How the Mosque Fearmongering Got Going

16 08 2010

Like the right of the First Lady and her nine-year-old daughter to visit Spain for a few days, much less the right to marry in California while gay even if white conservative Christian activists determined to take over State via Church slam their very existence as “tacky” or “unwise” oh, or “disrespectful” (code for offensive to real Americans), uppity rival religions anywhere in this great nation obviously can’t count on the Constitution in the same way those same white conservative Christians demand as THEIR god-given right.

Glenn Greenwald:

This is one of the most impressive and commendable things Obama has done since being inaugurated . . . what makes it particularly commendable is that there is no political gain to be had from doing it, and substantial political risk.

Justin Elliot: “[N]early 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast?”

See the Salon timeline of orchestrated mass hysteria on a cracker, a la Joe McCarthy:

To a remarkable extent, a Salon review of the origins of the story found, the controversy was kicked up and driven by Pamela Geller, a right-wing, viciously anti-Muslim, conspiracy-mongering blogger, whose sinister portrayal of the project was embraced by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

Here’s a timeline of how it all happened:

Harry Reid Says Mosque Should Be Built Somewhere Else

Angle and Vitter Issue Unasked-for Opinions on “Ground Zero Mosque”



39 responses

16 08 2010

Newt Gingrich is claiming we’d never accept a Nazi billboard next to the Holocaust Museum ergo no mosques near Ground Zero.

From an old comment in that old logic-impaired battle:

. . .god versus government, prayer versus public, to see which of those warring powers you and I will be forced to accept over our most private life choices.

I define home education as complex personal learning and thinking truly independent from both church and school indoctrination, which better fits description like this from :


“The mind is an unfathomable tool; it projects and imagines. It can conceive of unending processes, it can remember extinct events and it can create the weirdest gadgets. . . And surely not by deliberate consensus, just think of the debates, controversies and battles we would be facing if anybody could arbitrarily choose how to see the world — and try to impose this view on her fellow beings.

. . .A true Realist . . .will not stoop to choose between Beauty and Truth, he will have the tenacity to stick it through until Truth is caught shining in her own Beauty.

Sure there are messy proofs, we have to bushwhack through a wilderness of ad hoc arguments, tours des force, combinatorial jungles, false starts and the temptations of definitions ever so slightly off target. . .

And from a post called Nudes and Prudes:

My point here is what’s in people’s heads, harmful ideas and beliefs that policy cannot fix. Stuff that hurts children when parents and teachers and role models get it all twisted. You have to THINK, not just take the written rules and beat each other over the heads with them until the stronger, louder, ruder, more heavily armored warriors are left standing.

— to me the obscenity was hers and it was spiritual, not really flesh-based at all. Her prudish and self-righteous hysteria, about skin and eyeballs and biological differences, completely missed the deeper magic (like Aslan versus the White Witch) — modesty, self-control, courage, family, compassion, civility, conflict resolution.

Humanity, not nudity. We could have been flagged by the event’s authority for a technical violation, sure, but she violated the IMPORTANT rules as parent, teacher and adult role model.

16 08 2010

Andy Borowitz just Tweeted:

The only building for Muslims that Republicans seem to like is the one in Guantanamo.

17 08 2010

Mike Barnicle on Morning Joe just charged Newt Gingrich with “political pyromania” for bringing Nazis and the Holocaust into it, and “trying to ignite a fire where a very low flame exists.”

17 08 2010

Now Pat Buchanan is saying “we’re gonna have ourselves a real cultural war” because the flames have been fanned so much that it’s “gone global” (for which Hamas is to blame, of course, not any of the Christian culture warriors on his team!)

He’s practically cackling and rubbing his hands with satisfaction . . .

We’ve been having a culture war, at least since Buchanan himself was White House staff to Nixon, but it’s a civil war right here at home, not some grand crusade against the infidels overseas.

17 08 2010

Truthout comments from Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Robinson invoke Thomas Jefferson rather than Hitler:


The first White House observance of Ramadan was hosted in 1805 by Thomas Jefferson. He invited the Tunisian ambassador to the President’s House for dinner, and changed the time of the meal from the usual “half after three” to “precisely at sunset” so the envoy could comply with the Ramadan obligation to fast during daylight hours.

