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Xiphias Gladius

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By the way, I DO divide the world into "good guys" and "bad guys". [Aug. 19th, 2010|05:52 pm]
Xiphias Gladius
Just so you know: if you're against the building of an Islamic community center in Downtown Manhattan, you're one of the bad guys.

If you are saying, "well, sure, they have the LEGAL right to do it, but by putting it there, they're just being provocative," then you may not be particularly evil yourself, but you're intimidated by the evil people into being one of their henchmen. People doing completely normal things like building community centers aren't being provocative. The people who you are afraid they will provoke? Those are the bad guys. And if you are saying that they should modify their behaviors to do what the bad guys want, then you are saying that you support the bad guys.

And that means that you're one of the bad guys.

And THAT means that I find you a danger to me, personally. I'm Jewish. Right now, Jews are mostly considered more or less white. But that could change. And the second it does, people will start saying things like, "Well, sure, they COULD build a synagogue there, but wouldn't that just be asking for trouble?"

Everything that people are saying about the downtown Manhattan community center, I just automatically hear people saying that about something that I might want to do someday. If you're against them, then you're against me, and you're also against justice, freedom, and every ideal that this country stands for.

Just so we're clear on that.

[User Picture]From: teddywolf
2010-08-19 10:01 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: thnidu
2010-08-20 02:07 am (UTC)
You took the word right out of my... fingertips.
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[User Picture]From: filkerdave
2010-08-19 10:25 pm (UTC)
For a great many people in today's America, ANY Islamic center anywhere on the North American continent is too close to Ground Zero and will lead to bad feelings.

If you follow that sort of logic, you don't end up getting to build your center anywhere.
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[User Picture]From: supergee
2010-08-19 10:26 pm (UTC)
The shit about the Muslims sounds a lot like the shit they used to say about us Jews, and the change hasn't made it smell better,
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2010-08-19 11:17 pm (UTC)

Yup. Some of it is simple search-and-replace s/Jewish/Muslim, and a lot of it is more involved, but it's still basically the same shit.
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[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2010-08-19 10:34 pm (UTC)
She was asking for it; she wore a short, er, hijab.
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[User Picture]From: trinker
2010-08-19 11:30 pm (UTC)
Whoops...should have read all the comments before I posted mine.
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From: jehanna
2010-08-19 11:48 pm (UTC)
This, this, all of THIS.
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[User Picture]From: cakmpls
2010-08-19 11:52 pm (UTC)
Yes. Exactly that. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: alaria_lyon
2010-08-19 11:57 pm (UTC)
I think I love you :-)
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[User Picture]From: fibro_witch
2010-08-20 12:02 am (UTC)

I hope I can have a difference of opinion

I wish I could say I agree with you. I don't have a problem with a community center or even a massive mosque. Provided the people backing the Cordoba Project are not part of the project.

My reasons are as follows.

- Cordoba is a loaded word. For us it means an area of Europe (Spain mostly) that were ruled by an Islamic caliphate. For Muslims it is a word that means conquest. Conquest of the world. Now I know the myth of Cordoba is a strong one. That it was a time and place where all three major religions co-existed peacefully. It's wrong, a total and complete myth.

- I question where the funds to build this project are coming from. I am pretty certain there are no Jewish or Wiccan groups on the list of terrorist organizations. While the Catholic church does have some questionable issues, I do not believe the Pope has suggested a separate legal system be set up for Catholics.

- The Imam who is leading the project Feisal Abdul Rauf is on his way to the middle east to do an outreach tour. Paid for by the U.S. government. He claims to be for religious tolerance, when he is speaking English. Well except for the many times he has refused to attend interfaith events in Manhattan. He does not believe in interfaith. He wrote a book about Islam that suggests America should set up a separate court system for Muslims, a separate banking system and allow Muslims to live in areas that followed Muslim laws.

Laws like women wearing head veils, no dogs allowed, no religions other than Islam.

I hope we can have a dialogue about this, but I am more concerned you will end our friendship over this.

I am not against justice or freedom, I just want the truth to get out there.
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[User Picture]From: sethg_prime
2010-08-20 12:34 am (UTC)

Re: I hope I can have a difference of opinion

I have not read the book in question (have you?), but...

He wrote a book about Islam that suggests America should set up a separate court system for Muslims

Under current US law, parties to a civil dispute can agree to take the case to arbitration, and they can use a religious court as an arbitrator. Many Jews use Jewish religious courts to settle their disputes, and the law protects their right to do so.

a separate banking system

If some people want to set up a bank that does not loan money at interest, and others want to deposit their money in that bank, why should I care?

