Weekend Diversion: Time to Speak Up.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up. -Martin Niemöller


Most of you reading this know me. How you know me may vary; some of you know me as a scientist, some as a science writer, as a professor, or maybe just a friend or acquaintance. But before I was any of those things, I was born a citizen of the United States of America.

And, like all US citizens, I have certain rights and privileges guaranteed to me by law; every citizen is protected by, among other things, the Bill of Rights. I think of these as my basic freedoms, including my free speech, my freedom of assembly, and my freedom of religion. And I have all of these freedoms whether anyone else agrees or not with my speech, my cause of assembly, or any of the tenets of my religion (or lack thereof). If anyone would try to take these rights away from me, not only would I fight them, but I would expect many of my fellow Americans to come to my aid, and defend my basic rights. In fact, if anyone tries to take them away from any American, it’s everyone’s responsibility to defend their rights.

Keep on Rockin in the Free World
After the attacks of September 11th, 2001, I knew that many of us would be afraid that there are people in the world plotting our death and destruction. But I also knew what kind of courage we’re all capable of, and was heartened by our then-President’s words:

“Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward. And freedom will be defended.” -George W. Bush

Now, more than ever, it is time to defend the freedoms of Americans. The freedom to live your life without being racially or religiously profiled. The freedom to be allowed to conduct commerce and purchase goods without being asked where you got the money. The freedom to worship whatever or whomever you want without fear for your personal safety.

Here in America, the reality is that these freedoms are in jeopardy.

In New York City, a cab driver was asked if he was Muslim. After responding in the affirmative, his passenger pulled out a knife and attacked him, slashing the man’s throat.

In Tennessee, a new Islamic center being built outside of Nashville was just the victim of arson, as a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment sweeps across our nation.

Where is this hatred and violence coming from? It’s no mystery.

People are afraid. People are afraid that the people who caused 9/11 will do it again, and that since they were Muslim, the response is to be suspicious of all Muslims.

But we do not let fear dictate what we are free to do. Syed, Atiyah, Freida, and all the other Muslims I grew up with are no more or less American than any of us, and it is the right of every Muslim-American to expect the exact same freedoms that we have.

And that includes the freedom to buy an abandoned building in New York City and build a community center there, regardless of whether it’s a Christian, Jewish, Interfaith, Atheist, or Muslim center.

People are asking if you are for or against the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center two blocks away from Ground Zero, and they are asking the wrong question. Your opinion, my opinion, anyone’s opinion is not what’s relevant here.

What’s relevant is ensuring that everyone’s freedoms are protected, including the freedom of peaceful Muslim-Americans to have a place of assembly and worship. Which is all they’re trying to do. (And, as an aside, I’d be willing to bet that the people who masterminded 9/11 think of most Muslim-Americans as Americans long before they think of them as Muslims.)

We do not let fear limit our freedoms, not for ourselves, and not for anyone in this country. We are better than our recent actions have indicated, and we need to do better than this. It’s my country, too, and I am officially speaking up against violence, against racial and religious mistreatment of others, and in favor of equal rights and protections for all Americans. Even Muslims, even two blocks away from Ground Zero.

And I encourage everyone else to speak up, too.

Comments

  1. #1 Sphere Coupler
    August 29, 2010

    I agree with everything you said, yet, I do think religions have a responsibility of sensitivity to other religions and this issue should have never came to light..

    and

    I’d be willing to bet that the people who masterminded 9/11 (the individuals)were not religious at all.

    And as far as religion goes…well, I guess if people still need it…

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    August 29, 2010

    Ah, sensitivity. Have you noticed that the people demanding sensitivity are the same ones who mock the descendants of slaves who object to the Stars and Bars flying over their statehouses?

    Talk is cheap. It’s easy to demand that others be sensitive to your needs. For a tiny fraction of what the poor persecuted Protestants have spent on this already they could have bought the property and done something appropriate and sensitive with it — like a strip club.

    Instead we have riots in the streets by the principled proponents of minimalist government and strict adherence to the Constitution demanding that officers of the government block the use of private property because it’s owned by Muslims.

    Niemöller was right. And I don’t see much cause to believe that it can’t happen here.

