Unease On The Right Over “Ground Zero Mosque” Rhetoric

Some Republicans are start to wonder if it's such a good idea for their party to be so closely associated with the heated rhetoric surrounding the future of this former Burlington Coat Factory.

While the airwaves have been dominated by Republican insiders and pundits like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani speaking out against the construction of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, not all Republicans think it’s a good idea for the party to become closely associated with the issue:

As Republican candidates across the country seize on the proposed construction of a mosque near New York’s Ground Zero as a campaign issue, some influential figures in the GOP are growing concerned that it could backfire.

Although public opinion is running overwhelmingly against the construction of the Islamic center, Republican strategists said there are dangers in pushing the issue too forcefully.

Pollster David Winston, who advises GOP congressional leaders, worries that the mosque controversy could overshadow the issues voters care about most. “While this is certainly an issue that has generated a lot of emotion, when it comes to voting, the election is going to be about the economy and jobs,” he said.

Others fear that the party risks appearing intolerant of religious differences.

“One of the biggest dangers in politics is to overplay an issue,” said former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, who warned that voters could conclude that Republicans who oppose the New York mosque are taking a stand against Islam in general. “It’s very important that, as Republicans talk about this issue, we be thoughtful and careful about making those distinctions,” he said.

Similarly, members and organizers inside the Tea Party movement aren’t so sure that Islam in general, or the New York City mosque in particular, are issues the movement should be concentrating on:

The debate over the proposed mosque near ground zero, which has tied Democrats in knots, turns out to be just as tricky for their adversaries on the right—particularly those in the tea party.

Within the loose coalition of local and national conservative activist groups that form the tea party movement, a quiet tug-of-war is being waged between those who want to embrace the hard-line opposition that has emerged as the Republican Party line and those who have urged their fellow tea partiers to refrain from rallying opposition because it’s inconsistent with the movement’s focus on economic and constitutional issues.

While the debate is taking place within the confines of the movement, it nevertheless reflects a larger sense of unease on the right with an issue that is dividing both Republicans and tea party conservatives over tensions between core principles such as balancing religious freedom and property rights and the raw feelings evoked by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

(…)

In June, the prominent political action committee Tea Party Express quietly began to distance itself from flame-throwing, anti-mosque radio host Mark Williams, replacing him as chairman partly because of his high profile opposition to the mosque. (He left the group entirely last month after his racially incendiary attack on the NAACP, which had recently passed a resolution expressing concern over racist elements in the tea party.)

Williams said opposing the mosque “is one of the projects that I told the Tea Party Express that I wanted to focus on and it’s not the focus of the Tea Party Express.” He called the mosque “a monument to a great victory for Islamic terror” and asserted tea party groups have frustrated some of their members by remaining mum on the issue, attributing their reluctance to “political correctness. Or maybe they believe it’s a fait accompli. Maybe it’s not a hill worth dying on for them. It could be any number of reasons.”

Judy Pepenella, a prominent New York tea party leader, has emerged as a leading mosque opponent, but she stressed that her Long Island-based tea party group, Conservative Society for Action, hasn’t taken an official position opposing it.

Other Tea Party groups, though, seem to be involving themselves more directly in the debate, including one headed by someone with a very familiar name:

In fact, Liberty Central, a tea party-related group founded by Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is circulating a petition opposing the mosque and Ginni Thomas is set to speak at an anti-mosque rally on Sept. 11.

Liberty Central’s policy director Sarah Field said the petition has generated a strong response among tea party activists. She stressed, though, that the group “stands behind limited, constitutional government and respects freedom of worship, assembly, and private property rights” and isn’t “proposing that the government intervene and stop the mosque’s construction,” but rather “leveraging citizen voices to place public pressure on the individuals and groups behind the mosque, so that they understand the extent of their insult and are pressured to stop their plans.”

(Update: A Liberty Central spokesperson issued a denial of this report after this blog post had been published, see below for details)

The anti-mosque rally, which is perhaps the most distressing news to come out of this story lately, is organized by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, both of whom have gained a name for themselves with their anti-Muslim rhetoric. It will take place on September 11th in New York City at the site of the proposed community center and will include, in addition to Thomas, Newt Gingrich, former Ambassador  John Bolton, and conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart. Assuming it goes forward, it will be yet another sad development in a story that has been nothing but disturbing from the beginning.

Which, perhaps is one of the reasons, that Arab and Muslim Republicans have started to raise concerns about the rhetoric coming out of the GOP on this issue:

A half-dozen Republicans have signed a letter criticizing the way some members of their party have responded to the proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan.

The letter – whose six signers include officials from both the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations — takes issue with Republicans who have called the proposed location of the center insensitive. The letter also says that, while the signers want the G.O.P. to be successful in the midterm elections, “we cannot support victory at the expense of the U.S. Constitution or the Arab and Muslim community in America.”

