Posts Tagged ‘Scott Stringer’

Jews, Muslims, history, and the mosque “at” ground Zero

August 9, 2010

I came home from my tenth grade history class and announced, “Today we learned about the fall of Christian Constantinople to the Muslim Ottomans, and what a tragedy it was.” My father corrected me; “Not for the Jews, it wasn’t.” He went on to explain that the Ottoman Sultan, Beyazit I, in 1492 invited all the Jews of Spain, just expelled by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, to come live in peace in the Ottoman Empire, then the world’s most powerful. Thousands did, and lived peacefully and prosperously there for centuries, to this day.

Jews and Muslims have gotten on well for most of the time since the days of Mohammed, who honored Jews as “people of the book.” It’s easy today, looking at the enmity between Israel and some of her neighbors, to forget that Jewish culture thrived as never before or since in the “golden age of Jewish culture” in Muslim-ruled Spain, or that the Muslim Beyazit rescued the Jews of Spain and Portugal. Even the Jewish-Muslim conflict in the Middle East is over land, not religion.

So it’s nice to see so many Jews standing up for the rights of American Muslims to build Cordoba House, a community center with prayer area, 2-1/2 blocks from New York’s Ground Zero. NBC News reported, “Jewish Leaders Gather to Support Ground Zero Mosque.”

And Washington’s Jewish Week criticized the position of the Anti-Defamation League (more…)

Tea Party rejects racism, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has “better things to do”

July 19, 2010

The Tea Party is a loosely organized group of people who favor generally conservative causes—lower taxes, smaller government, gun rights, and more immigration enforcement. But the party has attracted people to its rallies carrying signs comparing Obama to Hitler and telling him to “Go back to Kenya.” And members have spat epithets of faggot and nigger at congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

As a result the NAACP passed a resolution last week calling on Tea Party leaders “to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.” (Several of those signs are shown here.) Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams, asked to tell racists “you’re not welcome” in the tea party, replied, “Racists have their own movement. It’s called the NAACP.”

Not satisfied to let things stand, Williams posted on his web site a letter supposedly written to Lincoln by “colored people” protesting emancipation and praising slavery.

While Williams defended his letter as satire, he has used ugly racial language regularly, especially in opposition to the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. He derided Mohammed as “the terrorist monkey god,” and called Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who backs building the mosque, a “Jewish Uncle Tom who would have turned rat on Anne Frank.” President Obama was an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug.” (more…)

Tolerance and hate in New York: update on the mosque “at” Ground Zero

July 15, 2010

The long-running saga of a Muslim-American group’s effort to build a community center and mosque two and a half blocks from Ground Zero ended another chapter Wednesday night. New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing on whether to declare the group’s 150-year old building to be a historic landmark, and thus require its preservation as is.

The hearing drew a robust crowd, hardly any of whom cared a bit about the building. The real issue was whether to allow a Muslim center near Ground Zero. Most of the arguments made in favor of landmark designation were anti-Muslim rants, like that of an unidentified woman who said “It would be a terrible mistake to destroy a 150-year old building in order to build a monument to terrorism.”

Dania Darwish, a new graduate of New York’s Fort Hamilton High School, argued for the mosque:

“My family died that day…You’re yelling at me and you don’t know. If a mosque was built maybe you would know what Islam is about.”

The community isn’t particularly bigoted—New Yorkers pride themselves on their diversity, and a Manhattan community board recently voted 29-1 with ten abstentions to approve the mosque.. If you expected New York Jews to be opposed, guess again: New York’s Jewish Week reported that Jewish leaders haven’t made a big deal about the center, and the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan even offered some advice. Jewish elected officials (more…)


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