Is Anti-Muslim Bias Acceptable when Considering the Ground Zero Mosque?

Dear Beyond BT

I was having a discussion with a friend about the Ground Zero Mosque and he felt that the greater you associate 9/11 with Islam in general, the more likely you are against the Mosque.

He also pointed out that even President Bush said that we are not at war with Muslims, but with the terrorists, and he thereby disassociated 9/11 from Islam.

My friend agreed that showing sensitivity to the families that lost loved ones is important, but if that sensitivity is based on some degree of undeserved anti-Islam bias, then how strong is our sensitivity obligation? Would they object to a church or a synogogue built there?

He finally stressed that Freedom of Religion was such an important principal to uphold to the highest degree that it should outweigh any existing anti-Islam based sensitivities.

My feeling is the there is clearly some association of 9/11 and Islam and we need to show sensitivity, but I’m not clear whether it is enough to override Freedom of Religion considerations or to perpetuate an anti-Muslim bias.

Furthermore as Frum Jews, is there a Chillul Hashem consideration that we don’t come off looking like we have a anti-Muslim streak?


39 comments on “Is Anti-Muslim Bias Acceptable when Considering the Ground Zero Mosque?

  1. I understood this article to be a discussion on “how to think” rather than on “what to think.”

    To borrow an analogy from Golda Meir, we should strive to fight better than our enemies fight, without falling into the trap of thinking as our enemies think.

  2. Michal
    ” We mind our own business: We wouldn’t be pushing anything on other countries

    • The enemy of my enemy is not my friend

    • Nothing is in our interest if our values and principles are gone. Why do you think they hate us in the Middle East? Maybe it’s because we don’t stand for anything”

    I’m done with this subject.

  3. What red herring, what allegation? I proved it. You just don’t like the inconsistency that is Glenn Beck.

    Your evidence included Rauf blaming the u.s. Glenn Beck said in that very webpage and on his show (I saw the clip where he’s in front of the blackboard doing his demented teacher schtick)the same thing. He wants a turning inward of this nation. No involvement with tyrannical leaders of middle eastern nations which in his words make others in the middle east angry at the U.S. A STATEMENT MOST PROGRESSIVES WOULD AGREE WITH.

    I think it very interesting that after Michal asks me to back up my statement, you and not he responds. You don’t address my evidence AT ALL. You tell me about an interview with a wacko that he did. You have obviously used your own words “Beck strongly denounced any attempt to blame ANY aspect of 9/11 on the US” So?? The fact is that months earlier he said on tv what he said in that article to which I provided a link. If you, Bob, want to ignore that FACT and pretend that because Beck said one thing one time he COULDN’T POSSIBLY say the exact opposite some other time then your statement about the truther interview is the RED HERRING.

    Incidentally, I am very concerned about one thing Rauf has said. That he feels a One-State solution is best.

  4. Michael,

    I read the link you sent and 9/11 is not mentioned even once. Just as I thought. Have a nice day.

  5. I heard a complete radio interview by Beck with a purported tea party candidate in a TX primary race. From the candidate’s statements, Beck deduced that she was a 9/11 “truther” who was covering that up. Beck strongly denounced any attempt to blame any aspect of 9/11 on the US, and gave her an extremely hard time.

    So, Michael, enough of your red herring allegations—which, of course, don’t begin to touch on the actual point of this discussion.

    The writers at National Review (who don’t include Beck anyhow) are reliable. They are also conservative, which is no particular sin.

  6. Michael,

    How about you provide a link that Glen Beck said the US contributed to 9/11? Come on, where is it? He never said that.

  7. Incidentally, I just went to Daniel Pipe’s site. Generally, I trust his reporting. And although he inserts info from Andrew McCarthy his article has much food for thought and further exploration.

  8. Thanks for the links.
    I can’t read National Review’s writing at face value. Glen Beck has also said the U.S. Contributed to 9/11. I find that idea a yucky one because it makes me suspicious of the person saying it. Like they are the blame america first type. but beck made the same point as to our interference in muslim countries. So yes I am as concerned about Rauf as I am about Beck. When Beck is condemned by National Review I’ll condemn Rauf.

  9. Bob, could you provide a link to this evidence? Thanks. I’d like to see the source and the examples of extremism.
    Other than that I’m exhausted by this and my only response to the facts will be “Ok, I’m wrong. The guy’s pure eeevill.” or “That’s all you got??”

  10. Rauf is no religious moderate with respect to the Jews or the US. No amount of lying on the part of his friends and apologists can conceal the evidence.

