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American Muslims Fear Ground Zero Mosque is in Bad Taste

August 19, 2010

While I have written in great detail about the Ground Zero mosque, it’s important to note that there are plenty of Muslims practicing in America who also believe the project is misguided, an attempt to try to force a religious sentiment or ideal onto a broad range of Americans who reject it, perhaps a symbol to the radicals that the extremists have succeeded:

Beyond misgivings about the location, some U.S. Muslims have raised concerns about what the mosque could become after Rauf and Khan retire and inevitably turn the center over to new leadership. Like houses of worship in all faiths, Islamic centers can change over time depending on the worldviews of congregants and the imams who lead them.

Nomani said American Muslims have not fully confronted extremism in Islam, which makes her worried that any mosque has the potential to become a haven for those with rigid views.

“Yes, there is prejudice against Muslims in the modern day, but also Muslims in the modern day have an extremist problem,” Nomani said.

Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian scholar and reformer who said he was once a member of a terrorist group, said he had a “conditional objection” to the proposed Islamic center.

He said it was not enough for Park51 leaders to call themselves moderate. Instead, they should “clearly and unambiguously” reject radicalization by opposing specific extremist practices, such as killing apostates, stoning women for adultery, calling Jews “pigs and monkeys” and “declaring war” on non-Muslims who refuse to convert.

“This, in my view, will be perceived by radicals in Islam as a defeat for their ideology,” said Hamid, senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. “They think in a very primitive way. If they see a mosque near ground zero, this would certainly be perceived as a sign of victory for al-Qaeda. In the end, they will think, `They are bowing to us.'”

Few American Muslims who lost relatives in the terrorist strikes have spoken out, but those who have are also divided.

Talat Hamdani, a Muslim whose son Salman, a New York police cadet and emergency medical technician, was killed on Sept. 11, supports the proposal. “I’m not fighting for a mosque. I’m fighting for my rights,” she said.

By contrast, Neda Bolourchi of Los Angeles, a native of Iran whose mother was on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, opposes the plan.

“I fear that over time, it will cultivate a fundamentalist version of the Muslim faith, embracing those who share such beliefs and hating those who do not,” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “To the supporters of this new Islamic cultural center, I must ask: Build your ideological monument somewhere else, far from my mother’s grave, and let her rest.”

While Democrats are struggling to maintain their political majority, this certainly doesn’t help relations.  A news story about a Michigan politician, Carl Levin being hit in the face with a pie made national news. In this case, the woman who allegedly hit him with the pie has been reported to be upset with Levin’s views regarding Israel.  According to local sources, the woman and her compatriots, one Emily Harper, the daughter of the local City Commissioner, Terry Harper,could be charged with felonies after hitting Levin in the face with the pie because the protesters believe Levin supports Israel at the expense of Palestinians.

While pie-throwing has a long history in the U.S., even if it is regarded as a rather comedic method of showing dissent (although Carl Levin called it assault),it could be a sign of further erosion of the Democratic party’s standing.  Pie throwing has been used historically to register a political comment:

Pastry protest has a long history in US politics. Since the 1960s those opposed to the actions of people in power have occasionally made their point pie any means necessary.

But generally pie-throwing has been a form of political theater aimed at those some deem pompous. In its heyday it was a sort of anarchic gesture with leftist overtones. Thus from the 1970s through the early ‘90s, an ex-Yippie named Aron Kay, also known as “The Pieman,” hit such notables as McGeorge Bundy, G. Gordon Liddy, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and William F. Buckley, Jr.

Mr. Kay matched pie fillings to targets. Thus New York Mayor Abe Beame got apple crumb. (Get it? The Big Apple? And Kay judged Mayor Beame a crumb.)

More recently, two men threw custard cream pies at conservative author and activist Ann Coulter during a 2004 speech at the University of Arizona. The pair – Zachary Wolff and Philip Edgar Smith – called themselves “Al Pieda.”

Asked why pie, Mr. Smith said he and his Al Pieda colleague were “throwing pies at [Coulter’s] ideas, not at her,” according to a police report filed after the incident.

The woman arrested for throwing the pie, Ahlam M. Mosen, is allegedly a student at Michigan State University.

Democrats face worrying loss of independents:

Only 32 percent of those citing no allegiance to either major party say they want Democrats to keep control of Congress in this November’s elections, according to combined results of recent Associated Press-GfK polls. That’s way down from the 52 percent of independents who backed Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain two years ago, and the 49 percent to 41 percent edge by which they preferred Democratic candidates for the House in that election, according to exit polls of voters.

Independents voice especially strong concerns about the economy, with 9 in 10 calling it a top problem and no other issue coming close, the analysis of the AP-GfK polls shows. While Democrats and Republicans rank the economy the No. 1 problem in similar numbers, they are nearly as worried about their No. 2 issues, health care for Democrats and terrorism for Republicans.

Ominously for Democrats, independents trust Republicans more on the economy by a modest but telling 42 percent to 36 percent. That’s bad news for the party that controls the White House and Congress at a time of near 10 percent unemployment and the slow economic recovery.

With the economy forecast set to hit new lows, the controversy over Obama’s comments regarding the Ground Zero mosque,from both corners, the Ground Zero mosque just keeps stirring up controversy.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. joanne permalink
    October 8, 2010 8:26 pm

    It has been the pracitce of Moslem conquerers to build a Mosque over the ruins of the churches of the losers. It happened in Jeruselum, Spain and elsewhere. Now it is in Turkey and New York. Modern members of Islam should verbally denounce the old practices of religious warfare, especially in the face of the outspoken terrorists today.
    It is time for the Islamic community to speak loudly and clearly and stop being afraid to denounce those who defame their religion and proud heritage.

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