Aug 242010

[The following is a guest-post from Peter Dybing. Peter identifies himself as a human activist who happens to be Pagan rather than a Pagan activist. His activism has included direct action on environmental issues, civil rights issues and freedom of religion. His first activist role was a meeting with the Governor of Colorado concerning school integration in 1969 at eight years of age.]

Islamophobia: A Threat to the Pagan Community

From rural Wisconsin to lower Manhattan Americans are mobilizing in opposition to the location of Islamic places of worship in their communities. With images of September 11th etched in it’s collective subconscious, our nation is once again traversing the slippery slope that leads to religious persecution, fear and outright bigotry.

Islam has become the convenient target of defamation, hate, suspicion and direct verbal attacks.  Americans in ever growing numbers freely tell anti Islamic jokes in public places.  If these attacks were aimed at another faith, minority or ethnic group there would surly be a substantial backlash.

So why should the Neo Pagan community become involved in defending the rights of a belief system that holds views so foreign to our earth based community?

Islam, an incredibly diverse group of faiths, is faced with being branded as intolerant and violent due to the actions of radical fringe groups.  We in the Pagan community have experienced attempts to paint us all with the same brush when individuals who claim to be Pagan commit violent acts.  Recent events in New Mexico and Australia make this clear.

To stand by and allow these forms of attack encourages those who believe that our country should not be tolerant of a diversity of beliefs.  If we do not stand in support of inclusion and respect we risk our own fight for Pagan rights through our lack of action.

There are many well-meaning people who have expressed concern with the placement of the Mosque in New York City. There are others, however, who have taken this opportunity to spread fear, hate, and bigotry.  They must be confronted

All threats to religious rights and tolerance are a threat to our community, our nation and our ability to openly worship the divine as we please.

It is not easy to come to the defense of a belief system so different than ours. Nor was it easy for Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders to support the inclusion of Pagans in the interfaith movement. Yet, these leaders did it because it was the right thing to do. Now comes our opportunity to stand for what we believe.

Pagan Brothers and Sisters, join me in communicating to the Islamic community our support for their right to worship openly, when they want to and where they want to.  Confront those who oppose tolerance, Make our collective intent known.

In Service to the Goddess,
- Peter Dybing

I’d like to thank Peter for his guest post. For more debate and discussion concerning the Park51 community center and mosque in New York City, and Pagan reactions to that controversy, please see today’s post at The Wild Hunt. Also, I know this is a contentious issue, but please remember our comment policy, and keep discussions civil.

  46 Responses to “Guest Post: Islamophobia”

  1. If Ground Zero were such hallowed ground that no places of worship were permitted, this protest would have some merity. But this hallowed-ground exclusion of solely Islam is simple bigotry.

    At least as disturbing as the verbeal violence of the protests is the huge polled majority of the population that has not hit the streets but passively agrees with the demonstrators.

  2. While I agree with your focus, I also believe it’s important to have your facts 100% accurate. Unfortunately, you have fallen into the trap of using the false terminology of the haters.

    The structure being planned is a community center. It will have a theater, restaurant, swimming pool, and gym.To compare this community center to a mosque is like comparing a YMCA (now just the Y) building to church. There are some religious services held at YMCAs (it is the Young Men’s CHRISTIAN Association, after all), and there will also be a place, an internal mosque, within the community center for Islamic prayer. There will be no externally visible minaret. There will be no external speakers to loudly call the faithful to prayer. The actual design show yet another big rectangular building, matching the typical NY architecture.

    The leaders of the haters choose their words carefully. They know that by calling this building a mosque it will give people a mental image of a building that looks “strange” and “out of place” with loud, “strange” calls to prayer many times a day. Each time anyone writes or talks about this building as a mosque, you reinforce this false image.

    Respectfully, this has NOTHING to do with supporting our Islamic brothers and sisters in their right to worship where they will. It would be closer to saying the community, not just Moslems, should have a place where they can attend a theater and go for a swim and perhaps learn some truth about Islam and its true followers, not the terrorists who use Islam as a front for their crimes.

    More importantly, the leaders of this hate movement have ulterior motives–to turn attention away from the real issues facing our country so people focus on the emotionality of their false propaganda.