  11. What’s juvenile is responding to my accusation that you believe most Muslims are terrorists by (with eyes rolling)saying “Ok,not ALL muslims are terrorists.” You didn’t contradict my accusation at all.
    It is not logical to say that since most terrorists in the world are Muslim, we need to clamp down or worse on all Muslims in the U.S. ie. limiting their building to sites other religions may build on. Since, despite the fact that most terrorists are Muslim doesn’t mean a majority of Muslims are terrorists.And if they aren’t terrorists they aren’t violent.
    Michal, I understand you are scared. I’m not blind to the enemy that is Islamoterror. I’m not an apologist for them at all. I’m concerned also. But one has let prudent caution turn into something else if one speaks about Islamic Victory Mosques in lower Manhattan. THAT, sir, is a disorder of the mind. Because an orderly, reasoned approach dealing with the vast majority of Muslims in America would not permit such hyperbole. Including Rauf – remember I’m talking rational train of thought devoid of passionate fear – despite what Fox News,not a reliable source of info, says about him.
    But I grow weary of this futile exercise. Good luck to you.

  12. What is the big enigma here? 99% of all terrorists on the planet are Muslims. Fact. This is so juvenile, but ok….” not all Muslims are terrorists.” Happy?

    The “Red Scare” is a pathetic analogy. There weren’t daily terror attacks globally by commies. Why would a Jew be so invested in obfuscating for those who want him dead? It’s a mental disorder.

  13. Yes, Bob M., that’s “precisely”, my point Rauf is a RELIGIOUSLY moderate (by definition) Sufi Muslim (even if he has politically progressive leanings). Not of the Sunni Extremist/Wahabi ilk. Thanks for making my point for me! Plus Michal in the post after yours displays my point about the rest of the posts here. He and most of the others think the majority of Muslims are true believing violent extremists.

    Michal- May I suggest that you convert to Islam, go to France and experience THAT for yourself. (Trying to portray it like there is a wave of Muslim on Jewish crime in Paris or Dearborn, shame on you. The internet is a great tool for propaganda, ain’t it? Next time put a link to the facts in your post.

    You guys are just repeating the mistakes of the past. The U.S. Red Scare and the internment of the Japanese during WWII. In both cases the actual enemy was unreasonably expanded. You’ll say this is different than the Japanese internment. Well Americans would’ve said it was different than a prior event of hysterical, misguided overkill.

  14. Michael R…

    Yes, on the whole, Muslims (and there are more than ONE BILLION) are much more “frum” than Jews. While much of that is coercion, the result is the same.

    May I suggest an experiment for you? Go live in a suburb of Paris, or even a Jewish neigborhood there and wear a kippah. Try that in ANY European city for that matter. Try it in Dearborn, Michigan. Coming soon, chas v’shalom, to many cities in the US if we don’t put the brakes on Islamic stealth jihad here.

    This is not paranoia, but a rational assessment of reality.

  15. Michael R.:

    Is it not precisely the Imam Rauf, the leader of the Ground Zero Mosque effort and others like him who DO respect and live by the Koran in all aspects?

    Who here is talking about the many “lapsed” Muslims who are in no way involved with projects like this?

    Throwing your own hysteria at us by making wild insinuations is unbecoming.

  16. I am stunned at the paranoid hysteria exhibited here. Have any of you people actually read Tanach? You keep telling us what the Koran says.

    You act like what the Koran says is what Muslims in America BELIEVE. Do YOU believe that the majority of Jews in the U.S. BELIEVE even 10% of what the Tanach says? And of the tiny minority of Jews who believe, do each of them BELIEVE and hold close to their heart and mind 100% of the exhortations, laws, penalties, prophesies, etc. in the Tanach?

    And of the 90% of U.S. Jews who do NOT believe most of the Tanach, half of THEM identify solidly as Jews – despite their lack of faith in the Tanach on the whole!.

    You perceive American Muslims holding to a standard of faith that Jews do not hold as a people World Wide – including Israel!

    Ahhhh, is that where the hysterical paranoid fantasies come from?? You are JEALOUS of the American Muslim (as you perceive him; which is undoubtedly a MISPERCEPTION) because he actually holds and observes the entire Koran within his heart and mind whereas Jews as a group haven’t been able to do that for hundreds if not thousands of years!!

    Your envy of people of “true belief” in Judaism has led you to delusion. A complete disconnect from the reality of the state of religious belief (in contrast to religious affiliation) in the 21st century.

