Politically Incorrect: Inside the Ground Zero Mosque

First no reporter is supposed to be using the emotionally charged term “Ground zero Mosque”.

Well, OK, technically it is a few blocks away. Technically, you can’t see the building from the site of the former World Trade Center.

And if you really want to be a stickler, technically it isn’t really a “mosque” unless you interpret that narrowly enough to mean “Any place having an area for Muslims to pray.” Which would make the Pentagon a Mosque too.

So what exactly is this proposed building supposed to be like? Some reports, like from thedeveloper himself,  compare it to a Jewish Community Center. Others draw parallels between it and the YMCA a few blocks away. Some are even calling it an “Interfaith” center.

In the spirit of complete political incorrectness, here is what you might find inside such a “Community Center.” Since I’ve never been in one, I’ll speculate based on what is in other community centers.

The Jewish Community Center and the YMCA both have olympic-sized pools, swim classes for kids, and water aerobics. Surely the Muslim center will offer something similar.

So you might be seeing one of these. Yes, it’s a  “Burkini“.

Hey don’t laugh! If there is a swimming pool and the women are allowed to use it they have to wear something!  We can’t have them running around in speedos, or people might start to notice their genital mutilation scars.

I actually like it. Such an outfit would be great for preventing my honky-ass from burning at the beach, and hide my fat thighs at the same time!

Aside from swimming, most community centers have arts and crafts, and youth day care with activities like games and coloring. Obviously no MCC art classes will be about encouraging little kids to color line drawings of the life and times of Mohammad.  After all it might freak the little girls out to see a child like themselves getting married.

One site suggests, “Islamic Dress codes are expected – if you can pray in it, you can play in it! Sports Uniforms are  recommended. Women are fee to remove Hijab/Scarves during indoor competition.”  Meaning outside in the heat they are supposed to what, not participate or keep the burka on?

The JCC and the Y both offer a variety of classes besides art and swimming though.  Some of these include pottery, music, drama, personal fitness, health, aerobics, and pilates. Classes anyone might enjoy.

What about the Muslim Community Center?

Even I am not so politically incorrect as to suggest that one class might feature ways tohide a bomb surgically so even airport scanners can’t find it. So what does that leave?

Arabic

The Qu’ran

Not pertinent to you if you’re not Muslim eh? But other than English (ESL) classes, I could not find any other type of class that was taught at an MCC

All right, I cheated. I went to a variety of MCC sites looking for information. And you know what I found?

Like other such places, and pretty much any center serving the public there are the typical appeals for donations, and a plea to send money to the latest worldwide crisis-Pakistani flood victims in this case.

There are consultation services, “Ask the Imam”, marriage counseling services, and a prayer area.  There are Qu’ran study and memorization classes like a Bible or Torah study class, but there the similarity ends.

With the notable exception of the Maryland MCC, which has a free clinic (heavily financially supported by Kaiser Permanente, Catholic Charities, and others) for the poor, the JCC and even the local Methodist church offer a wider variety of services and opportunities for people of the community to participate in beneficial activities.

There is  zero curricular resemblance to Jewish, Christian, or secular community programs offered at any of the MCC sites I investigated.  The “Interfaith” tab (if there was one) at the MCC’s I studied  hadn’t been updated in over a year, or were “under construction”, led to a 404 “file not found”, or were invitations to interfaith services held at a different location, like a Jewish Community Center! (Do your own research. Find an example of a true interfaith MCC. I’d like to see it!)

In fact, if you are a woman, there are only classes for you if you are a child and still needing to learn the Qu’ran and go to “Sunday School”.  AndYES you have to wear a hijab to participate.

Make no mistake, the Muslim Community Center is NOT for the community at large, where anyone might feel welcome.

They are designed to provide religious indoctrination for Muslims.

Muslims demand tolerance from other religions and the rest of the secular world.