  3. It was no accident of public relations that “Córdoba Initiative” was chosen as the title of the Ground Zero mosque project. The city of Córdoba was the capital of al-Andalus, the Umayyad Caliphate in Iberia, and the famous Córdoba Mosque was built atop the rubble of a destroyed church.

    Peaceful conquest is a historical anomaly, however — from its inception until its long decline began in 1683, Islam expanded solely through violence. Wherever Islam expanded violently, it built mosques at the sites of its victories. The minarets rose over the rubble of destroyed churches, synagogues, and temples to stand as symbols of Islam’s conquest of the kuffar. The Córdoba Mosque was an architectural announcement of the Moorish triumph over Christian Iberia.

    The Córdoba Initiative thus provides an obvious historical analogy to the Islamic victory on September 11th, 2001, at Ground Zero. The significance of the name and place will not be lost on any educated Muslim who hears about the project.

    What has NOT been revealed is the source of funding for construction. What also has not been revealed are the parameters of the Shariah Index Initiative.

    The Ground Zero Mosque has at least 6 mystery floors. We suggest that they’ll be used by the Shariah Index Project.

    The Shariah Index Project was built by at least 14 Shariah experts. We have the identities probably of 7 of them, and Rauf should reveal the other 7 right away.

    The Shariah Index Project generated at least 16 documents and maybe a final book, and Rauf should release all of these – right away.

    The issues at stake in the Ground Zero Mosque and the Shariah Index Project are not about Americans supporting the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom. Americans support that protection.

    The issues at stake here are about Americans protecting the Constitution from Shariah-adherent groups using the protective guise of religious freedom to attack the Constitution itself – using a triumphal Ground Zero mosque as “the base” for a project to institutionalize Shariah in America.

    • Sharia Index Project? Is that like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

    • 1. It is two blocks away. It is not at “Ground Zero”.
      2. It is not a mosque – it is a community center. That it happens to have a mosque is incidental – unless you think that just because places like the Pentagon, most hospitals, many secondary schools, most universities, etc. also have chapels that they ought to be called churches.
      3. The “6 mystery floors” is a case of someone without a basic understanding of math and architecture. 1 floor != 1 story (one story is between 12 and 14 ft). Unless, of course, they believe that the auditorium, pool, and community hall will have 8 ft. ceilings?
      4. It is their property. They are not breaking any laws. Deal with it.

    • If we’re going to condemn the Cordoba Institute for their name, you might as well start condemning the name of a whole bunch of churches. You know, the ones named after saints who went and destroyed pagan shrines, groves, and temples? The ones who advocated building churches on those sites, or converting temples already on those sites to Christian use.

      Let’s remember that the Moors in 711 came and conquered a good portion of the Iberian Peninsula. 711. The Christians were still in the process of Christianizing some of Europe, and many others hadn’t been Christian long. SO the Moors went and did exactly what the Christians were doing. How is this so much of a bigger deal? How are atrocities committed by Muslims somehow worse than atrocities committed by Christians? And, before we trot out conspiracy theories, let’s remember that, once upon a time, Cordoba was a great cultural and intellectual center of the Muslim world. It was also a place where, for a time, there was more religious tolerance for other religions than in the rest of medieval Europe. (Not saying things were great, by modern standards, but a darn sight better than they were in other places, for a time.) I think that it is these things that “Cordoba Institute” signifies, and not a symbol of conquest. Your argument makes no sense.

      As far as the Shariah Index Initiative, what of it? I’ve seen, in my lifetime, numerous initiatives identifying which countries are most “Christian”, and how well their governments stack up in terms of adhering to Christian principles. The Shariah Index doesn’t seem to me to be any more threatening. To be frank, it doesn’t seem to me to be threatening at all. It is a tool, same as a hammer. A hammer can be used to pound in nails to build something, or it can be used to bash in heads. It depends on who is using it. But I don’t advocate a sudden fear of hammers. Again, your argument makes no sense.