From the letter:

While some in our party have recently conceded the constitutional argument, they are now arguing that it is insensitive, intolerant and unacceptable to locate the center at the present location: “Just because they have the right to do so – does not make it the right thing to do” they say. Many of these individuals are objecting to the location as being too close to the Ground Zero site and voicing the understandable pain and anguish of the 9-11 families who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy. In expressing compassion and understanding for these families, we are asking ourselves the following: if two blocks is too close, is four blocks acceptable? or six blocks? or eight blocks? Does our party believe that one can only practice his/her religion in certain places within defined boundaries and away from the disapproving glances of some citizens? Should our party not be standing up and taking a leadership role– just like President Bush did after 9-11 – by making a clear distinction between Islam, one of the great three monotheistic faiths along with Judaism and Christianity, versus the terrorists who committed the atrocities on 9-11 and who are not only the true enemies of America but of Islam as well? President Bush struck the right balance in expressing sympathy for the families of the 9-11 victims while making it absolutely clear that the acts committed on 9-11 were not in the name of Islam. We are hoping that our party leaders can do the same now – especially at a time when it is greatly needed.

Former Bush speechwriter Michel Gerson said much the same thing on Monday:

An inclusive rhetoric toward Islam is sometimes dismissed as mere political correctness. Having spent some time crafting such rhetoric for a president, I can attest that it is actually a matter of national interest. It is appropriate — in my view, required — for a president to draw a clear line between “us” and “them” in the global conflict with Muslim militants. I wish Obama would do it with more vigor. But it matters greatly where that line is drawn. The militants hope, above all else, to provoke conflict between the West and Islam — to graft their totalitarian political manias onto a broader movement of Muslim solidarity. America hopes to draw a line that isolates the politically violent and those who tolerate political violence — creating solidarity with Muslim opponents and victims of radicalism.

How precisely is our cause served by treating the construction of a non-radical mosque in Lower Manhattan as the functional equivalent of defiling a grave? It assumes a civilizational conflict instead of defusing it. Symbolism is indeed important in the war against terrorism. But a mosque that rejects radicalism is not a symbol of the enemy’s victory; it is a prerequisite for our own.

In other words, there is a difference between a War on Terror (or, if you prefer a War on Radical Islamism) and a war against Islam. One is a fight we actually have a very good chance of winning. The other is the recipe for a cultural and religious conflict that will only serve to plunge the nation, and the world, into a 21st Century version of  Middle Age darkness. Republican politicians would do well to consider the impact of their rhetoric before speaking out again.

Update: A spokesperson for Liberty Central is denying that Ginni Thomas will be attending the anti-mosque rally:

“Mrs. Thomas was not invited, and has not agreed to attend and speak at the 9/11 rally at ground zero on Sept. 11, 2010, in lower Manhattan, New York City. Any report of her attending is an error,” said Sarah Field, director of policy and legal counsel of Liberty Central, which is headed by Thomas. “However, Liberty Central does support leveraging citizens’ voices in opposition to this mosque

I’ve also noted this above in the body of the post.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Islam, Religion, Tea Party, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Once again Doug you are framing the arguement incorrectly. I fail to understand your obsession with this issue. Every day you blog on this. One would think you have a vested interest in the builidng of this Islamic Cultural Center at 21 Park. Every one of those you cite as having opined on this issue have clearly stated Muslim have the right to build the mosque there. What they have also clearly stated and you seem to miss over and over and over again is it violates the sensitivites of many who lost loved ones and a seemingly vast majority of Americans (70%) whol while they agree the right exists to build there find it insensitive to build it there very close to where Muslim terrorists caused the deaths of almost 3000 innocent people. I guess you think it is ok for Muslims to insist we are careful not to insult Islam yet when asked to respect our feelings there is a firm f*ck off.

  2. democratsarefascists says:

    Michael Steele:
    “Hey, guys. The left-wing “Outside the Beltway” site says we need to keep quiet and not fight. Soooo….that’s what we should do, right? Because we let the Left pick McCain for us and that worked out so well, didn’t it? Guys?”

  3. Wayne says:

    Those who will build the Mosque may or may not have necessary been involved in the bombing. However the Mosque builders and those doing the bombing will have accomplished one of their common goals by replacing American symbolic buildings with Islamic ones.

  4. the Mosque builders and those doing the bombing will have accomplished one of their common goals by replacing American symbolic buildings with Islamic ones.

    I did not realize that the Burlington Coat Factory was an “American symbolic building”

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Doug, do you know if they will have a courtyard at the Ground Zero site or will they just have one of the 13 floors fitted with a pit they can utilize for ritual stoning. It need only be four and a half to 5 feet deep. Go see that movie about the stoning of the Muslim woman who commited some heinous crime like talking to a man she was not related to. Guess you think our society needs to adapt or at least make room for these advanced sociological traditions. You ought to write a blog post on the advantages of stoning. I do not refer to what you think of stoning Doug. We are not talking about green bud here. Just in case you were confused.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    @Wayne,

    Since when is the Burlington Coat Factory an “American symbolic building”?

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    Dangit, Doug. You beat me to it!

    @Zelsdorf – You do realize that the vast majority of Muslims are opposed to the practice of stoning, right? And you do realize that the vast majority of Muslims live in countries where stoning is illegal, right?

  8. LaurenceB says:

    “Those who will build the Mosque may or may not have necessary been involved in the bombing.”

    Wayne may or may not be a child molester.

