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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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43 Responses

  1. Nahida
    Nahida August 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm |

    Thank you. For this.

    –A Muslim feminist

  2. Laurie in Mpls.
    Laurie in Mpls. August 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm |

    Yes. Thank you.

    From the Midwest, where people are surprisingly passionate about what goes in a city half a continent away.

  3. Havlová
    Havlová August 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

    Thanks for calling out false dichotomies!

    Also, I love how Gingrich thinks that somehow Saudi Arabia bears mentioning in the debate over Park51. Saudi Arabia is the go-to meme for any ignorant and bigoted person in completely unrelated discussions of Islam.

  4. Jim
    Jim August 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm |

    Yes, thank you.

    I didn’t bother to go and see who said this, but i have heard it elsewhere:
    “Also, if you ever find yourself writing “The post-1920s immigration restrictions were draconian in many ways, but they created time for persistent ethnic divisions to melt into a general unhyphenated Americanism”? ”

    This is at best inaccurate and at worst disingenuous. We have lots of persistent ethnic divisions that a moratorium on immigration did nothing to help, thank you very much, and I do not mena only the really obvious “race” divide. There is a reason that the labor union movement made no headway in the South and that reason is the virulent anti-immigrant feeling towarsds the :white ethnics” who made up the membership. It was very easy to smear the movement as Communist in an era when that was the all-purpose smear, but that was not the real reason for the rejection of the movement.

    As for other persistent ethnic divisions, the very bloody ones the immigrants brought with them were remedied more by common membership in the Catholic Church than a slow-down in immigration – just look at the patterns of inter-marriage. It is much more common to run across people with Italain and Irish ancestry, Polish and German, Irish and German, than to find Irish and Scotch-Irish or English marriages.

    The whole disocurse around religion and ethnicity has always been wildy incoherent in the US. Ideals of total tolerance have clashed with persecution to the point of ethnic cleansing of Mormons, engrained anti-Catholicism, an English inheritance; general acceptance of Judaism but cringing aversion to Islam – it’s a huge dizzying mess.

  5. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm |

    To me, it’s just reductionism. It’s reductionism that says that all Muslims are terrorists. It’s reductionism that says that all religion brainwashes people, no matter what it is. It’s also reductionism to say that gender roles are the way of nature and part of biological imperative.

    And for that, I blame Freud, but also a lot of people who run with the same basic concept.

  6. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm |

    I’m still trying to figure out what the ADL is doing. Right wingers being bigots is par for the course this year, but the ADL? I may have disagreements with them on some issues but I’ve always admired and supported their work on civil rights and religious freedom. This stance makes no sense to me.

  7. Jim
    Jim August 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm |

    “I’m still trying to figure out what the ADL is doing.”

    Jumping the shark? Is there a Judeosphere – it must be boiling with debate over that one.

  8. Fauzia
    Fauzia August 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm |

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  9. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler August 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm |

    I wonder if opponents of this, especially ones who don’t live in New York, who (at least implicitly) claim to oppose any new construction in the area other than cenotaphy know about the Fulton Transit Center a block from the site, or the Four Seasons on Park Place. Neither of which is any more or less appropriate by any criteria not referencing Islam. I mean, even grandfathering in the peep shows and OTB, there are things being built right now that are not notably respectful of the site of a national tragedy.

    The ADL is objecting, as best I can tell, not because Islam is bad in any way, but because people think it is. So not out of religious bigotry, but another attitude with the same name.

  10. Progressive Scholar
    Progressive Scholar August 16, 2010 at 5:37 pm |

    These are all great points. I wrote something similar on my blog just the other day. I’m glad there are folks paying attention to this. I also heard that Keith Olbermann will be covering this issue in his Special Comment tonight (8/16/2010).

  11. Misconceptions about the “Ground Zero Mosque” « Progressive Scholar

    […]  Jill over at Feministe has a great post that takes a few different perspectives about this […]

  12. Roschelle
    Roschelle August 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm |

    great thoughts, jill! you hit the nail on the head. everything lately reminds me of what it feels like not to be able to wake from a bad dream – same sex marriages ruining THE WORLD, drop and leave babies, changing the 14th amendment – and now this.

