A Reality Check in the Ground Zero Mosque Debate

The war of words has become short on facts

As the "Ground Zero mosque" debate spins further and further into madness, the facts of the story have gotten lost in two competing and mutually exclusive narratives, with claims and counterclaims about events that, in some cases, go back nearly a thousand years. So, in the interest of clarity, here a few reality checks for both sides in the war of words.

Was the Cordoba Center, a.k.a. Park 51, intended as an Islamic "victory monument" on the site of the World Trade Center destruction?

While no one can see into the heads of the project's leaders, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, the background of the project offers overwhelming evidence to the contrary. According to media reports, a building that would combine a mosque with a cultural and community center similar to the YMCA is an idea that Rauf has been pitching for more than a decade. In 2003, according to Stephen Schwartz (a reformist Muslim critical of the project), he was exploring the possibility of creating such a center on 96th Street in Manhattan, over 100 blocks away from Ground Zero. The New York Times reports that as early as 1999, the imam tried to buy a property for such a project at 23rd Street, but the sale fell through due to financing difficulties.

In December 2009, after the first media reports about the plans for the Cordoba Center, Khan said in an interview on Fox News that "the closeness of the center to Ground Zero is a real blow to the extremists," since it would promote a version of Islam that teaches tolerance and love as a counterweight to radical ideology. Is it possible that the center's founders are knowingly sending a very different coded message to radical Islamists worldwide? In the absence of mind-reading or smoking-gun secret memos, this charge can be neither proved nor disproved. However, based on Rauf's and Khan's history (with all its questionable moments, of which more anon), it seems highly unlikely.

Will radical Islamists worldwide interpret the center's construction as a symbol of their glorious victory even if it is not intended as such?

Even if they did, one might ask whether political decisions in the United States should be driven by how they are perceived by fanatics abroad. Furthermore, considering that the center will house both a mosque and facilities open to non-Muslims and host interfaith programs—and that its co-founder, Khan, is a woman who does not wear head covering—it is more likely than radical Islamists would see the project as an abomination.

Ironically, this week the Pajamas Media site ran a piece reporting that Egyptian Islamic scholar and self-proclaimed jihadist Abd al-Muti Bayum has condemned the "Ground Zero mosque" as a devious "Zionist conspiracy" to discredit Islam by linking it to the September 11 attacks. This was cited as an argument against the Cordoba Center. This is strange logic: the center shouldn't be built because radical Islamists will like it ... or because they will hate it.

Was the construction of a mosque and Islamic center so close to Ground Zero an "in-your-face" gesture guaranteed to spark a furious reaction?

Surprisingly, the answer is, "not necessarily." Salon.com's Justin Elliott points out that reports about the plans for Cordoba Center, which first appeared last December, elicited no reaction for several months. After the project received approval from a community-board committee, the New York Post ran a tiny and positive item about it on May 6. The controversy began after Pamela Geller, a far-right blogger who peddles "birther" conspiracies about Obama, announced a protest against the "911 mosque" and was given a platform by Post columnist Andrea Peyser and Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity. (Geller's group, Stop Islamization of America, opposes mosques in places very far removed from Ground Zero, and its Facebook page features discussions on whether Islam can be legally banned.)

While Salon.com has a strong left-wing bias, Elliott's report seems reliable and has not been challenged. Perhaps his most remarkable find is that, in Daisy Khan's aforementioned December interview on Fox News, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, guest-hosting for Bill O'Reilly, sounded quite sympathetic to the project despite questioning some of Imam Rauf's political statements. Noting that no one seemed to have a problem with the planned mosque, Ingraham told Khan, "I like what you're doing," and invited her to appear on her radio show.

Whether a furor over the center was inevitable is a virtually unanswerable "what if" question. Yet Victor Davis Hanson actually accuses the project's organizers of a secret plan to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash and make America look bigoted. Of course, one might reply that it would have been smarter not to take the bait.

Does Imam Rauf represent precisely the kind of moderate, tolerant Islam that opponents of jihadism should encourage? Or is he a closet radical Islamist out to replace the U.S. Constitution with Koran-based sharia law?

The answer to the latter is a pretty straightforward "no," and the claim is almost entirely based on innuendo and distortion. A particularly egregious Pajamas Media article by anti-mosque activist Madeline Brooks charged that Rauf had attended a conference of the radical Islamist organization Hizb-ut Tahrir in 2007. Yet, as documented by R.E.A.L. (Responsible for Equality and Liberty), a Washington, D.C.-based group that opposes extremism and bigotry of every stripe, the article Brooks links actually describes Rauf's exchange with several Hizb-ut Tahrir members at an event promoting his book; on its own website, Hizb-ut Tahrir's condemns Rauf as an American "propagandist."