    “However the Mosque builders and those doing the bombing will have accomplished one of their common goals by replacing American symbolic buildings with Islamic ones.”

    Nothing symbolizes America like the Burlington Coat Factory.

  9. Herb says:

    “I guess you think it is ok for Muslims to insist we are careful not to insult Islam yet when asked to respect our feelings there is a firm f*ck off.”

    Really, Zels, you heard from all umpteen million Muslims in the world and they all say that???

    I’ve known some pretty cool ones myself. I knew this guy from Syria –and I’ll admit, I was a little leery at first– but within five minutes of meeting, he had me drinking Turkish coffee, eating fried cauliflower, and smoking orange peels in his hookah. Next thing you know, we’re watching Arabian Idol and Arabic sitcoms on his satellite TV. I have to say it was an experience that blew my mind.

    And it would have never happened if my mind hadn’t been open. Open your mind, Zels.

  10. LaurenceB says:

    @Alex,
    I guess I was a distant third in the “Burlington Coat Factory Comeback Derby”. Embarrassing.

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I’ll bet stoning is not illegal in the nations giving money to support the building of this Mosque. Show evidence may allegation is not true. Where is the money comming from? Hamas, Hezbolla, the Muslim Brotherhood? How much is comming from the Wahabi’s? Is that Imam traveling on our buck trying to raise funds for this project? Taylor writes a blog about the constitutionality of something that happened in COLOMBIA. Talk about outside the beltway. You appear to be just what the second and third comments allude to. Anti American radicals with a microphone. Alex, where do you get your information that the majority of Muslims oppose stoning? You take a recent poll? Those are facts not in evidence. Finally, Dougie, how does your leftwing agenda, that being gay rights, womens rights, freedom from religion, abortion rights coinside with Sharia Law? You appear to be what some refer to as usful idiots.

  12. Wayne says:

    Re ” Since when is the Burlington Coat Factory an “American symbolic building”?”

    The Twin towers were American symbols. Now the whole area that was affected by Muslims crashing planes into those building is symbolic and sacred. It is similar to the street and the grassy knoll where Kennedy was killed. They were not special before the incident but they are now.

    If you can’t understand that then it is no surprise why you don’t understand the opposition to the Mosque.

  13. democratsarefascists says:

    Left-wing Witticism FAILs:

    “Those who will build the Mosque may or may not have necessary been involved in the bombing.”

    Nazi group wants to build their Hitler worship site across the street from a synagogue.
    Lefty says: “Those who will build the center weren’t even alive when World War II took place.”

    “Since when is the Burlington Coat Factory an “American symbolic building?”

    Yeah…you know what? A place where women can go to shop without fearing an acid attack, getting their heads chopped off or being stoned to death does symbolize America.

  14. LaurenceB says:

    @democratsarefacists

    Mosque=Hitler worship site.

    Great analogy. Doesn’t betray your feelings about Islam even a little bit. Nicely done.

  15. mantis says:

    The Twin towers were American symbols. Now the whole area that was affected by Muslims crashing planes into those building is symbolic and sacred. It is similar to the street and the grassy knoll where Kennedy was killed. They were not special before the incident but they are now.

    So the old Burlington Coat Factory building a couple blocks from the WTC is now sacred? Tell us, is the New York Dolls Gentlemen’s Club also sacred? How about the off-track betting establishment? Burger King? Those are all on the “symbolic and sacred” ground you are so worried about (though I’ll bet you’ve never set foot near there in your life).

    You can see those and more “symbolic and sacred” buildings here.

    If you can’t understand that then it is no surprise why you don’t understand the opposition to the Mosque.

    We understand the opposition to the mosque quite well. It is a bunch of ignorant, deluded people who think the Constitution should be scrapped because they hate and fear Muslims, and a bunch of politicians who want their votes. No principles, no values, just hate, fear, and a dislike for the fundamental principles of these United States.

  16. democratsarefascists says:

    Tell me who Amin Al Husseini is.

    I want to hear it in your own words.

  17. mantis says:

    democratsarefascists, are you against allowing Christian organizations purchase buildings in communities where Catholic priests have molested children? All Christians are exactly the same, of course, and they should all be held responsible for what any of them do, right?

  18. Wayne says:

    I believe his point is that being legal doesn’t make it right or proper. There is a legal right for the Hitler worship group to build next to a synagogue. It would be inappropriate and incendiary for them to do so.

    Would you stick up for them to do so like you are for the Mosque builders here?

  19. Brian Knapp says:

    Yeah…you know what? A place where women can go to shop without fearing an acid attack, getting their heads chopped off or being stoned to death does symbolize America

    Gosh, I didn’t know those things were legal in New York…I’m never going there! How brave are the royalty of the great Burlington Coat Factory to grant refuge from such barbarism!

  20. Alex Knapp says:

    @Zelsdorf,

    I’ll bet stoning is not illegal in the nations giving money to support the building of this Mosque. Show evidence may allegation is not true.

    Considering that Park51 has yet to begin their fundrasiing campaign, I suppose it’s hard to prove this negative. However, Park51 is already on the record as stating that they will not accept any money from organizations that support terrorist activity. So now the ball’s in your court–what evidence do you have to suggest that they’re lying?

