NY Progressive Bloggers’ Statement Re: Park51 / Cordoba House

11 Sep

New York State Progressive Bloggers’ Joint Statement Regarding Park51 / Cordoba House

September 11th, 2010

“Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.”

– Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator from New York, 1965-1968

We, the undersigned, are progressive bloggers from across New York State.  We write, report, and opine about the politics, culture, and economies of our diverse communities.  Since the 17th Century, New York State has been a gateway to the New World for people from all over the world – of every color, nation, and creed. Openness, tolerance, and diversity are what made New York great.  The movement of people, ideas, and commerce westward to America’s frontier was made possible by all New Yorkers.

The rights guaranteed to us as citizens of New York and the United States are blind to religion or race.  We, the undersigned, extend our hands in friendship to Muslim New Yorkers – who, like people of any faith, share our common hopes and dreams for themselves and their children.

In 2001, violent extremists indiscriminately murdered and injured thousands of innocent New Yorkers, including hundreds of Muslims.  Those extremists committed their crime in the name of Islam, perverting it into a message of hatred and fear.  We remember starkly the pain of this attack, and have overwhelming compassion for its victims and survivors.

But we cannot allow a hateful act to engender new hate.  American values, principles, and rights should not be jettisoned because they are claimed by, or owed to, a particular faith whose name was horribly abused. We New York State bloggers believe it is our duty to stand up for the values that make America great – that our laws and Constitution apply equally to all – Muslim and Christian; Jew and Gentile; believers and non-believers.

We, therefore, support and defend the right of Muslim New Yorkers to build a community center on privately owned land in Lower Manhattan.


Phillip Anderson (The Albany Project), Alan Bedenko (BuffaloPundit/WNYMedia.net), Rich Boatti (The Albany Project), Michael Bouldin (The Daily Gotham), Adama D. Brown (GlowDemocrats), Ezra Ford (Jefferson Democrat), Brian Keeler (The Albany Project), Cynthia Kouril (Firedoglake), Elana Levin, David Michaelson (The Daily Gotham), Mark Odien (WNYMedia.net), Liza Sabater (CultureKitchen), Chris Smith (WNYMedia.net), Andrew C. White (The Albany Project)

10 Responses to “NY Progressive Bloggers’ Statement Re: Park51 / Cordoba House”

  1. Rob September 11, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Hear hear. And too bad if it hurts Charles Krauthammer’s feelings.

  2. Brian Castner September 11, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    That is a well written letter, that I am in complete agreement with. It would be nice of such an agreement by all sides could be the start of a dialogue about how to best tamp down hatred, and defend the rights of the community center builders while still discussing the best place to do it. Too bad that’s not how we work.

  3. Chris Smith September 11, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    while still discussing the best place to do it

    I’d then say that you’re not in complete agreement with the letter.

  4. Brian Castner September 11, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    “We, therefore, support and defend the right of Muslim New Yorkers to build a community center on privately owned land in Lower Manhattan.”

    You don’t specificy which Muslim New Yorkers, which community center, or which privately owned land. You also say they have the right to to do it, which I am in complete agreement with. I assume you chose your words for a reason, and you didn’t say you desired them to build it at one particular place over another. I support not only the rights of Muslim NYer’s to build comminuty centers over about 95% of Lower Manhattan, I think they should as well, to whatever extent they need to to serve the population that lives there. Where is the the disagreement with what is written?

  5. Chris Smith September 11, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Your opinion that you should have the right or ability to influence the location of a privately owned and approved community center is underscored by your belief that its existence is an affront to values or feelings. The overall spirit of the letter is to communicate that we hold no ill will toward Islam on the whole nor do we feel that building Park51 is an affront to anyone.

    I’d say we pretty much disagree.

  6. Brian Castner September 11, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    “nor do we feel that building Park51 is an affront to anyone.”

    In this case, its a matter of facts, not feelings – some are affronted, whether you believe they should be or not.

    Your description of my opinion is interesting. I never thought about whether I have the “right” or “ability” to influence construction on privately owned land. I don’t have the right to stop it, if it is within zoning codes, etc. But if NIMBY’s in Amherest have the right and ability to influence something as shallow as a Lifestyle Center on Maple, then I guess Americans do have a right to have an opinion on this, and have it be heard, and then let the developers, financers, and government officials make whatever decision they do. Do you think I, or you, or anyone, has the right or ability to influence this?

    I think we agree with the substance of your letter, as it is written word for word. We disagree on the backstory, and a range of issues unaddressed in the letter. Probably for good reason they are left out.

  7. Mike In WNY September 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    If only progressives applied property rights equally across the board. I guess that would make them libertarians.

  8. Ethan September 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    This is such a non-issue; can we stop now?  

    I don’t care if they do–or don’t!!–build the community center, and I don’t give a fuck about some asshat in FLA burning Korans (or not!!) (for now!!) either.  Neither has anywhere near the impact on the world opinion, or the mythic “Arab street,” that we think, at least not compared to official government policy in the Middle East.  Both are being cynically exploited by supporters _and_ opponents (oh, and the press itself) to serve other agendas.

    What would be nice is if neither were getting any press, because neither deserve it.  Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  9. BobbyCat September 12, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    When it comes to Islam, I have more questions than answers.

    I understand that most Muslims are peaceful, but its hard to ignore the radical fringe Muslims like the Wahabi sect which has done a lot of killing and seems to be at war with the ‘infidels’ or the West. How can I tell the peaceful Muslims from the terrorist Muslims?

    After 9/11 there was a universal call for the ‘moderate’ Muslims to step forward and regain control of their religion which was hijacked by the terrorist minority. If they have done that, it has escaped my notice. If they have kept a low profile, is it because the moderates are afraid of the radicals. Is that why the Taliban minority can terroize the majority in places like Afghanistan? Or am I mistaken? Does the Taliban/Sharia philosophy dominate in Muslim countries? Which ones?

    A final point: The book burners are part of our radical fringe.our religious right radicals who are preached to by Fox, Beck,Palin and the usual suspects of hate mongers. I’m not one of those hater mongers, nevertheless we need to identify the Moslems that do in fact want to kill us.

  10. JudahMaccabbee September 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    Wow, this will definitely sway people’s opinions.

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