Do I Live in a County More Rational than Hezbollah?

The invaluable Cary McMullen continues to be The Ledger’s finest asset of credibility. In the last two weeks, he’s twice tackled the largely abstract anti-Muslim hysteria growing in recent weeks as a certain breed of political conservative — read Newt Gingrich — looks for handy issues with which to gin up votes in November.

The biggest flashpoint has been the so-called Cordoba mosque locating, entirely within in its legal rights, not terribly far from the former World Trade Center site. From Cary’s outstanding column.

Illumination

For the record, Cordoba House would not be primarily a mosque but a community center similar to a YMCA that would hold Islamic and interfaith programs. It will be named for the city in Spain where under the rule of the Moors there was a measure of religious tolerance among Muslims, Christians and Jews. The New York Community Board has approved the building of the center on the site of an abandoned business.

The chairman of the initiative behind Cordoba House, Feisal Abdul Rauf, has said quite perceptively that the center might actually prevent the next 9/11 attacks by opposing the extremism of al-Qaeda with the inclusiveness that would be embraced there.

But all the opponents could do was scream, “They’re building a mosque at the sacred site of Ground Zero!” Where do you even begin to talk about how legally and morally wrong-headed it is to oppose freedom of religion in the name of America?

I can’t say it much better than that. I would take Spanish commentary a bit further, though. I’ve never been to Cordoba, but I did spend some time in college in Granada, the last Spanish city held by Muslims before Ferdinand and Isabella reconquered the peninsula in 1492. Yep, the same. I’ve been in the room in the fabulously beautiful Alhambra Palace, built by Muslims, where the conquering Ferdinand and Isabella sent Columbus on his way to the new world in the same year. I’ve seen their graves, in the gargantuan, soulless Cathedral that they built in a failed attempt to upstage the Alhambra.

Ferdinand and Isabella’s defeat of the last Muslim ruler of Granada also brought one of the great maternal smackdowns of all time. When the emir of Granada began to weep after turning over the keys of the Alhambra to the Christians, his mother reportedly said: “Do not weep like a woman for that which you could not defend like a man.” Wow. That’s really neither here nor there, but if my mother ever said that to me I would just crawl into a hole and die.

In any event, by all accounts, the passing of the Muslim hegemony meant far less religious tolerance than the murderous Christian rule brought by “Los Reyes Catolicos,” as Ferdinand and Isabella are commemorated on streets in every Spanish city. This was especially true for Jews, whom Ferdinand and Isabella persecuted and expelled from Spain, along with the Muslims.

To this day in Spain, which may be the single friendliest place I’ve ever visited, many cities and towns put on annual “ferias” in honor of conquering the Moors/Muslims. In fairness, I should note that these ferias mostly provide excuses to party, dress up in funny costumes, and set off cherry bombs — a Spanish national pastime. And everything I’ve heard and read indicates that Spain is among Europe’s most generous destinations for Muslim immigrants. Life is always complicated.

Meanwhile, in Beirut, Hezbollah, let me repeat that — Hezbollah — just gave its blessing to refurbishing a rundown synagogue in the apparent hope of sustaining the dwindling Lebanese Jewish population.

This malicious hufflepuff over the Cordoba mosque in New York presents an intriguing test for all of our liberty-loving, pseudo-libertarian, supposedly conservative readers out there. Like say, Donkeyrock, although I fear he’s taken his ball and gone home.

This is a clear cut, simple case of property rights and religious liberty. Who among you, oh libertarian conservatives, will come into the comments and back the Cordoba mosque? Donkeyrock? Anybody? I have my doubts. I have learned through close observation that your supposed principles often pose no match for your cultural hatreds. But please, prove me wrong.

If not, if Muslims have no first amendment or property rights, they certainly don’t have fourth or fifth amendment rights. When will you get on with it and start rounding them up? We haven’t had a good old fashioned mob rule fascism wave in this country since the 20s.

Creative Commons License cover photo credit: jazair

Creative Commons License interior photo credit: Nathan Wong.

30 thoughts on “Do I Live in a County More Rational than Hezbollah?

  1. Great column, Billy. Yes, I am a Libertarian-Conservative. But I believe the threat from Islamic “terrorists” is mostly hype and fear-mongering. This building in NYC sounds like a great idea. Keep up the good work.

  2. Great column, Billy. Yes, I am a Libertarian-Conservative. But I believe the threat from Islamic “terrorists” is mostly hype and fear-mongering. This building in NYC sounds like a great idea. Keep up the good work.