However, claims by Cordoba Center supporters that Rauf is the very model of a modern Muslim moderate are overly optimistic. Much of Rauf's work is admirable. In his writings on sharia, he has consistently argued that Islam should preserve what he believes is the true spirit of Koranic law—justice, equality and tolerance—while discarding tenets that promote the subjugation of women or hostility to non-Muslims. In his 2004 book What's Right With Islam, he suggests that the U.S. system of government may be "the form of governance that best expresses Islam's original values and principles." Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, a program run by the American Society for Muslim Advancement co-founded by Rauf and Khan, has included such dissident voices as Irshad Manji, a lesbian feminist strongly critical of traditional Islam.

However, some of Rauf's comments over the years are legitimate cause for concern. He has made statements that seem to minimize radical Islamist terror—by pointing to the Christian West's killing of civilians in Hiroshima and Dresden, or asserting that the West must apologize for its wrongs toward Muslims before terrorism can end. (Rauf may be rightly critical of Western support for repressive regimes in the Muslim world, but any call for an end to terror should be unconditional.) He has refused to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization—which is not an encouraging approach to promoting moderation, even if his motive is a misguided inclusiveness rather than sympathy.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This seems like a good time to remind everyone with central air conditioning to change your filters. You've been running the system all summer long and no doubt the filter has collected a great deal of dust and debris. The restriction of air flow will limit life of your system.

    Federal law prohibits you from changing your smoke detector batteries until the Daylight Saving Time switch, but nothing should prevent you from changing that filter. Your A/C will reward you with many more cool summer days ahead.

  • ||

    Good advise, especially if you have pets. Pet hair will accumulate more quickly than you realize.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Speaking of pet hair, it's also a good time to organize your pornography.

  • ||

    it's also a good time to organize your pornography.

    And make sure you have a porn buddy. Those things are not going to get rid of themselves if you get run over by a bus tomorrow.

  • ||

    Augh, a porn buddy! I never thought of that. I threw mine out concerned what people would find if I got run over.

  • Joe R.||

    People still own porn? You can stream that on the internet now. No need to own any.

  • Mike the Grouch||

    This is the single most disrespectful comment I have read during this entire debate! You sound like an anti-pet bigot to me, and I while I oppose your hateful dogmatic caterwauling, I support (at least I say I support) your right to speak your ratty little mind. I'm not horsing around here.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "This is the single most disrespectful comment I have read during this entire debate!"

    Thank you! That means a lot to me.

  • DG||

    Chicken Fried Steak

    8 6-ounce tenderized beef cutlets at room temperature
    (or tenderized center cut boneless pork chop,or tenderized boneless chicken breasts)
    3 cups flour
    2 cups milk at room temperature
    2 teaspoons Meat Seasoning
    2 cups frying oil, preferably canola
    2 eggs
    Skillet Cream Gravy

    Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl and set this egg wash aside. Combine the flour and meat seasoning in another bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy 14-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat to 350°. Use a 550° thermometer to check temperature. The oil should pop loudly when a drop of egg wash is dropped in. Dip each of the first 4 cutlets in the egg wash mixture. Dredge them in the flour, then dip them back into the egg wash,and very gently place them in the hot oil. As you carry them one at a time from the egg wash to the skillet, hold a plate under them to catch the dripping egg wash. There’ll be a regular explosion of noisy oil a-popping. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until breading is set and golden brown.Gently turn them with a long-handled meat fork or long metal tongs. Be careful. Cook another 3 minutes. Carefully remove them from the skillet and drain on a platter lined with paper towels. Let oil reheat and repeat process for other 4 cutlets. Serve with Cream Gravy and Mashed Potatoes. Makes 8 servings.

    Courtesy of Threadgill's, Austin, TX

  • ||

    Eggs?!? You sick bastard!

  • AlmightyJB||

    You're missing the bacon. The bacon is the key to heavenly wonderfulness.