Excessively polite societies without a rabid strain of evangelical Christianity to fortify the political climate (like Britain) have increasingly been forced to adopt anti-Western values as Muslims push their agendas through the schools, crying “racism” when their demands are not met.

The Muslim Council of Britain wants all schools to be “Shar’ia compliant”. Not just Muslim schools.

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society said the report was a “recipe for disaster”.

He added: “Schools with even just a handful of Muslim kids will find they have to follow these guidelines because there aren’t the staff to have one set of classes for Muslims and another for the rest.

“The MCB shouldn’t try to force its religious agenda on children who may not want it. The Government needs to send the MCB packing. Schools should be about teaching, not preaching.”

The report, Towards Greater Understanding – Meeting The Needs of Muslim Pupils In State Schools, says all schools should bring in effective bans for all pupils on “un-Islamic activities” like dance classes.

It also wants to limit certain activities during Ramadan. They include science lessons dealing with sex, parents’ evenings, exams and immunisation programmes.

From the Washington Post:

The authoritarian governments that claim to speak on behalf of Europe’s supposedly oppressed Muslim minorities practice systematic repression against their own religious minorities. They have radicalized what was at first a difficult question. Now they are asking not for respect but for submission. They want non-Muslims in Europe to live by Muslim rules.

Most Muslims just want to lead their lives like the rest of us. I have no problems with that, or even with their own insular community center.

But I also can’t fault those who live and work near ground zero for not wanting what is basically an institution for Islamic indoctrination in their midst. Sure the Republicans are using it as a wedge issue, like they do abortion, immigration, gay rights, ad infinitum.

But there is such a thing as being too tolerant.

The paradox of tolerance is that a tolerant society (like the US and other Western countries) is at risk of tolerating those who are intolerant (extreme religious factions, for instance,) and allowing movements to grow which foster intolerance. Such movements, if big enough, will eventually change the society.

This is at work right now in Britain, which is geographically more prone to the spread of Islam than America, but it is happening.

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34 Responses to Politically Incorrect: Inside the Ground Zero Mosque

  1. Osori Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    MH,

    “Which would make the Pentagon a Mosque too”

    You got me doubled over in pain, trying to laugh without breathing which is difficult (I re-aggravated an old rib injury the other day).

    In this matter you are absolutely an honest broker here, you have no axe to grind and instead write objectively about a relevant topic.

    I believe we both share an abhorrence for oppression of women as well as people with an agenda trying to force it on others.

    My big girl and I were discussing this topic last week, she commented that the porn shops and strip clubs reportedly in the area oppress her more than a mosque/cultural center would.

    I have one comment which is just a guess, unsupported by any data – I’m curious if the Muslim “agenda” (I’m uncomfortable with the negativity of the word because a good portion of it is merely along the lines of the CYO youth groups and basketball leagues my kids participated in) would decrease with second and third generation people acclimating to Western culture?

    I must point out, Catholic basketball leagues don’t force the girls to wear nun outfits or the boys to wear pope hats and personal fouls are not cause for exorcism. Just to be clear.

    great post!

    • Mother Hen Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      Would the Muslim agenda decrease with second and third generation people acclimating to Western culture?

      Not if it is able to remain insulated from that culture, by creating its own, non-inclusive, intolerant areas to cater to those unwilling to participate in any other way.

      I could easily see Muslim kids, growing up in regular public schools with kids of other religions, becoming “secularized” like the rest of the society. But they resist that. They create their own schools, rules, centers, so that can be avoided. (Look at Great Britain.)

      Normally this is not a problem. But when a religious group’s values clash so strongly with what Western society stands for, they either have to “ghettoize” or relent and acquiesce to the larger society’s demands. But we don’t see that happening in other countries.

  2. Jerry Critter Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    How can we set limits on tolerance? We do set limits on free speech, such as “yelling fire in a movie”. We set limits based on public safety. So are we now to set tolerance limits based on public perception or public feelings? Maybe we should ban ALL religious-based activities from within a certain distance of the WTC? But how far? How about 3 blocks, 10 blocks, 1 mile, 10 miles, 1000 miles? Maybe we should ban all religion, including atheism, and piss off everyone equally?

