Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Terrorism works by provoking self-destruction

There's been a lot of controversy about the mosque and community center to be built several blocks away from the Ground Zero site in Manhattan. Apparently, some people truly believed the line that 'they' hate us for our freedom so they're trying to remedy this problem by eradicating the freedom part.

Do opponents of the project object to its services for the elderly? Its day care program? The 9/11 memorial that it will house?

The religious bigotry underpinning the controversy has been whipped by venal, self-serving politicians, who are behind most forms of bigotry. The issue was first seized upon by Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino. These Republican candidates for governor are light years behind in the polls to Democratic front-runner Andrew Cuomo and they fabricated this issue in a pathetic attempt to get people to pay attention to them.

The hypocrisy was amplified when both of these 'men' proposed using eminent domain to stop the project. So these conservatives, who brag about supporting 'limiting government,' proposed using the government bludgeon to suppress both freedom of religion and private property rights.

Of course, the usual cacaphony of hatemongers like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck didn't miss their chance to stoke the fires of ignorance.

Some claim that their opposition is not to any mosque/community center but only to the location of this particular one. Those this page shows some of the other things that are even closer to sacred site.

There are no doubt some who oppose the project solely because its location. Perhaps in an ideal world, it would not have been built so close to the former Twin Towers' site. However, as the project's spokesman pointed out, real estate in lower Manhattan is neither abundant nor cheap.

But the reality is that much of the opposition is really based on religious bigotry. This article in The New York Times points out that opposition has arisen mosque building projects in places like Tennessee, Wisconsin and California.

As a representative of a California mosque/community center project pointed out, local Muslim families had contributed to the local food bank, sent truckloads of supplies to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and participated in music nights and Thanksgiving events with the local interfaith council. "We do all these activities and nobody notices,” he said. “Now that we have to build our center, everybody jumps to make it an issue.”
For some, 'too close to Ground Zero' for an Islamic site really means 'anywhere in America.'

If this is what Sarah Palin's sickening 'real America' is all about, then I'll stay here in the 'fake America' that was founded as a haven for religious tolerance and believes in freedom and other civilized values.

A good part of our foreign policy is based encouraging moderate Muslims to stand up for themselves against the violent, extremist strand of their faith and to support them when they do. So what's our strategy at home? To tar them all with the same brush. To act like all Muslims were responsible for 9/11 and that they should all face the collective punishment of being allowed nowhere even remotely near the site.

Yogi Berra famously said the secret of baseball management was to keep the guys who hated you away from the guys who were undecided.

It's a good national security strategy too, one that conservatives would be wise to follow.

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