  3. #3 Sphere Coupler
    August 29, 2010

    Human are funny creatures, maybe if they lived longer they would learn or maybe they live too long…nah, just group mentality I guess.

    Who was it that said “History is bound to repeat itself if we don’t learn from it”.

  4. #4 David
    August 29, 2010

    well said, Ethan. thanks.

  5. #5 mxh
    August 29, 2010

    The sensitivity argument is pure BS. I don’t have to sensitive against your bigoted biases. You may associate all muslims with terrorist, but people who aren’t racist know that holding an entire fifth of the world accountable for what a small number of people did is completely inappropriate. This is an issue only because the right wants to make it an issue in time for the election. The rest of the country is (like usual) falling in line.

  6. #6 Chris Winter
    August 29, 2010

    Sensitivity? I think there’s a time and place to display sensitivity. But not this time and place in the political arena. Not when we have the extreme right wing going to such great lengths arguing for sensitivity — because it’s a false sensitivity they ask for; in the case of this “ground zero mosque” as in many other things, it’s a sensitivity that is better defined as capitulation.

    No one with a sense of history can misunderstand where granting their demands would take us. Ethan certainly understands.

    BTW: To answer your question, Sphere Coupler, it was George Santayana.

  7. #7 Sphere Coupler
    August 29, 2010

    Well, it wasn’t much of an argument.And I am sensitive to your statement…I do think that most humans are too sensitive, but me having bigoted biases makes me laugh.

    As a matter of fact I put all the humans in the same category…*temporary*.

  8. #8 Sphere Coupler
    August 29, 2010

    OK, I,ll try again, screw sensitivity.The whole event did not start from religious viewpoints, it was conveniently turned into a religious fiasco and the humans took the bait.

    On both sides, humans can be so easily manipulated.

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    August 29, 2010

    Who was it that said “History is bound to repeat itself if we don’t learn from it”.

    George Santayana: ““Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

    Also gave us this about the teabaggers: “History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.”

  10. #10 ThirtyFiveUp
    August 29, 2010

    D.C. Sessions
    “For a tiny fraction of what the poor persecuted Protestants have spent on this already they could have bought the property and done something appropriate and sensitive with it — like a strip club.”

    In the neighborhood are the New York Dolls Gentleman’s Club and the Pussycat Lounge, plus Thunder Lingerie and More, a sex shop with a peep show.

    Link: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0824/Sex-shop-and-strip-clubs-near-ground-zero-show-double-standard-over-Park51

    Google Search: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=Ground+zero+strip+club&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

  11. #11 Sphere Coupler
    August 29, 2010

    Thanks Chris Winter and D.C. Sessions
    George Santayana: ““Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

    I was thinking it came from antiquity.

  12. #12 feralboy12
    August 29, 2010

    “Those who fail to learn the lessons of History are doomed to repeat the class.”
    –College advisor

  13. #13 Dianne Phillips
    August 29, 2010

    I agree! Thank you for putting it so eloquently :-)

  14. #14 Sphere Coupler
    August 29, 2010

    Thucydides (c. 460 BC – c. 395 BC)

    To hear this history rehearsed, for that there be inserted in it no fables, shall be perhaps not delightful. But he that desires to look into the truth of things done, and which (according to the condition of humanity) may be done again, or at least their like, he shall find enough herein to make him think it profitable. And it is compiled rather for an everlasting possession , than to be rehearsed for a prize.

    Translated
    Thomas Hobbes, 1628

  15. #15 Don Rowe
    August 29, 2010

    I’m sure, at an individual level, it’s probably quite different, but from the outside the USA really does seem like a 300 million (roughly) strong group of primary school children at lunchtime, lacking any adult supervision.

  16. #16 TDP
    August 29, 2010

    Well said. Every human being should be allowed freedom in what ever they want just as long as it doesn’t harm others.

