Hostages

Yasser Latif Hamdani writing in the Daily Times

To my article last week on the issue of the Manhattan mosque, many American Muslims and indeed our own holy Pakistani Muslims responded with the refrain that they — the American Muslims — are not the ambassadors of the Muslim world in the US but are equal citizens of the United States of America, with rights and obligations under the constitution of that mighty state. Therefore, if they wish to build a mosque near Ground Zero, why should they be held hostage to how Saudi Arabia treats its minorities. This is a perfectly logical argument and one that must prevail for there to be sanity in this world.

It must, however, be pointed out that many non-Muslims around the world have come to view Muslim conduct vis-à-vis the question of citizenship as duplicitous at best. Where required, American Muslims, as indeed other Muslims in western nations, very conveniently claim the global unity of the ummah, but when gross injustices perpetrated by Muslims against non-Muslims and also Muslims are pointed out to them, they distance themselves from the Muslim world with an alacrity that amazes even the most sympathetic observer. Thus, it seems that their acceptance of nation-state and their acceptance of the ummah is never contemporaneous, or even principled, but opportunistic without exception. Had they instead admitted their unique status both as citizens of their western nation states as well as their position in the ummah, using themselves as bridge builders, perhaps events like the kind happening now in the US could have been avoided.

There is a strong reaction against Muslims in the west and, as I argued in my previous article, Muslims like Imam Raouf have not been any help. Pleading constitutional rights is probably the right thing to do, but how far is that logic going to have to be stretched remains to be seen. The US constitution in its First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (emphasis added).

If the municipal government of New York City was to now backtrack on its permission given to the building of the Islamic centre, would that amount to prohibiting the free exercise of religion? Only a court can answer that question, but it is a well known fact that a Muslim can exercise his faith and offer salat (prayer) anywhere he wants to. Furthermore, there are thousands of mosques all over the US, including New York City, and therefore the argument that free exercise of the Islamic faith is hinged on the building of this Islamic centre might not fly. Case law elsewhere will not be of much help to American Muslims. Are they perhaps now going to argue along the lines the extreme right wing Republicans argue when they seek to stop the interpretation of American law with the use of persuasive foreign judgements? Well, they better. Such is the precarious nature of their position on the issue of the Manhattan mosque.

For example, in the landmark Ismail Faruqui vs Union Of India from 1994, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that “there can be no reason to hold that a mosque has a unique or special status, higher than that of the places of worship of other religions in secular India to make it immune from acquisition by exercise of the sovereign or prerogative power of the state. A mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in the open.” Harsh? Well you should hope, then, one does not seek as precedent Pakistani judgements on the question of religious freedom. Article 20 of the Pakistani constitution uses language that allows for the same religious freedoms as exist under the American or Indian constitutions. Need one quote then what our Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Zaheeruddin vs the State on the issue of Ahmediyya “places of worship”? Under the circumstances, one can understand why the American Muslims are so anxious in distancing themselves from the Muslim world and pleading the First Amendment of the US constitution as a sacred and inalienable right granted to them by that country.

Nonetheless, the commitment of American Muslims to the First Amendment is going to be severely tested come September 11, 2010, when a church of fanatical Christian fundamentalist bigots plans to desecrate the Holy Quran in Florida. The said act will be reprehensible, racist and bigoted, with the sole intent of causing hurt and rousing hatred against the Muslim community. The US’s right-wing, especially in the South, has a long history of intolerance against other faiths and races, mirroring the intolerance of the Taliban. Like the Ku Klux Klan, the leaders of the said church will also plead the First Amendment.

It is high time that all concerned realised that freedom given by the law and the freedom that we choose to exercise ought not to be the same. Whether we like it or not, in an increasingly open world, we are all hostages to each other’s good behaviour to an extent that constitutions and borders have become meaningless.

The writer is a lawyer. He also blogs at https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com and can be reached at yasser.hamdani@gmail.com

47 Comments

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47 responses to “Hostages

  1. AA Khalid

    One of the premises of the article that Muslims cannot be loyal citizens, or that Muslim citizens in the West are just ”so darn sneaky”, being ”duplicitous”, stinks of the sort of rhetoric adopted by neo-con idealogues such as Spencer, Pipes, Bostrom and people like Brigitte Gabriel who say things like:

    ”Absolutely. If a Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.” ”

    Its sad to see such an uncritical and slavish adoption of neo-con rhetoric in this article which otherwise had some good points. Another poster has used this expression I wish to use it now, its like mixing dog poo with a gourmet dinner served on fine china.

