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06:49 AM on 07/21/2010
The government in Britain had a wonderful idea to prevent terrorist attacks from Islamic groups- introduce muslims in great numbers then Islamic countries wouldn't target a country with such a high population of muslims. How wrong were they? It is the same principal here.

Also the idea that "its not easy being a muslim in America" How easy is it practising a religion that isn't Islam in an Islamic country?
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08:41 AM on 07/21/2010
Deflecting responsibility doesn't work. Our First Amendment guarantees the freedom of ALL religions to worship as they see fit. It's only about this country and our laws -- not about any other country and their laws.
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06:37 AM on 07/22/2010
Not quite. Mormons considered polygyny a religious practice. It is now illegal in all 50 states.
Mormons have generally abandoned their religious practice.

Islamic law allows polygyny in certain circumstances:

Umdat al-salik:
"m6.10 It is unlawful for a free man to marry more than four women. It is fitter to confine oneself to just one."

In Singapore and Sri Lanka, polygamy is illegal for everyone but Muslims.

In the UK and Australia, polygyny is allowed for Muslims in certain circumstances.

We should have one law for all. Religious freedom, like all freedoms, is not absolute.
11:08 AM on 07/21/2010
boy boy,

Point well taken about the First Amendment but if a religion poses a clear material
threat to the country, then violent Islam, or any other violent religion, should expect no shelter from the Constitution.
How do you free a bird from an empty cage?
12:11 PM on 07/21/2010
What about violent Americanism? Patriotism, it seems, can also be a religion. The problem isn't so much religion (I am agnostic BTW) it's with the use of it to grab power and to dominate others. Any ideology can do this. We need to change the whole way we thnk.
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04:46 PM on 07/21/2010
That's not how it works. Does the First Amendment make any exceptions? Absolutely not.

Christianity poses as much, if not greater, threat. Remember the Michigan Militia? How about McVeigh?
see biography
05:56 AM on 07/21/2010
“Muslims often say America is the best place to practice Islam”
Would that be because practitioners there are at liberty? To choose those elements that elevate spirit, over those items that incarcerate spirit.

“clean and pure Islamic practices are implemented and embraced”.
The Judeo-Christian system has a numbered set of rules. Enumerated simply for followers and non-followers to inspect. Would it not be possible to devise a similar group of principles for the Islamic ideology? To determine who is actually adhering to them as true believers. As opposed to those who are only making an attempt at observance, or else trying a tentative association tactic.
For example, one rule is that thou shalt not kill. Easy enough to honour, in the absence of mortal endangerment. But those who trust their existence to observance of that condition would submit to their fate, with sure and certain conviction. While those who are not really that convinced, would have to demure. A means to differentiate, between those who possess confidence in a belief and those who only profess confidence in a belief?

“We can't afford political or sectarian strife”
More Mama Madonnas, less mama grizzlies?
Let freedom ring!
05:51 AM on 07/21/2010
It's interesting that were having this whole debate because Madame Palin decided to poke her nose where it didnt belong....if another elected offiical had done a similar thing by saying to her home state...'dont you dare go building that new bridge in Alaska'....and if she didnt agree, she would have said the equivalent....'not your business, go poke your butt somewhere else where the sun dont shine'.

So by the same token, this should be nothing to do with Sarah Palin, the building of the mosque is a matter for New Yorkers to decide, if they are comfortable with the decision for it to go ahead, then i say...'Let it be'!
04:39 AM on 07/21/2010
I think there should be less mosques.

Religion, throughout time has always produced violence and extremists. Christians had a good run at being the religion which splintered violently. I'm not saying there are no longer any crazy Christians, there are, but lets get real.

Now Islam is undoubtedly the religion to be if you want to interpret it and twist it to fanaticism. In Western countries with western values, It's understandable that growing Muslim populations, and mosques could bring concern. With groups like Al-queida, Hezbollah, and Hamas out there, Muslims seem dangerous.

Now if the secular, or "progressive" Muslim communities were on the forefront of fighting against their "extreme counterparts" that could change things dramatically. If Muslim Americans want to have more mosques, go out there and challenge the extremists. Challenge the sexism, challenge the backwards beliefs of so many.

