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Susanna Speier

Susanna Speier

Posted: August 5, 2010 04:57 PM

Not only is the Ground Zero Mosque controversy a misnomer in title -- the 51 Park Mosque and Community Center (formerly referred to as Cordoba House) is not actually visible from the actual Ground Zero site -- but it misses the mark in a far scarier way. It fails to address what is actually at stake.

The opposition to the Mosque, thus far, has been based in the assumption that its presence near the Ground Zero site is insensitive to 9/11 victims and survivors.
Last month's Politiku dealt with Combat Trauma. The Politiku posted illustrated how memories of traumatic events -- in their most acute manifestation -- can make benign and even celebratory activities in safe environments feel threatening. Individuals suffering from P.T.S.D. can respond to the visual and audio stimuli --such as a 4th of July fireworks celebration-- with a fight/flight response triggered by stimuli resembling something experienced in combat.

Would the presence of the 51 Park Mosque and Community Center -- a place that bears no resemblance to an actual terrorist attack -- trigger a unique response in a 9/11 victim or survivor visiting the area? If the sights, sounds, smells and vibrations of the Mosque and Community Center resembled 9/11 and its aftermath, there is a good chance that it would. The concern therefore needs to be addressed straight on: Is 51 Park be a security threat?
Given the growing number of terrorist cells in this country, fear of another terrorist attack is, unfortunately, a legitimate concern all over the country and not just near Ground Zero.

If I were a professional terrorist, would I choose one of the highest profile moderate Islamic Mosque and Community centers in the country to take my clandestine cell to roost? Not if I was any good at what I did.

Security would be heightened and I'd have the additional scrutiny of a moderate New York Muslim community to contend with. Any genuine alliances I might try and build with this community would run me the risk of alienating my extremist colleagues and peers. Any disingenuous alliances I might try and build would increase my risk of exposure.

Of course, these assumptions are all based on conjecture. I am not a terrorist and neither are the New York Muslims I know who would use the Mosque and Community Center.

When the Anti Defamation League officiated their opposition to the Mosque, the issue became personal. The ADL's decision to oppose Park 51 not only threatened their own credibility but it also threatened the very Constitutional principles that prompted my Jewish ancestors to flee Europe and settle in the United States.

I blogged about these concerns earlier this week and thanks to the assistance of my friend, Rachel Levy, I was able to assemble a compendium of Politiku written by Jews who live or have, at some point, lived in New York and were willing to condense their sentiments into seventeen syllables:

David Berkowitz Politiku
Minarets and domes
join crosses, stars and towers
on New York's skyline

David Berkowitz
is Senior Director of Emerging Media & Innovation for a digital marketing agency.

Julie Canter Politiku
Jews must unite in
anti-mosque fight, to tell newt
and the right: get lost

Julie Canter is the co-founder of Chutzpah magazine

Nora Rubel Politiku
Muddled, wrongheaded
sad response to bigotry.
But justice wins out.


Nora Rubel
is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester and the author of
Doubting the Devout (2010 Columbia University Press), which analyzes depictions of ultra-Orthodox Jews in popular American culture.

David Sauvage Politiku
it's so annoying
when stupid, petty people
deserve to be heard


David Sauvage
is an award-winning filmmaker.

Andrew Solomon Politiku
Our duty is this:
We must love our enemies
Until they are friends.

Hath not a Muslim
eyes, ears, heart, faith, love, and rights?
Then let us love, too.

Andrew Solomon won the National Book Award for The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression , and is a lecturer in psychology at Weill-Cornell Medical College.

Randi Cecchine Politiku
Oh Divine Creator
giving us neurons for faith
and atheism

We thank your challenge
to evolve past tribe and hurt
towards our true oneness

Randi Cecchine is a documentary filmmaker living in New York City.

Rachel Levy Politiku
Now a war on faith?
War on terror: one mil dead.
Enough. Heal with peace.

Rachel Levy is a writer who lives in Ashland, Virginia.

Rebecca Lieb Politiku
freedom to ignore
the first amendment means that
the bad guys just won

Rebecca Lieb is a vice president at Econsultancy, where she oversee the company's U.S. operations.

Shortly after I began collecting Politiku submissions, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced Park 51 had the green light to proceed. The speech, made from Governor's Island , nailed this issue -- its historic context and its Constitutional significance -- in a way no one else has. My Politiku is therefore a tribute to the speech Mayor Bloomberg delivered on August 3, 2010 from Governor's Island.


Susanna Speier Politiku

Intolerance like
Stuyvesant's New Amsterdam
is not here and now.

Politiku

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Follow Susanna Speier on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Politiku