    As I said before Catholics faced a similar sort of problem in the States when they were accused of being loyal to the Pope and Rome instead of to their own governments. Its a cycle of right wing scapegoating which is forever in pursuit of cultural homogenity.

    Also instead of the series of bare assertions on this issue exhibited in the article, why do we not look at academic papers?

    In a recent paper, ”Muslim Integration into Western Cultures: Between Origins and Destinations” (google and download free to read), the authors conclude:

    ”’As we demonstrate, cultural cleavages do exist. They are not monolithic. The largest
    differences between Muslim and Western societies are found in religiosity, gender roles and sexual norms. This does not mean that migrants are constructing a sub‐culture that is entirely separate from the mainstream national cultures of Western societies; instead, Muslim migrants living in Western societies are located roughly in the centre of the cultural spectrum, located between publics living in Islamic and Western societies. [this bit does away with the assertion that Muslim citizens in the West are not performing synthesis or trying to build bridges]

    It is entirely possible—indeed, we think it rather likely that some degree of self‐selection may be involved: those who choose to immigrate to the
    US. or to Spain may already have values that are relatively compatible with those of their
    future host country.

    But even if this is true, these findings contradict the idea that immigrants simply import an unmodified version of the values of their own country into their new host country.

    In the long‐term, the basic cultural values of migrants appear to change in conformity with the predominant culture of each society. ”””’

    The last paragraph is especially pertinent and revealing. John R Bowen’s work in the context of French Muslims is also revealing. Professor Esposito’s work is also crucial especially in his new work, ” Future of Islam”.

  2. YLH

    A A … It is sad to see that you had to quote someone else’s piece to make a point about my article.

    Can you point out where I said that if a Muslim prays five times and reads the Quran he can’t be a loyal citizen?

    Please atleast have some decency… I mean I know your arguments are inherently dependent on strawman fallacies.
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  3. YLH

    Or intrinsically dependent.

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  4. AA Khalid

    ”Can you point out where I said that if a Muslim prays five times and reads the Quran he can’t be a loyal citizen?”

    You said quiet clearly, ” Thus, it seems that their acceptance of nation-state and their acceptance of the ummah is never contemporaneous, or even principled, but opportunistic without exception. Had **they** instead admitted their unique status both as citizens of their western nation states as well as their position in the ummah, using themselves as bridge builders, perhaps events like the kind happening now in the US could have been avoided.”’

    After all when you used the term ”They” in regards to American Muslims making no distinctions and no attempt at introducing nuances then what is one to make of such a statement.

    What do you mean by the term ”they”? You used this word rather conveniently making no attempt to differentiate or introduce some nuance (I know not a speciality of yours) in your analysis. If you had digressed and given some more thought on what you meant by ”they” in terms of differentiation and analysis we would be dealing with a different article.

    I merely quoted an author who took this assertion to its logical extreme.

    After all the same authors I have listed also say that Muslims in the West just take advantage of the freedoms and rights available whilst being ”two faced”, ”stealth Islamists” or to use your phrase ”duplicitous”.

  5. YLH

    I am afraid no reasonable person can read it like that.

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  6. AA Khalid

    ”I am afraid no reasonable person can read it like that”

    I think Ali Eteraz got it right when he wrote, ”Muslims Should Raise the Other Finger” (google and read):

    ”We are all, each one of us, responsible for our actions, and liable for our mistakes. The ambit of our accountability cannot be allowed to extend beyond that. Why are the boundaries between one Muslim and another blurred and the individualities fused together? Muslims are not inkblots.”

    His other article, ”The Myth of Muslim Condemnation of Terror” is also pertinent.

    We should stress individual responsibility. The fact is that Muslims in the West are constantly viewed throught the prism of their co-religionists elsewhere in the world. Western Muslims are stuck between the rantings of their domestic right wingers and by the rantings of extremists in their countries of origin (more like descent now that we have 3rd or 4th generation Muslim citizens in many Western countries now).