  17. #17 Neuro-conservative
    August 30, 2010

    Ethan — Your use of the Niemoller quote in this context is obscene. To equate the peaceful disagreement amongst citizens concerning the placement of this mosque, with the systematic barbarity of the Nazis, is an affront to the 6 million dead. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  18. #18 crd2
    August 30, 2010

    I can respect the freedom of religion, but as said @6, there is a time and place for all things. For one, I don’t feel the location and the timing are appropriate. After we are done with this mosque, lets go build a gold statue of Hitler a block away from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. I in no way, shape or form think the mosque is equivalent to a Hitler statue, nor am I attempting to draw a comparison between Nazis & Muslims, I’m just trying to argue a point.

    @5: To suggest Americans are holding 1/5 of the worlds population accountable for what the terrorists did is completely ridiculous; and to go around saying such things will only fuel the flames of cultural tension and unease. And if you would care to explain just how were are passing accountability onto 1,339,450,808 people I would love to know.

    @1: Sphere Coupler assuming the terrorists were not very religious, that is incorrect. They were quite the polar opposite of that. Commonly referred to as religious fanatics even among Muslim circles.

    Look I’m all for religious groups having a place to practice their religion, my point is this; this is a rather large country and I feel there must be a more suitable location for such a structure given the circumstances.

  19. #19 D. C. Sessions
    August 30, 2010

    To equate the peaceful disagreement amongst citizens concerning the placement of this mosque, with the systematic barbarity of the Nazis, is an affront to the 6 million dead.

    They didn’t start with Auschwitz [1]. As for “peaceful,” well … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwaNRWMN-F4

    Then there’s the arson of the mosque in Tennessee. Obviously the timing was wrong there, too, and it was too close to New York.

    [1] Which is kinda the point, unless you missed it.

  20. #20 Nick
    August 30, 2010

    @crd2

    Your point would only be valid if your comparison would be valid. You ARE comparing a mosque with a golden Hitler statue.

  21. #21 Eric Lund
    August 30, 2010

    To suggest Americans are holding 1/5 of the worlds population accountable for what the terrorists did is completely ridiculous

    Not all Americans hold this viewpoint, but a too-large and very loud fraction do. And if you don’t think Bin Laden and company are exploiting this fact for propaganda advantage, the kindest description I have for you is “hopelessly naive”.

    As for why they chose that site, the Olbermann special comment that Ethan linked to has the answer: cheap real estate (by Manhattan standards, even before the recent real estate bubble). It’s rare that you can buy an entire building in Manhattan for a mere $4.5M. There are apartments in Manhattan that cost more than that. Religious charities need to watch their expenditures, too.

    My opinion: As long as they comply with the same local zoning and building codes that any other prospective developer of that site must obey, they have every right to build it. I haven’t seen anybody offer actual evidence that the building would violate such codes, and I understand that the local planning board, whose job it is to know if that would be the case and object if it does, has already approved the project. If you oppose this project and you do not live or own property in the immediate vicinity, you are not being a NIMBY but a BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody)–the parallel opposition to community centers in TN and CA demonstrates that this isn’t just about the World Trade Center neighborhood.

  22. #22 Rob Knop
    August 30, 2010

    Neuro-conservative: you may have missed the bit about the throat-slashing and the arson…. But also others have made the point that the mass-murder of the Jews in WWII didn’t start immediately with mass-murder, it started with a loud political movement that became increasingly popular that portrayed a certain religious minority as evil and the source of the worst problems the country was facing. THAT sounds familiar.

    I just moved from Nashville a month ago. I’d been watching the back-and-forth in the newspapers and the letters to the editor about the Islamic Center in Murphreesboro. There were a lot of people who wanted to find a legal way to stop it from going on. The only possible explanation is xenophobia and bigotry– fear of Islam, and the ignorant belief that Islam was synonymous with terrorism. I’m very sad to see that somebody took it to this extreme. Doubtless many down there are going to see the arsonists as “holy warriors” (also sound familiar?). Yet, somehow, I doubt that the almost-certainly-Christian motivated burning of that mosque will ever lead to public outcry against the building of a Christian Church in Murphreesboro.

    This Islamophobia in the USA is very scary. The ignoramuses who promote it are very scary. And, yes, people like Neuro-conservative above who try to rationalize it, deflect the attention away from the horror, and apologize for it are a part of the problem.