  3. Billy, I think you’re totally missing the point of the opposition, and in fact, turning it into a political attack. Families of the 9-11 victims are strongly opposed to this. Imagine if a drunk driver killed 30 children in a crash, and Budweiser wanted to build a distribution center on the very site. It’s called being insensitive. Get off your damn political high-horse.

  4. Billy, I think you’re totally missing the point of the opposition, and in fact, turning it into a political attack. Families of the 9-11 victims are strongly opposed to this. Imagine if a drunk driver killed 30 children in a crash, and Budweiser wanted to build a distribution center on the very site. It’s called being insensitive. Get off your damn political high-horse.

  5. I overreacted previously, but there are some falsehoods in this article and the ones you reference. Former reporter indeed.

    The myth of Andalusia: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2005/11/fitzgerald-the-persistent-myth-of-andalusia.html

    The quote used in the article about Hezbollah accepting Jews and Christians wasn’t found on Google except in reference to the article. http://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=hezbollah+%22We+respect+Judaism%2C+just+as+we+respect+Christianity.+Our+only+problem+is+with+Israel.%22&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS324US324&ie=UTF-8

    There is a lot of talk amongst libertarians about the ground zero mosque. Here’s just one article out of many: http://pc.blogspot.com/2010/06/controversy-over-proposed-ground-zero.html

  6. I overreacted previously, but there are some falsehoods in this article and the ones you reference. Former reporter indeed.

    The myth of Andalusia: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2005/11/fitzgerald-the-persistent-myth-of-andalusia.html

    The quote used in the article about Hezbollah accepting Jews and Christians wasn’t found on Google except in reference to the article. http://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=hezbollah+%22We+respect+Judaism%2C+just+as+we+respect+Christianity.+Our+only+problem+is+with+Israel.%22&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS324US324&ie=UTF-8

    There is a lot of talk amongst libertarians about the ground zero mosque. Here’s just one article out of many: http://pc.blogspot.com/2010/06/controversy-over-proposed-ground-zero.html

  7. And Philip-Morris donates to schools, hospitals, and downtrodden areas of illrespite. Does that mean that all is forgiven and they can stop being castigated? Didn’t think so, Hezbollah is nothing more than a terrorist organization hiding within a humanitarian front organization.

  8. And Philip-Morris donates to schools, hospitals, and downtrodden areas of illrespite. Does that mean that all is forgiven and they can stop being castigated? Didn’t think so, Hezbollah is nothing more than a terrorist organization hiding within a humanitarian front organization.

  9. Major props to Tim for manning up and answering, simply and declaratively. Further props for giving the correct answer for a constitutional conservative. Tim and I can do business. See, that’s not so hard.

    For the rest of you, I’ll repeat this slowly: Are you for the Mosque, despite your insistence that Muslims are icky, as constitutional rule-of-law conservatives must be? Or are you against it because Muslims are icky, in furtherance of no principle beyond ickiness is bad? It’s a pretty easy question to answer. I am glad to get DR back and kind of touched that he cops to overreacting, though he didn’t need to.

    More specifically, I am sure, Bleeb, that you are ready to tear down every statue of Johnny Reb on every town square in the south and take down the giant stars and bars at the intersection of I-4 and I-275. For many Americans, those statues might as well be of Osama bin Laden. The ideology that flag represented enslaved people and the white christian terrorists who worshiped its mythology lynched at least 4,742 people – 3,445 were black — between 1882 and 1965. That does not count the thousands more murdered like Shirley Sherrod’s father or set upon in mob pogroms in dozens of American cities.

    The difference between you and me, Bleeb, is that I’m conservative enough to realize that despite that record of horror and terrorism, and despite the very real feelings of disgust many Americans have for the confederate mythology, I know that jackass at I-4 has the right to wave his flag because he’s an American like I am. And let’s be clear, American Islam has no record at all to compare to Christian Confederatism in terms of murderous nastiness. Christian confederatism is far far worse.

    And concerning Hezbollah, I come not to praise it, but to bury it. When I mention that Hezbollah seems to have given blessing to refurbishing a synagogue in Beirut, which many Israeli planes and missiles have bombed, it’s what’s known as a device. It’s designed to point out absurdity and get to you to respond, just like it did. I’ll let you decide if you’re more or less tolerant than Hezbollah.

  10. Major props to Tim for manning up and answering, simply and declaratively. Further props for giving the correct answer for a constitutional conservative. Tim and I can do business. See, that’s not so hard.

