August 15, 2010

Take Two on the Proposed NY Mosque: Feeling Compelled to Comment, President Obama Succeeds Only in Stating the Broadly Obvious

Monique Chartier

Breaking weeks of silence on the subject, President Obama remarked on Friday,

Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.

That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.

When this was hailed as an endorsement of the mosque, President Obama hastened to clarify yesterday.

I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding.

... my intention was simply to let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.

Now there's a perfectly bland, blanket statement; something appropriate to observe of our Constitution to an auditorium of school children or on Independence Day or perhaps the next time you're abroad. Can you say something a little more specific to the situation, please? A mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. No one is saying that proponents don't have the right to place it there; some are saying it isn't right to do so. What is your opinion, sir?

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"As acting President, I hereby say, without thought or prepared statements, that the people who want to build their Mosque on that site are protected by our laws and customs and general good nature to do so.

I also hereby proclaim that by doing so, they prove once and for all and without a DOUBT their contempt for all Americans, and our way of life.

In conclusion, on behalf of the vacationing President, by the powers invested in him by a little more than half of the little more than 40% of Americans who bothered to vote, let the Islamic center stand as a testament to and symbol of the contempt the leaders of the Muslim community have toward all Americans."

Wait a minute, I'm not the acting president?

Never mind.

Posted by: michael at August 15, 2010 7:57 AM

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.

In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.

In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.

In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself. They quote passages from the Koran

Posted by: Sammy at August 15, 2010 12:33 PM

While a high-profile battle rages over a mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, heated confrontations have also broken out in communities across the country where mosques are proposed for far less hallowed locations.

Posted by: Sammy at August 15, 2010 12:42 PM

In most Islamic countries,churches,synagogues,Buddhist temples,etc are banned.Period.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 15, 2010 2:24 PM

Pres. Obama demonstrated once again in this episode that he's "not ready for prime time."

When he delivered his prepared speech on Fri. night was he unaware that the public would interpret his statement as an "endorsement" of the mosque?

This is a repeat of his "Cambridge Police acted stupidly," remark, but arguably worse, because that remark at least appeared to be off-the-cuff, while this one was in a prepared text. Also, this one has much wider implications.

When you're an Illinois State Senator this kind of goof-up doesn't even register on anyone's radar, but you learn from the mistake and don't repeat it.

When you're POTUS, all of your rookie mistakes are made in front of live cameras and hot microphones.

If Pres. Obama had any credibility in the Muslim community, he would be able to persuade the sponsors of this center to respect the sensitivity of the 911 victims and build it somewhere else.

But for all his bowing and scraping over the past eighteen months, what does he have to show?

Posted by: brassband at August 15, 2010 4:28 PM

"This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

Barack Obama

I am sure that Bishop Tobin, would be on, our President's side on this one

Attn: Justin, and the other AR cafeteria Catholics, here

Posted by: Sammy at August 15, 2010 7:56 PM

Although Bishop Tobin's views would be of some interest, the proposed mosque is in Archbishop Dolan's jurisdiction.

On his blog, Archbishop Dolan seems generally supportive of the project, while recognizing that there are legitimate reasons for concern.

I don't think that any reasonable person would deny that the 911 victim families are genuinely upset about this project; there's really no good reason why this mosque has to be built at a location that gives offense to people who have already suffered so much.

Where is the Muslim leader who would be willing to persuade the sponsors of this project to accommodate those feelings -- as Pope John Paul the Great did with the issue of the convent at Auschwitz?

Posted by: brassband at August 15, 2010 8:42 PM

Brass-what does Obama have to show for 18 months of bowing and scraping?His *ss.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 15, 2010 8:47 PM

I don't get how this is a big deal.

I'm inclined to think of this as a local issue, and the locals I know (several of whom endured watching the towers burn from office windows) don't seem to mind.

I'd rather have a mosque there than Muslims who feel that they aren't welcome. I would think that a Mosque would have a calming, protective influence; pushing one out would have the opposite effect.

Then again, maybe I just don't see how I'm 'at war' with the Muslims in my neighborhood who just want to raise their children, work, and worship in peace.