    I guess these “people” can grab their pitchforks and head for the Irish Catholics since this was Timothy McVeigh’s religion.

    it’s so absurd. WTF!! seriously!

  13. Ruchama
    Ruchama August 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm |

    Those immigration restrictions that he thinks were so useful also led to the murders of a whole lot of people who wanted to come to the US to escape the countries they were in, but the US wouldn’t let them in. (I know that my grandmother was able to come to the US in 1938 only because she had a distant cousin who was married to the founder of one of the big Hollywood studios, and he was able to pull some strings with the immigration offices. I’ve got the paperwork showing that my grandfather applied to come to the US several times and through several different channels in the late thirties and was consistently denied, until he was sent to Dachau.)

  14. Sid
    Sid August 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm |

    What makes Douthat’s piece and Hitchens’s take, as well as numerous others’ particularly odious is this patronizing desire for “transparency” to the project. Bloomberg really has the best take on this: its not really any of our business. The assurances they demand is that all practices they view as barbaric associated in any way with Islam need to be denounced by the project leaders, as if no explicit denouncements presume implicit endorsement. It is a tactic all too familiar to American muslims, who have had it used against them as a form of trying to induce collective guilt.

  15. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm |

    You know what kills me about this? MUSLIMS DIED AT THE HANDS OF THE 9/11 HIJACKERS. I’m sorry to get all shouty here, but way too many Americans seem to think that no Muslim worked in the towers, was in the airplane as an unsuspecting passenger, or was a member of the NYPD or NYFD.

    Know what else kills me about this in general? Right wing Christians are freaking out about mosques being built. Freedom of religion, folks. If we’re going to restrict the construction of mosques, guess what? We get to restrict the construction of churches. But no, they seem to think they are super special snowflakes and that those “other” religions don’t deserve the same rights. Well, fuck that noise.

  16. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla August 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm |

    I’m still trying to figure out what the ADL is doing. Right wingers being bigots is par for the course this year, but the ADL? I may have disagreements with them on some issues but I’ve always admired and supported their work on civil rights and religious freedom. This stance makes no sense to me.

    The ADL is doing what they’ve always done: Hating on Muslims for being Muslim. It’s why I won’t donate money to them or have anything to do with them.

    For as long as I have known about the ADL, they have never failed to instantly label even the meekest, mildest criticism of Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians as “Anti-Semitism”.

    “Maybe Israel shouldn’t have bombed the Gazans with white phosphorus?”

    “ANTI-SEMITE!!”

    “I’m Jewish”

    “SELF-HATING JEW!!”

  17. Person
    Person August 16, 2010 at 10:37 pm |

    Thank you for this, from a New Yorker who is sick of politicians using 9/11 as an argument or an excuse to get what they want, yet refuse to help the workers and rescuers who acted bravely on that day, and after it. I hope the “Mosque” gets made there, it would be a community center for everyone with a memorial for the victims of 9/11, which is more than I can say about the actual memorial since it isn’t completed yet.

  18. JustDucky
    JustDucky August 17, 2010 at 2:52 am |

    I’m getting so tired of hearing about the mosque. Most of the against-commentary is by people who weren’t affected, don’t live in New York, and don’t understand that it’s Not. ON. Ground. Zero.

    There was a great piece by Mrs. Polly over on Rumproast that gives a pretty good perspective about what it means.

  19. PM
    PM August 17, 2010 at 8:17 am |

    GallingGalla: I’m still trying to figure out what the ADL is doing. Right wingers being bigots is par for the course this year, but the ADL? I may have disagreements with them on some issues but I’ve always admired and supported their work on civil rights and religious freedom. This stance makes no sense to me.The ADL is doing what they’ve always done: Hating on Muslims for being Muslim. It’s why I won’t donate money to them or have anything to do with them.For as long as I have known about the ADL, they have never failed to instantly label even the meekest, mildest criticism of Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians as “Anti-Semitism”.“Maybe Israel shouldn’t have bombed the Gazans with white phosphorus?”“ANTI-SEMITE!!”“I’m Jewish”“SELF-HATING JEW!!”  (Quote this comment?)