    For the rest of you, I’ll repeat this slowly: Are you for the Mosque, despite your insistence that Muslims are icky, as constitutional rule-of-law conservatives must be? Or are you against it because Muslims are icky, in furtherance of no principle beyond ickiness is bad? It’s a pretty easy question to answer. I am glad to get DR back and kind of touched that he cops to overreacting, though he didn’t need to.

    More specifically, I am sure, Bleeb, that you are ready to tear down every statue of Johnny Reb on every town square in the south and take down the giant stars and bars at the intersection of I-4 and I-275. For many Americans, those statues might as well be of Osama bin Laden. The ideology that flag represented enslaved people and the white christian terrorists who worshiped its mythology lynched at least 4,742 people – 3,445 were black — between 1882 and 1965. That does not count the thousands more murdered like Shirley Sherrod’s father or set upon in mob pogroms in dozens of American cities.

    The difference between you and me, Bleeb, is that I’m conservative enough to realize that despite that record of horror and terrorism, and despite the very real feelings of disgust many Americans have for the confederate mythology, I know that jackass at I-4 has the right to wave his flag because he’s an American like I am. And let’s be clear, American Islam has no record at all to compare to Christian Confederatism in terms of murderous nastiness. Christian confederatism is far far worse.

    And concerning Hezbollah, I come not to praise it, but to bury it. When I mention that Hezbollah seems to have given blessing to refurbishing a synagogue in Beirut, which many Israeli planes and missiles have bombed, it’s what’s known as a device. It’s designed to point out absurdity and get to you to respond, just like it did. I’ll let you decide if you’re more or less tolerant than Hezbollah.

  11. Ah, DR, you realize guy’s screed on Spain says absolutely nothing to refute this:

    “In any event, by all accounts, the passing of the Muslim hegemony meant far less religious tolerance than the murderous Christian rule brought by “Los Reyes Catolicos,” as Ferdinand and Isabella are commemorated on streets in every Spanish city. This was especially true for Jews, whom Ferdinand and Isabella persecuted and expelled from Spain, along with the Muslims.”

    I fully stipulate that Muslim rule did not treat jews and Christians as equals. Toleration of nay kind wasn’t really a virtue that people pursued in those times. But as a relative matter, Ferdinand and Isabella were far worse. And the jewish quarter of Toledo and other places flourished, relatively speaking, before they were emptied by the Christians.

  12. Ah, DR, you realize guy’s screed on Spain says absolutely nothing to refute this:

    “In any event, by all accounts, the passing of the Muslim hegemony meant far less religious tolerance than the murderous Christian rule brought by “Los Reyes Catolicos,” as Ferdinand and Isabella are commemorated on streets in every Spanish city. This was especially true for Jews, whom Ferdinand and Isabella persecuted and expelled from Spain, along with the Muslims.”

    I fully stipulate that Muslim rule did not treat jews and Christians as equals. Toleration of nay kind wasn’t really a virtue that people pursued in those times. But as a relative matter, Ferdinand and Isabella were far worse. And the jewish quarter of Toledo and other places flourished, relatively speaking, before they were emptied by the Christians.

  13. Billy,

    C’mon, this article of yours on Park51, formerly known as the Cordoba House, is much more of a screed because it’s laden with falsehoods.

    Were the Catholics bad to the Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages? You bet. Were the Muslims bad to the Catholics and Jews in the Middle Ages? You bet. How about today? Who is worse for the Christians, Jews and Muslims? Who is killing in the name of their God, at the behest of their holy book, far more than any other? Clearly it’s Muslims.

    Using Andalusia to back up your contention that Islam isn’t so bad is simply wrong. No religion is perfect — well, “no religion” might be perfect — but we do know which religion threatens us more today than any other. Nipping the fundamentalist flower in the bud is a real and legitimate discussion.

    Even this article’s title is a red herring, since the US has built far more mosques, with our tax money, around this globe than Hezbollah has built… well, anything. Though Hezbollah is quite good at converting residence buildings into weapons stores, I’ll give them that. We’ll see just how many of them they’ve “built” when the next attack on Israel by Hezbollah leads to all-out war.

    Okay, that’s enough for now.

  14. Billy,

    C’mon, this article of yours on Park51, formerly known as the Cordoba House, is much more of a screed because it’s laden with falsehoods.

