion,” active alliances including military ones with Jews and others – within areas of Muslim control, dhimmitude and jizya for the non-Muslims, administrative control and zakat for Muslims – and every possible imaginable variation and combination since that time up to the present day.

    That McCarthy happens to be right about Hamas’ and Gaza’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood is trivial. McCarthy probably also recognizes that the Earth rotates on its axis. What is more relevant is that the MB and its offshoots are very different organizations from Al Qaeda, for instance: Zawahiri has condemned the MB in stark terms. Unlike AQ, Hamas has never made war on the United States, and didn’t start targeting civilians until, in its own eyes, its own civilians had been killed – and killed in much larger numbers than Israeli civilians have ever been.

    The decision to designate Hamas a “terrorist organization” was a political decision by the United States, under the Clinton Administration. Hamas wasn’t even allowed to make its case – since “we don’t talk to terrorists” (except when we do). The designation relies on a reductive definition that explicitly equates Hamas with the likes of AQ as well as the various voluntarist “brigades,” despite vast differences between the organizations, yet while driving the entire structure of Hamas – a proto-state – into a more extreme and desperate mode.

    It’s sloppy and counterproductive simplistic conceptualization that deforms our strategy and tactics. At the same time, along with rest of our dysfunctional War on Terror language, it implicitly defines us, as has been traditional for centuries, as fundamentally all good, all non-terrorizing, all non-civilian-targeting, all-democratic, all-moral, all-forgivable when we happen to fall short, etc., and them as all barbarians who cannot be reasoned with, who need not even be distinguished one from another, who are in effect sub-human – they only say “bar- bar,” it’s all nonsense – who can be ignored and destroyed… without limit… along with anyone who claims too loudly – that is, at all – that they can be understood, and perhaps dealt with differently.

  17. This Israelis tried exactly this type of outreach to Sheikh Yassin, much like our contacts with the ISI and General Intelligence favorite mujahadeen sponsors (Hekmatyar, Raisul Sayyaf, Khalis) and Said Ramadan, a quarter century ago, what did it profit us

  18. So, what’s wrong with her premise, Old Man, don’t know how you say it in Cyrillic, when the City of Los Angeles has to take the cross off their state seal, when a cross in the middle of the desert is challenged
    because it is there, when there is clear abrogation of the agreement with regards to St. Nicholas

  19. @ miguel cervantes: trying to say that failure to have government regulate the use of privately purchased property off-site is equivalent to somehow favoring Islam because we regulate the use of public property and funds on-site is …… low and stupid and/or low and dishonest.

  20. @ miguel cervantes:
    It’s not a “strategy” when it’s attempted for a little while, then dispensed with – except the truth is much more complicated than that, since “not talking to terrorists” is often just a public pretense advocated by the propagandists, until one fine morning it’s no longer the policy… while a thousand other things may be going on that undermine or flagrantly contradict the tactic.

    And, no, the ISI, Hekmatyar, and the rest, or Yassin for that matter – these are not direct analogues to Hamas. It’s symptomatic of the same simplistic approach to make that argument. Hamas is not Iran. Hamas is not even Hezbollah or the Egyptian MB. Hamas is not Syria or Ahmadinejad or Saddam…

    As for counterexamples, in Iraq the vaunted surge, as in Afghanistan from the very beginning of our post-9/11 intervention, as almost every bit of progress we’ve made, before and after, comes down sooner or later to burying the hatchet with, cooperating with, making deals with, sometimes even actively encouraging and paying and arming and helping and fighting alongside to the death, people whom up to that moment were the devil incarnate.

  21. @ miguel cervantes:
    How pathetic that such muddy thinking – emotionalism, pseudo-logic, and little or nothing that wasn’t already done to death months ago – is what this whole sorry affair draws from the right’s “best.”

  22. Elias Abuelazam has been arrested for a series of stabbings. Since he has an Arabic-sounding name, some people may consider this case a reason to oppose building a mosque near Ground Zero, or may look upon it as a reason to oppose Islam. Since he is an Israeli citizen, other people may consider this a reason to oppose Israeli policies or even to consider Jews murderous.
    According to information in this news item in Haaretz,
    it seems that the suspect is a Christian.
    Whatever his background, the most relevant information about him so far is that he’s a murderous nut.

  23. Haaretz has this gift for misdirection that the Times itself would marvel at, I thought he might be Druze, hard to tell

  24. No, once his name was released the news was very clear in identifying him as an Israeli-not-a-Jew-but-an-Arab-not Islamic-but Christian.

  25. @ George Jochnowitz:
    George, you’re perfectly free (and probably right) to think that the jokes are not funny, but taking ’em seriously isn’t real good.