  23. #23 Neuro-conservative
    August 30, 2010

    If you truly believe there is an ominous parallel between the drunk kid (who was a member of a pro-mosque outreach group) slashing the cabbie’s throat, and the events of the 1930′s, then you are simply living in a fantasy and are not participating in rational discourse.

    Incidentally, Ethan, I must have missed your post on the victims of Nidal Hassan. Can you throw me a link?

  24. #24 Doug
    August 30, 2010

    “And that includes the freedom to buy an abandoned building in New York City and build a community center there, regardless of whether it’s a Christian, Jewish, Interfaith, Atheist, or Muslim center.”

    Yeah, no one’s arguing they do not have the right. By misunderstanding the debate, you’re perpetuating a straw-man. Moreover, by uncritically lumping together the events as you have, you’re playing into the hands of (at worst) agent provocateurs.

  25. #25 BenHead
    August 30, 2010

    Damn effing right!! I don’t usually get my back up over politics, but this issue has seriously bothered me. Not as a Muslim, as you note, but even as a confirmed agnostic (leaning more and more towards atheist the more I see people using religion as a reason to be hateful).

    @24 LOTS of people are arguing that. From the people who screamed at the community board when they did approve it to gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, who’s sworn to “investigate” the the project if elected. I can’t believe no supporters have challenged Palin, Beck, and the others to be more clear about whether they’re claiming the group should *choose not* to build it (which is not going to whip up their followers as much) or not be *allowed* to build it (which would go against their politically conservative ideology of small government). Seems the simple quesiton would shut them down one way or the other.

    I wonder how many of the opposition we’re hearing from are New Yorkers. Aside from the obvious “if you don’t live here, why do you care?” issue (it is, after all, NOT “at” Ground Zero), it seems these people lack comprehension of Manhattan geography. Two blocks might as well be a world away in lower Manhattan. Especially a mid-block building two blocks north. You won’t, in fact, be able to see it from ground zero; you wouldn’t be able to hear it if they did the call to prayers, which the imam has said they won’t. All the shouting is just another way for the right to use fear (irrational and hateful fear at that) to get people to the polls so they can pass tax cuts for the super-rich and reduce oversight of corporations, which is what they actually care about. That that’s what they’re doing disgusts me, and that it’s working (to whatever extent it is) disgusts me even more.

  26. #26 D. C. Sessions
    August 30, 2010

    Yeah, no one’s arguing they do not have the right.

    No doubt that explains the agitation for zoning commissions, historic preservation commissions, the City Council, the Mayor, the Governor, etc. to act — including exercising eminent domain to take the property away.

  27. #27 AngelGabriel
    August 30, 2010

    Wow. Everyone is so reasoned and reasonable.

    Your unanimous open minded endorsement of an Islamic sanctuary of sanity (assuming earthly matters are settled) is indeed welcome news.

    I’ll convey your optimistic message (that this mosque should be built) to the great ironic one. Yes, yes, all of your personal reservations will be dully noted.

  28. #28 ElmerPhuD
    August 30, 2010

    Can’t everyone see how *persecuted* Neuro-conservative is?
    Not only are there scary violent Muslims everywhere,
    liberals like Ethan are accusing him of bigoted hysteria.
    How dare they! Waaaaaah!
    Clearly Ethan is the real bigot here, spitting on Holocaust graves.

    But seriously, thanks Ethan; I’d be honored to spit with ya anytime.

  29. #29 Brain Hertz
    August 30, 2010

    Neuro-conservative,
    please spare us the faux indignation. The entire point of the Niemöller quote is that it doesn’t start with mass genocide. Right now, what we have is much more than “just” a couple of incidents of arson/stabbings; those are just the symptoms of what is going on. What is happening here is that a large class of people are being intensely demonized by a powerful political movement aided by certain media organizations. While I try not to make that much of a habit of watching Fox news, I know many viewers who take everything they say at face value, and I have to think that any muslim in the US right now must feel pretty intimidated by the hate that Fox and the tea partiers are incessantly stoking. I’m sorry that you think that standing up for the victims of this intimidation is being disrespectful.

    crd2,

    Look I’m all for religious groups having a place to practice their religion, my point is this; this is a rather large country and I feel there must be a more suitable location for such a structure given the circumstances.