    Were the Catholics bad to the Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages? You bet. Were the Muslims bad to the Catholics and Jews in the Middle Ages? You bet. How about today? Who is worse for the Christians, Jews and Muslims? Who is killing in the name of their God, at the behest of their holy book, far more than any other? Clearly it’s Muslims.

    Using Andalusia to back up your contention that Islam isn’t so bad is simply wrong. No religion is perfect — well, “no religion” might be perfect — but we do know which religion threatens us more today than any other. Nipping the fundamentalist flower in the bud is a real and legitimate discussion.

    Even this article’s title is a red herring, since the US has built far more mosques, with our tax money, around this globe than Hezbollah has built… well, anything. Though Hezbollah is quite good at converting residence buildings into weapons stores, I’ll give them that. We’ll see just how many of them they’ve “built” when the next attack on Israel by Hezbollah leads to all-out war.

    Okay, that’s enough for now.

  15. Bleeb and DR,

    Do you take the position that (1) the government should prohibit construction of the center? Or are you saying simply (2) that you don’t think it is a good idea?

    I think opinion (1) is not a legally defensible position. If you claim to be a libertarian (I assume you do – I don’t know), you would have to agree that the law is as it ought to be. To do otherwise is to profoundly violate your own ideals, as Billy points out.

    But I imagine opinion (2) is not entirely unreasonable. I would imagine that if my own family was killed by a group of religious crackpots, and members of that religion wanted to put a building up at or really close to site of the killings, I might be more than a little bothered by it. My tools to deal with it would be diplomatic, not legal.

    Billy, why call the libertarians out to “back” the center? Don’t you really want them to “back the right” to construct the center? (E.g. you don’t “back” the stars and bars, but you back the right to fly it.) I bet they might actually do that. Maybe Newt won’t, but I hope our local friends are at least that reasonable.

  16. Bleeb and DR,

    Do you take the position that (1) the government should prohibit construction of the center? Or are you saying simply (2) that you don’t think it is a good idea?

    I think opinion (1) is not a legally defensible position. If you claim to be a libertarian (I assume you do – I don’t know), you would have to agree that the law is as it ought to be. To do otherwise is to profoundly violate your own ideals, as Billy points out.

    But I imagine opinion (2) is not entirely unreasonable. I would imagine that if my own family was killed by a group of religious crackpots, and members of that religion wanted to put a building up at or really close to site of the killings, I might be more than a little bothered by it. My tools to deal with it would be diplomatic, not legal.

    Billy, why call the libertarians out to “back” the center? Don’t you really want them to “back the right” to construct the center? (E.g. you don’t “back” the stars and bars, but you back the right to fly it.) I bet they might actually do that. Maybe Newt won’t, but I hope our local friends are at least that reasonable.

  17. Kemp,

    If they own the property, they should be able to build whatever they want on it. As a Libertarian, I think they have that right. However, there are lots of possible extenuating circumstances that can be used to prevent the building from going up, first and foremost being protests and campaigns to expose any wrongdoing the owners may have done. The owners have already lied about some things, and are being shady about other things, so trust really isn’t being built.

  18. Kemp,

    If they own the property, they should be able to build whatever they want on it. As a Libertarian, I think they have that right. However, there are lots of possible extenuating circumstances that can be used to prevent the building from going up, first and foremost being protests and campaigns to expose any wrongdoing the owners may have done. The owners have already lied about some things, and are being shady about other things, so trust really isn’t being built.

  19. Thanks Kemp. I must have not have been as clear as I meant to be. The question I am posing is precisely the one you state. By “back,” I only meant legal right. I would encourage anyone who hates Islam to fly to New York and picket the place if they want. I particularly like the idea of putting in a gay bar next to it. However, I’m not at all clear this mosque would consider that an affront. Someone should ask them.

    To me it’s just like gay marriage, I would stand with Jay Dennis in the doorway to his church to prevent any gay people from getting the sacrament against the church’s will, but Jay should stay out of people’s civil marriages.

    To argue against legal approval for is to argue for extra-legal exclusion based on personhood. The law does not respect persons in judgement. So I am asking again, DR, what’s more important to you, hating Islam or personal property rights? Do Muslims have enforceable constitutional rights, or should they be excluded on the Muslims ar icky clause of the constitution.

    And finally, can we agree that white Christian conservative Americans, from Bedford Forrest to the 20s Klan to Tim McVeigh to Eric Rudolph to the dude who killed the abortion doctor last year because “his book” told him to have left an American body county multiple hundreds of times greater than the body count left by American Muslims, which I can pretty much whittle down to the psychiatrist last year. I am happy to be corrected, though. Can we agree on that? Because we are talking about American muslims, here.