    How much is comming from the Wahabi’s?

    Again, they haven’t raised funds yet, but I’m guessing when fundraising starts, they won’t receive any money from Wahabbists, considering that the Board of Park51 includes Christians and Jews, and that the primary Imam of the Center is a Sufi.

    Is that Imam traveling on our buck trying to raise funds for this project?

    No.

    Taylor writes a blog about the constitutionality of something that happened in COLOMBIA. Talk about outside the beltway.

    You don’t consider the refusal of Colombia to allow an American military base to be relevant on a blog that discusses American foreign policy on a regular basis?

    You appear to be just what the second and third comments allude to. Anti American radicals with a microphone.

    It’s anti-American to support the religious freedom of my fellow citizens?

    Alex, where do you get your information that the majority of Muslims oppose stoning? You take a recent poll? Those are facts not in evidence.

    Stoning is illegal in most Muslim-majority countries. Most Muslim-majority countries are democracies. Hell, right now the Iranian judiciary has officially stopped all sentences of stoning, and the Iranian Parliament is currently considering outlawing stoning from the books completely. Indonesia, the country with the Muslims, has a Constitution that forbids ALL capital punishment. I can go on…

    Dougie, how does your leftwing agenda, that being gay rights, womens rights, freedom from religion, abortion rights coinside with Sharia Law?

    To which school of sharia do refer? There are many different schools of thought and scholars and imams with differing opinions, and there are schools of sharia that support all of these things. Not a majority, of course, but then a majority of Christian scholars don’t support all of them, either.

    @Wayne –

    Just so we’re clear, the entire two-block radius around the World Trade Center should be considered a memorial? Shall we ban all business there and convert all of the real estate into a national park?

    @democratsarefascists –

    Are you implying that all Muslims support terrorism?

  21. mantis says:

    democratsarefascists, I know who Amin Al Husseini is. He was Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, and appealed to Hitler for assistance in that opposition.

    Since you brought it up, should we ban all Christian churches from building in the US? After all, many German churches allied with the Nazis and were complicit in the Holocaust. Have you heard of Gerhard Kittel? Why don’t you tell us who he was, in your own words.

  22. mantis says:

    Would you stick up for them to do so like you are for the Mosque builders here?

    If a private group buys a private building for their use, it’s none of my business. If it’s a religious group, you can be damn sure I would oppose any unconstitutional intervention by the government. So yes, I would stick up for your non-existent “Hitler worship group” exactly as much as I am the developers of the Park51 project.

  23. mantis says:

    It’s anti-American to support the religious freedom of my fellow citizens?

    For them it is, as long as those fellow citizens are Muslims, blacks, gays, people they think are Muslims but aren’t (Sikhs, etc.), liberals, and, depending on who is listening, Jews.

  24. LaurenceB says:

    @Mantis,
    I agree with you, but I would add just one thing:

    While I agree with you that I would not want the government to intervene against the “Hitler worship group”, I would not be at all happy to see them build in front of a synagogue – much like opponents of the mosque are today. And the reason I would be unhappy is because the “Hitler worship group” would be an evil and repulsive organization. Now this should go without saying, but I don’t feel at all the same way about a Mosque – particularly one where the stated purpose is to showcase moderate Islam and promote religious healing and tolerance. Which is why I have no objection to the Burlington Coat Mosque.

    My strong suspicion is that many of the folks who oppose the mosque simply find the idea of a mosque to be evil and repulsive, much as I see the “Hitler worship group”. Which is why folks like “democratsarefacists” find the analogy between the two to be perfectly apt. Sadly.

  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    On the contrary, it’s an excellent idea for the GOP to antagonize yet another portion of the electorate.

    So far they’ve permanently subtracted African-Americans, Hispanics, gays (and of course, the literate.) They should absolutely ensure that no American Muslim ever even considers voting Republican. They should absolutely start every national election having written off a quarter of the population.

    These kinds of things tend to have very long half-lives. Jews still won’t vote GOP despite the endless conservative toadying of Israel.

  26. mantis says:

    LaurenceB,

    I wouldn’t want something like that built anywhere, but honestly it’s none of my business what private groups do, as long as it’s legal. There are a lot of groups I don’t particularly like, even if they aren’t as repulsive as fictional “Hitler worship groups,” but I don’t think government or government officials should be trying to prevent any of them from engaging in legal activities on private property, or purchasing property legally. My dislike for them is irrelevant.

    When it comes to religion, of course, I’m even more adamant. The United States would not exist if it weren’t for those seeking to escape and live free of religious persecution. To abandon such a fundamental principle is to abandon our very reason for being.

  27. See, now ZRIII is attracting other bigots to the site.

  28. democratsarefascists says:

    Apparently you don’t know about Amin Al Husseini since you list none of his war crimes.

    Nicely dodged.

  29. Brian Knapp says:

    Apparently you don’t know about Amin Al Husseini since you list none of his war crimes.

    So, wait a second, what does this have to do with anything?

  30. mantis says:

    Apparently you don’t know about Amin Al Husseini since you list none of his war crimes.

    You didn’t ask for an entire biography of the guy. I told you who he was in one sentence.

