Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More thoughts on the Ground-Zero Mosque

I agree that, at the start, this was a badly considered decision. But when it turned into a judgment on all Muslims, the argument changed.

Ah, that’s where we are on tough ground.
However, the claim that “We cannot judge all Muslims” is also a kind of category error, isn’t it? Hardly anyone says, “We cannot judge all Al Qaeda”, yes? If Americans take on faith rather than experience that Muslims are a group just like any other that may be good for an initial assumption, but why shouldn’t it be modified by actions, facts, and context?

There are lots of people out there whom, when the Nazi-induced Holocaust of Jews is mentioned, or the violence in Darfur, reply by saying, “That’s terrible and the Israelis are just as bad, just look at what they do to the Palestinians.” These people are invoking a social convention that no group is any worse or better than any other, so the actions of Israel or America MUST have been as bad as their relatives, countrymen, or co-religionists were in similar situations.

While you can’t blame 9-11 on EVERY Muslim, a significant percentage of Muslims endorsed their violence, and an even larger percentage of Muslims do not see it as their duty to oppose such terrorism. In my opinion, that should not be forgotten, especially not by Muslims themselves, some of whom want the Cordoba House site so they can portray Muslims as primarily victims of the 9-11 assault. That’s about as honest as the Japanese claim that they were victims of WWII due to the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Cordoba House can be built, or not. Either way, what matters is the effect upon Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Will it radicalize America’s Muslims, causing division between them and non-Muslim Americans? Is that the purpose of its backers? I imagine that purpose could also be served even more cheaply by canceling the project, with the backers citing American intolerance as the reason.

But if Cordoba House is truly open – if it is planned as a real public facility with prayer areas for all, a mission statement in its lease (for that ownership needs to be changed), and a humbling and apologetic attitude by its spokesmen, then Cordoba House could be a real instrument of healing. Mosques can always have their management changed, by fair means or foul, so what the Rauf-of-the-day says matters little. Instead, the backers can make a voluntary yet binding declaration and contract with the community. It’s their choice, and nothing in the law or Constitution compels them to go either way.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pakistan: Huge scale of flood disaster dwarfs relief efforts

The U.S. military is doing what it can, but it won't be enough. Airlift distributive capacity is probably under 900 tons per day. With 20,000,000 people displaced, Pakistan needs to distribute on the order of TEN THOUSAND tons per day - more like THIRTY thousand.

They aren't going to make it. Unsmiling children like her are the lucky ones. I guess over half a million Pakistanis will be dead by next week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On the "Ground-Zero" Mosque

Charles Johnson writes:
Krauthammer can’t possibly be ignorant of these facts. So why is he still repeating the falsehoods?...Krauthammer should just come out and say it if he thinks the government should try to stop Cordoba House from being built, instead of indulging in this creepy sideways populism.

The law permits Cordoba House to be built. That doesn't mean doing so is a good idea. Muslims should know that it will take only one Imam fear-preaching there, claiming, "This is evidence of the success of our assault on America; our brand of Islam will conquer the world!" to create long-lasting anger and hatred between Muslims and non-Muslims in America.

Not all religions are created equal, nor do their followers necessarily follow the same ethics. Muslims are free to build Cordoba House. Whether they will actually support doing so is something else, for some may get the message that it isn't bigotry that opposes them, but grief and sensitivity. By their choice shall we judge them.

As George Washington wrote to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island:
...happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens...May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Cross-posted at LGF and PDF: link1 link2