. . .Jefferson’s well-thumbed copy of the Koran is now in the Library of Congress. If the author of the Declaration of Independence were alive today, he would surely face censure from the big-mouthed, small-minded coterie of Republican presidential hopefuls.

. . .And that’s why we have a Bill of Rights that protects our freedoms against the whims of public opinion. Jefferson understood this. A bunch of opportunistic politicians — who love to quote him — obviously do not.

17 08 2010

And respect for the sanctity of Ground Zero? Just another inflammatory lie. This culture war is being waged by extremist Christian conservatives to dominate and/or destroy all of America, not just lower Manhattan:

South Florida blanched in 2006 when the Rev. [O’Neal] Dozier instigated his fear-mongering protests as Broward County’s oldest Islamic congregation sought zoning approval for a new mosque.

Dozier led demonstrations outside Pompano Beach City Hall, his protesters carrying signs proclaiming “No mosque” and “No jihad in my backyard.” At the city commission meeting, Dozier denigrated Islam as a terrorist cult.

. . . Pompano Beach by the way, is about 1,250 miles from the World Trade Center site.

. . . In Temecula, CA, protesters against a new mosque carried signs demanding “No More Mosques in America” and “No Rights for Mosques” and “Mosques are Monuments to Terrorism.”

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, similar protests received support from leading congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik, who stated, “This `Islamic Center’ is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee.”

In Sheboygan, Wis., what began as a mundane dispute over traffic and parking concerns devolved into extreme . . . characterizations of a proposed mosque.

Ironically, religious fundamentalism has gotten away with these terror tactics so far largely because real Americans DO respect our religious and ideological differences so much. But let’s face it, we ARE at war against religious fundamentalism and it’s clearer than ever that we’re gonna have to call it out and fight it here first, no longer defer to any side brandishing a cross, if we hope to protect “the real America” for ourselves and our posterity . . .

Cock of the snook to sam for the Lord’s Resistance Army link:

The group is based in apocalyptic Christianity but also is influenced by a blend of Mysticism and traditional religion, and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and Acholi tradition.

The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, sexual enslavement of women and children, and forcing children to participate in hostilities.

17 08 2010

Who Says All Religions Are the Same? by interfaith minister Philip Goldberg:

Never underestimate the tragic human tendency to oversimplify the complex.

The truth is, religions are both different and alike, depending on where one looks. And we need to look at the whole picture, because when we lean too far in either direction we lose our balance.

17 08 2010
Nance Confer

“And respect for the sanctity of Ground Zero?”

What sanctity? The dead people don’t care what is built there and it is too valuable a piece of real estate to be left in the hands of the superstitious.

18 08 2010

Local university NPR news this am as I was waking up to radio: big business PR conference here, all about using Twitter and FB to aggressively market to the young etc. Then the last speaker starts his part with, “I am smarter than Einstein, richer than Howard Hughes and I’m more beautiful even than Marilyn Monroe — yeah, I really am. (to laughter) You know why? Because they’re all DEAD.”

He went on to talk about time and real human relationships. I was thinking he should do some school accountability consulting . . .

18 08 2010

The new line is “sure it’s constitutional” but it makes everyone else feel uncomfortable so it must be stopped. This is another whole can of worms I was pondering, when Dr. Wendy Walsh of “momlogic dot com” comes on my teevee, being interviewed about the case of a 13-month-old baby being hit in the face by her mom on an airplane, en route. (The baby already had a black eye. ) So the flight attendant offered to help soothe the baby while the parents continued fighting, and took it to the back. CPS or police were called and the parents interviewed when the plane landed, and they claimed a dog bit the baby in the face hence the black eye. (What kind of parenting is THAT?? Is the dog still allowed access to the baby — is the dog still alive? It wouldn’t be if it had been my baby) Mom admitted striking her (already eye-blackened??) child in the face but said said the baby “kicked me so I popped her.”

So the baby goes right back to the parents and they fly off on another plane, baby at their mercy. Apocryphal babyface-biting dog, who knows?