Your in the west now baby, If you want to subject your women, your not welcomed. Or if your a woman who wants to be subjected, sorry not here. If you wan't to cry about a cartoon, you moved to the wrong country. All secular Muslims are welcomed. Completely and 100 percent.
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08:43 AM on 07/21/2010
According to the First Amendment, all people in the US are afforded the right to worship as they see fit. It's also or responsibility to maintain the separation of church and state. We have a responsibility to both, and you don't just get to say 'no.'
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09:27 AM on 07/21/2010
Women are also afforded equality under the law, if Islam required people of color to cover their heads , and follow the restrictions that Muslim women are required to follow , how long would that be tolerated as freedom of religion?
03:56 AM on 07/21/2010
In Islam, government control and religion are one in the same. That is fundamentally at odds with the American system.

According to an Iranian friend of mine who grew up in provincial Iran, the Koran requires real muslims to either convert nonbelievers (infidels), or kill them. However, you have to warn them first to try and get them to convert. This is why many senior clerics were against the 911 attack, because the "warning" rule was not followed.

Do we need this here? Doesn't the US have enough problems???
04:26 AM on 07/21/2010
If by "real muslims" you mean the Islamists that go out and form militias, then maybe. However if you're referring to every other Sayeed, Abdullah, and Omar out there, I'm sure they don't follow the Qu'ran to a T like a looney minority. Besides, if I followed the Bible word for word, my ass should be killed for wearing poly-cotton, eating bacon but then be pardoned in a completely different clause, and backtalking to my parents. Holy books have dumb rules in them that can't be followed in most real world situations. That's how it goes, and any rational person isn't going to listen to them all.

btw read up on The House of Peace alongside The Houses of Islam and War.
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06:24 PM on 07/21/2010
"If by "real muslims" you mean the Islamists that go out and form militias, then maybe."

Or the American Muslims trying (and mostly failing, so far) to blow us up.

Pooski is pointing to the element in Islam, Islamic law, that allows Islamists and jihadists to call themselves real Muslims. The texts support their point of view. That needs to be changed--by Muslims.

Your comparison to the Bible is irrelevant in a discussion of Islam.
07:36 PM on 07/21/2010
The Koran makes the Old Testament look like a cub scout handbook.
03:20 AM on 07/21/2010
I have no problem with mosques as long as they don't practice the public "call to prayer." There is a mosque in my hometown and in my college town, I have never once heard anyone express distaste over the buildings. However I still don't understand why a mosque, or any religious grounds for that matter, for that matter is needed at ground zero, the site of a national tradgedy. Were there not better places to build a new mosque?? It just seems strange that they would want it at ground zero.
04:15 AM on 07/21/2010
The writer mentioned this in an earlier reply.

"The Islamic cultural center that is being founded to bring about interfaith understanding and dialog is not being built at Ground Zero. It is to be built two blocks away from the sight, and is not intended to hurtful, but healing. It will have a prayer space, but will not be a mosque."

Hope this helps.
07:35 AM on 07/21/2010
Parts of the crashed planes landed two blocks away and no doubt body parts- it violates the sensibilities of too many Americans to put a mosque "near" the site where so many of their brothers and sisters were slaughtered.
the fighting democrat
07:43 AM on 07/21/2010
I don't like the idea of the mosque at ground zero. Just imagine the shoe on the other foot.

Imagine a group of 20 southern baptists that all got together and smashed planes into the heart of a muslim city killing thousands of innocent civilians in the name of southern baptists, and around ten years later they wanted to build a southern baptist church next to the site of the the cowardly murders? I DON'T THINK SO
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08:49 AM on 07/21/2010
We are a nation of laws, not a nation of wants and opinions. You have the right to speak against it, but not the right to prevent it if it's allowable according to our laws.
11:19 AM on 07/21/2010
As a Muslim I would not have a problem with a church there because I know that the Southern Baptist Church would not be represented by a group of crazies who would kill innocents.
03:10 AM on 07/21/2010
"As Muslim women become leaders in American mosques and institutions, they prevent the import of misogynistic practices and attitudes that are still accepted in some overseas patriarchal societies."

Really? You wear a hijab. While that is certainly your right, what do you call the theories by which it is necessary or prescribed? Believe what you want, but any way you slice it requiring women to cover their hair from anyone who could possibly be a sexual partner when men are not required to do so is in no way equal. Requiring women to walk around covered to their wrists, ankles, and chins is in no way equal. In essence, your body is the reserved property of a single man, up to and including the right to even view it or its outline.