    Yep. The movie “Defamation” covers this very topic, even though it’s not what the filmmaker actually set out to do.

  20. sonia
    sonia August 17, 2010 at 8:31 am |

    It is interesting that Obama and Feministe and a host of other leftist organizations have lent their support in the cause of this mosque where probably no support was needed. This is US, religious freedom, even to the extent of Jehovah’s witnesses sacrificing their children for it, is guaranteed. A few Republicans voicing views against it really cannot do anything.

    In contrast, I haven’t seen attention where it is needed. No support for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani who will almost certainly be executed by Iran for adultery. No support for Kurt Westergaard who was threatened with execution for Mohammed cartoons. Little support for gays regularly executed in Islamic countries.

  21. sonia
    sonia August 17, 2010 at 9:31 am |

    The New York City community, all the way to the mayor, is largely in favor of it. It is in no danger of not being approved.

  22. Sid
    Sid August 17, 2010 at 9:54 am |

    The community board has already approved the project 29-1, a nearly unanimous vote (very difficult to get). What lawsuits and right-wingers are trying to do is claim the Landmarks Preservation Committee was biased in not extending the building landmark status.

    And the common refrain of the left not supporting and pointing out human rights violations in Muslim countries whenever they support muslim rights domestically is tired and false.

  23. Zuzu
    Zuzu August 17, 2010 at 9:54 am |

    Because Abe Foxman cozier up to the right-wing screamers. Local Jewish groups have lent their support.

    Speaking of support: Sonia, you have a very interesting idea there, that Cordoba House doesn’t need support. It’s as if all those national pundits and politicians calling for violence and Acts of Congress and harassment (not to mention lawsuits) and utter disregard for the Constitution were just in our heads. Personally, I have no love for any organized religion, but I believe quite firmly that the Constitution needs to be defended, especially when the issue is an unpopular one. Pity so many would rather dispense with it when it’s convenient.

    I also take issue with the “hallowed ground” designation. Dresden and Hiroshima were rebuilt, after all, after much greater horror.

    Kristen J.: I’m still trying to figure out what the ADL is doing.Right wingers being bigots is par for the course this year, but the ADL?I may have disagreements with them on some issues but I’ve always admired and supported their work on civil rights and religious freedom.This stance makes no sense to me.  

  24. Sid
    Sid August 17, 2010 at 10:01 am |

    And New York City is mostly opposed, with a plurality of Manhattanites for. The overwhelming sentiment across the country is opposed.

  25. Zuzu
    Zuzu August 17, 2010 at 10:02 am |

    Formatting FAIL. Can’t seem to scroll on my mobile.

    Sonia, are you being willfully ignorant? Just because the project has all the approvals in place doesn’t mean it’s not under siege by yahoos with big microphones and audiences who are more than willing to cause trouble, even violence. Abortion is legal, too, yet opponents harass and intimidate patients, bomb clinics and kill doctors. I’m sure Dr. Tiller’s family sleeps netter at night knowing he had all the proper permits.

  26. William
    William August 17, 2010 at 10:10 am |

    It’s also reductionism to say that gender roles are the way of nature and part of biological imperative.

    And for that, I blame Freud,

    I really, really wish that people who haven’t spent a good portion of their time reading Freud in depth rather than looking at how American psychiatrists (though, not without Freud’s opportunistic silence) characterized Freud would stop blaming Freud for things that he didn’t really say.

    There is a lot of blame to be left at Freud’s feet, but saying that gender roles are a biological imperative isn’t really part of that. An unexamined psychological imperative? Sure. Freud wasn’t a man who was interested in biology but rather psychology. One of the things that was revolutionary about Freud was that he rejected the biological models of personality and madness that had dominated neurology and instead pioneered a more dynamic and adaptive model. At it’s core, psychoanalysis is about personal experience and culture.