Anyway, this is inappropriate and I feel very uncomfortable! Dr. Walsh says that all of us get uncomfortable say, walking through the park seeing how parents are treating their children including hitting them and hitting a baby is NEVER good parenting but there’s really nothing to do about it, except think how inappropriate it is and keep walking by, or offer to help out for a moment (which won’t help anyone for long) . . . some doctor, some system, huh?

The mosque demagoguers are the same ones demanding the right to do whatever they want to their babies including whipping and smacking and “popping” them as some sort of sacred parental right, whether it “makes the rest of us uncomfortable” or not and never mind whether the kids are all right. So where does that leave American values?

18 08 2010

More directly to the conservatives’ new point about what we CAN do v. what we SHOULD do, comes Greta Van Susteren of FOX using this distinction against her conservative corporate colleague:

Greta Van Susteren says her Fox News colleague Glenn Beck should move his rally planned for the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech there.

Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, which will include Sarah Palin, is described as a “non-political event” and an opportunity to “celebrate America by honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future.”

Beck has been criticized by civil rights leaders for his choice of date and venue.

And now Van Susteren is joining the chorus of critics.

“Yes he has a First Amendment right to do it…but what about the wisdom of it?” she wrote on her blog. “Glenn should move his event. It does not help heal the country on so many fronts if we poke a stick in eyes.”

Van Susteren added an update that she likes Beck personally and was only raising the question of whether the venue and date are appropriate.

It really is a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

18 08 2010

Now It’s perfectly legal free speech to lie about military honors and valor, even if you’re any kind of public official — but is it appropriate??

And let’s think about this decision a bit:

“The sad fact is, most people lie about some aspects of their lives from time to time.”

For the government to limit freedom of speech, it would have to show a compelling need, the decision argued . . .

S’okay with me. I would say the anti-prop 8 people’s lies are hurting individuals and society, so it’s a compelling need to limit them. And lying about dogbites so you can keep hitting your baby in the face without interference? Definitely —

19 08 2010

I’m assuming you’re talking about Cordoba House, the actual name of the place in question. But then again this is how the right wing go about business, this nasty game of semantics wherein they use language incorrectly to drive wedges between people. Marriage equality becomes anti-traditional marriage, and pro choice becomes pro abortion.

Of course, Cordoba House, the Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan doesn’t deliver the same punch as GROUND ZERO MOSQUE BOOOO THEY’RE GONNA EAT YOUR BABIES!!!1!

19 08 2010

Actually, they changed the name to Park 51 – since Gingrich had convinced the idiot brigade that Cordoba was some secret reference to conquering the Christians in Spain 800 years ago.

19 08 2010
Nance Confer

I like calling it the Burlington Coat Factory building. I think that is in keeping with the original intent of the building, as the founders would have wanted.


19 08 2010

this is how the right wing go about business, this nasty game of semantics wherein they use language incorrectly to drive wedges between people.

Right. “Islam is of the Devil” is Christian hate speech certainly “inappropriate” even if the Constitution permits it (short of becoming an imminent threat, which is pretty short these days!)

Take my state’s current holier-than-thou attorney general Bill McCollum (remember him from holier-than-thou Clinton impeachment as civil war?)

Re: FL law forbidding adoption by gay people and calling it American family values:

“There is evidence that homosexuals have higher rates of mental disorders, suicide and domestic violence,” said Timothy D. Osterhaus, deputy solicitor general for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is representing DCF.

“This is a plausible rationale.”

McCollum wants to be our NEXT governor now, as if the Catholic Terri Schiavo kidnapper [Jeb Bush] followed by the hurricane pray-away panderer [Charlie Crist] weren’t more than what I should be called upon in one lifetime to endure from ruling “Christians” calling it American . . .

21 08 2010

“Is there any reason to oppose the mosque that isn’t bigoted, or demagogic, or unconstitutional? None that I’ve heard or read.

. . . You don’t need a Bill of Rights to protect people’s right to do or say things that are popular. The First Amendment would be of limited value if every exercise of freedom that wins its protection immediately faces the second hurdle of a popularity contest.”