  20. Thanks Kemp. I must have not have been as clear as I meant to be. The question I am posing is precisely the one you state. By “back,” I only meant legal right. I would encourage anyone who hates Islam to fly to New York and picket the place if they want. I particularly like the idea of putting in a gay bar next to it. However, I’m not at all clear this mosque would consider that an affront. Someone should ask them.

    To me it’s just like gay marriage, I would stand with Jay Dennis in the doorway to his church to prevent any gay people from getting the sacrament against the church’s will, but Jay should stay out of people’s civil marriages.

    To argue against legal approval for is to argue for extra-legal exclusion based on personhood. The law does not respect persons in judgement. So I am asking again, DR, what’s more important to you, hating Islam or personal property rights? Do Muslims have enforceable constitutional rights, or should they be excluded on the Muslims ar icky clause of the constitution.

    And finally, can we agree that white Christian conservative Americans, from Bedford Forrest to the 20s Klan to Tim McVeigh to Eric Rudolph to the dude who killed the abortion doctor last year because “his book” told him to have left an American body county multiple hundreds of times greater than the body count left by American Muslims, which I can pretty much whittle down to the psychiatrist last year. I am happy to be corrected, though. Can we agree on that? Because we are talking about American muslims, here.

  21. Billy, if the legal question was really what you were asking, then, indeed, the subtlety of the question was lost in the fury of the rhetoric, at least to me. As for body counts, I’d like to see the numbers as compared to each group’s respective share of the population as a whole.

    DR, what is your basis for your assertion that the owners have lied or are being evasive? I ask not to bait you, but because I am ignorant about the issue and would like to be better informed. I can google it myself, of course, but I am curious as to where you are getting your info from.

  22. Billy, if the legal question was really what you were asking, then, indeed, the subtlety of the question was lost in the fury of the rhetoric, at least to me. As for body counts, I’d like to see the numbers as compared to each group’s respective share of the population as a whole.

    DR, what is your basis for your assertion that the owners have lied or are being evasive? I ask not to bait you, but because I am ignorant about the issue and would like to be better informed. I can google it myself, of course, but I am curious as to where you are getting your info from.

  23. Kemp,

    I usually get my info from several sources, but JihadWatch.org is the best one. It leans Christian, but the writing is clear and Robert Spencer is as truthful as possible. Of all the people who have challenged his veracity, I have not seen one who has proven that he lies.

    Imam Rauf has lied about where he’s getting his funding and that the Cordoba Initiative wouldn’t house a mosque. A site search of Jihad Watch for Feisal Abdul Rauf will give you some examples of what that imam is about: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:www.jihadwatch.org+Feisal+Abdul+Rauf&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS324US324&ie=UTF-8&hl=

  24. Kemp,

    I usually get my info from several sources, but JihadWatch.org is the best one. It leans Christian, but the writing is clear and Robert Spencer is as truthful as possible. Of all the people who have challenged his veracity, I have not seen one who has proven that he lies.

    Imam Rauf has lied about where he’s getting his funding and that the Cordoba Initiative wouldn’t house a mosque. A site search of Jihad Watch for Feisal Abdul Rauf will give you some examples of what that imam is about: http://www.google.com/search?q=site:www.jihadwatch.org+Feisal+Abdul+Rauf&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS324US324&ie=UTF-8&hl=

  25. Why does Manhattan seem to think they own 9/11? People died in Pennsylvania, as well, and at the Pentagon where Muslim services are held every day at 2pm.

    The KKK was as much a part of the Southern Baptist Church as Al Qaeda is a part of Islam. Neither are the totality of them. I was raised to be a Southern Baptist. I was also raised to be horrified of the KKK.

    I gave up being a Baptist. I prefer to think I just grew up and let the fantasy go the way of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    My fear of the KKK is likely to last a lifetime, though.

  26. Why does Manhattan seem to think they own 9/11? People died in Pennsylvania, as well, and at the Pentagon where Muslim services are held every day at 2pm.

    The KKK was as much a part of the Southern Baptist Church as Al Qaeda is a part of Islam. Neither are the totality of them. I was raised to be a Southern Baptist. I was also raised to be horrified of the KKK.

    I gave up being a Baptist. I prefer to think I just grew up and let the fantasy go the way of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    My fear of the KKK is likely to last a lifetime, though.

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