Now, you may believe that this is religiously required, and you have every right to do that and to practice it. However, equality has a definition, and you can't alter that.
Anti War Socialist with a taste for freedom
03:24 AM on 07/21/2010
"equality has a definition, and you can't alter that."...

men and women are quite different. Different is the opposite from equal. Simply because I don't see equality does not automatically mean I see a superiority, but simply acknowledge and be thankful for the differences.
03:53 AM on 07/21/2010
Some things simply are different, and the differences are fairly equivalent. That's not what we are talking about here, and let's not kid ourselves about it. There is no inherent difference with women that requires our hair to be covered. In fact, our hair grows and is largely the same as a man's, though it may be styled differently. Our wrists and arms have the same anatomy. So do our ankles, etc.

Slightly off-topic, but have you ever been to a foreign country and lived in an area with a sizable (like 40% or more) minority or outright majority of Muslims?
Kari Ansari
Writer & social commentator on U.S. Muslims
06:41 AM on 07/21/2010
I do become weary of people who obsess on the fact Muslim women wear hijab. It is a personal decision and choice that is solely mine. I could stop wearing it today and my life on the surface would be much easier as an American, however my internal life, my relationship with God would be in turmoil.
No one is "making" me wear it. My husband has his religiously mandated dress code and modesty requirements, whether he adheres to them or not is his business with God, not with me. Same is said for our kids.
Contrary to what you're implying, Muslims are responsible with their personal relationship with God, and no one else can say they are privy to it, or can be in charge of it.
07:58 AM on 07/21/2010
If you were to remove your Hijab, walk around the streets, hair blowing in the wind... How would your husband react?
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09:18 AM on 07/21/2010
Get used to it,Kari , in the USA we also have a little thing called freedom of speech , so we can and will continue to express our thoughts and opinions . You put this post here , but you want to proscribe your responses ? . Perhaps you are not as accustomed to freedom as you think. Muslim men can adapt to western dress , why can't the women? I am sorry you practice and consent to a religion that oppresses women . I am as entitled to my opinion as you are yours .
02:52 AM on 07/21/2010
It may be that American Muslims have a progressive and tolerant version of Islam that is preferable to the fundamentalist version.

However, that doesn't mean I should welcome the spread of Islam in my country. All Muslims, in the end, must subscribe to a certain set of beliefs outlined in the Koran, and they are horribly flawed. This is especially true in regards to homosexuals and women. We have enough followers of bronze age ethics in this country.

To be fair, I'm not welcoming to supporting the spread of any religion in the US. We have way too much of it, and it seems that when it comes to being political, religions just can't help themselves. I'm frankly sick of all the attempts to codify religious belief into law for everyone.
Anti War Socialist with a taste for freedom
03:28 AM on 07/21/2010
"sick of all the attempts to codify religious belief into law for everyone." I could not agree more strongly with this statement.
03:42 AM on 07/21/2010
To whomever flagged this abusive: please explain who is abused in my post.
"Conservative" is not a political party, genius.
02:49 AM on 07/21/2010
It's hardly surprising that conservatives don't want to treat Americans like they have any rights.