    Country Fried Steak with White Gravy
    Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2007
    Prep Time: 20 min Inactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time: 25 min Level:
    Intermediate Serves:
    4 servings Ingredients
    1 (1 3/4 to 2-pound) round steak, cut into 4 equal portions
    3 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows, divided
    1/2 pound bacon, diced
    1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
    1 large egg
    2 1/2 cups milk, divided
    1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
    Vegetable oil, for frying, if needed
    1/2 cup minced yellow onions
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Serving suggestion: Cheesy grits, optional

    Place the pieces of steak on a plastic wrap covered work surface and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound the meat to a 1/4-inch thickness with a meat mallet. Season both sides of the meat with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Essence.

    Fry the bacon in a large skillet until just crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, leaving the fat in the pan. Set the pan aside.

    Combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the Essence in a large shallow bowl. Whisk the egg with 1/2 cup of the milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Essence in another bowl. Combine the bread crumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon Essence in another shallow bowl or baking dish.

    Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour, then dip in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the meat in the seasoned bread crumbs, coating each side evenly. Shake off any excess bread crumbs. Reserve the seasoned flour.

    Reheat the bacon fat in the skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. In batches, without crowding (you may only be able to cook 1 portion at a time), carefully add the meat and fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side, adding a small amount of the vegetable oil, if necessary, for frying. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

    Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved seasoned flour to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, to make a light roux. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups milk, the salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is thickened and there is no raw flour taste, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon.

    Serve the steaks with the hot gravy and cheesy grits, if desired.

    Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
    2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons salt
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    1 tablespoon dried thyme
    Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

    Yield: 2/3 cup

    Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

    Published by William Morrow, 1993.

  • It's always 4:20!||

    Emeril is an ewok.

  • Shoeless Chris||

    Too tall to be an Ewok, to short to be a Wookie. Vexing

  • AlmightyJB||

    Maybe,but you can put that white gravy on a shoe and it would be great.

  • creech||

    Thanks F.O.E., I'm sure none of us would have thought to change our air filters without your helpful notice.
    Can I nominate you for AirFiltration Czar?

  • Conservatard Nannie||

    No. That position is for appointees.

  • ||

    Fist, I finally checked out some of those new Futurama episodes the other night, and was impressed.

    I think it might bump ATHF as my second favorite cartoon right behind The Boondocks.

  • waffles||

    Venture Brothers is brilliant. I am ashamed for you for preferring ATHF over it, ever.

  • ||


  • Fiscal Meth||

    Dean: "I dare you to make less sense!"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Eye-Phone episode of Futurama was great. I haven't seen too many Aqua Teen, and am only partially into season four of Venture Bros. SO DON'T GIVE ANY SPOILERS.

    Am I supposed to be attracted to Dr. Girlfriend? Because I am.

  • ||

    That depends on how the phrase "surgically grafted baboon uterus" makes you feel.

  • ||

    We have a woman at work that talks just like Billy. Every time I see her I hear that in my mind.

  • ||

    Does she have an albino companion?

    I'm currently re-watching VB season 3 and can only marvel at its brilliance.

    Am I supposed to be attracted to Dr. Girlfriend? Because I am.

    Yes, in spite of her being voiced by Doc Hammer. Other than that, she's everything you need in a woman.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In spite of?

  • ||

    Yeah, but did VB ever do a juggalo episode?

  • ||

    Did ATHF ever make a Klaus Nomi reference?

  • ||

    Boys and girls, can't we all just get along? ATHF, VB and Futurama all have excellent qualities that we can all agree commend each show, which all far surpass the shit that is on network TV. I might add that Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law RULES! How could they have killed him?????

  • ||

    How could they have killed him?????

    There can be no catharsis without a dose of pathos.

  • ||

    Who the fuck is Klaus Nomi?


    Fucking lame.

  • ||

    In the context of David Bowie being the leader of the guild of calamitous intent, fucking brilliant.

  • ||

    "Pay no attention to the handsome and ageless rockstar hiding behind the couch."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Fist, I finally checked out some of those new Futurama episodes the other night...

    "The other night". It has a name, cap. It's Thursday. Or Monday. Or any of the various other days of the week when Comedy Central overdoes it on showing its reruns.

  • ||

    Thanks, FOE, I had been putting that off.

  • Almanian||

    Excellent advice. I changed mine just Saturday - it was quite overdue.

    I also recommend keeping at least one extra filter (preferably two) on hand so it's easy and convenient to change them. When you use one, pick up a replacement next time you're at Lowes or Home Depot and you're good to go.

  • hmm||

    Get the lotion. It's mosquerbating time!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Mosque That Roared.

    Has anyone used that yet?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    First I've seen it. But it's good.