  17. If a Jew does not have an “anti-Muslim bias” they are, quite frankly…insane. The Koran exhorts Muslims to kill Jews. It’s a mitzvah to them. Muslims are on a world-wide jihad to convert and/or kill all infidel/kafurs; that’s anyone not Muslim.

    To equate on any level, “bias” against Muslims with bias against Jews is obscene because Jews do not daily commit global atrocities of unspeakable horror against non-Jews for being non-Jews! Let’s not be so PC and polite that we can’t be emesdik. Our personal and communal survival depends on it.

  18. Bob wrote in number 17: “Normal relations with Israel (such as an absence of bullying about so-called settlements) would be novel.”

    Yes, that would be “novel”, and most likely to be found in the fantasy genre.

    Seriously, my use of the word “normal” for relation with Muslim countries doesn’t mean I think this is a good thing; it’s short hand for the presence of embassies, ambassadors, consulates, etc.

    The FIRST opportunity (in my memory) to stand up to these countries was in the 1970’s when they started extorting the US for oil in response for our support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. That’s when they were in the Soviet Bloc, and before their obvious Islamicization.

    We blew it then and we are paying for it now.

  19. “The United States has normal relations with most predominantly Muslim countries, and this is not a new situation.”

    Normal relations with Israel (such as an absence of bullying about so-called settlements) would be novel.

  20. Anti-Muslim bias is not an acceptable factor when making a decision on the Ground Zero mosque. A factual analysis showing that a threat exists is an acceptable basis for opposing the construction of this mosque (through legal means) or protesting its activities if it is actually built.

    The United States has normal relations with most predominantly Muslim countries, and this is not a new situation. Should good citizens of those countries, when they visit or lawfully immigrate to the US be allowed to worship, in the vicinity of ground zero or elsewhere? Since there are protests against mosque development at many locations in the US (Sheepshead Bay, Murfreesboro, and others), the consensus seems to be that they shouldn’t.

    America’s intentions in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan included eliminating terrorist or government sponsored threats to the US, and improving the lives of the good people in those countries. Our efforts strike me as futile on both fronts in both countries. New corrupt leaders have replaced the old ones, sectarian warfare has worsened, and the lot of the average Iraqi or Afghan has not improved significantly. To call either country a “nascent democracy” is a joke, especially in light of their failure to recognize the only true democracy in the region, Israel.

    The energy devoted to anti-mosque protests should have been used years ago by demanding the intelligent deployment of our service men and women in the pursuit of proper goals. Instead, we have sacrificed over 5000 American lives to allow the status quo to continue. The leaders currently in place in those countries are not worth the slightest harm to a single hair on a single American head.

  21. My husband’s brother-in-law emailed me some chilling photos of a Muslim protest in England that never made it into American newspapers, only Canadian ones. The angry fervent protestors, with females wearing the traditional Hijjab, carried signs with vicious slogans like, “Europe, Prepare For The Real Holocaust,” “Behead Those Who Mock Islam,” “Exterminate Those Who Reject Islam.”

  22. — “the greater you associate 9/11 with Islam in general, the more likely you are against the Mosque.”

    Right. And that’s precisely the reason people are against it: because of the association.

    — “He also pointed out that even President Bush said that we are not at war with Muslims, but with the terrorists, and he thereby disassociated 9/11 from Islam.”

    He ‘disassociated 9/11 from Islam’ only to the extent that Islam doesn’t necessarily mean 9/11, but 9/11 does mean Islam. By the way, what about his other speaches where he made silent references to Islam in general?

    — “Would they object to a church or a synogogue built there?”

    If a group of Jews would Chas V’Sholom kill out a neighborhood, then yes, it would be a disgusting gesture to build a Shul or temple there!

    — “Furthermore as Frum Jews, is there a Chillul Hashem consideration that we don’t come off looking like we have a anti-Muslim streak?”

    This is a valid point. We should not get together as a Jewish group to protest. That would look like, or perhaps be, only a product of our own issues with Islam or Arabs.

  23. Since 1990, there has been a disturbing trend of American mosques becoming seedbeds for germinating terrorism. The Fort Hood shooter, the Times Square bomber, the man who attempted to blow up a plane with explosives hidden in his underwear: all of these Muslims were started on the path toward murder by extremists whom they met at their local mosques.

    In addition, the particular organization and the particular individuals who are spearheading this project have been linked, albeit remotely, to terrorist groups. There are also serious questions as to the source of the money that has been donated.