    You, however, didn’t bother to respond to my question at all.

    Poorly dodged.

  31. mantis says:

    So, wait a second, what does this have to do with anything?

    Let me explain. Al Husseini asked Hitler for help fighting the Zionist state, therefore Al Husseini is a Nazi, therefore all Muslims are Nazis. He brought him up in response to someone who objected to his equating Muslims with Nazis. Obviously he thinks they are one and the same.

  32. mantis democratsarefascists,

    Like Brian I am confused as to what a man who has been dead for 36 years has to do with the question of what to do about a former Burlington Coat Factory in Lower Manhattan

  33. ponce says:

    Now that the wingnuts’ military campaign against Muslims has peaked and is now going flaccid their anti-Muslim rhetoric grows more shrill.

    The great Muslim-American Loon War is over…the wingnuts lost.

  34. The great Muslim-American Loon War is over…the wingnuts lost.

    Just begun, The Loon Wars have

  35. Juneau: says:

    @ Mataconis

    “I did not realize that the Burlington Coat Factory was an “American symbolic building”

    This statement is disingenuous to an extreme. Surely you know the reference to an “American symbolic building” was to the twin towers? Seriously, was that an off-the-cuff reply which you gave no thought to, or are you so disdainful of your conservative participants that you were simply mocking him?

  36. Juneau: says:

    @ Stormy Dragon

    “See, now ZRIII is attracting other bigots to the site.”

    I didn’t realize he invited you here, I thought you just stumbled in out of the rain. Well, anyway, welcome…

  37. Juneau: says:

    @ Knapp

    “However, Park51 is already on the record as stating that they will not accept any money from organizations that support terrorist activity. So now the ball’s in your court–what evidence do you have to suggest that they’re lying?”

    The fact that the primary organizer refuses to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization. Duh…

  38. democratsarefascists says:

    The anti-Semitic left-wingers cover for Husseini’s genocide, exposing their true natures, lose the argument, claim victory and move on.

  39. ponce says:

    democratsarefascists, are you really Jonah “The Whale” Goldberg?

  40. Brian Knapp says:

    The anti-Semitic left-wingers cover for Husseini’s genocide, exposing their true natures, lose the argument, claim victory and move on.

    Oh, I see…no…wait…huh? Let me see if I follow the logic correctly: al Husseini opposed an Israeli state, helped the Axis, did some awful stuff, died 35 years ago, and therefore some guy in New York shouldn’t rennovate a building he owns.

    I must be missing something.

  41. ponce says:

    “Just begun, The Loon Wars have”

    Haha.

    Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.

    If Palin is the apprentice…

  42. Juneau: says:

    @ Reynolds

    “So far they’ve permanently subtracted African-Americans, Hispanics, gays (and of course, the literate.)”

    You might want to check the generic ballot polls before you give voice here to your daydreams again. You. are. tanking. Hard.

    “These kinds of things tend to have very long half-lives. Jews still won’t vote GOP despite the endless conservative toadying of Israel.”

    Just out of curiosity, what does your doctor give you to treat all that bile you have inside? It must not be working very well…

  43. Alex Knapp says:

    The fact that the primary organizer refuses to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization. Duh…

    By that logic, Jesus Christ must have taken money from adulterers because he refused to condemn an adulterer.

  44. sam says:

    @Doug

    “Just begun, The Loon Wars have”

    ————————-

    “Private Juneau reporting for duty, sir. Just transferred in from the 27th Mess Kit Repair Battalion.”

    “What’d you do there, private?”

    “Sir, I was in charge of spoons.”

    “Spoons?”

    “Yes sir, something about my not be allowed to handle sharp objects.”

    “:Hmmm. Yes, well, ok, then. I think we can find something for you to here. How are you at uncited claims?

    “First-rate, sir. I pride myself on my fire-and-forget commenting skills.”

    “Innuendo? ”

    “Top-notch, sir.”

    “Lack of substantive argument.”

    “First in my class.”

    “Thorough grounding in the principles of right-wing victimology?

    “Honors, sir.”

    “Lame retorts? Neener Neener comebacks?”

    “A speciality, sir.”

    “Well, private, I can see that you will be a valuable addition to our effort here at Looner Brigade.
    Welcome aboard.”

    “Thank you, sir, I’ll do my best.”

  45. mantis says:

    The anti-Semitic left-wingers cover for Husseini’s genocide, exposing their true natures, lose the argument, claim victory and move on.

    They do? Where? Some other website? Are you hearing voices again?

  46. Juneau says:

    @ Knapp

    “By that logic, Jesus Christ must have taken money from adulterers because he refused to condemn an adulterer.”

    *Sigh* Mr. Knapp, once again you present two distinctly different terms and claim that they are interchangeable in an attempt to support your position. The word I used is “denounce”, not “condemn.” Jesus Christ denounced adultery in no uncertain terms – clearly, repeatedly, and with authority. His refusal to “condemn” the adulterous woman has absolutely no bearing on the issue.

    You folks just love to play word games, hoping to slip by…

  47. Jim Treacher says:

    I did not realize that the Burlington Coat Factory was an “American symbolic building”

    So, the fact that it was hit on 9/11 means nothing to you.

