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New York Land

Last night I wrote about the Burlington Coat Factory Cultural Center (better known as the Ground Zero Mosque, but note that it isn’t at ground zero and isn’t a mosque). The NYT has six letters on the subject at its editorial page today, and I chose one at random to read. The author begins with the assurance that “no reasonable person argues against religious tolerance,” but adds immediately that “it is reasonable, however, in the mosque debate to question whether or not it is fair for those of us who escaped 9/11 with our families intact to overrule the wishes of the bereaved. … Our primary concern should be the ones whose lives were changed forever on that terrible day. To put the mosque at a respectful distance from ground zero seems such a small thing for them to ask.”

I might have thought that our primary concern should be to protect the values that terrorists attacked on that terrible day, rather than meeting intolerance with intolerance. What better way to honor the memories of that day’s victims than to show that we respect the peaceful adherents of their own religion?

Let me turn to Ron Paul, conservative Republican congressman and former presidential candidate, for insight. He released a statement at his website last week calling on “sunshine patriots” to Stop Your Demagogy About The NYC Mosque! It is worth reading in full. Here’s just a portion of it:

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

. . .

If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia. . . . Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.

And for a final comment, one can’t do better than Tom Tomorrow’s latest cartoon, copied above.

Categories: Politics, Religion
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