Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oberman: There is no 'Ground Zero Mosque'

I don't know about you but I am sick unto death of the talk about the "Ground Zero Mosque".

It is an enormous embarrassment to listen to otherwise intelligent people display raw, naked xenophobia.

My friend June sent me the link to this video clip. Keith Oberman's drama is sometimes enough to make me change the channel, but when he's on, he's right on.

And, this time, he's right on.

Give a listen. If you are opposed to Park 51 (formally called "Cordoba Center" but changed because Newt Gingrich - God help us! - said it was a tribute to Muslim's overtaking Christianity in Spain, and we all know that if Ole Newt said it, it must be true, even if it isn't), you don't have to listen. You will probably not be persuaded by this or anything else I could post here, anyway.

Your mind is already made up. God knows, I wouldn't want to disturb you with facts.

If you are supportive of Park 51, please give a listen. Not so you'll have "talking points" in an argument. Not so you'll be further convinced.

Rather, it may give you something to think about when someone you meet prattles on and on and on about why this center should not be built because the Muslim boogie-men will infiltrate our government, brainwash our children, rape our women and run sabers through our babies - six times before breakfast and all before they bomb another building like the Pentagon or the White House.

This is America, damn it.

We have the right to religious freedom.

We also have the right to free speech.

It's just really important to engage your brain before you open your mouth.

Otherwise, you have also have the perfect right to look like a xenophobic idiot.

Here endth the rant.


ROBERTA said...

i heard keith deliver this special comment last night on his show and i thought, "dang, keith, you are on fire tonight!"

the difficult part is listening to someone talk about muslims in fearful, derogatory terms without losing my cool. so i tend to avoid these discussions and that's not good either. what to do....what to do....

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Generally, I think quietly in my head, "La la la la la la la", while trying to look interested.

Then, I ask, "Gee, did you know that the COMMUNITY CENTER is about four blocks from 'Ground Zero'?"

That usually sets them off again on another rant which does not answer the question but is more about how Muslims 'invade' the government.

And I think quietly in my head, "La la la la la la la."

When they come up for air, I ask, "Gee, did you know that there is no mosque - just a cooking school and a room for prayer."

And, as they go off, again not answering the question but only displaying raw xenophobia, I just think quietly in my head, "La la la la la la la la la."

I also say a little prayer of thanksgiving that they don't say what they really think about LGBT people in my presence.

Anonymous said...

One correction: the mosque (just because Olbermann says it's not doesn't make it true - he has his own filters through which he sees things, you know) is NOT 4 blocks away from Ground Zero. It's around the corner. In fact, the debris from fallen 7 World Trade Center was right in front of the building for months until it was carted away. I worked on that same block, at 99 Church, on the corner of Church and Park Pl. I was there on 9/11 when the building I worked in for 10 years was destroyed by burning aircraft parts landing on the roof and the debris cloud from the Towers blowing out the windows and trashing the building's interior. During the cleanup, my workplace and the building where the imam wants to build his "community center" were inaccessible because they were within a fenced-in area known as the "red zone". You couldn't get into it because IT WAS PART OF GROUND ZERO. Only after 3 months of clean up did they move the fences in 1 block to Vesey street, and we were finally allowed back into the building to retrieve what was left of our files and belongings. I wish you had been there to witness the destruction and smell the acrid air - there's no question this location is part of Ground Zero, and attempts by the media to remove it from this sacred spot won't fly. I know this is a difficult issue, but we at least need to ask the question: why do they want to build this "whatever-it-is" on this spot? It's not a residential neighborhood - who exactly is going to use this "community center"? Why Park Place, which is smack in the midst of Ground Zero? It's not crazy to ask the question: is this a real "community center" or merely a victory monument given it's location. I think it is inappropriate to dismiss those who question the imam's motives at nutty, or anti-First Amendment or blind to facts.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anonymous - I wish you had the same courage you obviously have about your convictions to sign your real name. It's much easier to "dismiss" you if you won't even sign your name.

First of all, a prayer room in the top floor of a community center is not a "mosque". It's an Islamic prayer room. No different than a chapel in a hospital or the one at Penn Station in Newark.

Secondly, I WAS at "ground zero" on the evening of 9/11 and stayed through 9/13. I went in, originally, to help at St. Luke's, but since there were no 'casualties' - to my and everyone else's horror - I helped out at Seamen's Church Institute and St. Paul's Chapel. I walked around the area a great deal during that time. I've gone back many times since. I know the area. Parts of Park Place were damaged (Burlington Coat Factory has not yet reopened after it sustained damage), as were parts of the Alphabet and Chinatown, but that's hardly Ground Zero.

