Posts Tagged 'NY Muslim Center'

Not in my backyard…

I’m ashamed.

What started out as a nice day quickly changed into one I could have done without.  And it’s the fault of the NY Times.  Well, not directly.  It was merely the messenger.

Jewish Group Opposes Muslim Center Near Ground Zero the headline exclaimed.  Another one of those wacko ultra-orthodox Jewish organizations, I figured.  Led by the same people who want to purify Israel and push some folks into the sea or worse.  I read on.

Turns out that the Anti-Defamation League is the wacko group objecting to the location.  Now I know that both the ADL and its national director, Abraham Foxman, couldn’t be further from wacko than you are.  Nor could they, before today, be called bigots.  Yet here was Mr. Foxman saying that the location of the center was offensive to families of 9/11 victims and that supporters should look for another site “a mile away.”

When asked why the opposition of September 11 families was so pivotal, Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, offered…”Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational. Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”  He might have added…and therefore, religious discrimination is justified.  But he didn’t.

Other pundits have weighed in.  Tablet’s Mark Tracy  said…”Founded in 1913, the ADL, in its words,  fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.  Except when it does the precise opposite.”

Like the much heralded feel-good Arizona immigration law, most people haven’t a clue as to what the Muslim Center is all about.  Nor do they know that its board will include Christians and Jews.  Yet they oppose it.  Many, perhaps a majority, think it is to be located right in the middle of 9/11 ground zero.

Others, who should know better, have joined the battle as another means of furthering their political objectives.  Sarah Palin has urged “peace-seeking Muslims” to reject the center, branding it an “unnecessary provocation.”  That paragon of virtue, Newt Gingrich decried the center  and said “The average American just thinks this is a political statement. It’s not about religion, and is clearly an aggressive act that is offensive.”  The two Republican candidates for NY Governor have added the issue to their campaigns and have accused their Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, now the state’s attorney general, of not aggressively investigating the center’s finances.

The Huffington Post’s  James Lamond had this observation about Mr. Gingrich.  “Gingrich has latched onto this “Islamophobic” rhetoric in the past couple weeks. First, his speech on the building of a Muslim Community Center at Ground Zero, where he warned that “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” In the same speech he argued that we should look to Saudi Arabia as a standard bearer on religious freedoms saying, “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.”

Now I understand fully why some politicians are jumping on the bandwagon.  If there are any uncommitted souls out there, it’s just possible that rattling their cages with forecasts of doom and destruction will swing their votes to a champion dedicated to saving their bacon.

What I don’t understand is how we Jews can buy into this.  But maybe we’re just like everyone else.  Until reminded otherwise.



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