Building a mosque and cultural center

Al-Queda is an evil empire on a level that makes Blofeld look like a Bond Girl. That group of misfits blew up a symbol of world solidarity on U.S. soil, and killed more than three thousand people in the one blow. I think that the important issue on that is intent rather than result. IF the WTC had been fully occupied when the planes struck, the body count could have been more on the level of 50,000 people. Al-Queda should be hunted down, root and branch, and get the Guy Fawkes treatment. Any decent human being would feel that way. Yeah, Guy Fawkes was sentenced to be slow hung, drawn and quartered alive, then burned. Osama Bin Laden should probably be skinned, slow hung, etc. I’d like a Bin-Laden wallet or pair of boots, myself. Something I could stroke, and reverently think, “You got off easy, sucker.”

‘m completely unsurprised that an Islamic mullah wants to build a Mosque near ground zero. He probably feels that it is a moral imperative, as decent human beings, for the Moslems of New York to show solidarity with the other decent human beings who mourn those lost during 9/11.

It would be a good idea if we pulled back from the impulse to make 9/11 a black and white event, with Islam the axis of evil, and Christianity or America the noble victims. Although it’s easy to get into anti-Islamic rhetoric after an event like that, the urge is misdirected. Islam did not attack the World Trade Center, a relatively small but very violent group of terrorists did. This isn’t Moslems VS Christians for rulership of the world, it’s recidivists trying to make the world a safer place for their own extreme views, and Americans turning it into a religious war because that is simple, and plays to our very Eurocentric prejudices.

I could make a laundry list of entrenched American prejudices against all things Middle Eastern, but all I’ll comment on is Iran, since I’ve lived there, and have found reason to study its very recent history. People are still complaining about that thug Ayatollah Khomeini causing 54 Americans to be held captive for over a year in 1979-1981, and suggesting that it was caused by some non-specific grudge against the U.S., because we have so much neat shit. That event happened 31 years ago. We’re happy enough to remember that. Look back to twenty-six years prior to that event, though. The Shahanshah of Iran had recently been thrown out by popular vote in favor of a man named Mosaddegh. The U.S. CIA brokered a revolution deposing that democratically elected, anti-socialist leader of Iran in favor of the pro-American but politically unpopular Pahlavi dynasty. We can remember and complain about the evil Khomeini who imprisoned but did not kill embassy personnel, but we completely fail to consider the possibility that, from Khomeini’s point of view, he was securing representatives of a power that had brokered the overthrow of a popularly elected government in favor of a military dictatorship/royalist empire in his country, earlier during his lifetime. That 26 years was so long ago for Americans that it had already vanished into prehistory. It’s probable that Mosaddegh was overthrown by the U.S. at British request because BP was angry with him for nationalizing the Iranian oil industry. It wasn’t intended as an anti-Muslim act, but it has almost certainly been remembered more keenly by the largely Islamic victims of our clandestine action than it has been by us. And the act is emblematic of U.S. actions in developing nations around the world. When you pull shit like that, it comes home to roost.

A mullah in New York wants to show solidarity with the West over a horrible act of terrorism. Considering the overall body count differentials between U.S. actions in the Middle East, and all Middle Eastern actions against U.S interests, that’s an act of forgiveness that could be seen as almost Christ-like.

Somebody wants to shout me down, lay claim that I think the WTC bombing was somehow justifiable.I don’t; see my first take on a favorable outcome for Bin-Laden. But I can’t help noticing that the U.S. hasn’t made much effort to take a position on the moral high-ground in the Middle East, which must lead irrevocably to a lot of Middle Easterners not placing much faith in our good intentions. Maybe it’s our own lack of good intentions that cause so many of us to deny the possibility of good intentions on the part of a group who wants to build a place of worship near the sight of a great tragedy.