  3. Infidel753 Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Impressive research here.

    The First Amendment pretty much rules out any possibility of stopping them from building it, and I would not want to start carving out exceptions to the First Amendment, even in a case like this. And its influence would not become any less harmful if it were moved to a less high-profile location.

    So the best way to look at it is as an opportunity to educate the mass public mind about the real nature of Islam — as you are doing here.

    • Mother Hen Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      Obviously I am not against the MCC being built. I don’t live in New York, and know no one associated with 9/11, nor have I ever met any militant scary Muslims. I disagree with the right wingers using it as an excuse to bash the president.

      I also object to the currently popular argument among the left wingers who claim the MCC is no different than a JCC or a YMCA, and therefore should not be a contentious issue.

      Readers will know I am no fan of religion, but most of it is pretty harmless and benign. Our laws prevent the most egregious types of religious offenses from being tolerated, (like Mormon polygamy and Islamic pedophilia, though notably no authority has stepped in to put a stop to the genital mutilation of baby boys required by Judaism.)

      I have all kinds of problems with religious persecution of women. The worst offender in the world, next to tribal cults, is Islam. It has been oppressing women since the dark ages, and continues to do so every day.

      The MCC , by all evidence I could find, is nothing more than a means to indoctrinate and perpetuate that religion, and create converts to it. So let’s call a spade a spade- and not dance around what it is.

      There are stricter dress codes at some secular elementary schools than at many parochial schools. Even so, these rules are not based on and enforced by pointing to the holy book.
      Would I be welcome to come to one of the Arabic classes at the MCC? Would I have to use a separate entrance? Cover my head?
      Even though I loudly proclaim my atheism, my kids are still welcome at the Presbyterian preschool, at the Catholic High School, at the Jewish day center.

      Is it wrong of a tolerant society to expect tolerance in return? Especially when we can see what is happening before our eyes in Great Britain?

      • Infidel753 Reply

        August 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm

        If Christianity were still what it was at the time of witch-burnings and the Crusades, I’d be as concerned about it as I am about Islam. That’s only part of the problem, though.

        The Bible is so befuddled and riddled with contradiction that you can take practically any stance on any issue and find something in the Bible to back you up. In fact, people do. With issues as diverse as slavery, black civil rights, and now gay marriage, both supporters and opponents in many cases claimed to be basing their positions on the Bible.

        The Koran and Hadîth are a record of the statements and acts of one individual and are far more consistent; when contradictions in the Koran do arise, there is a straightforward method of resolving them — the doctrine of “abrogation”, under which the chronologically-later verse cancels out the older one (most of the tolerant and peaceful verses in the Koran belong to the earlier, Meccan period).

        My point is that Islam is far less adaptable to modernity. Medieval Christianity also treated women as inferior, but it’s now possible for Christians to claim that that was “un-Christian” in some sense. The Koranic rules on the position of women allow for no such change, though some individual Muslims may simply ignore them, as individual Christians often ignore parts of the Bible they don’t like (or don’t know about).

        There can be, and are, moderate Muslims, but there can never be a moderate Islam. Any institution dedicated to promulgating Islam and its doctrines will be dangerously reactionary in way that a church or synagogue wouldn’t necessarily be.

        An Islamic center near the WTC site is not inherently worse than one at any other location in the country, but it does provide, as I said above, an opportunity to educate (as you are doing). Unfortunately it’s also an opportunity for Republicans to whip up their supporters against Obama for taking a stand based on the First Amendment, as his job requires him to do.

        A word about “Trencherbone” (comment below): I’ve seen his comments on several blogs, including mine. His home site seems to be promoting some sort of Christian-fundamentalist-dominionist position hardly less repulsive (to me at least) than hard-line Islam, and he’s using the Ground Zero mosque controversy to try to attract supporters. Another thing one must be on guard against.

