Looks like we’ve got quite a recent stirring of irrational Islamophobia in New York City recently. The blog Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion has a good summary: New York Mosque Protest by Richard Bartholemew, June 9, 2010.
From the protesters’ point of view: No Mosque At Ground Zero.
Some background, from different points of view:
- Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero by Ralph Blumenthal and Sharaf Mowjood, New York Times, December 8, 2009
- Near Ground Zero, a Mosque Moves In and Meets the Neighbors by Aaron Rutkoff, Wall Street Journal Metropolis blog, May 5, 2010
- Mosque to go up near New York’s ground zero by Nicole Bliman, CNN, May 7, 2010
- Build the Mosque by Joe Klein, Time blog, May 28, 2010
- A mosque at ground zero? by Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe June 6, 2010
- Demonstrators Say ‘No’ to Mosque at Ground Zero by Fern Sidman, Israel National News, June 7, 2010
For some good commentary, see also Gellar Leads Battle Against NYC Islamic Center by Ed Brayton, June 9, 2010.
Alas, this is happening at a time when I and other members of New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry are extremely busy with personal matters. So, we can’t give this matter the attention it deserves at the present time.
Briefly: I oppose many aspects of traditional Islam, just as I oppose many aspects of traditional Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and other religions, especially their more fanatical and militant forms. However, people of all religions are entitled to certain basic rights, one of which is the right to build houses of worship.
Freaking out about a mosque is just irrational — almost as silly as freaking out about Halal food, as some “anti-jihadists” do. And, since there apparently are a lot of Muslims living and working in lower Manhattan, it only makes sense to build a mosque there.
This being New York City, hopefully this episode will just blow over. As far as I am aware, the protest did not get much mass media coverage.
P.S., June 16, 2010: Richard Bartholomew has posted Pamela Geller Threatens to Sue Washington Post Journo over “Anti-Muslim” Label. Geller claims she’s not anti-Muslim, just against Muslim supremacism. But, as Bartholomew explains very well, her objection to the construction of a mosque a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero is indeed anti-Muslim, not just anti-Muslim-supremacist.