    I have met many decent hard-working American Muslims. However, I find it jarring to hear so few voices from moderate American Muslims condemning the hatred of the fundamentalists. It is well known that Muslim extremists call America the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan.” No American Muslims dared protest the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, nor did they speak out against the anti-Denmark hysteria that erupted throughout the Muslim world when certain cartoons were published in a Danish newspaper.

    Why, despite the fact that Muslim men and children are being killed, Muslim women are being assaulted, Muslim homes and mosques are being burnt down, hasn’t any American Muslim organization spoken out against the atrocities occurring in Darfur? The irony is that the only people who care about the Darfurians seem to be Israeli NGOs and American Jewish teenagers. One openly wonders about the scale of moral relativism used by American Muslims: when Muslims are getting slaughtered by other Muslims it’s OK, but when they’re forced to wait a few minutes at a West Bank security checkpoint, that’s a gross violation of human rights?

  24. When will we ever learn??? Do we still expect the world to take up our cause??? If there is one overwhelming truth this century has been hammering home — especially to Jews — it is that you can NEVER negotiate with dictators and extremists! Hitler could have easily been stopped if we didn’t give him a decade to “negotiate.” In today’s world it really makes very little difference what kind of religion Islam is on paper. At its core, today’s Islam is exactly what its violent, terror prone, anti-western leadership wants it to be — hell bent on the entire destruction of western civilization — most especially Israel and the USA. Yes, that leadership may only represent a small fraction of vocal Muslims, but every civilization ultimately, even by its silence, gets the leadership it desires. Until Islam demonstrates a real reformation (… but don’t hold your breath!) for any Jew to condone any mosque is truly a desecration — chillul Hashem — and suicidal to boot. 9/11 with nuclear warheads is in our future — all we have to do is to continue to “negotiate” with those who want to pull it off. At least the Nazis had some sense of self preservation. Didn’t Golda Meir say it best: “Their will no peace until Palestinian mothers love their children more than they hate Israel.” Enough is enough.

  25. Total number of synagogues in Saudi Arabia: zero.

    Total number of churches in Saudi Arabia: zero.

    It is ILLEGAL for any Jew to enter Saudi Arabia, even temporarily.

    The penalty for selling land to Jews in Jordan: death.

    The ONLY public protests that are legal in Jordan: anti-Israel protests.

    In Jordan, Jewish tombstones are used for street pavement and toilet-bowl lids.

    Saudi Arabia and Jordan are considered MODERATE Arab/Muslim nations.

    The Koran repeatedly encourages Muslims to kill Jews.

    I eagerly look forward to the day when the truth will be revealed, and Islam and Muslims with be nothing more than unpleasant memories.
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  26. Should we as Jews have supported a Carmelite convent at Aushwitz in support of freedom of religion? That is even more justified because Catholics did not perpetrate the holocaust. However we Jews understand that Christianity’s truth is dependent on Judaism’s falsity, and that this tenet has spawned some of the worst anti Jewish violence. This history is not lost on us despite the fact that most Christians are not violent-prone anti semites.

    Similarly, Islam itself has spawned and continues to spawn, terrible anti Jewish and anti western violence, and one of its fundamental tenets the conquering of non believers. We ignore this at our peril.

    We cannot be so committed to abstract principles that we cannot see the danger in front of us. Jews, wanting to believe in the goodness of people, often cannot fathom that someone else, because of THEIR abstract principles, want to conquer us! That is the point in the construction of the mosque. It is a symbol of conquering, and that is why the imam will not even consider moving the mosque a few blocks away. This tenet is also why the Trade Center was targeted, and not the Empire State Building. The Trade Center was the symbol of the economic dominance of the USA. Islam is very into symbols.

    Does this mean that all moslems subscribe to this part of their religion? Of course no. But constructing a building is often symbolic and that is why we must oppose this.

  27. Bob, # 7, regarding your comment on # 6.

    Yes, it is possible to oppose the mosque without hating Muslims, or Jews, or anybody. I feel that Jews who wish to speak in opposition to the mosque should be vet the individuals and organizations with whom they associate in these activities.

    While I can’t give a count, and I won’t name specific people, every predominantly non-Jewish setting in which I have worked or socialized has been a setting in which I have heard stereotypical and derogatory comments about Jews.

    I do have many non-Jewish friends. Jews and non-Jews can get along individually and communally. However, the tone that I sense from many people at the anti-Mosque protests is the same tone that I sensed in my unpleasant encounters with co-workers and acquaintances.

    In the last few years, there have been some nasty comments made to online news articles about the expanding Jewish community in Marine Park, Brooklyn. I’m sorry that I couldn’t find them today while searching.

