Saturday, August 21, 2010

triumphalism

I don't like harping on this. Initially, I was inclined to be supportive of efforts to spare the feelings of 9/11 families, hoped that the Islamic Center could be quietly negotiated a few more blocks uptown, since that part of Tribeca is a struggling neighborhood & the Center would be, in fact, an economic advantage  to any street & might generate some new businesses. But the demagoguery & anti-Muslim bigotry is outrageous! Especially galling are Christian pastors saying the Center is an example of Islamic triumphalism. A building, modest in height for the area, which would be dwarfed by the Freedom Tower.  All major religions have indulged in triumphalism. We nearly wiped out indigenous tribal religion in America in the name of Christian Civilization,  Christianity appropriated sacred pagan sites & festival days throughout Europe. Christianity rationalized chattel slavery by saying it was the  responsible way to Christianize black Africans  who had been worshipping false gods.  The Old Testament has shocking stories of Hebrew conquest.  Don't speak in the name of Jesus to me of Islamic triumphalism.

A sorry excuse for a Catholic priest in New York talked on the radio of "the principle of reciprocity" in opposing the center, Huh? For Christians, that principle is summed up in The Golden Rule, & the responsibility for "doing unto" is clearly on Christians, who are not to make reciprocity  a condition.

Nor will it do to point to Islamic suppression of other religions.  When Iran cracks down on Baha'i, considered an apostasy, it just accuses the  more prominent followers of spying for Israel.  Sound familiar? It doesn't occur to enough Americans that we have native born Muslims, & that many Muslims emigrate here to live in a  pluralistic society, to escape theocracy, fundamentalism, strict sharia law, & narrow-minded mullahs.  The Muslims in my neighborhood are from the Balkans & former Soviet Union, & although I doubt they relate culturally  to Saudi Wahhabism or the Taliban,  they feel anti-Muslim prejudice.

Argument: St. Nicholas Church, the only church completely destroyed on 9/11, has not been allowed to rebuild.  Yet they allow a  mosque.

Answer:  They're two separate  matters in two different locations.  A mosque would not be built  on the St. Nicholas site  because St. Nicholas still owns the land.  Because of the complications of funding & building on Ground Zero, Port Authority offered the church  another parcel plus a load of money, &  the church declined. If the church had wanted to move to 45 Park Pl & construct a community center with a prayer space,  it's likely the City would have expedited the approvals.  Park Pl is not Ground Zero.  You can support St. Nicholas without condemning the Islamic Center. They are not linked.

Probably moot. Cordoba Initiative doesn't have the money to construct the center, & if it did, union workers would refuse to work on it.

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Comments:
The whole stupid 9/11 thing was the work of a handful of under-educated, no-future Muslims who misunderstood their own religion and Christianity, but lucked into a remarkably efficient means of protest. You could say that Jesus accomplished the same thing 2000 years ago. In fact, 300 years from now, our descendents might be worshipping stylized representations of Osama Bin Laden, the way Romans came to worship Jesus.
 
Actually, they're mostly radicalized, educated young men who think they have no future. Poor Muslims don't have time or inclination to sit around the mosques listening to mullahs.
 
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