      There are plenty of radical Christian groups that advocate a theocracy, if they could just figure out how to do it legally. I don’t fear radical Muslims and more than I fear radical Christians, and think both groups are equally dangerous and stupid. There’s no evfidence the Cordoba Institute is a group that advocates a United States run by Shariah Law. And, quite frankly, I live in a country where, primarily because of Christian theology, I can’t marry the person I choose. I live where I was asked to pledge an oath using the phrase “so help me God,” and that sure as heck didn’t mean Odin or Tyr. So, honestly, I don’t give a twitch about Shariah law.

      You do realize that the blog you referenced is a biased opinion site, and not a valid news agency, don’t you?

    • Thank you, Mary. I was losing all faith in my fellow Pagans. First of all, I was raised in Manhattan; perhaps those who post about the center/mosque-whatever you call it not being at Ground Zero, first, don’t understand how teeny the streets are in lower Manhattan (2 blocks is nothing) and second, that the leaders of the project got the property at a cut rate because the original building was damaged on September 11th, 2001. Close enough to damage? Too close to the graves of thousands of innocent people, just trying to go to work…two of whom I knew personally, 10 of whom were from the small town that I was born in, in northern New Jersey.

      But, the most important point gets lost among the hurtful debate. This attack was only 9 years ago. The are children growing up without parents who are still children. There are PTS sufferers who witnessed their co-workers jumping 90 stories, on fire, who still struggle with those horrible memories. And the fact that Americans are not united behind them is hurtful. They do not want the Islamic center there. If the project leaders REALLY cared about building bridges, they would respectfully and voluntarily BACK OFF. i’ve seen & read of many other fellow muslims who agree. It’s a matter of being sensitive to others feelings-just like it says somewhere in the Koran.

      The other upset to me, is how it seems that Pagans & liberals are all defending islam yet are always the first to denounce Christians. At least Jesus was a righteous dude! Christianity was twisted by men to fulfill their selfish desires-but, I believe most Christians have learned from their mistakes. At least they don’t want to kill me if I argue the merits of their faith. Muhammad was a racist, mass murderer, thief and pedophile. And, in the eyes of muslims, he is the perfect man. Wow! If that’s the perfect man, I’d sure hate to see their undesirables. Oh yeah, I have. Terrorists. Listen, the fact that I get on a bus every morning and sit quietly next to women fully covered, like good lil obedient women makes me sick…they are victims of an unfair ideology that systematically ENSLAVES them. And islam is a political ideology not a religion, make no mistake Pagans. YOU are a kaffir: YOU would be the first to go under sharia law. And you’d damn well better “give a twitch”, especially if you are a woman, have a daughter, sister or mother you love & care about, are gay, have HIV, HepC, have metal health issues or practice any faith but islam-what they call the “true faith”. All you Christianity haters- don’t you know that islam was based, a great deal, on Christianity?? How can you defend one and put down the other? Since when do two wrongs make a right, anyway??!

      Stop trying to justify the wrongs of the islamic community of today with the wrongs of the Christian community of years ago! And to the so-called “moderate” muslims (moderate humans maybe, sure but bad muslims) IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REIGN IN THE CRAZIES OF YOUR “FAITH”. Sure, Christians have crazies. But most Christians laugh at them. Just like most Pagans condemn satanists. Stand up and stop defending your entire community! You most definitely DO have radicals in your midst; eradicate them yourselves and Americans, in general, will start to trust you. Assimilate into American society instead of trying to shove your ways down our throat via unwanted islamic community centers…just put the thing in midtown, for Goddess sake!

      • Caroline:
        You’re not the only person here with ties in Manhattan, or to people traumatized by September 11th. You’re just the person who thought that it was somehow helpful to raise that point in order to trump the points raised by others here. There are survivors among the supporters of the Islamic center as well as among its opponents.

        And I am no more invested in seeing Muslims forced to “assimilate” (by which you seem to mean “disappear,” given the fact that you see what is essentially an Islamic YMCA equivalent as offensive) into American society than I am in seeing Paganism “assimilated” in the same manner. I’m fine with the fact that many Americans think my Paganism is offensive; they are free to be offended, but that isn’t going to stop me from the free exercise of my religion OR from exercising my freedom of association with other members of my religion and those who wish to engage in interfaith dialog with me.

        I see it as hypocritical to claim rights for myself I would not defend for others.

  4. Peoples of minority belief practices are understandably leery of Islamists because of their histories with Islamic conquest and rule.

    Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, is a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West, said in an April, 2007 WSJ article:

    “It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the “end of days.” The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.

    “The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. …

    “Well-meaning interfaith dialogues with Muslims have largely been fruitless. Participants must demand–but so far haven’t–that Muslim organizations and scholars specifically and unambiguously denounce violent Salafi components in their mosques and in the media. Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Shariah decrees should not be considered “moderates.” …

    Tolerance does not mean toleration of atrocities under the umbrella of relativism. It is time for all of us in the free world to face the reality of Salafi Islam or the reality of radical Islam will continue to face us.

    • We can be opposed to radical Islamic sects without attacking all Muslims, just as we can be against dominionist Christian churches without attacking all Christians.

      By treating peaceable, moderate Muslims like their violent co-religionists, we are playing into the hands of terrorists who insist that the Western world is hostile to Islam-in-general. This is what the terrorists want, because if they can successfully make the case that the West hates all Muslims, it’s easier for them to recruit more terrorists.

  5. I find it interesting that my fellow Pagans would cry discrimination and hatred at those who are trying to stop an ideology that calls for the deaths of all pagan and whose average believer is not only happy to comply, but eager, lest he loose his place of pleasures and glories in the Muslim afterlife. Islam isn’t a minority religion, it is one of the three largest religions in the world, along with Buddhism and Christianity.

    Paganophobia is a threat to the Pagan community. Islamophobia most certainly is not. Indeed, if more Pagans knew the truth about Islam and what it intends towards Pagans, I suspect we’d all get a rampant case of “Islamophobia.”

    • Islam IS a minority religion in the United States–only 0.8% of Americans are Muslim. (Frankly, if you look at a global scale, EVERY religion is a minority religion, because no one religion is followed by more than 50% of the world’s population. The word “minority” simply means “not a majority.” It doesn’t mean “only a handful of people in the world do this.”)

      That said, I think Islamophobia among Pagans is a bad idea because:

      1. Stereotypes, as we are all painstakingly taught in middle school, are bad. As in any other religion, there are good, caring, law-abiding Muslims, and there are criminals and terrorists. This is not restricted to any one religion, and as people who’ve heard the same arguments against us from the maniac fringe within Christianity, we really ought to know better. We should judge people on a case-by-case basis, not simply based on their religion.

      2. It makes us look like hypocrites to tell people that members of religious minorities such as ourselves should be respected and treated equally, then rail against another religious minority. (Again, here in the US, Muslims are in the minority. Do not argue with me on this.)

      3. When we direct hatred towards ALL Muslims, we are reinforcing the terrorists’ arguments that Americans are trying to destroy Islam. This, in turn, will cause them to ramp up the severity and frequency of their attacks. Unless you want another 9/11, direct your anger where it belongs–at the terrorists themselves.

      4. Most American Muslims came to the US in the first place in order to get AWAY from the anti-Western nutjobs that have taken over various Middle Eastern countries. They came here because they believe that those people are WRONG. To lump them in with the people they moved halfway around the world to escape, is highly offensive, and rightfully so.

      5. Christians have also committed acts of terrorism on American soil. Should we ban churches in Oklahoma City and the sites of various abortion-clinic bombings? Does freedom of religion only apply until a member of that religion goes insane and commits a felony? If that is the case, then what of the recent murders committed by Wiccans? Should Wicca be banned from those areas entirely because one Wiccan in the area chose to commit a crime? Then why should we punish ALL Muslims for the acts of a few?

    • Right on Norse Alchemist!! You said it better than I did :o )
      Wake up, Pagans!!
      Of course, not all muslims are terrorists….just like not all Irishmen are drunks or Scots are cheap or black Americans like fried chicken&watermelon…but some of them do and are-stereotypes do not just appear out of no where! I’m in Minneapolis, a minor mid-west city and across the street there is a coffee shop where many somalian people hang out (men only). The FBI just arrested 10 people for connections with known terrorist groups. Guess what. No, of course, not all muslims are antiWest but, you’d better believe, that they ARE out there and if, they have there way, we as Pagans are doomed. Scare tactics? Maybe that’s just what we need before it’s too late. The so-called moderate muslims will have to eventually chose between their faith and their adopted or birth country here in the West. A choice between freedom and equality AND islam…what choice do you think they are most likely to make??