    That is why critical distance is needed, to operate in a space beyond shallow dichotomies where some sort nuance can enter into the debate where Western Muslims can forge their own ideas without such acidic discourse, rather than constantly being accused of being ”Trojan Horses”. The proliferation of these ideas by right wing think thanks across Europe and more so in the States is deadly and needs to be combated rather than feted…

  7. YLH

    Knowing Ali Eteraz, I think his writings are more directed towards you than me.
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  8. Talha

    I am in full agreement with this article, especially the hypocrisy of Muslims. There point of view flip flops a lot and this leaves others doubtful.

    Maybe if we had a same answer in all situations, we would be heard properly.

  9. AA Khalid

    ”Why secular liberals in Pakistan are so against Muslims?”’

    I wouldn’t say this, its inaccurate.

    I would rather say that some uncritically and slavishly accept neo-conservative constructs and ideas without any analysis or any sense of keeping a critical distance.

    The adoption of such neo-conservative constructs alienates and is a cause for some concern.

  10. YLH

    Really ? Wow! Stop killing other Muslims and Non-Muslims.

  11. Feroz Khan

    YLH, first of all, the concept of Muslim ummah is a myth. Muslim’s past history clearly shows the political organization of Muslim lands into territories. The concept of a ummah may work within the limits of a geographic state, which in the modern expression would be similar to citizenship, but it cannot work in a holistic sense.

    There are too many issues of geographical and cultural and political differences involved and besides, the idea of an ummah pre-supposes that Islam is a monolith, which it is not.

    As to the First Amendment and the American Muslims, and their argument, which you have highlighted, is a natural one. Islam enjoins its followers to live under the laws of the land where they live. Muslims are not supposed to break the law. Period. Islam also says to Muslims that if their religion comes into conflict with the law, their alligence has to be to the law. The fact that they took the oath of American citizenship proves that their arguments of the supremacy of the Islam over their native laws as false and to claim otherwise is sheer hypocrisy.

    Also, the idea of the freedom of speech in the United States maybe constitutionally protected but it is not absolute. It is limited in cases, where its excerise will be a cause of “public harm” and this public harm will be determined by the courts and under the laws that exist.

    ciao

  12. YLH

    That is certainly one interpretation… Not the most favored one mind you.
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  13. Gorki

    While there are obvious legal implications as YLH pointed out; the issue of Mosque at ground zero is purely a political not a legal battle.

    On 9/11/2001 Osama’s murderers launched an attack not so much on buildings or even on America but on the idea of a political consensus Western values and modern Islam. The colossal failure of the administration of the time was the inability to see this and respond to it entirely inappropriately. What we needed was a strong, specific but limited security operations and very robust political response. What we got was a pure military response and then over reach in a fit of hubris.
    What Bush did was a bad error of judgment; it was compounded may fold by Blair’s utter surrender and abdication of responsibility.
    A decade later we are exactly where Osama wanted us.

    The West is thoroughly discredited in the Muslim world; even its best intentions are viewed with suspicion while the Muslims in the west are themselves under suspicion of the states obsessed about security.

    The moderates in general but Muslim moderates in particular are thus in an unenviable positions with very little room to maneuver. Thus while I agree that:

    ‘That is why critical distance is needed, to operate in a space beyond shallow dichotomies where some sort nuance can enter into the debate where Western Muslims can forge their own ideas without such acidic discourse, rather than constantly being accused of being ”Trojan Horses”. The proliferation of these ideas by right wing think thanks across Europe and more so in the States is deadly and needs to be combated rather than feted…’

    YLH has the right idea that the damage control will need a strong and intelligent effort by all, including the moderate Muslims living in the West themselves.
    As a non Muslim American liberal, I too have very little room to maneuver. If the push comes to a shove, I can not shirk supporting Mr. Raouf but it would make sense if our united effort is not wasted this way.

    It would make a lot of sense for us (the Muslim and non Muslim moderates in the West) to chalk out a strategy to make conciliatory gestures and reach out to the American public.
    An average American is not a bigot; only fearful. We need to reassure him and appeal to his innate decency to overcome all the negative propaganda going on against Islam.
    I agree with what YLH is implying; legal recourse would be an error.

    This is a political issue; it needs a well thought out long term political strategy.

    Regards.