    I dunno. Maybe their wanting to build the community center in that location has something to do with it being near where they live?

    I know you aren’t the originator of this argument, but it has to be one of the dumbest making the rounds right now. Why would mulsims who live in Manhattan be served by a community center in the Bronx?

  30. #30 rupert
    August 30, 2010

    Thank you Ethan for speaking up on this. As an Atheist, I think the whole religion thing is silly, but I will defend anyone’s right to practice it. At this point, not building the center is playing right into Al Queda’s hands. They hate us for our freedoms, so lets get rid of them.

  31. #31 Doug
    August 30, 2010

    “No doubt that explains the agitation for zoning commissions, historic preservation commissions, the City Council, the Mayor, the Governor, etc. to act — including exercising eminent domain to take the property away.”

    Okay, no one of importance is saying they don’t have the right. I stand, oops sit, corrected. /eyeroll

  32. #32 Doug
    August 30, 2010

    “At this point, not building the center is playing right into Al Queda’s hands. They hate us for our freedoms, so lets get rid of them.”

    It actually does not matter. They will hate us either way. “They hate us for our freedoms,” misses the point. They hate us for not being Muslim. The number of converts the GZM generates won’t be significant enough to change that. :)

  33. #33 Brain Hertz
    August 30, 2010

    They will hate us either way. “They hate us for our freedoms,” misses the point. They hate us for not being Muslim. The number of converts the GZM generates won’t be significant enough to change that. :)

    …and, of course, they also hate Feisal Abdul Rauf for being the wrong sort of muslim. But I’m sure you knew that.

  34. #34 Sphere Coupler
    August 30, 2010

    crd2;
    I didn’t say “the terrorists were not very religious”

    I said
    “I’d be willing to bet that the people who masterminded 9/11 (the individuals)were not religious at all”.

    Their is a difference.

    Since I don’t watch TV and have little time for *the news* I did not know that sensitivity was a sens- *hot spot*

    I will say this,
    I wonder what is happening elsewhere while the world is focused on what should be insignificant issues.

  35. #35 Doug
    August 30, 2010

    “…and, of course, they also hate Feisal Abdul Rauf for being the wrong sort of muslim. But I’m sure you knew that.”

    Sure. Did you have a point? I’m trying to figure out why AQ’s opinion should matter to us (seemingly the new fashion in the Big Apple…) when it is convenient for some. AQ’s opinion has no resolving power — they will hate us regardless. It should not be a factor in the equation. The GZM will be built and people will move on (hopefully not .org) to the next controversy.

  36. #36 Brain Hertz
    August 30, 2010

    Doug,
    the point was that the Park51 community center isn’t going to create any converts to AQ’s brand of Islam. I don’t doubt that AQ will continue to hate us (and everybody else who isn’t them) no matter what.

    On the other hand, the current hysteria can’t exactly be harming AQ’s recruiting any.

  37. #37 Doug
    August 30, 2010

    “On the other hand, the current hysteria can’t exactly be harming AQ’s recruiting any.”

    Right, so why contribute to the crazy by Godwin-ing the debate? This is America. No Muslim is going to the gas chamber here in our lifetime.

  38. #38 StrangeQ
    August 30, 2010

    As an atheist, it is odd to sit and watch this from a distance and wonder what all the hullabaloo is about. Besides the obvious election rhetoric and issue deflecting “controversy” (this center has been in the planning stages for some time, and yet suddenly it’s an issue?…), this is this years gay marriage. Although gay marriage is still out there. Freedom of reiligion. that’s it, end of story. Sensitivities and locale can go suck it. I find the evangelicals of this country to be horribly offensive and to be involved in many more deaths than 9/11 in regards to women’s rights, homosexuals, and moral superiority. And yet, if someone wants to be build a church in an area properly zoned then that is their right, no matter if it is next to the Federal building in OKC. And as for location, how far away would be respectful? 4 blocks? 8? 10 miles? 100? The point is we do not hold races accountable for the actions of a white or black or asian, we don’t hold religions accountable for actions of their followers. Good post Ethan, far more eloquent than my ramblings, but then again, If I could deliver a coherent screed then I would havemy own blog. Hmmm, Ends with a whimper….com!

