Monday, August 30, 2010

Judea Pearl has an explanation

While I await Steph's explanation of what she means by "unconstitutional" reasons, here's Judea's Pearl take:

I have been trying hard to find an explanation for the intense controversy surrounding the Cordoba Initiative, whereby 71 percent of Americans object to the proposed project of building a mosque next to Ground Zero.

I cannot agree with the theory that such broad resistance represents Islamophobic sentiments, nor that it is a product of a “rightwing” smear campaign against one imam or another.

Americans are neither bigots nor gullible.

Deep sensitivity to the families of 9/11 victims was cited as yet another explanation, but this too does not answer the core question.

If one accepts that the 19 fanatics who flew planes into the Twin Towers were merely self-proclaimed Muslims who, by their very act, proved themselves incapable of acting in the name of “true Islam,” then building a mosque at Ground Zero should evoke no emotion whatsoever; it should not be viewed differently than, say, building a church, a community center or a druid shrine.

A more realistic explanation is that most Americans do not buy the 19 fanatics story, but view the the 9/11 assault as a product of an anti- American ideology that, for good and bad reasons, has found a fertile breeding ground in the hearts and minds of many Muslim youngsters who see their Muslim identity inextricably tied with this anti-American ideology.

THE GROUND Zero mosque is being equated with that ideology. Public objection to the mosque thus represents a vote of no confidence in mainstream American Muslim leadership which, on the one hand, refuses to acknowledge the alarming dimension that anti-Americanism has taken in their community and, paradoxically, blames America for its creation.

The American Muslim leadership has had nine years to build up trust by taking proactive steps against the spread of anti-American terror-breeding ideologies, here and abroad.

Evidently, however, a sizable segment of the American public is not convinced that this leadership is doing an effective job of confidence building.

In public, Muslim spokespersons praise America as the best country for Muslims to live and practice their faith. But in sermons, speeches, rallies, classrooms, conferences and books sold at those conferences, the narrative is often different. There, Noam Chomsky’s conspiracy theory is the dominant paradigm, and America’s foreign policy is one long chain of “crimes” against humanity, especially against Muslims.

Affirmation of these conspiratorial theories sends mixed messages to young Muslims, engendering anger and helplessness: America and Israel are the first to be blamed for Muslim failings, sufferings and violence.

Terrorist acts, whenever condemned, are immediately “contextually explicated” (to quote Tariq Ramadan); spiritual legitimizers of suicide bombings (e.g. Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi of Qatar) are revered beyond criticism; Hamas and Hizbullah are permanently shielded from the label of “terrorist.”

Overall, the message that emerges from this discourse is implicit, but can hardly be missed: When Muslim grievance is at question, America is the culprit and violence is justified, if not obligatory.

True, we have not helped Muslims in the confidence-building process. Treating homegrown terror acts as isolated incidents of psychological disturbances while denying their ideological roots has given American Muslim leaders the illusion that they can achieve public acceptance without engaging in serious introspection and responsibility sharing for allowing victimhood, anger and entitlement to spawn such acts.

The construction of the Ground Zero mosque would further prolong this illusion.

If I were New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I would reassert Muslims’ right to build the Islamic center and the mosque, but I would expend the same energy, not one iota less, in trying to convince them to put it somewhere else, or replace it with a community-managed all-faiths center in honor of the 9/11 victims.

Fellow Muslim Americans will benefit more from co-ownership of consensual projects than sole ownership of confrontational ones.

[Emphasis added]


Stephanie said...

Do you get that it's possible to understand that there's more than 19, but fewer than 99.99999% of 1.5 billion, who want to kill us, but not be willing to compromise Constitutional guarantees in the face of the threat, such as it is?

Stephanie said...

Also, HUH? "The American Muslim leadership has had nine years to build up trust by taking proactive steps against the spread of anti-American terror-breeding ideologies, here and abroad."

You're entitled to Constitutional protections IF you have a sufficient public relations campaign to convince the American people that they shouldn't be afraid of you.

NONSENSE. There's no point in us discussing this topic ever again.

Michael said...

What constitutional protections are you referring to?

Stephanie said...

Besides the right to build your mosque somewhere that a church could be built. Also, the right to not be imprisoned indefinitely in a gulag in some country that specializes in torture, without having a trial.

Michael said...

I think your number comes out to 15 bad Muslims. Seriously, do you have any figures, or SOURCES, for your claim that a really tiny percentage of our Muslim brethren want to do us harm?

Michael said...

Are you referring to Gitmo? Are someplace else? And are you referring to war criminals?

Stephanie said...

There's no end to the discrimination that would be acceptable to you fear-mongers. You can't put your mosque there. You can't put it there either. We haven't printed your renunciation of bin Laden or ___ or ___ or ____ or ___ (this list is endless because of the practice of 6 degrees of people who don't eat bacon), therefore we know you are supportive of said person and therefore you're evil and shouldn't be allowed on airplanes. It's an endless assault that's built on holding all responsible for the behavior of the few and you would not stand for it if you were the subject of it because of the actions of some Christians. The inability to empathize -- to get what this would be like for Muslim Americans -- frustrates me to no end.

Stephanie said...

Because if they were all out to kill us, we'd be dead already.

Stephanie said...

Comments are all out of order and therefore nonsensical.

Michael said...

I'll agree in part.

Stephanie said...

Why do we have an ad for Windows in this post?