  14. Shaeena Lodhi

    Fareed Zakaria is CNN’s senior contributor who says that the man behind the proposed Ground Zero Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, “has spent years trying to offer a liberal interpretation of Islam” and “argues that America is actually what an ideal Islamic society would look like because is it peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic. “His vision for Islam, in other words, is Osama Bin Laden’s nightmare.”
    Fareed in a dramatic gesture which shook the media world in America in a strong but respectful statement to the Anti-Defamation League:
    “I have to say I was personally and deeply saddened by the ADL’s stand because five years ago, the organization honored me with its Hubert Humphrey Award for First Amendment Freedoms. Given the position that they have taken on a core issue of religious freedom in America, I cannot in good conscience keep that award. So, this week, I am going to return to the ADL, the handsome medal and the generous honorarium that came with it. I hope this might spur them to see that they have made a mistake and to return to their historic robust defense of freedom of religion in America, something they have subscribed to for decades and which I honor them for,

  15. Feroz Khan

    @YLH

    Whether, the interpretation is a popular one or not, is not the issue.

    ciao

  16. YLH

    It is. If your subject is not down with your interpretation, then the interpretation is irrelevant.

  17. sai aravindh

    <>
    @Feroze

    Does the Koran categorically state the above?

  18. sai aravindh

    I was referring to the following statement.

    “Islam also says to Muslims that if their religion comes into conflict with the law, their alligence has to be to the law. “

  19. Parvez

    A large number of American Muslims are African and their say in the matter is being discounted. If the issue gets more oxygen then they would take the leadership role. Watch out.

  20. That Muslims are duplicious is the Right-Wing dodo-albatross which I cannot , in good conscience, buy. One must implement his Faith and ought to do so frequently/regularly. Otherwise, when you don’t practice a principle persistently – – the history teaches us – – you loose touch as well as diminish the right itself. The right as well as its functional exercise are complimentary. One depends on the other.

    As far as the proposed new Mosque nearer to Ground Zero (New York City) is concerned … I must disclose, it is very Fundamental as an essential expression of determination as well as for the sake of detering Que Sera Sera.The Jewish, theBuddhists, the Christians, The Atheists, The Hindus, The Jains, The Parsis, The Confucians, The Antagonists, ‘The Whatever’ may also construct their temples in the very same neighborhood.

    There is one law so there is no obfuscation. No one is above that law

    Let us not appease; and strive solidly to liberally learn from the past Negro and Japanese experiences/suffering in the past. Law is not eloquence but experience over the long run. That asserts the loneliness of the long distance runner.

  21. Feroz Khan

    @sai aravindh

    This line of reasoning was mentioned in a fatwa, issued in Saudi Arabia last year, by a senior cleric on the issue of veils. The question was, what should be the response if the local law disallowed wearing of veils. To which the response was, that the law should be obeyed because the Quran does not give the Muslims the right to break the law of the land, where s/he is living.

    Extrapolating this fatwa, the same reason can be applied to the Ground Zero Mosque/Community Center in New York. The experience of sharia is not soley based on the Quran, but also includes the Hadith and the practical legal experience, much like case-law.

    The tragedy of Islamic jurisprudence has been that it has been held to a literalist interpretation and the nuances, which exist within the penumbera of the sharia law itself, have been discounted. The spirit of the law has been sacrificed for the letter of the law and the understanding of the law been replaced by the ritualism of the law.

    ciao

  22. Feroz Khan

    @YLH

    Popularity should never be the yardstick of judging an argument or its interpretation. Yes; the subject can be, but it must be judged on basis other than those of popularity.

    When legal decisions are based on values of popularity, it creates all sorts of problems. The mosque and its location and the permission to build it, was taken as a popular political decision.
    Though, I agree with you in the sense, that this is more about common sense than a legal issue as where to build the new community center. Common sense, would have suggested an alternative location, but now we caught in the polemics of this issue, with each side hardening its stance.

    ciao

  23. tilsim1

    @ Gorki

    I have sympathy from an ethical perspective with what you say about a more limited US military response and a robust political response post 9/11, however I am not sure that current relations with Muslims in general would have been much different with a more political/conciliatory approach.

    Osama Inc has proven to Muslims that it has to be shut down and that there can be no accomodation with extremists. Political accomodation only ends up giving them the upper hand. There are numerous examples of this throughout Islamic history, even Pakistan’s own history.