  48. Juneau says:

    @ Sam Re: Loon Wars

    Hah – that’s actually funny 🙂

    But, unfortunately, still a dodge. Don’t you ever get tired of trying to play the same old “These people are SO stupid that I don’t need to support my opinion” card? You actually think anyone is falling for the idea that your humor is based on superior knowledge rather than a lack of reasoning ability and ingrained dogmatic response? Or are you simply trying to score brownie points with the moderator? You sly dog you…

  49. Jim Treacher says:

    By that logic, Jesus Christ must have taken money from adulterers because he refused to condemn an adulterer.

    How about when Imam Rauf said, “The trend towards Islamic law and justice begins by religious movements like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Resistance”? I guess it’s nitpicking to call him a terrorist sympathizer just because he sympathizes with terrorists.

  50. Alex Knapp says:

    @Juneau –

    Well, he has denouced all acts of terrorism and violence, but doesn’t wish to condemn any particular groups (which is the context of his refusal to denounce Hamas.) So really, it’s the same thing, right?

  51. Alex Knapp says:

    Jim,

    I plugged that quote into Google and got no sources except some blog comments. Do you have the link to a citation?

  52. sam says:

    @Juneau

    “But, unfortunately, still a dodge. Don’t you ever get tired of trying to play the same old “These people are SO stupid that I don’t need to support my opinion” card? You actually think anyone is falling for the idea that your humor is based on superior knowledge rather than a lack of reasoning ability and ingrained dogmatic response?”

    Ah, kid, kid. Come around more ofter, see the arguments. Try not showing up just after metal shop. (Oh, and you get an A+++ on victimology).

  53. Jim Treacher says:
  54. davod says:

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

    Methinks Mr. Mataconis is on the Media Matters twitter list.

  55. Alex Knapp says:

    Jim,

    Do you have something more substantial than an acontextual translation whose veracity is undetermined?

  56. Jim Treacher says:

    If I did, would you believe it?

  57. sam says:

    @Alex

    “Jim,

    “Do you have something more substantial than an acontextual translation whose veracity is undetermined?”

    But., but, it was on Fox and Friends, that Mensa meeting in the AM.

  58. Jim Treacher says:

    Facts exist, even when people you don’t like deliver them.

  59. Alex Knapp says:

    Jim,

    Seriously, ALL that was presented as evidence was one guy who claims that Imam Rauf writes a bunch in support of terrorism. Only ONE direct quote was present, but the video doesn’t give us any idea of the context of the quote.

    I mean, Jesus, for all you and I know, he could have said, “There are those who say that ‘The trend towards Islamic law and justice begins by religious movements like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Resistance’ but those people are wrong.”

    Seriously, if this guy supports terrorism, surely you can provide better evidence than one acontextual, uncited, translated quote. If you can’t provide better evidence than that, then I think you’re on pretty shaky ground.

  60. Jim Treacher says:

    Your faith is strong, Alex Knapp. Don’t let pesky evidence sway you in the least.

  61. Alex Knapp says:

    Jim,

    WHAT EVIDENCE?

  62. Jim Treacher says:

    I’ve played this game before:

    1. Claim there’s no evidence.
    2. Evidence is provided.
    3. Claim the evidence is insufficient.
    4. More evidence is provided.
    5. Find some other excuse to dismiss it.
    6. Etc.

    Forgive me if I don’t play that game with you all night. If you’re convinced this guy is who he claims he is, good for you.

    Have a great evening!

  63. Alex Knapp says:

    Jim,

    You offered one out-of-context statement of unknown provenance. That’s insufficient evidence to support your claim that Imam Rauf supports terrorism. I asked for a citation, a link, anything to support the claim provided in the video. You refused.

    If you want to take the unsourced evidence of some guy on faith because it supports your preconceived notions of the world, be my guest. But I find it hard to believe that the guy who gave this speech supports terrorism: (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/676). If he does, some sourced, direct evidence to the contrary would be nice.

  64. mantis says:

    If he does, some sourced, direct evidence to the contrary would be nice.

    Brietbart’s video editors are working on it.

  65. anjin-san says:

    Ted Olson lost his wife on 9.11. He is a staunch conservative. He has more working brain cells than pretty much the entire Tea Party movement put together. This is his take on the issue:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHEydwKu6-s&feature=player_embedded

  66. ponce says:

    “Do you have something more substantial than an acontextual translation whose veracity is undetermined?”

    Shorter Treacher: No

    Wingnuts never lie…they just drag up some quote nobody can verify…

  67. Brian Knapp says:

    Your faith is strong, Alex Knapp. Don’t let pesky evidence sway you in the least.

    Cool, I love proving Alex wrong on something, please give me this evidence to get him with!

  68. ponce says:

    Tucker Carlson: Treacher, I can’t actually pay you for your, er delightful pieces, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.

    Treacher: Cool! That’s better than my last job paid!

  69. Juneau: says:

    @ sam

    “Ah, kid, kid. Come around more ofter, see the arguments. Try not showing up just after metal shop. (Oh, and you get an A+++ on victimology).”