        • Gwendolyn H. Barry Reply

          August 22, 2010 at 9:11 pm

          Ifidel,
          just to keep it ‘real’…. I mean you do know that Evangelical Christianity is responsible for the current ‘witch stoning, burning, murders in African villages these days…right? And the pedophilia of the Holy See in Rome … OH FUCK DONT GET ME STARTED! And Evangelicals are responsible for the declaration to hang gays in Uganda?
          In case you are unaware, there is a CURRENT INQUISIITON underway in this country brought by the council of bishops against the women of the church… all orders of nuns. The church is loosing some of it’s premire academics over this one.
          Islam doesn’t pale beside it… not what I am saying. I’m saying that Christianity is cutting quite a path of blood and gore even as today.

          And don’t be condemning me to TExas…pls?

          • Mother Hen Reply

            August 22, 2010 at 11:51 pm

            Oh yeah- I even wrote a post about it a while back.

            In my own imagination, we live in a perfect world free from superstitious religious bullshit, and everyone is nice to each other.

  4. Krell Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I think that MH has brought up some good points. I don’t think the issue is whether the Mosque should or shouldn’t be built near the WTC. What she is saying is look at the MCC in general at any location. I can mention several people that aren’t Catholic that send their kids to Catholic school, I know of several people that have memberships to Jewish Community Center in which it is more like a health club in a way.

    But she looks for tolerance of the same level at the MCC and only sees indoctrination and intolerance. Is that the way that it is at a MCC? Is there such a thing as Interfaith at a Muslim Community Center? Can anyone produce evidence to the contrary? If so please do.

    • Holte Ender Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      I don’t see much tolerance coming from any MMC, they have so much in common with Christian and Jewish fundamentalists here and abroad. Islam is so hardcore. They have many more serious believers than any Christian cult or sect. Many Christians world-wide are Easter and Christmas church goers, imagine if it became a Papal rule that Catholics go to church 5 times a day just to pray. Wouldn’t happen. All three Abrahamic religions have a nasty streak it would suit me if they would sort out their differences amongst themselves, but no, we are involved.

    • Osori Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      Krell,
      good point. I’m asking around, most of the Muslims I know are sort of like me, a “midnight Mass once a year” type who used to box at a YMCA as a kid but haven’t been near a YMCA in 40 years. They occasionally go to Mosque on Fridays but would have little reason to go to a Muslim center, more likely they’d go to 24 hour fitness and shop at the mall.

      • Mother Hen Reply

        August 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

        A few more generations of that and any religion will go extinct, other than the nominal holidays. This would be the best possible outcome.

        I am going to quote a FB comment (from someone I am awaiting friendship acceptance from) which I found brilliant:

        “Once a person adopts the belief that they have achieved supernatural superiority to those who do not share their faith, they no longer believe in equality.

        Each of the Abrahamic religions teaches that their followers are special to their deity and that non-believers do not share their special status. The specific cults from which they evolved were atrocious violators of human rights and specifically abusive of children.

        Today, we can be positively inspired by the writings of these ancient faiths and appreciate their artwork, because we interpret them with our own kindness.

        Dead religions are much better than living ones, because they have lost their teeth.”

      • Holte Ender Reply

        August 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

        In Muslim countries it’s different, the call to pray always sent a chill up my spine. To see men drop what they are doing and rush to pray was a little too obedient for my sensibilities. I understand how they get volunteer martyrs.

        • Osori Reply

          August 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm

          Holte,
          breaktime at the phone company would horrify you then. You’d see men and women drop what they are doing in a headlong rush for cigarettes, coffee or junk food.

          • Holte Ender Reply

            August 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

            Rushing out to grab a smoke, or a sandwich is not horrific (to me) praying to something or someone that doesn’t exist leaves a lot to be desired.

  5. Jess Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I’m SO tired of talking the mosque that isn’t this week, but you and another person have given me a new way to look at this. Damn you both, damn you both to hell for making me see this from another angle.