    Moderate Muslims prior to 9.11 and even many years after were continuously ceding ground to extremists. The fact that the US is taking a robust stand and the ensuing terrorism against muslims from extremists has acted as a limited break on the brainwashing and produced some lead in the moderate muslim’s pencil. Admittedly the US has also made horrendous mistakes and showed insensitivity to Muslim lives and honour which has negated it’s efforts.

    Some Muslims are beginning to adopt this fight as their own which is what is needed to defeat these forces. However I agree that many more Muslims are still on the sidelines. I don’t believe that they will take over the fight if the US withdraws from military operations. Unfortunately it looks like the US will just do that due to domestic political considerations.

    Muslim moderates need the sympathy and support not the rancour of non-Muslims to take on this fight effectively. Muslim moderates should not therefore do things (such as insist on the Ground Zero mosque) such that it reduces their support amongst non-Muslims.

    Take a look at how few private US funds have gone into the UN fund for Pakistan (only $12M as of last week whereas over 20x that number was given to Haiti). To me it points to a breakdown in trust. The people who have the most to lose with this breakdown in trust are moderate Muslims who don’t believe in the clash of civilisations. Moderate muslims should think through very carefully about their political stance on issues where non-Muslims have a strong view. It does n’t pay to shoot oneself in the foot when the real battle is against forces of extremism.

  24. tilsim1

    @YLH

    “That is certainly one interpretation… Not the most favored one mind you.”

    Possibly correct. Any reason why we should not strive to make this one the most favoured one. In particular, amongst Western and non-Western educated muslims who should be more amenable to rational thought?

  25. YLH

    The issue is that a majority of American Muslims don’t seem to agree with you feroz. You know this very well.

  26. Mustafa Shaban

    @YLH: I agree with you on the hypocrisy bit, you cannot decide to be part of the muslim ummah only when it is convenient for you.

    Also a point raised by certain people was regarding the funding, who is funding this mosque? Why are they not disclosing thier funding? Some find this very suspicious.

    I am not so familiar with the area but one analyst raised an important point. The mosque is nt located on the 9/11 memorial but near it. Its located on a near by street. So if someone is visiting the site then they cannot see the mosque. So its not towering over them so whats the issue exactly? If you cannot see it while visiting the main site then why complain?

  27. I fully aggree that “the American Muslims — are not the ambassadors of the Muslim world in the US but are equal citizens of the United States of America, with rights and obligations under the constitution of that mighty state. Therefore, if they wish to build a mosque near Ground Zero, why should they be held hostage to how Saudi Arabia treats its minorities.” But lets have a look at ourselves. Christians in Pakistan are also NOT ambassadors of Christian world but are Pakistani first and last. No one bothers when Christian in Pakistan are held hostage to what so called Christian world does any thing agains Islam?

  28. nazir allahwalla

    i do not want to have the mosque built at the proposed site that is to say at ground zero.
    i feel soory for you freaks who insist that the mosque is built at ground zero.
    the idea of having a mosque is to worship god. the place does not matter at all. god gives a bloody sh’T ABOUT WHERE YOU WORSHIP HIM IT MAKES NO BLOODY DIFFERENCE TO ALLAH. You can pray and worship your god in your heart at home or any street corner. or better still build the mosque some place else.
    the rest is just agitation and provocation to the rest of the world and the USA.
    And yes I am a muslim but i do not qagree with your ideas.

  29. nazir allahwalla

    and one thing more
    if you do not like america then leave it and go back to your respective countries of origin. STOP MAKING LIFE HARSH FOR US MUSLIMS WHO WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE, YOU ARE MAKING LIFE MISERABLE FOR ALL OF US.

  30. Nazir Dollarworthy Sahib: endeavour to Learn to live in America with some semblance of dignity and evidence of self-Respect. It is the semi illiterati that donated to the WASPs the i-dea(th) that they can continue to abuse minorities (as was illicitly socked to Negroes, Chinese, Japanese, even Irish for a while). Law must be followed sans sycophancy.

    But, i know this is like Iqbal Geoffrey playing Beethoven before bufalloes.

    As Long as you are up, get me a Grants and a yardstick to measure… the tailends of carrots.