  39. #39 D. C. Sessions
    August 31, 2010

    Right, so why contribute to the crazy by Godwin-ing the debate? This is America. No Muslim is going to the gas chamber here in our lifetime.

    How many Germans would have said the same in 1912?

  40. #40 Brain Hertz
    August 31, 2010

    Right, so why contribute to the crazy by Godwin-ing the debate? This is America. No Muslim is going to the gas chamber here in our lifetime.

    Oh, please. Once again, spare me the faux indignation. Are you really so blind as to think that Ethan is the one using the excessive hyperbole?

    By the way, I look forward to your outrage at, for instance (you know I could pick from several), Glenn Beck using the Niemöller quote in describing bailouts of auto manufacturers.

  41. #41 Brain Hertz
    August 31, 2010

    Oh, and I forgot to mention: thanks Ethan for taking the time to post this. I do enjoy reading all of your posts, but this was something that really needed to be said.

  42. #42 Doug
    August 31, 2010

    “How many Germans would have said the same in 1912?”

    This isn’t Germany 1912. You really cannot tell the difference between then/there and here/now? Really? Ok.

    “By the way, I look forward to your outrage at, for instance (you know I could pick from several), Glenn Beck using the Niemöller quote in describing bailouts of auto manufacturers.”

    Sure. Consider me outraged. Now what? I assume you’re still double-downing on the “answer crazy with crazy.” Have a good one.

  43. #43 Eric Lund
    August 31, 2010

    “They hate us for our freedoms,” misses the point. They hate us for not being Muslim.

    I agree with the first half of this statement, but the second is simply dead wrong. You may have noticed, and Bin Laden himself has pointed out, that AQ is not at war with Sweden. Last I checked, Sweden is not a Muslim country, and many of their values are incompatible with if not antithetical to Islam. However, Sweden hasn’t been invading Muslim countries and toppling Muslim governments, and Muslims who happen to live in Sweden are generally allowed to live their lives (including their religion) to the extent that they don’t interfere with the lives of others in Sweden.

    AQ is blowback, pure and simple. The US has been routinely interfering in the political affairs of Muslim countries, and occasionally sending in armed forces, for at least 60 years. (Remember Mossadegh, who was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup in 1953? Most Muslim extremists certainly do.) Bin Laden himself earned his street cred as a mujahid against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and he may have had financial assistance from the CIA (as other mujahedin did) in this fight. People in that part of the world have long historical memories–they are still feuding over the succession of imams circa 700 AD (the issue that led to the Sunni-Shia schism). None of this justifies terrorist attacks, but there is a definite grievance feeding those attacks, and the anti-Islam loudmouths in the US are feeding that grievance.

    As for the Godwin argument, note the historical timing: Niem&ouyml;ller’s was arrested before the Nazis came up with their “Final Solution”. So a Holocaust is not a necessary condition for ending up in Niemöller’s predicament. See also the French Revolution, the Night of the Long Knives, and Stalin’s purges. I am afraid that D. C. Sessions, in comparing our situation with Germany 1912, is being an optimist; the relevant comparison to Germany is no earlier than 1923 and perhaps as late as 1930.

  44. #44 OKThen
    August 31, 2010

    Acts of courage are required by a people to demonstrate their commitment to a belief. Building a mosque a few blocks away from the site of the world trade center is (a small) such act of courage to demonstrate our belief in freedom of religion.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa, now there was an great act of courage by a people determined to build a democracy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_(South_Africa)

    But then we presume that our democracy and freedoms (like our economy) are strong; and some of us think acts of social courage are no longer necessary.

  45. #45 Sphere Coupler
    August 31, 2010

    What intrigues me is that extremist, (the world over) even Have a voice, most inhabitants of earth are not extremist, yet maybe their is an entertainment value(disregarding political ambitions) in the trauma and drama extremist produce, some people thrive on that you know.
    I suppose it’s much like the rest of the Universe where disturbance of matter is a sign of action or evolution, matter is disturbed in colliders to understand particle evolution…so undisturbed matter does not evolve,Hmm.

    I say we put all the extremist in one spot and watch them evolve {sarcasm} *grabs popcorn*

  46. #46 Alex
    September 1, 2010

    No Muslim is going to the gas chamber here in our lifetime.