Posted by: mangeek at August 16, 2010 9:43 AM

It's a big issue because Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, along with their acolytes, have decreed it be so.
And it was a big deal to them that Obama didn't say anything, If Obama has made a big mistake in office, it's been living in terror of those guys.

Posted by: rhody at August 16, 2010 10:23 AM

Does anyone ever think of the great majority of Moslems who live in fear of publicly offending some Imam of the radical persuasion?The Catholic Church may excommunicate people,but they don't issue "fatwahs" that license murder.
If we are expected to have some sensitivity towards Moslems,they should have some too.
When I read crap by maniac extremist Jews I'm thoroughly disgusted,but I say so because they don't issue "fatwahs"either.(If they did,whatever-I'm ready)
I've had good and bad experiences with people of every background.
All I'd ask of these folks is to use their common sense.
The president needed to stay out of it.Of course he's still experiencing on the job training.Whew!!

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2010 12:22 PM

I forgot to mention this-my wife converted from Catholic to Protestant a long time ago-when she had our children baptized as Protestants,her Catholic came to the church and celebrated.No sweat.When my daughter married a Catholic in a Protestant church,his family came and enjoyed it.AMERICA.Now and forever.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2010 12:25 PM

meant to say-"her Catholic family"

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2010 3:28 PM

Joe, My Muslim neighbors never had a drop of booze in their lives, they find it repulsive. Still, they manage to ask me plenty of questions about how my party last weekend went, etc. We engage each other on very polite terms, and we answer a lot of each others' questions. I'm pretty sure they're not on the 'mailing list' for homicidal fatwahs.

I find it very scary that the discourse on Muslims in the USA has changed from 'there are a few bad eggs' to 'there are a few good eggs' in the past few years. We're in a country with between 2 and 7 million Muslims; if even 1% were inclined towards violence there would be enough manpower to pull off a 9/11 every day for three years. That's not happening.

Posted by: mangeek at August 16, 2010 4:54 PM

Mangeek-it's not happening.The reason is that Moslems aren't cubbyholed into hermetic communities like in Europe.
But please don't try to deny there are well-funded extremist elements attempting to co-opt the Moslem communities in the US.
We probably get a lot of good intelligence from American Moslems because they really don't want another 9/11-imagine the possible repercussions to them.
We are involved in a struggle worldwide with Moslem extremism,whether you like to acknowledge it or not.Most people would be content to live and let live,but there are plenty of agitators around to try and derail that.
I haven't suggested it's only a "few good eggs",but the "bad eggs"are full of piss and vinegar and looking for a cataclysmic war.
Read Yeats' "The Second Coming"-it's pretty short,but applies today like never since the late Thirties.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2010 6:05 PM

I married a Jewish woman in a Catholic Church. None of her family showed up for the ceremony. They attennded no Catholic religious ceremonies of any of their grand children

So what conclusions can we make from that?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 17, 2010 2:45 AM

OTL-GLAD you asked hombre.It means a lot of Jewish people,who love to hold themselves out as caring SO much for everyone in the world are easily capable of being narrow minded prejudiced a**holes.
I notice how many liberal NY Jews are supporting this mosque,but probably were aghast at the Carmelite nuns trying to put a chapel next to Auschwitz.Hypocrites.
When I got married in 1970,I got some static from my mom about my wife being a different religion and "culture"-my mother in law told her daughter she shouldn't marry "one of those Jews"-our fathers collectively sh*t cared less.
Nor did we.I just said-we're having a civil ceremony in the Brooklyn Municipal Building-come or don't-I don't give a damn.They showed up.
Now 40 years later my mom thinks my wife is the best thing since sliced bread.I knew it all along.
This brand name religion keeps a lot of people apart who'd otherwise might like each other a lot.
OTOH I think atheists are absolute fools.
You asked, and I didn't want to reply with some quip.
FWIW they should've never used "Cordoba"-that's historically loaded.This won't turn out well.
Obama is proof that the Presidency can't suffer OJT.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 17, 2010 4:12 PM
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