"Freedom for me, but not for thee" is rule #1 of conservative ideology.
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10:44 AM on 07/22/2010
Isn't that the truth.
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02:34 AM on 07/21/2010
Although I enjoy praying I rarely enjoy the sermons spouted by Muslim clerics. I also find the worshipers to be misguided and destructive to themselves and their own more than to the outsiders. To have more mosques in this world would be indeed tragic. I am sorry but one feels that some religions are not good for anyone (including the practitioners). Places where you can have tranquility, good / virtuous ideals , love, singing hymns , pianos and pretty and polite girls and spirituality would be ok with me. Churches fit the above bill but they can also have some very rude speakers. What is lacking most is a place to rest one's head otherwise churches would be perfect. I am not advocating any hatred of Islam or Muslims just that its an unfortunate religion (amongst several others) which we can do without. As a Muslim woman by supporting mosques you are perhaps betraying your gender first. As a Muslim man I personally should keep silent because I have suffered enough and have been dragged against my will into the "fold" of the community in this "land of the free" but one has to speak up sooner or later before all that one has come to love is swept away.
Anti War Socialist with a taste for freedom
03:00 AM on 07/21/2010
I am atheist but am open minded enough to not rule out things which I can not possibly know the truth of. For the most part I have little problems with the faiths themselves as they all have something to teach. That said I believe Churches (or Mosques or Temples) are where the problems being. Regardless of how they begin the end up being instruments to convince ordinary people to things which are patently immoral. I think people, if they want to follow a religion should study their scriptures themselves and not let anyone else tell them what it means.
05:50 AM on 07/28/2010
Great post. Finally fanned. :)
06:51 AM on 07/21/2010
I agree with you. The issue is that the faces of this "communal fold" are multiple. When dealing with European or African American a different tone is used. When dealing with a member of the "community" all the daggers come out.
I have also seen this game of "build a mosque" played before. It takes about 2 years then people start showing up at your house demanding that you attend the prayers.
And it takes off from there.
Now in Europe the freedom of speech is under attack. The same will happen in US.
08:21 AM on 07/21/2010
Your experiences with the mosque is not that of our community of 20+ thousand. Perhaps the united clergy of not only our community, but of the neighboring suburbs assured our muslims that their place would not be bombed - although the building of it had to be explained and defended. The diverse nature of the ethnicities of our muslims may also play a role in the peaceful integration of the congregation. Not all attend the community center school. Many are in our small public elementary school. That provides a valuable learning experience for all of our children. It teaches tolerance and respect while the kids sort out what they have in common, and what is different about each practice. We adults are a bit harder to meet with each other. While it is true that the burka had a very short run here, most of the other identifiable outfits fit the ethnicity rather than the religious dictate. As to the hijab, with the winds here, it could be more than a religious or fashion statement!
Anti War Socialist with a taste for freedom
02:16 AM on 07/21/2010
How about no Mosques in America where Christians don't want them in exchange for no US military bases in the Middle East where Muslims don't want them?
02:53 AM on 07/21/2010
Hmmm...I don't think the preferences of Christians, or any religion, is a basis for public policy of any sort.
Anti War Socialist with a taste for freedom
03:30 AM on 07/21/2010
How would you dispense the rights to build upon "ground zero"? (I hate that term as it belittles the tragedy of the two real ground zeros)
02:12 AM on 07/21/2010
I don't really have a problem with Islam. I just don't want to have to wake up one day early in the morning to a loud muslim pray being broudcasted for all to hear. All religons are not the same in every way. Were is the sense of culture in this country? The white race is made up of a people with no culture so their naive enough to be drawn to other cultures. When sharia law is declared american law I and other sain americans will be saying " We told you so!"
1st time proud pagan mom since May 16
12:53 AM on 07/21/2010
Ignorance breeds fear & fear breeds hate. Many "religious" people in todays world do not realize that Judaism, Christianity & Islam share many similarities & the same God. There are differences in the literature & teachings of each but few seem interested to look at the historical foundation of each (hence ignorance). Christianity branched from Judaism when Christ died on the cross & was accepted as the prophesied old testament saviour & Son of God. Islam & Judaism share ties since they both recognize Abraham as a historical figure (Ishmael the first born of Abraham through Hagar being the Islamic tie & Isaac the second born of Abraham through Sarah, tying Judaism to Abraham). That is where the problems between Islam & Judaism begin since Jews see Isaac as the true heir of Abraham since he is legitimate through marriage (Hagar is noted as a maid given to Abraham since Sarah thought she could not bear children). Muslims view Ishmael as the heir since he is the first born & considered a legitimate son. So begins the line of ignorance, fear & hate since these stories were used throughout centuries as propaganda to promote political agendas (you know, Jews killed Jesus, Ishmael was illegitimate so the holy land belongs to the Jews, Muslims belong to the first heir according to their side of the story so they are the heirs of the promised land)... So why worry about mosques? They are tied to the same God if you look at
Logos Land
U mad?
01:12 AM on 07/21/2010
The god of Islam(Allah) is not the same as the God of christianity and Judaism(Yahweh). Allah started off as the Arab polytheistic moon-god. They are only the same in that mono-theism centers on one exclusive deity.
1st time proud pagan mom since May 16
01:57 AM on 07/21/2010
As I stated above the literature and teachings are different. The start of each deity differs according to which story line you follow. The tie between the two, however, goes back to Abraham who is noted as the first to worship the monotheistic deity in both religions. So is he worshipping the Jewish Yahweh or the Arab moon god Allah/al-ilah? We will never know since one side will say the opposite of the other. There are good arguements to both sides of whether the two religions share the same god or not, it just depends on what side of the story you want to look at.
02:55 AM on 07/21/2010
Allah is simply the Arabic word for "god". In countries where Arabic is the language, Christians use the word "Allah". It is a title, not a name. Muslims, Christians, and Jews all differ on how best to worship and follow Yahweh, but they all follow Yahweh.

