Monday, August 16, 2010


The Mosque

I refer, of course, to the proposal to build an Islamic center building in New York, two blocks north of the World Trade Center. The proposal has supporters and opponents. My opinion? An Islamic center near the World Trade Center doesn't bother me in the least. I have little patience with the opponents.

The controversy has caused me to think of many things. I think of the individuals who carried out the destruction of the WTC towers by committing suicide while they murdered more than 2000 innocent people of all faiths, including Islam. These suicide murderers were themselves Muslims, mostly from Saudi Arabia. Importantly they were not from Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan. They were Muslim extremists.

We have some Christian extremists. I think of the people who murdered the doctor in Kansas who performed therapeutic abortions in safe hygienic surroundings. I think of a doctor in New York several years ago who was murdered by other abortion opponents. These murderers are Christian extremists. They believe they are doing the will of God. Are all Christians responsible for the acts of these extremists who murder abortion providers? Of course not. Are all Muslims responsible for the extremists who destroyed the WTC? Of course not. Should Muslims be prohibited from having a place of worship near the site of the WTC? I don't think so.

Of course, the analogy between the murderers of abortion doctors and the destroyers of the WTC rests on rather shaky logic. The abortion doctor murderers are intent on "saving the lives of innocent fetuses (feti?)" while the WRC destroyers are said to have been trying to punish the United States for some of its policies in the Arab world. The notion that the destroyers were engaged in a battle to save Islam from the Christians is one that our leaders made up and fed us. One explanation was that the person who proposed and organized the assault on the United States was angry at the American policy of favoring Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. That explanation was published once and then dropped. It hasn't been heard of since.

Speaking of an American bias in favor of Israel, and thinking about it, I just made a brief review of American policy toward Jewish attempts to come to the United States just before our entry into World War 2. It seems that the State Department was staffed with people who didn't want great hordes of refugees from central and eastern Europe to swarm to the United States. Therefore, they sent instructions to various American Consuls to delay as much as possible the process of obtaining entry visas. Ships of refugees from various ports in Germany were refused permission to land at any American port. Mostly these ships had to return to Germany.

One country stands out for its policy of providing a home for refugee Jews from Hitler's "final solution." Francisco Franco, the dictator of Spain, sent his diplomats throughout Europe with instructions to grant visas to any Jews who could make a reasonable claims to being descended from Jews who were expelled from Spain after the final victory over the Moors in 1492. Some 80,000 Jews were rescued in this way. In Spain there are synagogues that were unused for 500 years and are now again active.

After the war, the American public learned about the terrible policies of the German government toward the Jews. A national feeling of guilt came over us. In 1948 President Truman led the effort in having the United Nations establish the nation of Israel. About the same time, the Supreme Court declared that restrictive covenants that prevented Jews from buying homes in choice areas of Connecticut and other places were unconstitutional. We tried to atone for our part in the extermination of six million Jews. I don't mean that we aided or abetted the Nazis in their horrible acts but by refusing temporary asylum we added to the total number of victims.


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