  6. If only our alien overlords, whom we refer to as “cats” were a little bit more draconian with us and put a stop to all this petty religious juvenile behavior………

  7. When a bunch of Druids hijack an airplane and fly it into an office building in the name of Bran, then and only then will the writer’s forced analogy make sense.

    • Yes, and when a bunch of moderate Muslims finally manage to reform their religion, so that misogyny, homophobia, sharia, and terrorism no longer follow it wherever it goes, then and only then will it be either irrational or unfair for people to oppose the spread of Islam.

      Muslims are responsible for cleaning up their own house. The people of the Cordoba Initiative, in principle, have taken up precisely this challenge. I believe that they are sincere, but that they are also blinded by their own arrogance. I also believe that when it comes to confronting the real problem in Islam that they are, in a word, cowards. They would rather whine about discrimination in the US — where Muslims are free to believe and practice — instead of focussing their attention on the countries where the vast majority of Muslims live, and where Muslims themselves have no freedom whatsoever.

      • And when moderate Christians manage to reform their religions and clean their houses…

        Clergy abuse? Sex scandals? Underage marriages? Secret compounds? Bills denying the right to marry when it doesn’t actually do anything to their own marriages? That’s just in this country, and just a small listing. A couple of names: Darla Wynne. Tempest Smith. Violence, anyone? Look at what American Christians are importing to Africa. Witch hunts and murder of homosexuals.

        Are you willing to deny Constitutional freedoms to Christians?

        Or perhaps the wiser thing to do would be to make sure that the Constitution protects everyone, and then fight to make sure that our rule of law protects us from the violence inherent in some people’s natures, no matter what their faith.

        • Pam: “Are you willing to deny Constitutional freedoms to Christians?”

          Of course there are groups and individuals who are waging legal battles against the Catholic Church demanding punitive payments for knowingly allowing sexual abuse to continue for decades and generations. These lawsuits have already had a very real negative impact on the Church.

          And there are also people calling for the arrest of the Pope and other Church officials for the crime of harboring and protecting child molesters.

          Do you think the Catholic Church should be protected against these actions just because they are a “religious” organization?

          • No. But if there was a Catholic church that wanted to build a church legally on property they own and it was situated two blocks away from a daycare center, should we oppose that, should we deny their legal and Constitutional rights because *some* Catholics do bad things?

            • You would be perfectly within your rights to protest against the building of a Catholic Church someplace you did not want it to be built. Why wouldn’t you? Just as you would be within your rights to protest against a Walmart, or a strip club, or a landfill or anything else you object to.

              • There’s a vast difference between protesting something I don’t like and trying to take away Constitutional rights.

                • No one’s Constitutional rights are in question here. The Constitution does not guarantee anyone the right to build whatever they want wherever they want to build it.

                  Muslims are completely free to practice their religion in the United States. In fact, they have far more freedom in practicing their religion here than they do in any predominantly Muslim country.

                  • They own the property. They meet all zoning requirements. Therefore, they can build there. If they are not allowed to, it is religious discrimination, and would be violating their rights.

      • Well said, Apuleius Platonicus!!

    • AGREED Chas Clifton!

  8. I’m with Chas Clifton on that, your analogy is force.

    The L, I’m not saying that the Muslims in the US are not a minority. What I am saying is that their religion is the Second Largest in the World, and arguably the most devoutly followed. I agree we must judge on a case by case basis, without stereotypes. You right, it is hypocritical for us as a religious minority to argue against the rights of another minority, except when said “minority” advocates a religion that calls for the deaths and destruction of our minority. I am reminded of the Pagans of Roman Empire who advocated tolerance of Christianity. Look where they are now, and look where the Christians are at.

    BTW, I am fully within my rights to argue with you. So don’t tell me I can’t.

    I am not advocating the hatred of All Muslims. In fact, I’m not advocating hatred of Any Muslims. I don’t see America trying to destroy Islam. Heck, we’ve left most of the Muslim nations alone, we haven’t destroyed them. In fact, if it wasn’t for our grain and money in exchange for their oil, it could be argued that they’d be dead. As for my “hatred” bringing about another 9/11, I would remind you of the Fort Hood incident, where a Muslim in the US Military gunned down his friends and fellow soldiers in the name of Allah. I would also remind you of the failed Christmas underwear bomber, along with several other incidents.