    A few points:

    1. It’s kinda hard to refute an incredulous stare.

    2. This reminds me of this tale:

    http://www.pennyparker2.com/saveme.html

    What I’m saying is that what you say will only come true if the people who don’t want it to happen work towards it not happening. For instance, sometimes when there are calls for action to be taken on global warming, people respond with a “Relax. Humanity is smart. Someone will come along soon enough with something to stop global warming”. But you see, that is exactly what those warning about global warming are crying out for.

    3. Your dismissive attitude is rather undercut by the fact that America already has a frickin’ CONCENTRATION CAMP called Guantanamo Bay. You want people to chill out, and yet people are locked up indefinitely without trial (under both parties), the current President is busy authorizing assassinations, and a former Vice-President is free to go on TV is talk about how he Ok’d torture – with no legal ramifications whatsoever.

    4. Niemöller’s quote is a well known quote making the point that you have to be eternally vigilant about all threats to liberty, even to those you might not like. It is not a “Godwin-ing” (in fact even Mike Godwin himself thinks his “law” is being used too many times) any more than someone quoting a Winston Churchill speech would be. It’s a famous quote illustrating an important concept.

    [Even so, there have been empirical similarities between the US of A and Nazi Germany in one respect:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/05/verschfte_verne.html

    ]

    5. You seem to have a Whig view of history (“This is America”). Try learning more history and you’ll soon realise that civilization can very easily go backwards.

  47. #47 Cambrico
    September 1, 2010

    1. They have the right to built their bloody temple and they better give thanks to their god that they live in a country that grants that right, even to asses like them
    2. They are asses because I doubt they didn´t see coming the controversy. This Mr.Rauff knew very well what was going to happen and did it on purpose.
    So, let them waste their money in a superstition club, it is their righ, but their behavior is highly suspicious. If I was living near that street, I will be expecting an annoying neighbor. Hitchens last article about the matter makes me wonder a lot about this Mr.Rauff.

  48. #48 Mena
    September 2, 2010

    Is there really that much demand for a gold Hitler statue near Auschwitz? Has a religion been founded which rather than having community centers has statues in inappropriate places? If so, the next thing you know they will be putting a statue of Bush 43 in New Orleans. They MUST be stopped!

  49. #49 Lloyd
    September 3, 2010

    Perhaps things would go easier if some of us did not still remember the images of thousands of presumed Muslims shouting “Allah Akbar” and celebrating wildly in the streets upon hearing the news that a few of their more radical members managed to create such massive grief in D.C. and NYC. The perception is that a mosque or Muslim cultural center so close to the site of their “martyrdom” would amount to a shrine to same in the minds of many, thus promoting even more murderous nonsense. There seems to be a mentality of “Let’s blow up the world, then we’ll take over.”

  50. #50 Juice
    September 6, 2010

    I’d like to point out that the arson in Tennessee can easily be categorized as religiously motivated terrorism.

  51. #51 Jon
    September 6, 2010

    I despise Judaism and its awful spawn, Christianity and Islam, but I love America, and our proud tradition of freedom and tolerance. If lower Manhattan isn’t free and tolerant, where is? So, although it galls me to say it, I support the “ground zero mosque” 100 percent, and urge others to support it also. It’s the only patriotic position to take.

  52. #52 Josh
    September 9, 2010

    Try learning more history and you’ll soon realise that civilization can very easily go backwards.

    Wow, pretty upity for someone supporting an Imam working to impose Shariah law in the US. Just don’t say, “It can’t happen here!” you Whig, you…

  53. #53 Josh
    September 9, 2010

    See also the French Revolution, the Night of the Long Knives, and Stalin’s purges.

    Yes, the Left does so love their gulags n’ such as convenient places to dispose of counter-revolutionaries and others who threaten “progress.” Do you know something about the Obama administration that we don’t?