  27. William
    William August 17, 2010 at 10:10 am |

    /derail

  28. Tiff
    Tiff August 17, 2010 at 11:02 am |

    hear hear!

  29. Blogroll « Never Kept Quiet
    Blogroll « Never Kept Quiet August 17, 2010 at 11:05 am |

    […] Feministe – On That “Ground Zero” Mosque […]

  30. zuzu
    zuzu August 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm |

    And the common refrain of the left not supporting and pointing out human rights violations in Muslim countries whenever they support muslim rights domestically is tired and false.

    And the tactic you’re using, scolding the left for pointing out problems domestically when there are violations worldwide, is fundamentally dishonest.

    I mean, if you want to take that to a logical conclusion, you can also argue that the Catholic Church deserves no support for its rights domestically because of its criminal behavior domestically and abroad (thinking specifically here of the widespread child abuse and coverup in multiple countries, as well as the Magdalene laundries in Ireland), or its support of policies in other countries that lead directly to preventable deaths (abortion policies, condom policies). Or that evangelical churches such as Rick Warren’s little empire deserve no support domestically because of the havoc they’re wreaking in Uganda and other places.

    And that’s without even getting into historical issues of torture, genocide and forced conversions.

    Nobody’s got clean hands in this world, really. But in any event, it’s not so much the support of “Muslim rights” that’s at issue here but the support of the U.S. Constitution, which — you may recall — guarantees religious freedom. And since we’re talking about opposition to an Islamic cultural center in New York City, it’s very much a domestic issue.

    So, thanks, but no, what anyone does anywhere else in the world doesn’t really have any bearing on what’s going on here. You and Newtie may want to muddy the issue, but I was not aware that we should be following Saudi standards of religious freedom. Which Amendment introduced that?

  31. zuzu
    zuzu August 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm |

    Sorry for the comment bogarting, but I wanted to address this as well:

    Also, if you ever find yourself writing “The post-1920s immigration restrictions were draconian in many ways, but they created time for persistent ethnic divisions to melt into a general unhyphenated Americanism”? It is time to put your writing career out of its misery, and perhaps take some time off to reevaluate your world view. First, if those persistent ethnic divisions really did melt into a general unhyphenated Americanism, we probably wouldn’t be having this mosque debate. Second, giving bigots time to adjust isn’t a great reason to pass anti-Semitic, racist laws premised on “racial hygiene” and eugenics. Kind of how a bigot invoking 9/11 doesn’t make his opposition to a community center in lower Manhattan any less bigoted.

    I just want to point out how galling Douchehat’s column is, coming out as it is on a day when it was announced that historians have found evidence that many of the 57 Irish railroad workers buried in a mass grave in Pennsylvania were murdered, and did not in fact die of cholera.

    I’m sure Douchehat would argue that the kind of anti-Irish/anti-immigrant sentiment that led to the massacre of these men in the 19th century was a *good* thing, right? After all, it gave the bigots and Know-Nothings time to adjust, and a mere 150 years later, I, as an Irish-American, am reaping the rewards of such violence!

  32. Sid
    Sid August 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm |

    I said that the common refrain one hears is “Why are you (read:left) not supporting “muslim” rights in x place?” occurs whenever the left supports “muslim” rights here domestically or in the West (ie hijab et al) and that this is tired and false. As this blog and numerous others do, in fact, point out human rights violations in the Muslim world and everywhere. I don’t know how you read that I was “scolding” the left or that I support following Saudi standards of religious freedom.