    As for you insistence that the Muslim here are those who seek to avoid Anti-Western governments, I recommend you actually talk to said immigrants. Those I’ve talked to, and those I read about on line, tend to view America at fault for all the ills in the Middle East. Many of those who come over, seek to make the West into Islamic nations, believe it or not.

    It is true, Christians have commuted acts of terror in the US. So have many others. I do not say we should oppose Islam because of the Terrorists. What I do say is that we Pagans and Heathens should do is look very carefully and do our research about how things will be with the Muslims, before we decide to jump in with them against our traditional Christian oppressors. If the Christians fear Islam, and they are the thing of our nightmares, then perhaps we would do well to wary as well. After all, if something scares Cthulu, It’s a good bet it should scare us.

    • “BTW, I am fully within my rights to argue with you. So don’t tell me I can’t.”

      I meant, don’t argue with me about Islam being a minority in the US, not don’t argue with me in general. Hence the words, “on this,” viz., on the topic of Islam being a minority religion in the US.

      “Those I’ve talked to, and those I read about on line, tend to view America at fault for all the ills in the Middle East.”

      I’m afraid we’re not entirely innocent on that score, either. For example, we supported the deportation of the Shah of Iran, and his replacement with Ayatollah Khomeini, in the 1970′s.

      That said, we are clearly encountering very different subsets of American Muslims, as the ones I’ve known and worked with tend to take the opposite view–that regardless of whether we’re partly responsible for the mess in the Middle East, we’re still better than a theocracy.

      And frankly, “the Christians are scared of it” doesn’t work as a threat to me. Those same Christians are also afraid of tarot cards, dancing, and Harry Potter. I have evaluated the threat level of allowing the cultural center, and in my personal opinion, it is lower than the threat posed by protesting said cultural center and further alienating the friendlier Muslims out there.

  9. Excellent post and I’m happy to see another Pagan speaking up in this manner for religious freedom. I’m putting up my own piece today, on the same subject. The very same threats being brought to bear on Muslims can as easily be brought to bear on Pagans.

    • “The very same threats being brought to bear on Muslims can as easily be brought to bear on Pagans.”

      I don’t think we should defend the Catholic Church against those who want to sue them out of existence over the whole priest-sex-scandal thing. Nor should we defend the Pope against calls for his arrest for harboring and protecting child-molesters.

      You see, when legitimate questions are raised and legitimate accusations are made against religious organizations it is a completely different question from when fabricated charges are made.

      The people at the Cordoba Initiative have themselves proclaimed that extremists have ALREADY “hijacked” Islam. Therefore there is every reason in the world to demand to know where their money is coming from (especially if it is coming from places like Iran and Saudi Arabia).

      And since the Cordoba Initiative claims, in very vague terms, to be fighting to “defeat the extremists”, why should they consistently dodge questions about specific extremist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, etc?

      • Can you provide reputable news sources that show the specific questions that have been “dodged”, and how they were dodged? For that matter, can you show in what manner and by whom these questions were posed?

  10. I’m going out on a limb here, however I’m willing to bet at least one Muslim lost her/his life when the Towers were struck. I’m also willing to bet there was at least one Muslim emergency responder who was injured, killed, or made ill because s/he responded to the catastrophe. Thus, to disallow the building of the Islamic Center seems very contrary to American principles of the freedom of religion and dishonors those who lost their lives literally and figuratively.

  11. Witchstead, it is true Muslims other than the ones who hijacked the planes died in the WTC. That said, most of those I see protesting the Mosque aren’t saying that Muslims can’t have a Mosque their, they are simply saying that building one there is insisitive to Non-Muslims who died. Also, there is already a mosque in that area. Yes, there are some who are completely anti-Islam protesting and want to deny religious freedom, but the majority seems to simply be saying that they feel it is dishonorable to raise such a massive community center/mosque so close. I suspect that if the propose project was only two or three stories tall, you wouldn’t be seeing this protest. It was the fact that the center is a sky scraper (if a small one) and was originally planned to be completed and opened on 9/11, that has caused much of the issue in New York.