22 08 2010

From “Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All That Bites You”:

“A patriotic song is an emotion and you must not embarrass an audience with it, or they will hate your guts.”
–Irving Berlin, father of the beloved “God Bless America”

By birth Irving Berlin shared neither god nor country with patriotic Christian Americans. No, he was born Jewish and Russian — personal background seldom endearing to the religious right — his family soon fleeing the latter because of the former. . .
he honeymooned in CUBA with his first wife, a bad idea that killed her. He then married a Catholic whose prominent family disapproved of their mixed-faith match.

. . .So for us as his audience, what [Jew-and-Muslim-segregating, immigrant-targeting, red-baiting, holier-than-thou, rah-rah-real-American] truth lies in that?

Well, in addition to his lifelong support for our military, he was honored in 1944 by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for “advancing the aims of the conference to eliminate religious and racial conflict.”

22 08 2010

Gre-a-at. This is my hometown, the university town where I grew up and studied and worked, where I was a quiet, polite moderate to what seemed like everyone else’s active and assertive liberalism!

First Islam Is of the Devil shirts at school and now this? (Talk about the devil.)

They don’t belong here.” She said it twice for emphasis: “They don’t belong here.”

. . . such anti-Islamic sentiment appears to be growing stronger, in California and all across the U.S. . . .
It’s not just mosques being targeted, but increasingly, the Muslim faith itself.

A church in Gainesville, Fla., is even planning a “burn the Quran” day on Sept. 11.

22 08 2010

Rick Lazio (R-NY) is on Meet the Press today insisting that this has nothing to do with victim sensitivities much less politics or religion! — nope, not to do with anything but the importance of financial transparency, that for our national security all religious funding must be examined (by him?) for approval before religious outreach can be conducted — or maybe he means only construction of all places of worship, or just this one particular place, or only the Muslim places, or only all non-Christian places?

Or more likely what he really means is how easy the lies have become.

22 08 2010
Nance Confer

Are all the churches going to open their books to public inspection?

22 08 2010

That was this inquiring mind’s question, yep, yep . . .

22 08 2010

And after they do, they’ll wait patiently until you and I personally approve their plans for expansion, I’m sure.

23 08 2010

Leonard Pitts:

So much of what purports to be political discourse these days is instead this primal scream of self righteousness and outrage. So much of it seems predicated upon the presumption that ideology is identity and reason, treason.

How often have you heard a politician say something intellectually dishonest, and you knew it was intellectually dishonest and he knew it was intellectually dishonest and you knew he knew, and you knew he knew you knew — but he went and said it anyway.

Because he’s not trying to convince anyone of the fitness of his ideas, nor persuade them to his point of view. No, his only object is to tick off his talking points, hit his applause lines, score for his side.

Sometimes you wonder if anyone is still on the country’s side. You couldn’t prove it by most of what passes for leadership these days. Which is why we never seem to reach national consensus, never seem to find compromise, never do anything except boil with a free floating, self-perpetuating anger.

23 08 2010

And when it’s not lies, it’s some seriously, perhaps even scientifically messed-up minds; see Thinking We’re Thinking Is What’s Wrong:

. . .The overall findings suggest to me that no human decision-making process, by individuals only or groups only or any combination such as we use for parenting and culture, politics and policy, is ever really “natural” and “right” while all other approaches are manipulative, biased and wrong.

Each “has value” and also is “about values.” Which is both good and bad, functional and dysfunctional, at the same time in different applications, in various measure. Each has pros and cons, natural and hidden bias, etc.

There is a considerable mismatch between the world in which our minds evolved and our current existence. . . our minds were not adapted to cope with a world of billions of people. The life of a modern city dweller, surrounded by strangers, is an evolutionary novelty. . .

This history has left its mark on our minds. Children are irrepressible taxonomizers, placing the world of distinct individuals into categories based on their appearance, their patterns of movement and their presumed deeper natures. . .

Think of business managment and education administration decisions such as admissions, also all levels of government *including* church governance and its decision-making by individuals and groups.

Whatever one believes about the divine, it is clear that church governance is humans making decisions and thus imperfect, even as it promises and tries to deliver the reliable comfort of infallibility and tradition, definitions and ordering of knowledge, discernible identity and state of being.

(And historically, we know even scripture/gospel was selected, categorized and ordered by humans, with human biases and assumptions and uncertainties — so I’d argue the current research findings apply and can help us understand that better too, toward ultimate human goals.)