Laws like women wearing head veils, no dogs allowed, no religions other than Islam.

Given that Imam Rauf’s wife herself does not wear a veil (see the second picture here), I find this assertion about his book hard to believe.
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[User Picture]From: goljerp
2010-08-20 12:07 am (UTC)
Another thing which makes me annoyed is the way that the outsiders who are frothing at the mouth about this thing keep saying that it's at "ground zero". Um, no. It's two blocks away -- that's 1/10th of a mile. Sure, it's close, but in Manhattan (especially downtown) two blocks away is not "right on top" of something. And don't give me BS about a 2 block radius being "sacred ground". You know what else is 2 blocks away? Burger King. Mom & Pop stores. A strip club. This is not a giant shrine; it's a living, breathing city.

OK, I think I'm done ranting (for the moment)
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[User Picture]From: vvalkyri
2010-08-20 08:11 pm (UTC)
Part of the foaming is that one of the landing gear fell through that building. only learned that today.
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[User Picture]From: paper_crystals
2010-08-20 12:26 am (UTC)
I mostly feel like "Dear pundits from the western part of the U.S., stop bitching about how you are the beautiful heartland of America and how those nasty New Yorkers shouldn't get in your business because as soon as New Yorkers want to build a little community center in their financial district you feel the godammed need to butt in. If we don't get to bitch about your anti-abortion/mega churches/whatever stop bitching about our godammed community center."

Seriously, this place is supported by the NYC JCC. Can't you people just get over it and move on?
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[User Picture]From: voltbang
2010-08-20 04:06 am (UTC)
I'm not a new yorker, but I do get that New York is a city unlike any other city. In big cities, two blocks can be nothing, or it can be another world. Moving a community center just plain doesn't make sense. It's not a community center if it's not in the community. Those of us who live in the suburbs have a different sense of distance.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-08-20 09:19 am (UTC)
Digressing a bit, though not disagreeing at all:

Fascinating, from a linguistic PoV. In older (racist) usage I've come across "white" being used to mean "morally good", as in "that's mighty white of you." I've seen lots and lots of online discussion on privilege in which there's much angsting on what group is considered "white" now or in the past, and though it hasn't quite been used as shorthand, it's clear that in those discussions "white" means "part of the privileged group, possssing power by virtue of birth."

To my remembrance, this is the first time I've seen "white" as shorthand for "safe from persecution". I instantly understood what you meant, and apparently so did the other 44 commenters (so far), which means it's a very reasonable use in current circumstances. I just think it's fascinating as a marker of change in language and in our understanding of our society.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2010-08-20 10:40 am (UTC)
The meanings are all related. "White" means, in the United States, "part of the majority culture". If you're not white, you're reliant on the legal system to protect your rights as a minority. If you're white, it just happens -- your rights aren't in question in the first place.

"White privilege" is simply the "privilege" of being treated with a baseline of respect and decency. It's NOT, actually, a level of respect ABOVE what people ought to be able to expect -- rather, it's the "privilege" of being treated the way that people ought to be treated in general. It means the "privilege" of NOT being subject to persecution.
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[User Picture]From: msmidge
2010-08-20 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this and generating this discussion. I'm starting a course on religion tomorrow and am planning to talk about the "ground zero mosque" with students to help them learn how to sift through media discourses about religion, and this has been a really intelligent and civilized example of how to do so.
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[User Picture]From: sashajwolf
2010-08-20 05:03 pm (UTC)
Everything that people are saying about the downtown Manhattan community center, I just automatically hear people saying that about something that I might want to do someday.

I wish more people would hear it that way when someone talks about restricting someone else's civil liberties - although I'm sorry that in your case the habit comes from a long communal history of dealing with violent prejudice. I don't even recall how I acquired it myself, but it's a big part of why I'm in the Liberal Democrats, and why our most recent Labour Government made me scared and angry. Several of the early drafts of this post actually had the line "you're a danger to me" in them. I eventually decided it was probably unfair to my friends to put it in that way, but the degree of support a Government like that was able to command still frightens me if I let myself think about it.
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[User Picture]From: tacky_tramp
2010-09-15 10:43 pm (UTC)
Here via your link on Elizabeth Moon's post, and I totally agree. These last few weeks have involved a dizzying number of defriendings, because I have ZERO desire to interact with people who either harbor this kind of bigotry or want to cater to it.
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[User Picture]From: naomikritzer
2010-09-16 12:53 am (UTC)
Thank you. Well said.

It was partly for this reason that I was so infuriated that the ADL took a stance against the project.
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