    HicKKKs!!

  31. Feroz Khan

    @YLH

    I am not sure, what you mean by “majority American Muslims”. If you are refering to the ones, who are present on the media, then they are a small minority. From what I have read, my impression is that most American Muslims would wish the mosque/community center was build some where else.

    ciao

  32. Feroz Khan

    @ YLH, Part II

    Sorry, I accidently hit “submit”.

    I think my own view is that this whole issue is more about a lack of common sense, than it about freedom of religion. The mosque/community center is not the pivot of Islam’s existence and Islam will not wither, if the location of the mosque/center is changed and to make this point into a life-death issue, by both sides, is just a sad example of cheap publicity.

    ciao

  33. Zeenab Sadiq

    I WANT to have the mosque built at the proposed site that is to say at ground zero.
    i feel sorry for you freaks-morons like @nazir allahwalla who insist that the mosque is not built at ground zero.
    the idea of having a mosque is to worship god. the place does matter. IT is my right as a Muslim-AMERICAN ABOUT WHERE I want to WORSHIP & MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS IS BEING RAPED. I refuse to cow down like the spine less cowards @nazir allahwalla

    And yes I am a Muslim woman but i do not agree with your ideas.- @nazir allahwalla

  34. Mustafa Shaban

    I am not against building a mosque in or near ground zero, the issue I have is with this particular mosque because in these cases transparency is important but this mosque is not discloing any information bout its funding which is fishy and suspicious, otherwise building a mosque there is alright according to me.

  35. shiv

    This Mosque at ground zero – do the Americans know what denomination/sub-group among Muslims will dominate the mosque? Or will it be Wahhabis the friends of the Americans?

  36. Zulfiqar Haider

    The common man is all too confused about the religion. It is treated as something so reverend that nobody tries to challenge anything presented by the MULLAH.

  37. Sol

    @zeenab

    Why this fascination with praying at a site where wanton murder of many American – many of them Muslims, if that’s important – took place ?

  38. Zeenab Sadiq

    @Sol
    Just because you and your merry twats of emptiness are ready to cow down to the thugs & the wing-nuts I do not have to explain my fascination of where I as a Muslim man or woman would like to pray.
    Its nice to know that simpletons like you have decided that this is the site of 9/11 – Dude, just google it its TWO WHOLE BLOCKS AWAY !!!!
    In this neighborhood there are kinky sex shops, massage parlous with benefits, and other commercial entities.
    This hoopla has nothing to do with memory of the people who lost their live on 9/11; I lost friends this is a political move from the Republicans to demean Obama and demonize American Muslims and sheepal like you are following them to the poison water!

  39. tilsim1

    @ Zeenab Sadiq

    Paul Adams of the BBC wrote today: “Earlier this year, an opinion poll found that 53% of Americans view Islam unfavourably, with only 42% viewing the religion favourably. ”

    I am not sure if you are an American Muslim (I am not). I would be very concerned with that statistic, specially the trend.

    I would not want to give Muslim haters a bone such as the Ground zero mosque issue to harden attitudes further against American Muslims or Muslims in general. This is not helping American Muslims, it is isolating them further. For me, Imam Rauf appears to have either selfish intentions or is totally naive politically. Why should the American Muslim community put up with his quest if it is inimical to their wider interests?

  40. Zeenab Sadiq

    @tilsim1
    I am a proud American Muslim; you are correct there are all kind of polls against American Muslims,
    This is NOT an issue based emotions on ….polls…
    ….or..cowardliness, it is bases on principle and the constitution for which my America was built on.
    I wish you and others would STOP referring to it as the ground zero mosque, it in NOT on ground zero.
    These are talking points from the rabid right wing of the Republican party that seemed to have easily convinced you & others that Imam Rauf has done this as for selfish interest.
    The NY Times, had a front page story of this project in May and it was a non-story.
    Some scum politician much later used this as a political tool to get mileage for his political career.
    Today, when one out of every fifteen American marriages is interracial, many people are surprised to learn that the majority of Americans were for laws prohibiting interracial marriage (otherwise known as miscegenation laws) were so deeply embedded in U.S. history that they would have to be considered America’s longest-lasting form of legal race discrimination–they lasted far longer than either slavery or school segregation. All told, miscegenation laws were in effect for nearly three centuries, from 1664 until 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally declared them unconstitutional in the Loving decision. So the majority is not always right.
    If Pakistani Muslims would unite for their beliefs and stand up against the Taliban prompting regular terror acts, then may you can reclaim the mother land. It takes guts and I am sad to see Pakistani Muslims see to lack in that area.

