Friday, 20 August 2010


Well, this is going to be long. Longer than usual. And in several parts.

(BTW, you can blame Da Blog Fodder for this; he put me up to it. Mind you, he's been active in posting, and sharing other information, about this pending development. As have his readers. If you go over to his blog and look about, you'll find lots of things to consider. Much of it centres around his "Of Mosque and Men." OK — credit given where credit it due.)

As there has been a huge amount of mis-information floating around about this proposal of a mosque a few blocks from "Ground Zero" — the site of the old World Trade Center in New York.

I want to start by putting out as much correct data as I can. To that end, I begin with the observations of a blog friend from New York, who has worked on Wall Street.

The proposed mosque would be part of a building housing various areas relating to Islam, and also some recreational areas, including a swimming pool. The location is not at "ground zero," but several blocks away.

There are to be all sorts of commemorative areas at, or closer to, ground zero.

The area of the proposed mosque and cultural center now houses a variety of enterprizes, including bars, discount electronic shops, and shops specializing in pornography.

I used to work in a big office building a short block away from the Twin Towers back in the late 1970's and early '80s. That part of Wall Street has always been a strange architectural mix of very, very old New York buildings, varying eras' attempts to be modern, and many humdrum bits of ugliness.

It houses gleaming offices where capitalism reigns, churches, pizza shops, tourist souvenir stalls and shops, discount clothing stores...even luxurious lofts created out of discarded old buildings. Most of the wealth is well-hidden. On the street level, it's a bit of a honky-tonk place, where everything moves pretty quickly.

News stories that say that the proposed mosque is to be built on the site of the Twin Towers are incorrect.

There are a number of parks in the area, some located on the nearby river side...great places to sit and catch some fresh breezes, and perhaps think peaceful thoughts.
That, from New York.

The larger issue is the amount of furor this has created in the U.S., and (to some extent) elsewhere. Much of that upset has focused on how westerners understand Islam, and how westerners are being encouraged to see Islam. That is the issue which I find most concerning.

As a bit of historical background, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all share a common background, and are collectively known as the "People of the Book." That is an important consideration.

I want to try to put in some information about Islam. And I want to try to look at how Islam is being portrayed  in North America, particularly the US.

I'm not claiming in any of these comments that I perfectly understand all these things. I don't. But I know enough to be able to ask questions, to encourage thought — which is all I'm trying to do.


  1. Hmmm, interesting. Looking forward to reading more...

  2. For what it is worth, I am against it. I have seen what has happened over here in England with so many Muslims infiltrating our country. I've nothing against them personally. In fact all the ones I've met are very nice, but this is a Christian country and I want it to stay so. I have noticed that they build their mosques bigger than our Parish Churches and I don't like that. I also don't like it that the women walk about in our streets,all covered in black, hiding their faces and looking so threatening. I don't want to see them taking over in America like they are taking over here.
    Blessings, Star

  3. You can explain, rationalize, or appeal to the "live and let live" attitude of many, but it MUST be said that some things: JUST AIN'T RIGHT.

    Lacking a prior need to have a mosque in that location, why is there one now.

  4. ® Wendy: I'll do my best!

    ® Star: The UK is a "Christian" nation in name only, and lots of us aren't even sure about that. Mostly it's a nation of secular humanists, and people who practice a diversity of religions, from Wicca to Islam. If you don't like mosques bigger than parish churches, start filling the parish churches, so people have to build bigger churches.

    ® Dana: Agreed. Freedom of religion is a founding principle of the US (or at least it was). When one group wants to deny freedom of religion to another group, that JUST AIN'T RIGHT. The US is changing; the religious demographics are changing. What was needed in the past maybe isn't needed now; what wasn't needed in the past may be needed now.

  5. Actually, there are two over crowded mosques or prayer rooms in the vicinity that long predate 9/11. And this is a community centre open to everyone, as I read it. The site in question has been vacant since 9/11, I believe as it was damaged by wheels from one of the planes. It was for sale "cheap" for that part of NY. The group that wants to build it are Sufi Muslims while those responsible for WTC were Sunni Wahhabist or Islamists, who are as likely to kill Shia or other Sunnis as any other infidel.
    The "all Muslims are the same" argument is like holding Methodists and Baptists responsible for the pedophilia of Catholic Priests.

  6. I like what you have to say. You are a responsible person, and perhaps a voice in the wilderness. You're certainly not as much fun, as the story of the boogie man in the woods -- run for your lives the muslims are going to get us! You old spoil sport.

    I think the problem is, most people don't know any muslims?

  7. ® BF: Thanks for the update on the New York mosques, and the site. I'll be looking at some of that information in my next pieces.

    ® annell: Thank you for your kind comments. Often I fell like a voice crying in the wilderness. And you raise a very question.

  8. rob-bear, i like your approach to this hallabaloo by information and education. how easily we fall into dualities and divisions, and why?

    btw, which is your primary blog? is it this one?


  9. Here in France, there is always lots of opposition to new mosques being built. But the French government is laïc so all religions are supported.
    I can well imagine that in NY near ground zero, a mosque hits a sore spot with many people. It's probably not a very wise choice for the organizers as far as location goes.

  10. We can be so distracted by whatever someone else decides the issue of the day is. This is not news, but fabricated political fodder. Who does benefit to divide us? To make us fear our neighbors, our fellow citizens? In a democratic society, this should not be on anybody's radar.

  11. I agree with so many of the commenters. I swing one way and then read something that makes me swing the other way...

  12. Love what you've written Rob and am shocked at the closed minds of others. We are all Human Beings and need to treat each other as such. Live and let live is the only way in my opinion.

    I was born in the UK and have never viewed it as a Christian only place. I love the diversity of my city, my country.

    Seasons Greetings to you


  13. Interesting post, good to read the actual facts about things. As a Kiwi who's lived in London and now Oakland too often I see people here reacting immediately - fearing neighbours as one of your followers says - without knowing what the full story is. If only more people would read pieces like this.

  14. Oh, dear. I haven't been paying attention here. Well, must remedy that.

    ® KJ and Last Weekend: Thanks to both of you for coming by, and for your kind comments. This is not my main blog, however. I used to be, but that's another story. Chrome on the Range is now the main blog. Please do drop over and have a visit.

    ® Dedene: It's interesting what resonates in one place and not another.

  15. ® Rosaria: Yes, so easily distracted. I often think about small things entertaining small minds.

    ® Nancy: There are some things like this that are hard to resolve, because there is so much chaff flying in the air. I think that was lakeviewer's point as well.

    ® Suburbia: Thanks. I think that if we respected each other. this would be a non-issue. Which I think was another of Rosaria's points.


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