    So. Putdown replies with no substance ARE all you are capable of. Quit rockin’ on the porch, put your teeth back in, and go get some facts, grandpa. Quit pestering the good folks with the whiskey-soaked ramblings of an intellect gone to seed.

  70. anjin-san says:

    > Quit rockin’ on the porch, put your teeth back in, and go get some facts, grandpa.

    In other words, you don’t have a credible citation for the quote you are basing your “argument” on…

  71. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin

    “In other words, you don’t have a credible citation for the quote you are basing your “argument” on…”

    Nice try – old trick. Grandpa Sam is the one slinging stones and spouting nothing. Y’all are losing every argument with the American people (including this one), and yet still all you can do is play parlor tricks and hurl insults. Limp, lazy, and lackluster performances all around.

    The one that really made me chuckle was when one of you deep thinkers made a statement that supporting the mosque being built in that location was based on “400 years of Constitutional history” (or some such nonsense – the exact words escaped me after reading the 400 years gem). I don’t remember which one of the segments it was in. Who can keep track anymore? Apparantly, Mataconis thinks this one is a triple-crown winner; he’s going to ride it hard every day, hoping he’ll end up smelling like roses.

  72. anjin-san says:

    Still waiting for that citation Juneau. Why don’t you provide a little substance. Here is a clue – talking about substance is not the same thing as actually having some.

  73. Juneau: says:

    Anjin:

    Citation about what? That sharia law allows honor killings, the genital mutilation of little girls, and execution by stoning of women that have been raped? Do you really not know this? Or is it something else you lack knowledge of and are requesting citations for?

  74. Alex Knapp says:

    Juneau,

    To which school of sharia do you refer? You are aware that there are dozens, right? To my knowledge, only one Sunni school of sharia believes that FGM should be permitted as an Islamic practice while the vast majority of Sunni Imams, as well as virtually all Shi’ite and Sufi Imams repudiate the practice. FGM is illegal in most Muslim-majority countires.

    With respect to honor killings, to my knowledge, they are repudiated by all schools of Sharia. Honor killings are more of a cultural practice, and can unfortunately be found not only among Muslims, but Christians and Hindus as well. From a historical perspective, the practice pre-dates Islam.

    As for stoning for any reason, the practice is quite rare and is illegal in virtually all Muslim-majority countries.

  75. davod says:

    Alex Knapp says:
    Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 23:49

    “To which school of sharia do you refer? You are aware that there are dozens, right? To my knowledge, only one Sunni school of sharia believes that FGM should be permitted as an Islamic practice while the vast majority of Sunni Imams, as well as virtually all Shi’ite and Sufi Imams repudiate the practice. FGM is illegal in most Muslim-majority countires.”

    Indonesia made it illegal to perform FGM in 2006, no record of prosecutions.

    Andrew Bostom’s January 22, 2008 article (included below) Includes the following from Dr. Mark Durie:

    “Regions where the Shafi’i school predominates are also the places where FGM is more frequent. These include Egypt, southern Arabia, Bahrain, Kurdistan, Somalia, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The oft-recited claim that FGM is not a religious practice is proved false, not only because it is more frequently found in Shafi’i areas, but also because it was introduced, along with Shafi’i Islam, into Southeast Asia, a part of the world where it had previously been unknown…It is only the teachings of the sharia which account for this practice being followed in Bandung Java today, and specifically the doctrinal formulations of the Shafi’i school of sharia.”

    Clarification of Islamic Support for Female Genital Mutilation http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2008/01/22/clarification-of-islamic-law-support-for-female-genital-mutilation-by-dr-mark-durie/

    Dr. Mark Durie is the author, most recently of Revelation? Do We Worship the Same God?—Jesus, Holy, Spirit, God in Christianity and Islam, 2006. His cogent analysis, “Isa, the Muslim Jesus,” is available online, here.

    Dr. Durie has also studied the Acehnese (i.e., from Aceh, Indonesia), and published many articles, and books (here, here, and here, for example) on their language and culture.

    Dr. Dure writes—

    In Februrary 2007 Dr Muhammad al-Mussayar of Al-Azhar University, referring to reliable hadiths from Muslim and al-Bukhari, stated:

    “All jurisprudents, since the advent of Islam and for 14 centuries or more, are in consensus that female circumcision is permitted in Islam. But they were divided as to its status in the sharia. Some said that female circumcision is required by the sharia, just like male circumcision. Some said this is a mainstream practice, while others said that it is a noble act.”

    Of the four Sunni schools of sharia, it is the Shafi’is who have said that circumcision of girls is compulsory. The Reliance of the Traveller, a respected manual of Shafi’i jurisprudence, states “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris” (section e4.3). [The English translation by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (certified by Al-Azhar University) disguises the true meaning of the Arabic text by offering the following bogus English ‘translation’: “For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).” ]

    As Indonesia is a country in which Shafi’i Islam predominates, it is hardly surprising that female circumcision is commonly practiced among Indonesian Muslims, from Java to Aceh. There is a close correlation between Shafi’i Islam and the frequency of FGM. Regions where the Shafi’i school predominates are also the places where FGM is more frequent. These include Egypt, southern Arabia, Bahrain, Kurdistan, Somalia, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The oft-recited claim that FGM is not a religious practice is proved false, not only because it is more frequently found in Shafi’i areas, but also because it was introduced, along with Shafi’i Islam, into Southeast Asia, a part of the world where it had previously been unknown.