  33. links for 2010-08-17 « Embololalia
    links for 2010-08-17 « Embololalia August 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm |

    […] On that “Ground Zero” Mosque 5. Republicans who hate on New York City 364 days of the year, and who use the evils of New York (sex! gays! immigrants! Jews! elitists!) for political gain, don’t get to suddenly claim to care when September 11th is involved. And they definitely don’t get to use New York City and New Yorkers to forward a political agenda that is antithetical to everything this city stands for. (tags: cities:newyorkcity usa islam islamophobia) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)links for 2010-05-26links for 2009-05-30links for 2009-10-13N-Word. […]

  34. Mickie T
    Mickie T August 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm |

    I’ve worked two blocks from the WTC site (I also detest the term “Ground Zero”) for over 20 years, and believe me, the whole area is a tourist attraction. Sure, people pay their respects at St. Paul’s Chapel (which became a makeshift first aid station and memorial) and visit the Tribute Center (tours and first-hand accounts by volunteers who were there on Sept. 11.), but it’s also a place to gawk and take photos. And honestly, I’m not really sure what “paying one’s respects” entails at a place like this, but that’s another issue.

    I don’t really care one way or another if the cultural center gets built on Park Place, but I do have other rhetorical questions:

    1. What was the Community Board thinking? This neighborhood needs a new ELEMENTARY SCHOOL and a normal-person’s supermarket. What we have now is a Whole Funds, a Food Emporium and 2 over-priced “Euro-gourmet” markets. The local school is busting at the seams, and families down here are having a baby boom.

    2. Who thought that this was going to be a slam-dunk? Didn’t the Community Board and our elected officials think they ought to prepare better for the that would inveitably ensue? Hey, we New Yawkers can be blase’ about the craziest things (“go ahead and pierce your head, just don’t cut in front of me in the coffe line.”).

    3. Why is Bloomberg so dedicated to this? Call me cynical, but Bloomberg never backs anything so vehemently unless he stands to gain in some way, or he’s showing how he knows what’s better for you then you do. The last things he cared this much about were the smoking ban in bars, the 2012 Olympics, eliminating trans fats in our restaurants, LeBron James and congestion pricing. Sure, these can be wonderful things, but it’s really all about pleasing the upper classes, and telling the unwashed masses you can’t fend for yourselves, and please stay out of Manhattan.

    4. Yes, there’s already a mosque/masjid a whopping FOUR blocks away from the WTC site. Personally, I’d wish that mosque got all the money and investment to renovate. It’s in a pretty crummy building. But, hey, maybe that’s the mosque “we just don’t go to.”

    Thanks for reading.

  35. Mickie T
    Mickie T August 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm |

    (Darn I wish this site had an edit feature!)

    2. Who thought that this was going to be a slam-dunk? Didn’t the Community Board and our elected officials think they ought to prepare better for the backlash and media circus that would inveitably ensue? Hey, we New Yawkers can be blase’ about the craziest things (“go ahead and pierce your head, just don’t cut in front of me in the coffe line.”), but everything about “Ground Zero” is so emotional that it was naive to think no advance prep work was needed.

    I also want to point out that, to my cynical surprise, there is absolutely no vandalism or grafitti at the location. This nabe is wall-to-wall upper class yuppies, and the commuters are mostly civil servants, small business owners and construction workers. Maybe it’s the NYC blase ‘tude at work. But honestly, I expected a lot more street action or graffiti here from super-patriots and the like – or at least from the angry tourists who ask me in hushed tones directions to where the mosque is going to be.

  36. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla August 17, 2010 at 10:58 pm |

    Mickie T, did you read the article? What’s being built isn’t a mosque, but a community center that has a prayer space for Muslims. Did you read about it being open to people of all religions and being more or less like an YMIA (Muslim equivalent of YMCA)?

    Also, what’s the fact that there’s a bunch of yuppie food markets in the area have to do with building a Muslim community center? Maybe instead of driving out the community center (which you seem to want), y’all ought to drive out Whole Foods and put the school in *their* place – they’re run by a bunch of ratfucker libertarians and are notorious for abusing their employees and contributing to gentrification.

  37. zuzu
    zuzu August 18, 2010 at 11:32 am |

    Sid: I said that the common refrain one hears is “Why are you (read:left) not supporting “muslim” rights in x place?” occurs whenever the left supports “muslim” rights here domestically or in the West (ie hijab et al) and that this is tired and false.As this blog and numerous others do, in fact, point out human rights violations in the Muslim world and everywhere.I don’t know how you read that I was “scolding” the left or that I support following Saudi standards of religious freedom.  