  • ||

    Safe Cooking: How to Reduce Cancer Risks When You Grill

    Did you know that grilling meat increases the production of compounds that are linked to a greater risk of certain cancers? According to an article published by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), researchers have found evidence of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in meats that are cooked on outdoor grills.

    The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to reduce that risk. Follow these five tips to cook great barbeque safely and deliciously.

    1. Marinate meats for at least 12 hours. Evidence suggests that this simple step can reduce the amount of HCAs that are formed when grilling by as much as 99 percent.

    2. Try kabobs instead of large pieces of meat, such as steaks. The less time the meat spends on the grill, the better. Kabobs have short cooking times because meat is cut into small, bite-size pieces. If you must cook large portions, pre-cook the meat by baking it, and then grill for a few minutes at the end of the cooking process for added flavor
    3. Grill meat at low temperatures, and flip frequently to avoid charring.

    4. Remove burnt or blackened parts of meat before eating.

    5. Trim the fat from your meat before grilling to avoid drips, which cause flare-ups and charring.

  • ||

    6. Eat tofu, you goddamn hippie.

  • ||

    FWIW, I was on the phone and just grabbed the first BBQ safety tips I found. The only one I agree with is #1 and only on account of yummyness.

  • dhex||

    actually, grilled tofu is fucking amazing when done right.

  • ||

    Not taking grilling advice from a man who disdains lamb.

  • T||

    I smoked a boneless leg of lamb yesterday as an experiment. I almost made myself sick gorging on it. It was fantastic. I highly recommend smoked lamb to those of you who cook outdoors.

  • ||

    Sounds awesome dude. I love cooking leg of lamb in the summer.


  • T||

    For smoking, I usually brine overnight in 1 c. salt, 1c. sugar, and 1 gal. water. Throw some crushed garlic in there and some rosemary. Drain it in the morning. I used 3 tablespoons of a 4-3-2-1 rub mixed with 1 T. rosemary, 2 t. thyme, and 2 t. basil as a dry rub. Throw it on the smoker until it hits 155 internally. I use the Jack Daniels wood chips in a gas smoker. I'm having leftovers for lunch today.

  • ||

    You can also throw fresh rosemary springs directly onto the chips and create rosemary smoke.

  • carnivore||

    155? You're ruining it!

    I'd pull it at 135, 145 tops!

  • T||

    Truthfully, I would too, but I have to consider the wife. If I pull it at 145, she wouldn't eat it.

  • carnivore||

    "but I have to consider the wife"

    I like steak rare and cook it medium rare. I like fairly intense smoke flavor and instead of continually adding chips I only add one dose to give a mild smoke flavor.


  • AlmightyJB||

    yeah, that's about perfect. I can actually take it rarer if it's a good but.

  • thoreau||

    kiwi bastard!

  • ||

    Bah! Good meat needs nothing but salt and vigorous heat.

    But marinade does having it's place on the chicken and whatnot that lesser peoples eat.

  • ||

    Sir, you forget the black pepper...

  • ||


  • ||

    Sug is also capsicum-intolerant.

  • carnivore||

    Time to fire up the smoker!

    Mesquite or hickory...?

  • T||

    Hickory. I can't stand mesquite, but that's a personal issue.

  • ||

    I'm with you, T. Mesquite always tastes faintly of creosote to me.

  • T||

    Yeah, it has that bitter acrid taste
    I find rather off putting. But mesquite's a big damn deal here in TX.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Mesquite can be really good as long as you don't expose the meat too long to the smoke. That's when you get that bitter acrid taste. I'll use it with chicken thighs, smoke maybe 20-30 minutes, finish without smoke (wrap in foil or finish in oven or whatever works). You can probably go even a little longer. Start with 15-20 and see see what you think. It's actually really good especially with some hickory BBQ sauce.

  • ||

    Why, Mosquete of course.

  • ||

    Safe Cooking: How to Reduce Cancer Risks Flavor When You Grill

    The only suggestion that doesn't make grilling completely pointless is (1), and there are certain cuts of meat that should never be marinated. If I catch anyone marinating a NY strip, I will punch them in the neck.

  • Warty||

    . If you must cook large portions, pre-cook the meat by baking it, and then grill for a few minutes at the end of the cooking process for added flavor


  • ||

  • ||

    Lawrence Olivier would probably say "Yes, yes, that nucking futs, heartbreaking bitch was indeed."

  • SIV ||

  • =-(||

    I was crushed when I learned Portia de Rossi was a carpet licker.