    It is only the teachings of the sharia which account for this practice being followed in Bandung Java today, and specifically the doctrinal formulations of the Shafi’i school of sharia. Imam Shafi’i may be long-dead, but he has a lot to answer for to the Muslim women of the world.”

  76. davod says:

    Stoning:

    Andrew Bostom’s And It Stoned Thee: The Sharia Basis for Stoning Adulterers
    Posted by Andrew G. Bostom Aug 17th 2010 at 10:00 http://bigpeace.com/abostom/2010/08/17/and-it-stoned-thee-the-sharia-basis-for-stoning-adulterers/

    Includes three separate references to stoning and Islamic law.

    “To elucidate what Islamic Law—Sharia—states plainly, I have included both modern (from Islam Online of the esteemed cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whose regular Al-Jazeera program on Sharia is wildly popular, and in whose name the government of Qatar recently created the Al-Qaradawi Centre for Islamic Moderation) and classical Sharia rulings—the latter from the most important Hanafi Manual used amongst the vast Muslim populations of the Indian subcontinent, The Hidayah.

    A third example dated June 22, 2006, comes from the modern Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, whose website mission statement notes the organization was “…founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America. AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities.”

    Only the third example is included here:

    “3. The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America rendered this opinion (Dr. Hatem al-Hajj, June 22, 2006)

    Question: “I am married but recently being away on a business trip, I happed to go to a adult club where I came in close contact with a dancer. We touched each other and kissed but there was no actual intercourse involved. I remain fully clothed and she had her top off. Is this act considered zina punishable by pelting? Please clarify. I shouldn`t have commited this act of sin and am ashamed of it.”

    Fatwa (Islamic Legal Ruling): “All praise be to Allah, and may his peace and blessings be on the last and best prophet and messenger, Muhammad. Since you are ashamed and you have repented sincerely, Allah is all forgiving, so don`t loose hope in his mercy and forgiveness. The act you have committed – as you appear to know – is an offensive sin, and it is a form of fornication, as the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) indicated that the eyes comit fornication by looking…etc. Yet, it is not the absolute zina punishable by al-hadd. (the prescribed punishment of zina, which is stoning in the case of a married man). The later must involve intercourse. May Allah protect you, and save your deen and honor. Allah knows best.”

  77. Juneau: says:

    @ Knapp

    “Honor killings are more of a cultural practice, and can unfortunately be found not only among Muslims, but Christians and Hindus as well.”

    Found among Christians. Right. Your statement is laughable.

  78. Alex Knapp says:

    @Juneau –

    Found among Christians. Right. Your statement is laughable.

    Tell that to Miriam Atef Khella, who was murdered by her Christian brother and uncle in Egypt. Tell that to Faten Habash, murdered by her Christian father in Palestine. Tell that to Karmin Khooshabeh, murdered by her Christian father in Chicago.

    Don’t forget — honor killings are sanctioned by the Bible. See Leviticus 20:9, 21:9 and Exodus 21:17.

    Honor killings are a sad part of the cultural tapestry of the Middle East, dating back to the beginning of civilization. They’re not a particularly religious phenomenon.

  79. Juneau: says:

    @ Knapp

    “Don’t forget — honor killings are sanctioned by the Bible. See Leviticus 20:9, 21:9 and Exodus 21:17.”

    Mr. Knapp, your lack of knowledge is showing – badly. Christianity is not based on Old Testament Judaism. This is why it is called Christianity… as in Christ -ians. The New Testament covenant is not founded in the Old Testament law of sacrifice and things labeled as unclean.

    Of your supposed examples of Christians committing honor killings – only one even claims it was religiously motivated, and that story doesn’t even provide any context (i.e. statements by the protagonist) to back up this claim.

    Even more interesting is an accompanying paragraph in a source for your “Faten Habash” example, as follows:

    “Maher Shakirat summoned three of his sisters to discuss a family uproar after one of them, Rudaina, was thrown out by her husband for an alleged affair. Maher listened to Rudaina’s denials, and her sisters’ pleas that they were not covering up the affair. Then he forced the three women to drink bleach before strangling Rudaina, who was eight months pregnant. The other sisters tried to flee but Maher caught and strangled Amani, 20. The third, Leila, escaped but was badly injured by the bleach.

    Maher, a bus driver in his 30s, is in hiding but his parents were arrested for allegedly ordering the murders and his wife was detained as an accomplice. As he was taken into custody, Rudaina’s father, Amin, was asked why his daughters were killed. “Because they dishonoured the family,” he said. “A married woman who goes with another man isn’t good.”

    Examination of the stories related to your three examples of Christians committing honor killings appear to be a real stretch, to say the least.

  80. Alex Knapp says:

    @Juneau,

    Most Christian sects believe that the Old Testament is the Word of God, just like the New Testament, and most base a substantial amount of their theology on the Old Testament.

    As for the paragraphs you quoted, the family in question was Christian, and honor killings were performed. I fail to see how that’s a “stretch.”