    You’re right. I apologize. Small screen, indignance, etc.

    My comment applies, still, just not to you!

    Mickie T., have you really visited this particular block? Because I have (I used to work across the street, and hung out in the dive bar that will be right next to Park51), and while the rest of Tribeca might be wall-to-wall yuppies, the blocks around Park51 are full of downscale retail — those stores that are open, that is. Those blocks off Church Street are full of shuttered stores and discount retail and nondescript office buildings full of civil servants.

    I’d like to remind everyone that one of the answers to “Why here?” is that it’s cheap real estate: the Burlington Coat Factory that used to stand there was abandoned after being damaged on 9/11, and had no occupant for nine years. The Cordoba House folks picked it up for less than $5 million, which is incredible for Manhattan for a building that size.

    Why’s it so cheap? As Keith Olbermann pointed out recently, the crowds that flock to Ground Zero to oh-so-reverently gawk and take tourist snaps of the “hallowed ground” and buy 9/11-themed trinkets don’t visit Park Place, just a few blocks north. It’s as if it’s not really part of Ground Zero!

  38. zuzu
    zuzu August 18, 2010 at 11:36 am |

    4. Yes, there’s already a mosque/masjid a whopping FOUR blocks away from the WTC site. Personally, I’d wish that mosque got all the money and investment to renovate. It’s in a pretty crummy building. But, hey, maybe that’s the mosque “we just don’t go to.”

    You’re aware, aren’t you, that there are different flavors of Islam? Would you oppose a new Catholic church because there’s already a Baptist one nearby, and scoff at those Catholics who declined to go there as snobs? Or would you insist that there was no need for a Reformed synagogue because there’s an Orthodox one just a couple of blocks away, and that should really be sufficient?

  39. Diane
    Diane August 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm |

    Yes, Jill, yes! So many people are saying that they agree that Muslims have the right to practice their religion freely in this country, but in light of the overwhelming opposition to this cultural center, the site should be moved to another location out of sensitivity to the 9-11 site, the victims, and families of victims. But, they miss the point that the very fact that people think it is insensitive to have a Muslim cultural and religous center by “Ground Zero” speaks to the incredible racial and religious bias and discrimination against Muslims in this country. Why is it insensitive to have a Muslim cultural center by “Ground Zero”? Yes, the 9-11 hijackers were Muslim. But, it is common knowledge that were from an extremely small sect of Islamic fundamentalist militants, who obviously do not represent the majority of practicing Muslims. Also, as Jill pointed out, some 9-11 victims were Muslim.

    The absurdity of the request to move the location of the center due to sensitivity is even more clear if you imagine that the 9-11 attacks were done by foreign Christian or Jewish religious fanatics. No one would dare say a church or synanagouge should not be built in the vicinity of the attacks.

    Unfortunately, the many Americans equate Islam with radical terrorist thought. That is precisely why this center is needed near the WTC site. Perhaps, publicity about this wholisitic/YMCA-like center promoting the positivity of Islam and Muslims will help to divorce the association of Islam with violence. Or, maybe some of the fanny-pack wearing tourists will stop in the Islamic cultural center, which is open to the public, and learn more about Islam and Muslim-Americans.

    Also, check out this post stating that the vast majority of Americans who oppose the mosque are “ignorant.”
    http://www.outloudopinion.com/2010/08/16/cenk-suggests-the-70-of-americans-who-oppose-ground-zero-mosque-are-ignorant/

  40. On the proposed Islamic community center a few blocks away from Ground Zero « I am the Lizard Queen!

    […] so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” which is neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque, was catapulted into the national spotlight by […]

  41. Khaled Al-Radadi
    Khaled Al-Radadi September 6, 2010 at 6:19 am |

    These Americans are very racists because they do not want to build an Islamic center. These Americans are fascists because they are against tolerance and religious freedom. All Muslims are shocked because of this racism. Muslims respect any American who supports the idea of building an Islamic center in any site in America.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam

    Khaled

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