  • ||

    I have a bit of carpet down south beach way. And a bit of a surprise.

  • DesigNate||

    She was fraking hillarious on Better Off Ted. That show was down right funny!

  • =-(||

    I had a gf who liked Boston Public, so I'd watch it with her and get a chubby every time Portia was in a scene.

    She could put a woody on a statue.

  • ||

    Amoebas are more than just blobs.

  • Buffalo Bill||

    "Put the goddamn lotion on the Mosque!"

  • ||

    "I can smell your mosque."

  • Stevo Darkly||

    "I can't tell where your mosque ends and my church begins."

    MosqueObsession. By Calvin Klein.

  • Stevo Darkly||

    Wait, I could have done a better job at this:

    "I can't tell where your mosque ends and my Ground Zero begins."

    MosqueObsession. By Calvin Klein.

  • ||

    I think one of the questions I'd like to explore in detail is the this Imam's tactics in using the United States government to promote himself and his cause...

    "Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the organizer of the planned Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, arrived in Bahrain on Thursday to begin a three-country tour of the Persian Gulf sponsored by the United States State Department."


    To what extent does using the United States government to promote yourself and your cause make what you're promoting a legitimate issue for American voters?

    To me as a libertarian? That question pretty much answers itself.

    There's one other pretty obvious point of order that Cathy Young's piece doesn't address...

    At what point does the stated purpose of building this thing, in order to facilitate interfaith understanding, stop being a joke and start being insulting to our intelligence?

    I might buy that line before all this opposition materialized, but now that it's completely obvious to everyone that the location of this mosque has done more to inflame interfaith hatred in this country than anything else in recent memory--at what point does continuing to claim that they're building this thing to help induce interfaith harmony in the American people become completely risible?

  • Applederry||

    His trip has nothing to do with the community center, so it's irrelevant regarding this issue.

    In regards to continuing despite all the opposition, you have to consider long-term gains. People are mad now, but the center will be built and the whiners will eventually forget about it while they move on to the next thing to whine about. The Muslims will have their center and over time people will realize they were being dumb and it will not be an issue at all.

    Except perhaps for a few die hard bigots of course.

  • ||

    I'm not a bigot. ...and I won't forget.

    Especially if he's taking advantage of my tax money to promote himself.

    Again, the Iman needs $100 million. He stated weeks ago that he plans to solicit donations from outside the Untied States, and he's been in the news all over the world for what he's trying to do at Ground Zero.

    Thinking that he isn't using this tour of the Persian Gulf to promote himself and his cause requires me to pretend I'm dumber than I am.

    Regardless, using our government to promote his strange ideas about forcing "interfaith harmony" down the American people's throats--under the impression that they'll accept it after a while?

    It's hypocritical and disgusting.

    If he's been acting as an envoy of the United States--at the expense of American taxpayers--then the American people have a right to weigh in on what he's doing...

    ...without being called bigots.

  • Applederry||

    "Thinking that he isn't using this tour of the Persian Gulf to promote himself and his cause requires me to pretend I'm dumber than I am."

    We'll just have to wait and see what he says, won't we? If he does use his position to gather donations for a private venture I certainly would have no problem with criticizing him for it.

    "the American people have a right to weigh in on what he's doing..."

    Of course they do (though there is no right to not be called a bigot I'm sure you'll agree). I was simply pointing out his trip is irrelevant to this issue. He may make it relevant, but currently no.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Tips for Travelling to the Middle East and North Africa

    Department of State Publication 10850
    Bureau of Consular Affairs
    August 2001

    The information in this publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission. When this material is reproduced, the Department of State would appreciate receiving a copy at: CA/P, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818.

    How to Prepare for a Safe Trip

    The policies of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa toward foreign visitors vary greatly from country to country. Some countries encourage tourism and put very few restrictions on visitors.

    Other countries do not allow tourism and carefully regulate business travel. Some areas in the region have experienced military conflict over an extended period.

    A little planning and knowledge will go a long way toward making your trip to the Middle East and North Africa go smoothly. If you learn about the countries you will visit and obey the laws and respect the customs of those places, you can make your stay as pleasant and incident-free as possible.

    Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements & Travel Warnings

    The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is responsible for providing assistance and information to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. Consular Affairs issues Consular Information Sheets , Travel Warnings , and Public Announcements . Consular Information Sheets are issued for every country in the world. They include such information as the location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, health conditions, political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties.