    The L, I’m not saying the West is blameless. We’ve made mistakes too. But the hatred Muslims have for the West is a Hate from Old Time, going back near to the beginning of Islam itself, when they did aggressively attacked all of Europe that they could reach and completed the destruction of the last small parts of the Roman Empire and Eventually destroyed the Byzantium Empire.

    As for the “Christians are scared” yes, it does on the surface seem ridiculous. But take a second look. They fear Harry Potter, because it teaches that magic is not evil. They fear the Tarot, which has the power to predict and influence the future. They fear dancing, just as they fear sex. They fear Pagans and Heathens, and with good reason, because back before the forced conversions, we kicked their butts ruthlessly. The memory of the Vikings alone still causes fear in Christians. Does that mean these fears are without basis? The Christians fear us because we have a strength and power they cannot understand. You may laugh at this, because we are so few, but I don’t. I think they are right to fear us and the items of our world. And if they are right to fear us, if it is a justified fear, then why would their fear of Islam not also be justified? We are talking about Islam, which has waged war on Christianity and Paganism since its beginning,

    Were this a Buddhist temple, or Shinto Shrine, or one of the Greek temples, or even a center for Voodoo, I would stand gladly with those who are crying religious oppression. But this is protesting a religion that teaches ideological supremacy in a way that make Christianity seem, not harmless, but like the night mare of a child compared to an Eli Roth or Saw film.

    • building one there is insisitive to Non-Muslims who died. [sic]

      I don’t believe building an Islamic center is insensitive to the non-Muslims who died at Ground Zero. The opposite is what I believe. That is, I think it’s insensitive to NOT build an Islamic center in the neighborhood. Muslims lost members of their community (good people and bad people) and have had their religion put under a microscope over the last decade not to mention two wars.

      Emotions are high because very little healing has been done. The last ten years have been filled with hate and rage through vitriol in the tele, print, and blogs which has turned many normally reasonable people unrecognizable. Rage and fear require a lot of energy. I would think after a decade we would’ve exhausted those wells. Apparently not.

      I did write my own post about this.

    • Thanks, you keep me from having to post, Norse!

  12. I’ve got to admit that the very first time I head about this community center in the news, some months ago, my first thought was something along the lines of: “Hey! That’s great! Now if we can just get other faiths of people who died in those buildings to complete a ring of churches and temples around that site, maybe we could have a beginning of a sort of religious UN thingy.”

  13. Partial list of 9/11 deceased who were Muslim – including Salman Hamdani, a New York City police cadet and ambulance driver who was found in the rubble with his crash bag.

    The Park 51 Community Center has in it’s floor plan a 9/11 Memorial space that will be open to anyone who wants to come there, Muslim or not. One of the most mind-blowing things I have heard people say is that “they have no right to honor the victims, even their own, because they’re the ones who murdered them to start with”.

    So, American Muslims don’t even have the right to memorialize other American Muslims who died on 9/11, even if they were part of the NYPD or NYFD. (headdesk)

    • F.U.D. — the greatest allies of extremists of all persuasions at work.

      May they be trapped in their rotting corpses until not one bone remains.

  14. [...] Ground Zero Mosque Example: Pagan + Politics’ “Guest Post: Islamophobia” Lesson: Include a brief bio with your post. If the host blogger wants to write his or her own [...]

  15. [...] Ground Zero Mosque Example: Pagan + Politics’ “Guest Post: Islamophobia” Lesson: Include a brief bio with your post. If the host blogger wants to write his or her own [...]

  16. [...] Ground Zero Mosque Example: Pagan + Politics’ “Guest Post: Islamophobia” Lesson: Include a brief bio with your post. If the host blogger wants to write his or her own [...]

  17. [...] which counts three Pagans as members, has issued a call for solidarity with the Muslim community (a call echoed by some individuals within the Pagan community). Starhawk thinks we should turn off our TVs and [...]

  18. [...] Ground Zero Mosque Example: Pagan + Politics’ “Guest Post: Islamophobia” Lesson: Include a brief bio with your post. If the host blogger wants to write his or her own [...]