  54. #54 Kayla
    September 15, 2010

    I disagree with the mosque for a number of reasons.
    To begin with, although he certainly does have the right to do so, it’s a big slap in the face to the families who lost someone on 9/11.
    The mosque is also a triumph mosque. Throughout history, when an attack like 9/11 wsa pulled off by Muslims, where they destroyed and conquered an important symbol of the country, a large, elaborate mosque has been built on top.
    As for Imam Fiesel Rauf, he is not the man he claims to be. I have done tons of research, exploring everything from our own news channals here (which are all biased anyway) to those in Europe, and countless articles from everywhere, including translated text from Arabic newspapers. He says one thing to us and another to the other countries. AShortly after 9/11, in one article, he practically applauds the men who destroyed the towers. He said that all non-Muslims must convert or die, and that we are nothing but second class citizens. Although I’d love for that to be diffrent and for him to be the man he claims to be, he is not.
    While I don’t think all Muslims are the same, I have read the Mecca Hadith and the Quran. It’s not as pretty and peaceful as people think, which severly upset and depressed me, actually.
    Now, I may have been a little less irritated at this mosque business if they had built the Freedom Tower years ago to show the terrorists we will defend and stand for our freedom, RIGHTS, and country, without letting fear of them control us. Along with that, we should have kept the name of Freedom Tower instead of renaming it like the bunch of sissies they think we are. Not to mention the fact that they are going to grant this man permits and liscencesa to build said mosque after 10 years of refusing the same permits and liscences to a small orthodox church that was destroyed on 9/11. There are over 400 mosques int he city of NY, so it’s not as if you have to go out of your way to get to one. However, the people who went to this particular church now have to go out of their way to Brooklyn. I think they deserve the permits and such more than the Imam.
    And although I really have nothing against Muslims, this circulated after 9/11 in the Muslim community. It’s rather disturning, to be honest…

    http://www.davehitt.com/blog2/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/nycmosque.jpg

    Also, many Muslims actually disagree with this Mosque being built as well.
    I am not trying to be rude or argumentative or nuffin, sorry if the tone of my opinions sound as such ^.^;;
    I am open to debate though :D And, with enough support, possibly changing my opinion, though it’s doubtful. I will listen.

  55. #55 NJ
    September 15, 2010

    Kayla @ 54:

    The mosque is also a triumph mosque.

    It is not a mosque. It is not at Ground Zero.

    You claim to be “open to debate” and “will listen”. You should do something else first.

    Learn about the topic. Your claim of having done “tons of research” is completely falsified by your mislabeling.

    This will help keep you getting savaged in discussions.

  56. #56 Kayla
    September 15, 2010

    It is called Cordoba House and it is both an Islamic community center and mosque, and it is two blocks awaay from ground zerom, though if you consider the airplane landing gear that fell on it, it could be a part of it, depending on your perception.

    I am open to both :3 You have yet to try me ^.^

  57. #57 Kayla
    September 15, 2010

    Also, you didn’t seem to have any other arguments for my statements :3
    Not to say you don’t, you simply didn’t share them.

    Care to?

  58. #58 Kayla
    September 15, 2010

    And I apologize for not being specific the first time through on those two things.

  59. #59 Dan
    November 23, 2010

    First they came for the Tea Partiers…

  60. #60 sasha
    March 5, 2011

    I agree with you. Over reaction is not acceptable at all. Now our world is in a hard time.
    Actually, Islam is a religion. And when one faces the religion, sees a bunch of holly things. Holly in sense that no one can think about change or even doubt in them.
    So, it makes the religion useless and harmless over time; because everything changes and improves but religion insists to be as it is and it was.
    When it is just in personal life, it is O.K but every person is a part of the nation and society. A religion like Islam has a huge amount of commands and rules for governing a holy society. What about them??
    Like a vehicle with 4 wheels, when one religious group plays role of a wooden wheel, time for other three normal tires gets harder and harder and for the society as the car a disaster.
    Hence, I believe upgrade should be done in the religion to make it working and modern otherwise extinction is the destiny even fierce believers try to make thousands of 9/11s they are not able to save this wooden wheel. This is the first basic natural law, things are not adoptable are forced to be extincted even they are dinosaurs. And extinction is not always in peace and nice manner.
    The responsible Muslims have to face this reality and try to revamp Islam for the modern era. The first step is criticizing the so called holly book Qua ran which has so many unfair dangerous and radical racist views.