The Park 51 Nontroversy Is Now the Singular Gubernatorial Campaign “Issue”

20 Aug

I just watched Rick Lazio tell me on the teevee how horribly awful a “Ground Zero Mosque” (it’s neither) is, and what an affront to American Americanness and feeling feelingness a Muslim-run equivalent of a YMCA in a densely populated lower Manhattan would be.

Lazio has zero traction, and less money, so it was fascinating to see that this ad was “paid for by the NYS Conservative Party”.

We have a state that’s $9 billion in the hole, a horribly dysfunctional governmental structure, skyrocketing spending and costs, layer upon redundant layer of governments, authorities, and special taxing districts, unfunded mandates hurting counties, school cutbacks, and myriad other big, serious issues that concern serious people throughout New York.

But Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino want to talk about the Muslim hordes riding roughshod through ‘Murrka, vying to be the xenophobic, paranoiac King Richard to defeat the Saracens.

Both of them should be ashamed of themselves, and I’m sincerely interested to see how this new Republican campaign strategy of quite literally demonizing religious and ethnic minorities. Except Cubans.

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Terrorist-sympathizing Imam? Seriously? They’re not just going to lie about this project, they’re going to libel Rauf? I know Tom “I love cats and gardening” Bauerle will stoop to endlessly repeating – almost in a loop – a call a 9/11 victim made just as one of the Towers fell that morning. Bauerle is perfectly ok exploiting a man’s death to libel an entire religion. But why is Rick Lazio, the ostensible “serious” Republican candidate for New York State Governor using images from 9/11 to sell his campaign? If New Yorkers have had “enough”, why would he deliberately evoke the memories of the greatest tragedy to befall New York to win a campaign against a fellow New Yorker? Does Lazio think that the regular, hardworking Muslims who live, work, and pray in Manhattan destroyed those towers?

Obviously, the Republicans don’t want (or deserve) a single vote from Muslim New Yorkers. To them, Muslim New Yorkers don’t count. They are disposable. Lazio and Paladino would not deign to represent them should they ever be elected.

Because 9/11 wasn’t perpetrated by a Muslim stockbroker, banker, lawyer, doctor, shopkeeper, waiter, restaurant owner, or straphanger who prays in lower Manhattan every day, several times a day. Yet that is who is being libeled and demonized by the Republicans not just in New York, but nationwide.

After 9/11, the country was not only unified as seldom before, but the Bush Administration continuously made it clear that the US was not at war with Islam or Muslims – just against the terrorists who perpetrated these crimes and promote violent expansionist Jihadism. That has now changed, and the Republicans do now perceive the US to be at war with Islam – including those who pray to Allah and were born in this country, love this country, pay their taxes, and attend their kids’ soccer games.

That must be why the Bush Administration retained the services of that “terrorist sympathizing” Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf to promote interfaith peace and understanding.

Every day the Republican Party and its leadership becomes, quite frankly, more and more fascistic. To base an entire campaign for Governor on hating an entire religion is a very ugly thing indeed. It’s a thin line between that and advocating for Muslims’ expulsion from America and exclusion from American life.

UPDATE: From Rob in comments:

‘In 2003, Imam Rauf [the imam behind the Cordoba House project] was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B’nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. “I am a Jew,” he said.

“We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic
faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.” ’

Here.

This guy definitely shouldn’t build an Islamic cultural center 3 blocks from the WTC site, if it would hurt someone’s feelings.

14 Responses to “The Park 51 Nontroversy Is Now the Singular Gubernatorial Campaign “Issue””

  1. Bbill August 20, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Well maybe it is just the time of year, Or maybe it’s the time of man. …

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/08/19/stupid-american-month/

  2. Bill Altreuter August 20, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    It looks like there isn’t any money to build the thing– the whole controversy is a sham.

  3. Jesse August 20, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    It’s always useful to remind ourselves what kinds of people are out there. This thing is bringing out the absolute disgusting worst in a lot of right-wing folks. It’s just sad, really.

  4. Art Ziller August 20, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    All this pandering and vitrol has a silver lining. So far the Republicans have managed to alienate…well.. Gays..Hispanics..Moslems…Blacks..people who believe in science…etc, etc
    Also people who appreciate the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller
    ……”First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the communist
    and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me –
    and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.”

  5. Rob August 20, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    ‘In 2003, Imam Rauf [the imam behind the Cordoba House project] was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B’nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. “I am a Jew,” he said.

    “We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic
    faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.” ’

    Here.

    This guy definitely shouldn’t build an Islamic cultural center 3 blocks from the WTC site, if it would hurt someone’s feelings.

  6. BobbyCat August 20, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    No comment on the Lazio ad , haven’t seen it. But I’m against siting the mosque close to ground zero.

    I agree with the conventional wisdom – that the iman has a RIGHT to locate their mosque wherever he wants, but he should respect the sensibilities of New Yorkers and the families of the victims. Siting the mosque close to ground zero is an in-your-face insult. You should not site a German heritage museum close to the Jewish Holocaust museum, nor a Japanese heritage anything near the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and so on. If moderate Muslims want to seek conciliation and reassure their fellow Americans that they seek peaceful assimilation , building a mosque near ground zero is not the way to do it. And its troubling because , they know it and don’t seem to care.

    • Alan Bedenko August 20, 2010 at 9:49 am #

      1. It’s not a mosque;
      2. there are already 2 mosques in the immediate area. Should they close?

    • Art Ziller August 20, 2010 at 10:06 am #

      First its not the “Jewish” Holocaust Museum. Second a museum that paid tribute to that German culture that gave the world some of its greatest literature and music and philosophy and science would be an extrordinarily appropriate compliment to the Holocaust Museum. Third there is a Shinto Shrine near Pearl Harbor and no one has freaked out.. Fourth..Lower Manhattan is not expansive and the proposed center is a few blocks away and not visible from WTC site. and saying “they know it and don’t seem to care ” just sounds disturbingly close to the “you people” epithets all members of minorities grew up hearing.

  7. Hank August 20, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    The fact that pols of both parties need to weigh in on this, including many who do not represent NYC or New Yorkers is folly.
    Frankly I think it’s not going to be built at the proposed location.
    Where are the developers going to find NYC Construction workers who are willing to work on this thing? Can’t bring in foreign workers, those UUUNNIIOONS won’t like that too much. End of the day, if it ever gets built in the location proposed, one of two things is gonna happen. Either some Tim McVeigh wannabe is gonna blow the place up, or after 1000 homosexual couples come to the mosque for a massive same sex marriage ceremony to be performed by the Imam, The Muslims will blow the place up.

  8. Ward August 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Working on energizing your base, Dems? Every Democrat candidate outside Vermont and San Francisco is squirming on this issue, so it might be better to steer the public dialogue along other lines, eh? Like Obamacare? — oh, maybe not.

  9. Rob August 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Does anyone, anywhere, give a crap what Ward thinks or says?

    Didn’t think so.

    • Ward August 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

      Sounds like someone has an ideological burr under his saddle.

  10. Gabe August 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    When a political faction runs out of original ideas and proactive solutions it always ends up turning back to ol’ reliable–demagogic hatemongering to stir up mass hysteria among an angry, insecure and confused base. Pushing the buttons of lowest-common-denominator sentimental idealism always leads down the same road to fascism.

    “History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
    -Mark Twain

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Reactionary Playbook | WNYmedia.net - August 20, 2010

    […] runs out of original ideas and proactive solutions to real problems it usually ends up creating fake problems as a cheap means of distracting its followers from what is really important. Right-wing […]

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