  6. Jerry Critter Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    “Is it wrong of a tolerant society to expect tolerance in return?

    Yes. If not, your society would not be tolerant. It would be expecting pro quid quo.

  7. Mother Hen Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for the link. I had heard of it, but didn’t realize the extent that it was encouraged by the doctrine, which I am quite frankly, disgusted by more and more each day.

    I think the big mistake that the apologists make is in assuming that Islam (the religion) is harmless- like a superstition that is different than their own.

    Being a woman, I find it frightening. Being a liberal, I am open to having my mind changed by evidence that it is not the scary woman-oppressing religion that it appears to be. So far, I have not been convinced.

  8. Osori Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Sounds like you pretty much have an agenda yourself,Tbone.

    In case you haven’t been keeping up on events the MSM regularly trashes Islam the past 10 years so it would take the national debt to “lull the public to sleep”.

    Wow, editing this. Went to your site. “Muslims rape 2 year old Christian girl for not converting”. Subtle, even-handed. Lends credibility to your link.

  9. Osori Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    What MH in her FB quote and Holte Ender said about all three Abrahamic religions is the absolute truth. Judaism/Islam/Christianity all have adherents and all have extremists.

    Atheists and agnostics should be able to live their lives without religious control and interference. Atheists have a perfect right to condemn all religions and religious practices.

    What I would caution against is listening to those who advocate against a particular religion. They can be persuasive to those who are not familiar with the topic or who are influenced by sensationalism. Like going to a site which promises certain death by drinking diet soda or eating meat.

    The Abrahamic religions are very similar. Anyone singling out an individual religion and using broad brush-strokes to paint it as evil generally has an agenda.

    Independent study is the best course of action. A library or credible internet sources will you give you the info you need to make your own judgment.

  10. fourdinners Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Look. We can skirt around the issues until we’re blue in the face.

    ISLAMIC fundametalists perpetrated 9/11 therefore any suggestion of a mosque within a hundred miles of the 9/11 site is unthinkable and ordinary muslims…or, alternatively, not maniacs hell bent on blowing up anything including themselves, have to realise this.

    Islam cannot be seen to exist anywhere around the 9/11 site.

    Any muslim who cannot understand this is even dafter than I would give credit for.

    Islam? Stay the fuck away from 9/11…Ground Zero.

    You are not to blame – as ordinary muslims – so don’t push yourselves forward.

    Build a mosque in Texas or somewhere but do yourselves a favour. Stay the fuck away from the 9/11 site or, frankly, you create the shit that follows.

    You have a brain? Use it.

    • Osori Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

      fourdinners,

      Condemning anyone to go to Texas is a terrible thing!

    • Jess Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm

      Nope, can’t build there either 4d. They have tried to put one up in Tennessee, fundies are bent about that. Tried to put one in some city in my fir state California, talibangelical Christians protesting that also. any other places, same exact thing. It seems to me fundies of any stripe, have to hate the other to make themselves feel more superior to that other. It’s just a never ending circle of hate and me, I’m about sick of it all.

  11. fourdinners Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Well The Beverely Hillbillies liked it!..oh yes! Can you remember the blond???…I used to think of her in my bed at thirteen…but perhaps I should retire gracefully now eh?…;-)

  12. fourdinners Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Texas tea….The Clampetts(?) may have gone elsewhere come to think of it but THAT blond bird!!!!

    Ohhhh…Ellie May!!!!…;-)

  13. Melissa Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Could we all be ignorant bigots?
    I am. I think if you believe in a god you are nuts. But it is your right in THIS country to be nuts.
    I thought it was my right to choose to follow a loon or not to.

    • Osori Reply

      August 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      That is what’s so frustrating to me,Melissa. I’m a believer but don’t care one way or the other if someone else believes or what religion they follow.

      Yet so many of us religious people got to force our beliefs on others. And what’s worse, the small differences between the religions divide us into warring groups. Yet if one studies the three Abrahmic religions they are more or less the same.