  41. tilsim1

    @ Zeenab
    “These are talking points from the rabid right wing of the Republican party that seemed to have easily convinced you & others that Imam Rauf has done this as for selfish interest.”

    Why do you presume that it is the rabid right wing that has convinced me? What nonsense.

  42. Zeenab Sadiq

    @tilsim1
    I never presume I know that the rabid right wing that has convinced you.
    Moderate Muslims should think through very carefully about their political stance on issues where non-Muslims have a strong view.
    With moronic statements like this you are bending over to appease rather than stand strong on principle.
    If American Muslims take a page of how you all are dealing with the Taliban forces in your neck of the woods so we can hold hands with the Muslim haters and sing peace song.
    It ain’t happening dude, the next they would want is for us to change our names so they can pronounce them without totally screwing them up.

  43. tilsim1

    @ Zeenab Sadiq

    Clearly you are American and you have your American way of doing things.

  44. Vajra

    Florida Minister Cancels Burning of Korans on 9/11

    The pastor planning a burning of the Koran on Saturday said
    he will cancel the event, adding he plans to meet with the
    imam planning to build an Islamic center near ground zero.

  45. Zeenab Sadiq

    @tilsim1
    Your damn right; we are born in our country to fight for individual rights, for all. If there was a militia group in America that committed such crimes against men women and children as the Taliban is doing the civilian population would rise to squash them.
    I see no movement by the youth of Pakistan to scream …enough is enough! No more senseless killings while we sit idly and allow a bunch of useless turds to pretend to be handling the situation. Where is the national pride of loving your nation that gave you the promise of your birth?,,or wait the nation is upset that the cricket team is involved in some hanky-panky the fact that you all have allowed the Taliban to slowly grow is a reflection of a population with no backbone.

  46. Tilsim

    @Zeenab Sadiq
    “With moronic statements like this you are bending over to appease rather than stand strong on principle.
    If American Muslims take a page of how you all are dealing with the Taliban forces in your neck of the woods so we can hold hands with the Muslim haters and sing peace song.”

    No thanks for using the phrase ‘moronic statement’. Quite unnecessary.

    You equate the suggestion of a pragmatic approach to the Manhatten mosque issue as being the same as reaching some sort of accomodation with the Taliban. What is leading you to conclude that I offer the same prescription for both situations? I want Pakistan to take a zero tolerance stand against the Taliban and their ilk; anyone who has followed my comments will know this. Similarly, I would also not advocate accomodation with Terry Jones. However these people are not remotely close to the centre ground of opinion.

    Pragmatism is a perfectly reasonable alternative political response to sanctimonius idealism in a situation where such idealism risks the danger of alienating mainstream sentiment. What is the use of sanctimonius idealism that ignores the impact on an American muslim’s daily life, in the short and long run; an idealism that results in creating a hostile neighbour, employer, teacher, customer?

    American Muslims would do better to focus on improving their community relations such that a principled stand can be supported by mainstream opinion. The evidence suggests that despite efforts American Muslims are not quite at that point as yet.

  47. Zeenab Sadiq

    “American Muslims would do better to focus on improving their community relations such that a principled stand can be supported by mainstream opinion.”
    WHY is it so important to you @Tilsim to be liked by the mainstream? American Muslims refuse to cow down to the mainstream on the matter of pure principle. If the mainstream is the majority in this putrid, vile way of thinking which you seem to subscribe then it is the duty of the minority in this case we American Muslims to stand on principle.
    Having ZERO tolerance for the Taliban & their ilk is a defeatist way of saying that the Taliban have won. Its like having a rapist enter your house to rape the residing females and all you can say is I have zero tolerance for violence on female while the rapist creates havoc and mayhem.
    It was defeatist from your camp that did not supported American Muslims in the battle cry for allowing us to build where and if we want to as allowed by our constitutions it was non Muslims that cut across the hysteria and half truths to keep the Imam from continuation of the Mosque project.