23 08 2010

Americans taking out their discrimination toward minority religions on the president of the United States, is as American as apple pie; the custom has been going on as long as there has been a presidency. George Washington was the subject of widespread grumbling that he was a more loyal Mason than he was a Christian.

. . . It’s the nature of how we conflate political frustration, economic anxiety, and concern about the changing fabric of our identity. In a country where our national character has been tied up with God since our founding, it’s hardly surprising that we tar our political opponents with worshiping a different god than we do.

After all, a politician who subscribes to our religious values would never have gotten us into this mess, now would he?

But as reliably as Americans have adopted these views, they’ve also moved past them. In every case of religious discrimination in the United States, whether it was Methodists in the eighteenth century, Catholics in the nineteenth century, or Jews in the twentieth century, the once reviled and ostracized “outsider” religion in America eventually makes it into the inner circle.

And odds are the pattern will repeat itself with Muslims in the twenty-first century.

Bruce Feiler is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths and America’s Prophet: How the Story of Moses Shaped America, which will be released in paperback next month.

23 08 2010

An imperfect peace is preferable to a righteous conflict.

If Park51 were to relocate the project, will the opponents then turn their energy to support the other mosque projects around the country that are facing bigoted opposition?

Will opponents repudiate the church in Florida that is planning to burn the Quran on the 2010 anniversary of 9/11?

Will Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich educate their supporters on the reality of the American Muslim community . . . as being “decidedly American in their outlook, values and attitudes?”

Silly wabbit.

24 08 2010
Nance Confer

The “compromise” talk sounds like such garbage to me. Especially on a day when I am headed to vote. Should women have compromised away that right?

24 08 2010
Nance Confer

And on NPR this morning I was warned that the scary Muslim bloggers are all in favor of continued fighting so we should hurry up and compromise already. Bite me, scary Muslim bloggers. We have stupid fights like this all the time in this country and the answer is not to cave in to hate and fear.

24 08 2010

(crossposted from the money-for-blogging discussion)
Did you see Jon Stewart last night?? About FOX giving a million to anti-Muslim politics while having their own Saudi prince on board?
The best real journalism on faux news . . .’FIGHT RADICAL ISLAM BY TURNING OFF FOX’

Monday August 23, 2010
The Parent Company Trap
Fox News is either evil or stupid for not mentioning that Alwaleed bin Talal is News Corp.’s largest shareholder.

24 08 2010

New wrinkle today: comes now the only place of worship actually destroyed on 9/11, right at the foot of the trade center towers. It is not blocks away but literally AT “Ground Zero” and part of it, not associated in anyone’s mind with the attack except as among its victims.

Yet the authority for rebuilding Ground Zero itself doesn’t want them building back their worship there (it’s a Greek Orthodox church, if that’s relevant but I don’t see how.) This underlines btw that the religion-sponsored community center at issue (we could call it the YMMA — like YMCA, only Muslim instead of Christian) some city blocks away and out of sight-line, isn’t considered part of Ground Zero either legally or logically, any more than the neighboring strip and peep clubs, bars and such.

In other words, the GZ authority has no authority over IT and furthermore, that authority never meant to remake the whole lower end of Manhattan as a sacred shrine. In fact, it isn’t even making GZ itself a place of worship, unless you consider worship of commerce a religion (now we may be getting somewhere!)
Curiouser and curiouser.

24 08 2010

So that’s a couple of hints that anti-Islam politics and religion might once again turn out to be all about the money. Hmmm, that reminds me:

These blood-red-lettered t-shirts got several Alachua County School students wearing them, including one 10-year-old, removed from the learning environment as not part of what we want kids learning at school:


religious t-shirt islam is of the devil sept 2009 gainesville

Inquiring minds want to know: why does such a message form the core curriculum of a group calling itself The Dove World Outreach Center? I was taught to think of “peace” in association with “dove” but either I was miseducated or these folks aren’t using words in academically defensible ways.

[UPDATE: or in legally defensible ways? — check out this related Gainesville Sun story about the “Dove Center” in which the hidden curriculum is not about dress codes but tax codes. . .]

