Saturday, September 08, 2012


In The New York Times today, Samuel Freedman reminds us of an upcoming anniversary:
In the coming days, the calendar will bring the anniversaries of two signal events. One, of course, is Sept. 11....

The other anniversary is of the visit President George W. Bush made to a Washington mosque just six days after the attack, where he spoke eloquently against the harassment of Arabs and Muslims living in the United States and about the need to respect Islam.

This act of leadership and statesmanship, however, has all but vanished from the national collective memory. It deserves, instead, to be noted and heeded and esteemed....

After hailing American Muslims as "friends" and "taxpaying citizens"' in his comments at the mosque, Mr. Bush went on to say: "These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that." He quoted from the Koran: "In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil." Then he continued in his own words: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war." ...
I don't give Bush credit for much of what he did after that -- and what he did after that had the effect of increasing Americans' sense that Muslims are an indistiguishable mass, prone to hatred of America and to terrorism -- but his willingness to say and do these things puts him ahead of any prominent Republican in America today.

On the visit, Freedman writes:
Mr. Bush removed his shoes, in accordance with Islamic practice, before entering the mosque's prayer room. He met for about 45 minutes with leaders of several American Muslim organizations, including Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
CAIR! He met with the head of CAIR! A group despised by every Islamophobe in America!

President Obama doesn't dare to do anything like this, though he continues to commemorate Muslim holidays, as Bush did.

I wonder what would happen in a Romney/Ryan administration. More to the point, I wonder if there'll be any restraining of Islamophobia in the event of another jihadist attack. If that happens again, will the president, whoever he is, speak out against group hatred?

Elsewhere in the Times -- literally if you turn the page in the print edition -- we learn that Islamophobes are trying to block construction persists in Brooklyn:
... a determined group of opponents see in the half-built concrete and brick frame a provocation. To them, it is a blight, a source of future traffic congestion and worse: a beachhead for Muslim expansion in Brooklyn and a beacon for anti-Semitism.

"Yes, they are smiling, but you know what's behind their smiles?" said Leonid Krupnik, 62, one of the two protesters late last month. Like many of the mosque's opponents, he has strong memories of anti-Semitism as a Jew from the former Soviet Union. "Hatred. They want to create a caliphate. They want to push people out of this neighborhood."
Yes, he's from the former Soviet Union -- but I bet he didn't pick up that "caliphate" talking point there. I bet he picked it up from Glenn Beck. Or, I suppose, a pre-Etch A Sketch Mitt Romney:

This is unsurprising, but distressing:
David Storobin, who squeaked out a victory in a special State Senate election in March and who is now running in a newly drawn district that spans much of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, wrote in June to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, saying the mosque's institutional sponsor "has links to radical organizations" like Hamas and Hezbollah. Ben Akselrod, who is running for the State Assembly in Brooklyn, has expressed similar fears.
That institutional sponsor is the Muslim American Society. When then-congressman Michael McMahon asked the FBI about MAS in response to constituent questions about another proposed mosque, the congressman said this:
"The FBI responded to my request for information and they gave me no indication whatsoever that the Muslim American Society is affiliated with any organization that threatens our national security."


But the Times also gives us a more hopeful story -- about halal butcher shops in East L.A. that now serve a largely Hispanic clientele:
Sebastian Flores walked out of Al Salam PollerĂ­a with a free bag of white-feathered chicken heads.

Mr. Flores, 26, an immigrant and a regular customer of Al Salam, a Muslim, family-owned halal poultry shop, was driving home when he developed a craving for the treat. He was planning on sprinkling the chicken heads with poultry seasoning and roasting them in the oven, the way they did back home in Puebla, Mexico.

Customers like Mr. Flores are the lifeblood of Al Salam Polleria, a thriving shop that opened 28 years ago "by accident," according to its founders. Abdul Elhawary and his brother-in-law, Safwat Elrabat, who died 12 years ago, opened the shop in East Los Angeles because the zoning there allowed the sale and on-site slaughter of live poultry, in accordance with their religion's dietary requirements.

... Much to their surprise, ... Latino immigrant customers did show up, and in large numbers.

"It was a very happy coincidence and very happy surprise," said Mr. Elrabat's daughter, Iman Elrabat-Gabr, 37, "that Latinos were really interested in fresh chicken." ...
Stories like that give me hope for America.

1 comment:

Victor said...


Who are you?
And what have you done with the real Steve M.? :-)

Yeah, there's still some good around - for now.

FSM only knows what will happen if Mitt and the Republicans win.
Or, maybe even worse, if they lose...

And I'll give W credit for two things - that call on the people of the Muslim faith, after 9/11, and the help he extended to Africa (sans the stupid abortion restrictions, of course!).

Other than that, he had/has no redeaming features.

And I still want to live long enough to piss on that motherfecker's graves - AND Cheney's!