    The State Department also issues Travel Warnings and Public Announcements . Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department decides to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have Travel Warnings as well as Consular Information Sheets . Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers.

    How to Access Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements & Travel Warnings

    By Internet: The most convenient source of information about travel and consular services is the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet’s World Wide Web. The web site address is http://travel.state.gov . If you do not have access to the Internet at home, work or school, your local library may provide access to the Internet.

    By Telephone: Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings may be heard any time by dialing the office of American Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone phone.

    By Fax: From your fax machine, dial (202) 647-3000 , using the handset as you would a regular telephone. The system will instruct you on how to proceed.

    By Mail: Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to: Office of American Citizens Services, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818 . On the outside envelope, write the name of the country or countries needed in the lower left corner.

  • ||

    Actually, if you read the article I linked above, you'll see that press coverage has been heavily restricted by the State Department.

    Apparently his public appearances on television will be public...other than that? It's anybody's guess.


  • ||

    The agency sends about 50 religious figures each year to lecture about tolerance and interfaith dialogue as part of its speakers program, a spokesman said.

    Is anyone at all curious about the dozens of others, or is it all Rauf all the time?

  • ||

    Just for the record, I'd like to reinforce that I'm criticizing the insensitivity and hypocrisy of this Imam.

    ...not the State Department or anyone who isn't being insensitive or hypocritical. Have said that, I do support applying First Amendment anti-establishment rules universally, and if this applies to any of the other religious figures you've mentioned or the State Department program itself, then so be it...

    But my point was and continues to be the insensitivity and hypocrisy of this Imam. If this shoe fits any of the other religious figures, then they should wear it; but my criticism is directed at the insensitivity and hypocrisy of the Imam who's building the mosque at Ground Zero.

  • typical progressive||

    No, you're a bigot.

    You're a bigot because you questioned the building of the mosque, and the ONLY way you can prove that you are not a bigot is by saying that there is absolutely no reason to question the building of the mosque.

    You see, the ONLY possible reason anyone could question the building of the mosque is bigotry.


    False dichotomy is fun!

  • MWG||

    Sorta like the imam is a radical unless and until he denounces each and every individual radical associated with Islam regardless of sect.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Sorta like the imam is a radical unless and until he denounces each and every individual radical associated with Islam regardless of sect."

    Not everyone who is a moonbat drives a Prius, but everyone who drives a Prius is a moonbat.

  • ||

    "Sorta like the imam is a radical unless and until he denounces each and every individual radical associated with Islam regardless of sect."

    I think "typical progressive" was responding to something specific that was said in this thread. Specifically...

    "The Muslims will have their center and over time people will realize they were being dumb and it will not be an issue at all.

    Except perhaps for a few die hard bigots of course."

    The suggestion there was that anyone that still has a problem with this mosque being proximate to Ground Zero after it's built will necessarily and invariably be a bigot...

    It's almost humorous in that it accuses others of bigotry, but at the same time, the statement is an excellent example of bigotry itself. ...if by "bigotry" we mean "narrow minded".

    If you've listened to the polls and various arguments against this mosque, and you come away with the idea that it's basically just bigotry--then you're the one who's being "narrow minded".

    Why unbigoted people shouldn't be offended at being lumped in with bigots is a mystery to me--to me? Anger is the appropriate reaction to being smeared as a bigot, and I think "typical progressive"'s remark was perfectly appropriate in context.

  • MWG||

    "But my point was and continues to be the insensitivity and hypocrisy of this Imam."

    IOW he's not being PC.

  • ||

    "IOW he's not being PC."

    Yeah, that's right...

    He claims to be doing this as an exercise to bring about interfaith understanding--but given his apparent intention to go through with this over the objections of a huge chuck of the American people, it should be abundantly clear to everyone--his commitment to interfaith understanding is a sick joke.

    If you justify what you're doing for the sake of nurturing political correctness--don't be surprised if people judge you by that standard.

    If you go around telling everyone you don't care about what they think, don't be surprised if some of them think you're being insensitive.

    No really.

  • re-defiler||

    Interfaith understanding?

    Not sure that's even a noble goal. But how many teen youths are in the WTC area of NYC?
    Pretty expensive real estate. Why not use the money to build 2 'youth centers' in less expensive, more appropriate areas? But then again, if you're using logic and looking to build understanding, why create a sore spot by building it on the most infamous site of Muslim extremism? Then again... why is this Iman globe-trotting on tax $, blaming victims for atrocities carried out by Muslims?