  28. The very term “Ground Zero Mosque” is an innacurate and politically charged term. The proposed structure is neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque. Though it will contain a mosque, it’s planned as a community center modeled after the 92ns Street Y, which no one I know refers to as a synagogue. More important, it’s not at Ground Zero, it’s two blocks away, and there are already 2 mosques in the neighborhood (one 4 blocks away). If this facility can fairly be described as the “Ground Zero Mosque”, then would you describe the building it will replace as the “Ground Zero Burlington Coat Factory”? What about the NY Dolls strip club, located roughly less than a block from 51 Park Place — should that be the “Ground Zero Strip Club”?

    I think people should read the following disinterested analysis which parses the various claims

  29. Gary wrote, “Many of the protests involve people who only a few years ago were saying the same things about Jews that they are now saying about Muslims.”

    Many?–What percentage? Which people? This opposition is very broad-based, and largely comes from concerned citizens who are not haters.

  30. If you are to assume that this mosque would be home to hateful but presently non-violent activities, what legal channels can be utilized to prevent it from being built?

    Many of the protests involve people who only a few years ago were saying the same things about Jews that they are now saying about Muslims. What was done to Jews only a few years ago was far worse than what is being done to Muslims at present.

    While I support interfaith activity in human services endeavors, the religious mix of mosque opponents has its risks. One of those could be our present non-Jewish allies turning on us after their business with the Muslims is done.

    I am beginning to have an inward turn on this matter. Instead of worrying about the Muslims PHYSICALLY building a house of worship, how can we better conduct ourselves in OUR houses of worship? Punctuality, concentration, and not talking during davening will strengthen us and our shuls SPIRITUALLY.

  31. By the way, this article said,

    “He also pointed out that even President Bush said that we are not at war with Muslims, but with the terrorists, and he thereby disassociated 9/11 from Islam.”

    President Bush, whose family has had long time close ties with the Saudi ruling class (important backers of terror and antisemitism around the world), was not the most objective person about this. Don’t forget which country the 9/11 murderers came from.

  32. Factually:

    1. The Koran is unfriendly to Jews, to put it mildly.

    2. To the extent that particular Muslims accept the anti-Jewish content of the Koran, they are a potential danger to Jews.

    3. US society is based on tolerance of all religions. Others have to tolerate law-abiding Muslims, and Muslims, despite what the Koran says on the matter, have to tolerate law-abiding others.

    4. This mosque project is headed by an enemy of America and of Jews, which calls into question how much tolerance the project will generate. This Imam’s radicalism is proven by audiotapes and other evidence.

    5. This mosque project is designed, as was true of mosques built on other historic sites (Har HaBayis, for example), to demonstrate the triumph of Islam over “infidels”.

  33. I don’t see a legal argument against this mosque’s proposed location. There are reasonable and emotional arguments to be made against this choice. The emotional arguments should be expressed in a respectful manner, not in a vitriolic way. This is incumbent upon us as Jews in all matters that generate intense feelings.

    To whom can those with the reasonable and emotional arguments appeal? An analogy is often drawn with the Carmelite convent that was built near Auschwitz. The Catholic Churches world leader, the Pope, was the one who finally directed the removal of the convent. Those at upper levels of the Muslim hierarchy don’t seem to be heeding the appeals.

    I like Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s proposal: let the mosque be built, and encourage its leaders to dedicate part of it to a display of the results of Muslim fanatacism, and to preach against such violent behavior.

    If the mosque is built, and it doesn’t follow the path suggested by Rabbi Boteach, we have a right to publicly express our dissatisfaction with what is going on at the mosque.

    My thoughts about the lack of a legal challenge may be disproven, and the mosque’s construction may be prevented. In my opinion, that wouldn’t be so “good for the Jews”, as the new legality could be used to restrict the appropriate development of Jewish communities and institutions.

  34. To NOT associate 9/11 with Islam is insanely dangerous. That doesn’t mean we need to have bias against all Muslims, but it does mean we must internalize that there is a not insignificant (and growing) number of Moslems in the world who subscribe to the ideology behind Al Qeda.

    That said, reasonable people understand that in the U.S. there is an inherent right to build this mosque and instead frame the issue as one of sensitivity toward the victims of 9/11. In a very public nod in this direction the current Moslem Miss USA came out saying that they should build the mosque elsewhere because of this very sensitivity.

    Bottom line: Just because one has a right to do something doesn’t mean it’s right to do it.

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