That was last fall’s lovely back-to-school lesson from my hometown. Now please note this is the same Florida city — a university town, shame on them! — and the same pastor of the same “Dove Outreach” church, where the nationally-reported “International Burn a Quran” event is upcoming this September 11.

In this CNN story, the Gainesville church hosting a counter-event for actual peace and ecumenical understanding is my own childhood church, Trinity United Methodist.

25 08 2010

Covert Operations:
The billionaire brothers who are waging a [for-profit] war against Obama

by Jane Mayer

Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.

These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests.

In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.”

25 08 2010

BREAKING NEWS Cash really IS King and we’re all just serfs now. Health care corporate sleaze buys (for $50 million) the right to represent himself and his own interests directly, cutting out journalism, party and the people altogether — except “people” he already owns and therefore commands.

“He’s winning for a simple reason: His message appealed to Floridians to people who want a change . . . people who want opportunities,” [pandered] Karen Bowling, CEO of Solantic, Scott’s chain of walk-in clinics.


While Scott was CEO, the hospital company Columbia/HCA perpetrated one of the largest Medicare frauds in U.S. history. Scott left with a rich severance package, while the company repaid the government a record $1.7 billion.

25 08 2010
Nance Confer

And BP just bought the “research” they needed to tell us all to calm down.

25 08 2010

And FOX is buying the mantle of the civil rights movement for Glenn Beck, literally as “King.” Meanwhile the Koch brothers have used their billions to create a Tea Party Frankenstein in their own immoral image:

WaPo’s Ezra Klein
Most Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement are understandably concerned about the size and reach of government. Their enthusiasm is a clear Republican advantage. But Tea Party populism is just as clearly incompatible with some conservative and Republican beliefs. It is at odds with Abraham Lincoln’s inclusive tone and his conviction that government policies could empower individuals. It is inconsistent with religious teaching on government’s responsibility to seek the common good and to care for the weak. It does not reflect a Burkean suspicion of radical social change.

28 08 2010

The language of the American founders contains not one word about sensitivity. . .
We can truly secure ourselves against persecution only by binding ourselves against the privilege of being persecutors.

. . . did Paine and others mean to extend such toleration to Muslims? They did, and they said they did. The question was openly debated whether religious liberty ought to be extended to such outliers as Catholics, Muslims and Jews. . .

The exclusion of religious tests is by many thought dangerous and impolitic. They suppose that if there be no religious tests required, Pagans, Deists and Mahometans might obtain offices among us, and that the Senate and Representatives might all be Pagans.

. . . in the same debate, David Caldwell objected that the American Constitution would allow a toleration so sweeping “there was an invitation for Jews, and Pagans of every kind, to come among us”; and he ended by suggesting “those gentlemen who formed this Constitution, should not have given this invitation to Jews and Heathens.”

The answer this time came from Samuel Spencer. No religious test, argued Spencer, could possibly exclude the most rightly feared enemies of faith, namely secret unbelievers, who are willing hypocritically to profess a belief they do not hold.

. . .American Christians in 2010 (if they are white) cannot easily call on memories of persecution to support a commitment to toleration. Even Catholics, who now have six judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, and Jews, who have three judges, may find that such fears hardly seem to apply in America. . . .we all turn unimaginative — and therefore morally lazy — when the tracks of a prejudice favor our fortunes for long enough.

5 09 2010
Believer or Not, You Won’t Believe This « Cocking A Snook!

[…] How the Mosque Fearmongering Got Going […]

9 09 2010

The wide variety of postures reflects a schism among Jews in New York, who have been among the most vocal proponents on both sides of the debate over the Islamic center. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is the project’s most prominent supporter. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, contends that organizers have every legal right to build but should refrain in deference to the survivors of those killed on 9/11.

Some scholars suggest that, more than any other religious minority in the United States, Jews have a special stake in the controversy.

“This debate touches on the two strongest commitments that American Jews have,” said Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist and a professor at Hebrew Union College in Manhattan. “One is to protect democracy and the rights of minorities, which makes Jews feel safer. The other is to protect Israel, which makes Jews feel safer.”

“This is a battle over which vulnerability you feel more keenly,” he said.

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