    Seems this whole ground zero mosque was designed to do the exact opposite of building interfaith understanding. I dunno... bad economy... maybe having better 'business' buildings in a 'business' district rather than silly superstitious based gyms (or whatever it's purpose is) is a far more enlightened idea.

    Then again... most of us figured out what to do with our private parts in high school... not sure what purpose religion is for... to teach you not to harm your own herd? Does that really need more underlining or just better enforcement?

  • RichN||

    Oddly enough this iman wants to promote "peace and harmony" at the site where the landing gear from one of the planes that took down the WTC hit on the day radical Islam landed in the continental U.S.

    Is there some kind of symbolism in this?

  • ||


  • RichN||


    If Obama can grade himself a B+ then I surely deserve at least a C.

    One simple question will settle this iman's intentions.

    Mr Iman, do you support an American's right to put up a billboard with Mohamed pictured on it?

    I suspect the answer would be a little hypocritical not unlike how so called moderate Muslims can never condemn Islamic radicals without mentioning Israel.

  • ||

    Mr Iman, do you support an American's right to put up a billboard with Mohamed pictured on it?

    Why are you asking David Bowie such a strange question?

  • re-defiler||

    Better questions for Mr. Bowie... "was Tin Machine your attempt at creating a horribly rehabilitating nerve toxin? Could these records have been anymore painful to listen to? Did you purposely hire studio engineers who lacked the ability to hear frequencies above 5k? Does your inability to properly EQ (nevermind arrange parts) qualify as crimes against humanity? In short... Mr. Bowie... what the hell happened to you?

  • re-defiler||

    *dehabilitating... seems my spell check got all TIn Machine. Ground control to tech support...

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo Galilei) was one of the first advocates of twelve-tone equal temperament in a 1581 treatise, along two sets of dance suites on each of the 12 notes of the chromatic scale, and 24 ricercars in all the "major/minor keys".

  • Tacos mmm...||

    If he's been acting as an envoy of the United States--at the expense of American taxpayers--then the American people have a right to weigh in on what he's doing...

    If Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow isn't the worst movie I've ever seen, it's pretty damn close.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Please apologize for your off topic post.

  • ||

    Yeah, what the fuck is all this mosk, and e-mom talk about, did I miss something?

    I thought this was the bbq thread.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Electronic mom? Maybe I should start reading the articles

  • ||

    Your last point is crucial, and one I've raised before. If your goal is "reconciliation" and "understanding" and "tolerance" and so on, but your actions seem to be producing the opposite reaction, you stop your actions. Unless, of course, you are entirely socially clueless or have another agenda.

  • Robert||

    I agree, and strange as it may seem, Pat Buchanan agrees too, according to what he said on the radio today. He acknowledged that the center aroused no fury last Dec., but now that it has become controversial, he says that to satisfy the aims of its promoters, it should be built on another lot. And if there's anything these people want & need, it's good p.r.

    It's true as pointed out upthread that the whiners would stop shining eventually, but why not hasten the process of reconciliation? And as to the remark downthread, the people who object (now) to this facility aren't much like the KKK, but are just regular folks. The lady who started this may be likened to the KKK, but now it's a mainstream belief that the siting of the facility there would be offensive.

  • Fluffy||

    I might buy that line before all this opposition materialized, but now that it's completely obvious to everyone that the location of this mosque has done more to inflame interfaith hatred in this country than anything else in recent memory--at what point does continuing to claim that they're building this thing to help induce interfaith harmony in the American people become completely risible?

    So if someone attempts interracial dialogue and the Klan objects, they should stop?

    Frankly, I think the mosque serves a much higher purpose in shitting on the faces of the people who don't like it than it ever possibly could have served by promoting "interfaith dialogue".

    Remember Everybody Draw Mohammad Day? I was in favor of that, too, because the people who didn't like it need to be shit on until they get so inured to it that they stop objecting. This is no different. If your feelings are hurt, good. After your stupid feelings are hurt a few thousand more times, they'll go away.

  • Mullah||

    Though I would kill you myself if you drew a picture of the Great Prophet, I do give thanks for your support of the Monument to the faithful who died for Allah on 9/11.

    Though not right away, in time the call to prayer will be issued from the great mosque five times a day, echoing over the site of our great victory!

    We shall lay claim to all of your lands, and one day your grandchildren will bow to the East!

    Allahu Akbar! Allah is Greater!