    As dumb as it usually is to explain little jokes, out of concern for your sensibilities I’ll anyway attempt to explain that they’re meant as mocking the all-too-prevalent conspiracy thinkers in this country who blame everything on the government and the Israelis.

    The jokes, if understood, probably shouldn’t be offensive to you….at all.

    Hope this helps.

  26. If there wasn’t such a thing as 9/11 denialists, there’s no fricking truth
    to them, so I don’t give them that title, if Mark Lane and Oliver Stone hadn’t dined out on JFK conspiracy theories, the most arcane of which is in that recent offering in the Rec Brow, which turns out to have beenSoviet disinformation efforts, though filters like the Paesa de Sierram and Le Humanite, then you would have a point. But Mark Jacobsenwho was the one who rehabilitated the weasel that is FRank Lucas, had only curious detachment when he interviewed them four or five years ago, for New York Magazine, if Ahmadinejad and Chavez were actively shunned from every public venue rather than viewed as harmless iconoclast, then maybe I would agree with you.

  27. @ miguel cervantes:
    well, the thing about wet birds is that they’re really not fish and can’t be understood as if they were because the spoilage factor is entirely different given the variation in optimal storage and different tastes doesn’t even begin to gap that bridge.

    I hope this clarifies your comment which obviously is either foul or fishy if it’s in English.

  28. @ miguel cervantes:

    is there any way that my prayers will be answered and that the Army can stage a raid into Wisconsin and capture that MadCow idiot?

    I dream of hearing that he’s been waterboarded AND cheeseboarded as well.

  29. When he and President LTCR West form a national salvation government, I’m sure that they’ll be forced by political reality to moderate.

  30. (CIA is just an abbreviation for Christian Israeli Arab. I haven’t heard anyone anywhere, even a writer for New York Magazine, a Hollywood director, or a major Middle Eatern nutjob, suggest that the Central Intelligence Agency had anything to do with Abuelazam (I’ll spare you my other free associations on his name).)

  31. @ CK MacLeod:
    I’m sure that we’ll all feel a lot safer if really, really, really enhanced interrogation methods were employed.

    let’s trim some of their excesses in the tried-and-true manner.

    being safe means never having to say you’re sorry.

  32. alam Al-Marayati, head of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which has praised the Hezbollah terrorist group —which is on the U.S. terrorist list— and publicly called for Israel’s destruction, has been invited to deliver a lecture at the State Department’s “Secretary’s Open Forum” on January 28, 2002.

    Ironically, Marayati is scheduled to speak on “Rising Voices of Moderate Muslims”—even though his voice is the voice of a Muslim extremist, and his disgraceful attempt to blame Israel for the September 11 attacks was a bizarre effort to divert attention from the real perpetrators of these heinous acts, who were all Muslim extremistss

  33. miguel cervantes wrote:

    has been invited to deliver a lecture at the State Department’s “Secretary’s Open Forum” on January 28, 2002.

    are you planning to attend the lecture? is Obama going ? will Mickey Kahane get drunk and proposition someone’s wife during the lecture?
    why do we want to know this?

  34. @ miguel cervantes:
    The usual stuff. Al-Maryati goes on the proscription lists for suggesting that the Palestinians and the Lebanese Shi’a have legitimate, or discussable, grievances – that there may be some explanation for their tactics, rhetoric, and demands other than demonic possession. He also committed the unpardonable sins of casting doubt on the wisdom of treating all terrorist groups alike, and of suggesting that US policies might carry a cost.

    And he did make one immensely stupid statement talking on public radio on the day of the 9/11 attacks.

    But, from the site, quoting Pamela Gellar:

    If you had any doubt who Obama stood with on 911, there can be no doubt in our minds now.

    that‘s especially praiseworthy?

    Do you keep on linking to this Americanpowerblog just so we can be sure to keep abreast of how out-of-the-world repulsively nuts a certain segment of the right wing has gotten?

    I guess it’s good to stay informed.

  35. Jennifer’s Venom:
    “Obama has shown his true sentiments now, after weeks of concealing them, on an issue of deep significance not only to the families and loved ones of 3,000 slaughtered Americans but also to the vast majority of his fellow citizens. He has once again revealed himself to be divorced from the values and concerns of his countrymen. He is entirely – and to many Americans, horridly — a creature of the left, with little ability to make moral distinctions. His sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens. This is nothing short of an abomination.”

  36. Yes, Colin, just like Gemaa Islamiya now AQ in the Aceh,hasn’t successfully targeted American yet, thanks to the interrogations of Abu zubeydah, although I would drive anywhere near the Library Tower, just in case, and the GIA hasn’t targeted anyone in the US,
    directly, thank Deanna Dean for that

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