August 27, 2010
On the proposed Islamic community center a few blocks away from Ground Zero
[My hope is to ease my way back into blogging by pointing to someone else’s writing first. We’ll see how it goes. ]
Everyone and their pet lemur is talking these days about the so-called Ground Zero mosque. I’m inclined to think that a lot of pundits are being deliberately disingenuous: they know full well that it’s a community center, not just a mosque, and they know full well that it’s not on the actual Ground Zero site. However, plenty of people out there hear discussion of a Ground Zero mosque and believe that’s exactly what’s being proposed: a mosque built on the spot where the Twin Towers used to be. I can understand why people would be opposed to that particular proposition; I wouldn’t be terribly fond of it myself, not because of any hard feelings toward Muslims, but because I wouldn’t be particularly keen on seeing any sort of place of formalized religious worship built there. (I quite like Roger Ebert’s proposal of a green field, discussed toward the end of this post.)
My point, then, is that I appreciate the various attempts being made at clarifying the discussion, at discussing the issue as it actually is. In particular, I liked what Jill Filipovic had to say on the subject close to a week ago (emphasis added):
Alvy Singer was probably right when he said that the rest of the country looks at New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers – that’s why a lot of us transplants moved here in the first place. But Republicans have made it clear that they don’t find that characterization nearly as charming as many of us do. When election time rolls around, New York is the GOP’s favorite punching bag: We’re not “real America;” we’re elitists; we’re latte-drinking arugula-eaters. For 364 days a year, Republicans are happy to characterize us as Sodom to San Francisco’s Gomorrah.
And then there’s September 11th. Any mention of that day and all of a sudden we’re a city so important, and of such hallowed ground, that local zoning laws and the decisions of our community boards should be issues of national debate.
The so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” which is neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque, was catapulted into the national spotlight by anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller as evidence of the supposed “Islamicization” of America. . . .
Go read the rest here (it’s the second post on the page–and for the record, I understand and appreciate what Karol Markowicz is saying in the first post on that page; I just don’t agree).