Personally, I don't think it is particularly think that arguing who has the correct way to worship their imaginary friend is useful.
08:31 AM on 07/21/2010
Are you suggesting that we could or should learn enough more about the successions of these religious practices in much the same way that we learn about the generations which begat each of us in our families? An orthodox rabbi I shared time with in a surgical waiting room was amazed that I actually knew that Jesus was a student of Hillel (the name of the Jewish student groups in colleges and universities in the USA) and was therefore educated as an orthodox rabbi. A linear study of the progressions of changes in the Catholic church could explain how religious practices and teachings morph in the same ways as our cultures do. They adapt to the times and the needs of the people to deal with the new (and old) challenges at the same time.
I know that there are many strands of Judaism even if I cannot name and describe each. We all encounter the many strands of Christianity here, but how many can name and geographically locate the many strands of Catholicism in the world?
Our experiences here are a bit narrow and isolated. Please, try to be open and curious about that "different" new neighbor. Courteous questions will help you to establish common grounds, if only for the kinds of flowers you both plant. Our practices may be widely diverse, but I expect you to find that our values are much in sync.
1st time proud pagan mom since May 16
10:56 PM on 07/21/2010
The diversety of the practices, I believe, is what breeds the ignorance. People have a natural fear of what they do not understand. I like to study religion and realize that the values are in sync but how many people do you know who are willing to look past the differences? That was what I was pointing out in my post. Too many look at Islam and see women who are covered head to toe or Judaism where men wear beards (in some sects) and don't believe in Jesus. They do not understand it and cannot look past the differences to see the similarities. So many on this post have cried out that Mosques should not be here because that is one step closer to Sharia law US wide. I can tell you that not all Muslims are out to convert everyone (I know I have Muslim Friends and I happen to be Pagan). They realize that these times call for different measures. They are willing to share their faith but I have to say that they shared it and didn't shove it down my throat like some Christians I have known.
I am always curious about that different/new neighbor and welcome all view points, that, to me, is what being Pagan is about. I just wish that others would do the same. Maybe then this world would be a better place.
12:52 AM on 07/21/2010
Mosques, churches, temples, no new onesshould be welcome here in America, we have plenty of all of them already poisoning our society
11:07 PM on 07/20/2010
The mosque near ground zero is a mistake. Non-muslims are always going to see it as an insult, right or wrong. The Muslim producers of this idea can build a marvelous mosque wherever they want, but they shouldn't build it at ground zero. Please respect people's feelings and find another site, where you will be thoroughly welcomed.
12:09 AM on 07/21/2010
How about no religious buildings anywhere, ever?

This land was once colonized by Christians. They slaughtered Native Americans by the millions - far more people than were murdered on 9/11 - yet those very Christians continue to build churches EVERYWHERE.

01:02 AM on 07/21/2010
I don't think that slaughter was a Christian precept.

I find most churches to be nice places. Places to rest the mind, feel renewed, positive, friendly and spiritual. Most but not all of course but they are needed because there are so few places where people get this spiritual upliftement.
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02:00 AM on 07/21/2010
Speak for yourself. I am not a muslim, I think a mosque at gound zero would do a lot to educate people about the religion and encourage peaceful discourse.
08:35 AM on 07/21/2010
Thank-you for an intelligent and compassionate statement. When my community went thru the integration of Islam there was a small but vocal group who opposed it loudly. Turned out their fear was not so much muslims, but of BLACK muslims. And I already had a black family on my block that had been there more than 20 years before us! Bigotry can be dangerously blind.