The only 'victory' in allowing Park 51 to proceed is the one for 'religious freedom'.

Anonymous said...

What makes this discussion so crazy-making is the ever present but generally unspoken assumption that "The muslims did this (9/11)." I think the only way to attack the xenophobic comments is to cut to the chase. "The muslims" didn't attack the US on 9/11. Some crazed delusional hate-filled irrational men, who were muslim, performed a terrorist mass-murder. They left a lot of victims behind, not the least of which were all the muslim American citizens and residents who have had to live with the aftermath. I have a Pakistani-American coworker, and I've heard about the dirty looks and muttered invectives and outright threats.

Ignorance and fear breed hatred.

Lou Poulain, Sunnyvale CA

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lou.

Paul Powers said...

"First of all, a prayer room in the top floor of a community center is not a 'mosque'. It's an Islamic prayer room."

Park 51's own website describes it as a "mosque." The mosque will be only a small part of the overall facility, which will include a rec center, auditorium, childcare center (not unlike some of the "megachurches" we have in Texas).

But what if it were a full-fledged mosque with minarets, etc. Would that make the facility more objectionable?

Anonymous said...

Lets not pretend that someone must be a hate filled xenophobe to feel the mosque or community center near or on ground zero is in complete bad taste. The original intention was to break ground on 9/11/11 so the significance of its location and that choice of date seemed to matter to those who wish to build it even if it doesn't to Mr.Oberman. Then he dismisses the Cordoba point based on how long ago it occurred and later on wishes to remind us of our hypocrisy because "we" (as if any of us were here) owe Native Americans. The original intention was to name the project the Cordoba initiative, build it as close to or on ground zero as possible, and break ground on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Not 700 years ago. Not 500 years ago. This is recent history and its choice of name, the location, and date all held purpose.
Not all germans were nazi's, but if a german wanted to have a gas grill store as close to Auschwitz as possible and have his grand opening on Hitler's birthday, 10 years after the concentration camp was closed, pretty sure even though it may be legal that reasonable people would find this offensive and surely question the owners intentions.

scott said...

may i ask, how is this any different to building a synagogue or (another) church there? It is not a mosque for a start. It is a community centre with a worship room which ANYONE can use. Not just muslims. They have comprimised with the name and even so, the name cordoba means nothing now unless you want it to mean something. Also, it's not fair for muslims to build a mosque as soom claim it's a "victory mosque" but it was ok for christians and catholics to kick innocent muslims out of the holy land and desecrate their mosques with crosses. Maybe some of you have never heard of the crusades... Hypocrisy at it's finest!

Anonymous said...

Scott- Someone has already posted a link to the project website You will see the site does in fact have a mosque. A Mosque is not for ANYONE its for muslims. They renamed the project park51 but it is still called the Cordoba House. You and I didn't pick the name so it's meaning comes from those who chose it. Pretending it doesn't have meaning doesn't answer why the name was chosen. It doesn't answer why they wished to break ground on 9/11/11. It doesn't answer why it had to be built as close to or on ground zero as they could. The Crusades were between the 11th-13th centuries. I personally look at that time as a horrible period in history so I'm having trouble seeing the hypocrisy. Is your point Catholics are some times wrong too? Thanks for the news flash. Are you justifying this smack in peoples faces because of the wrongs of the catholic church 700 years ago? I'm not buying it. You asked how is it different then building a synagogue or (another) church? People have accused those against the mosque of being xenophobic idiots. In the case of some, it may be true. Your question proves there are a few idiots on the other side as well. To completely blow off and not acknowledge any validity to people being upset is ridiculous.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear Anonymous who does not sign his/her name: I will no longer post anything from you without putting your name to your post. It's not that you don't have a right to your own opinion. I just really dislike cowards. See "New Rule" above.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anonymous - I think YOU are a coward. And, a hypocrite.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anonymous - "the voice of many"????

Not only a hypocrite and a coward, but you also suffer from delusions of grandeur.

Poor dear. And you think Muslims are "insensitive".

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear Anonymous: Well, it's now official: no more of your comments will be posted here. Not cowardly. Not being hypocritical. Like most people who leave anonymous comments, you didn't have anything worthwhile to say, anyway.

Have a nice day.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Apparently, Sarah Palin and Bin Ladin agree: