18 August 2010

Now I'm starting to get a little mad

I have refrained from combating the most asinine arguments against the "mosque". But since they seem to be the most common, I will presently attempt to demolish them.

1) It's not a mosque. It's a fucking YMCA (or YMMA I suppose would be more accurate). You don't go to one of those to have a religious experience or to become indoctrinated to a particular lifestyle. You go there to play volleyball or swim. Get a grip.
2) Muslims are not uniform. Associating ALL MUSLIMS with the criminal and heinous acts of a chosen few would be like associating all Catholics with the criminal and heinous acts of the Spanish Inquisition, or the child molestation cases. Perhaps more accurately, it might be like associating all Baptists or Anglicans with the actions of those Catholics presently so offensive in their misdeeds. Or looking at the most extreme American sects of Christianity and applying them universally. The difference between Sufi and Wahabbi branches of Islam is pretty broad, just as the differences between Christian fundamentalists can be rather broad (even within the fundamentalism itself).
3) What the fuck is a "victory mosque"? What victory? If you ask extremist Muslims, those who were recruiting for and plotting terrorist acts, 9-11 was a defeat until we started doing silly things in response (invading Iraq, torturing and detaining many innocent people, etc). Had we kept our heads and simply gone after the terrorists who organised these attacks with intelligence and as much precision as we could muster, I don't think we'd be in this mess. Imam Rauf's critique on that point (the causes of 9-11) does not sound terribly different from, say, Ron Paul's. I hardly would characterize that opinion as shameful, offensive, or treasonable simply because it advises caution in the use of force to resolve our foreign disputes and interests, tolerance where force will resolve nothing to our satisfaction (and perhaps complicate matters more than simplify them). It should not become so offensive simply because it is given voice by a Muslim. The fact that Muslims in America might be annoyed at our policies toward Muslim nations or attacks conducted in Muslim nations by our forces hasn't crossed our mind? Really? They're not allowed to oppose or protest such policies, much less form critiques of how or why those policies might be a bad idea (blowback)? I realize conservatives (especially neoconservatives) hate and fear and despise anti-war protesters of any stripes, but there's a wide swath of people opposed to this thing, for partly this point, that I'd hardly call "conservative" who seem troubled that expressing any impression that America's foreign policy has been anything other than lily white and virginally pure is somehow un-American. To that I say: read history without the blinders on. Take the "USA" chant down for a moment, remove the names if you have to and look at just the acts and the motivations and ask yourself if everything we do is still awesome sauce. It's not. Grow up. Bad things happen out there. Sometimes we cause them. Sometimes we don't mean to.... and sometimes we do.
4) Newt couldn't apparently be troubled to actually read European (much less Islamic) history, so we had to remove the "offensive" Cordoba from the title I guess. It now sounds like some sort of strange dance club.
5) Constitutional rights, like the freedom of religion, are not up to popular opinion. In fact, that's very much the point of those rights, to protect unpopular minorities from legal repression and retaliation. Above all things, one should not be in the business of having or using the government to determine which opinions or which religious practices or which matters of opinion shall or shall not be tolerated.
6) READ the Qo'ran if you're going to start cherry-picking your animosities and applying them universally to all people of a particular faith. For that matter, read your Bible. One thing you will find very quickly is that there are lot of ridiculous things in there, often conflicting things. Islam is little different. This means... that there are lots of schools of thought and differences in practices. Not all Muslims stone people to death (which.. come to think of it..that's in the Bible too I think) or require women to cover their bodies from head to toe, or care all that much whether Americans or foreigners or even residents of a Muslim nation have different religious practices (see Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Indonesia, etc, see also the amount of Christians who think this should be solely a nation for Christians. Percentage wise it's about the same as the American-Muslim community. Hardly surprising). It is not required that the Muslims and others who might build or use this facility hold "approved" religious views, but the fact that they are for the most part inoffensive views being held is quite useful.
7) People like me who happen to like civil liberties...actually tend to like ALL of them. That includes the annoying ones like the right not to have police powers over consensual actions (narcotic drugs, prostitution or sexual commerce, homosexual sex acts, smoking in bars, etc), and the annoying to left-wing ones like the right to bear arms or the right to speak out on elections if one is part of a corporation or a union without onerous legal hoop work. This means that I will defend ALL of them, not simply the ones I happen to like best that morning. For example: I am personally rather annoyed with religious freedoms and how they are exercised by most religious peoples. That does not mean I get to use my annoyance to say "nope, sorry can't do that anymore". It's a right on there for a good reason. For me especially, as an unpopular minority whose rights might otherwise be restricted or imposed upon. Ultimately it comes down to this: "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." If we violate our liberty to secure it against the perceived incursion of the liberties of our enemies (such as they are magically determined to in fact be our enemies), then we establish the means by which our enemies may in fact encroach and destroy our liberties.
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