Obama Makes Sense.
For once President Obama agreed with me, which is not surprising.
The issue is, of course, the proposed mosque in New York.
I have followed this issue over weeks and been largely mystified by the angry and thoughtless responses, that is even excluding the lump in the US Constitution which deals with freedom of religion and must be relevant in this situation.
Often I get the impression that many of these issues are purely seen on an emotional and subjective level, without any reference to history or the US Constitution.
I simply can’t understand the reasoning behind many of the objections. If it is permissible to build a church, synagogue or ashram, etc in New York then surely the same rules apply to a mosque?
That is, if you believe in the universal right to religious beliefs.
Or are the rules changed according to the nature of the religious building?
Which would obviously be inconsistent, bias and suggests that prejudice, not reason, is at work here.
Michael Weiss offers his own arguments.
Update 1: Things have moved on a bit since I first penned this a few days ago, as Mark Mardell argues:
“Within 24 hours he’d performed the trick that is beginning to frustrate and upset those who should be his most loyal supporters.
In that airport sound bite, he said that he was not commenting and would not comment on the wisdom of building the mosque, merely the right to do so. It may well be that this is “Professor Obama” to the fore again, making a distinction that would be obvious to anyone at Harvard Law School between what the constitution says and what is morally or culturally desirable.
But politicians live and die by crude sound bites and the even cruder caricatures that flow from them and would-be liberal supporters despair that this looks like taking fright and running away. They despair that he is holding too true to campaign promises to stand above petty party politics when the fray is at its height.
To be seen as moderate and judicious might be no bad thing for the president. The trouble is that in these febrile times, there is no chance of that: the right immediately leapt on his remarks and portrayed them as un-American. Those planning the mosque, within an Islamic cultural centre inside a tall building, say it is a monument to peace and they want a memorial to the victims of the attacks inside. No matter. Conservatives compare them to Nazis building near a concentration camp or the Japanese setting up a cultural centre at Pearl Harbour.”
Update 2: The New Times has a piece on it too.
Update 3: Thanks to Adam Holland, Salon covers it too:
“A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan. They have had a mosque in the same neighborhood for many years. There’s another mosque two blocks away from the site. City officials support the project. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon, the other building hit on Sept. 11, for many years.
In short, there is no good reason that the Cordoba House project should have been a major national news story, let alone controversy. And yet it has become just that, dominating the political conversation for weeks and prompting such a backlash that, according to a new poll, nearly 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast?
In a story last week, the New York Times, which framed the project in a largely positive, noncontroversial light last December, argued that it was cursed from the start by “public relations missteps.” But this isn’t accurate. To a remarkable extent, a Salon review of the origins of the story found, the controversy was kicked up and driven by Pamela Geller, a right-wing, viciously anti-Muslim, conspiracy-mongering blogger, whose sinister portrayal of the project was embraced by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.”
Update 4: I found this web site for stopping the building of the mosque, not sure who or what they are, I’d welcome any background info on the stopthe911mosque.com