      Like Coke or Pepsi or RC cola.

      • Melissa Reply

        August 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm

        19 guys did the pain, maybe a hundred were behind it, a few thousand. Here we are talking about what Dick and George wanted us to talk about. Fear and hate. Who wins?

  14. Gwendolyn H. Barry Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Very good post. I echo some of that.
    All “faith centers” have a faith to perpetuate. I know that monotheism initiates fear based social ethics and misogynist “values”. Unquestionably. In the United States, they have all rights to do so… no matter what I judge them to be. I keep one affiliation current no matter my circumstances, ACLU. Britain never did ‘get it’ why the USA exists. What their part in it was. I have never considered the Constitution too tolerant.

    I did loose a family member that day. My first cousin. He was in the offices of Lloyd’s that morning. He left a small family. He left me. I was outraged and angry for days. It was my bus. partner Asa who kept reminding me that it was wrong headed to think of war. He volunteered in the makeshift morgue on west side for a couple of days. He has some asthma trouble for it now. He left it by getting in his car and driving to Boston. When I opened my door, he was there and I could smell the whole of the tragedy on him. I’ll never forget that smell. After college I was a graveyard shift photog for the Sun Sentinel for four years. I also know the smell of blood. Of horrible calamity … so fucking awful that … you taste it. I suppose that’s the smell of hate. I rebuke it.

    I agree with what I’m thinking is in between the lines of the message in Morgan’s piece… they are perpetuating the crazy and they are not allowing for human evolution. We have that opportunity… beyond industrialized bludgeoning of the planet…through technology perhaps. We have the opportunities to expand beyond this co-dependent need to have some “other” take responsibility of our gains and our loses. Our creativity and our brilliance. Our atrocity and our villany. I think that’s what is between the lines. And I agree with that. I don’t say it’s the message… its just what I heard.
    I do, however, respect folks’ wishes and honest or needful intentions to reach out for spiritual comfort and structure. I know it to be natural and indeed it’s my gig to a certain degree. The only sanity I think allows me to actually demonstrate that is those doctrines my country is built on.

    It’s a good post.

  15. Tim Waters Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Okay, I guess that’s a challenge. Find the real use of the Center. Fine I will. Meanwhile, while I hate all religions, I agree with Infidel, they have every right to build it. Already all over the Country, there are people writing about the local Mosque and thinking something evil is going on there. We don’t like a groups customs. To bad, don’t look. It’s a good thing I guess Amish don’t have a community center. They dress all funny and stuff. The women always have to be covered up and even wear a head piece. So much for tans. You know woman have been subjected to all kinds of abuse by Men for thousands of years. It will continue until the woman stand up and say no more. Even the Almighty United States has had it’s share of shame over this issue. So we would be against some African Country’s building it to. I wonder why it is, there’s no such divisive arguments like this in Canada. Wasn’t McViegh a Christian.Hmmm

  16. Tim Waters Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I spent the last hour or so investigating Muslim Community centers.
    I conclude and support what Mother Hen has reported. I can’t seem to find out if this particular center will be any different.
    Even if you wanted to rent out the Hall in these others you have to sign a contract that you abide by all their rules and prayer Time. At least the Y don’t make you pray. While I find it very shitty. I find all religions the same. So I still think they should be able to build it where they wanted to. MH good investigation.

  17. Melissa Reply

    August 22, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Dick and George and Newt win. Hate wins. Jeezuz h khrist they are good.

  18. fourdinners Reply

    August 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    They have every right to build it in law.

    Morally, given the circumstances, they clearly have no morals if they really think it’s a good idea.

    If it goes ahead they have only themselves to blame if some nutter blows it up with however many inside.

    Get real American muslims. You didn’t perpetrate 9/11 but if you can’t see the west’s point here we really are fucked.

    Mind you…Ground Zero would be safe from further assaults I suppose….

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