  • ||

    Sorry, Fluffy, those are two poor analogies. The Klan or equivalent will always object, and so is irrelevant here. The point is that many non-Klan types object. (Unless you think 2/3rds of the country consists of Klan types.) If a large majority objects to a gesture of "reconciliation" and "dialog," you're doing it wrong.

    While Draw Mohammad Day was possibly offensive to some, it wasn't done two blocks from Mecca.

  • Louis Farakan||

    "(Unless you think 2/3rds of the country consists of Klan types.)"

    Sounds about right. America is a racist country built on the backs of Black slaves.

  • jtuf||

    Come to the demonstrations outside the UN building in September during the General Assembly. You'll see Nation of Islam members holding up pictures of Libya's White president and declaring him the "King of Africa".

  • re-defiler||

    Yeah, because farming was impossible without slave labor...

    Terrible practice... sure
    'THE' foundation of America... dubious

  • Robert||

    I'd hate to be one of Fluffy's children.

  • Robert's Cum-soaked Rag||

    Trust me, this is no better.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Frankly, I think the mosque serves a much higher purpose in shitting on the faces of the people who don't like it than it ever possibly could have served by promoting "interfaith dialogue".

    Yeah, fuck those 9/11 survivors anyway.

  • ||

    You forgot to say "oh, and f**k you, too" to the families of those who didn't survive.

  • jtuf||

    So if someone attempts interracial dialogue and the Klan objects, they should stop?

    Frankly, I think the mosque serves a much higher purpose in shitting on the faces of the people who don't like it than it ever possibly could have served by promoting "interfaith dialogue".

    Remember Everybody Draw Mohammad Day? I was in favor of that, too, because the people who didn't like it need to be shit on until they get so inured to it that they stop objecting. This is no different. If your feelings are hurt, good. After your stupid feelings are hurt a few thousand more times, they'll go away.

    Granted, but there are a few small gestures that the planners for the Islamic Center at Ground Zero could have made which would have greatly advanced their goal of creating interfaith understanding. They could have retained the exterior of the Burlington Factory building. They could also have made a memorial to 9/11 out of the spot where the part of a plane crashed into the building. Those two moves would have satisfied the historic preservationists and most of the 9/11 commemorators. The way it is now, you have historic preservationist being accused of racism because they went to a meeting prepared to discuss architectural details.

  • ||

    "Remember Everybody Draw Mohammad Day? I was in favor of that, too, because the people who didn't like it need to be shit on until they get so inured to it that they stop objecting. This is no different. If your feelings are hurt, good. After your stupid feelings are hurt a few thousand more times, they'll go away."

    I guess that's where we disagree...

    I support the right of newspapers to print cartoons that ridicule the Prophet, and I support the right of Muslims to protest newspapers that do so.

    I don't expect either of them to ever get so tired of being shit on that they stop doing what they do--in fact, I expect that tension to exist forever, and I hope it always does...

    I see this mosque the same way. I support the right of this Imam to build what he pleases on his own property, and I support the right of every American to voice their displeasure at its location...

    I don't expect Americans to stop complaining about this mosque--or any one of a thousand other things people have a right to do...


    I think a lot of people are playing identity politics with this thing--but really, I don't have to agree with fundamentalist Christians about protesting abortion clinics to support their right to protest...

    Isn't this Bill of Rights 101 stuff? There shouldn't be any need to rehash this on a libertarian website, but just for future reference, not everyone that disagrees with you is a bigot. ..even on race or religious issues.

    And not everyone disagrees with your for the reasons you want them to disagree with you. Rationalizing insensitivity as a means to smear everyone that disagrees with you is the beginning of all bigotry, and realizing that not everyone disagrees with you for the reasons you want them to is where bigotry ends.

  • ||

    Same way everyone who buys up property and builds big buildings uses the govenrment to promote himself and his building. Every big developer is in with the local government. At least he's not using eminent domain to steal private property like REAL americans.

  • ||

    I might buy that line before all this opposition materialized, but now that it's completely obvious to everyone that the location of this mosque has done more to inflame interfaith hatred in this country than anything else in recent memory--at what point does continuing to claim that they're building this thing to help induce interfaith harmony in the American people become completely risible?

    You know what's risible? This argument. I guess those black kids who walked into Little Rock High School down the line of federalized guardsmen while Gov. Faubus fumed on the doorstep were wicked little instigators, too.

    And yes, I know you think this is different from that situation, for reasons so obvious to you that you don't feel it necessary to explain them. But...it's not. Bigotry is bigotry.

  • jtuf||

    Why is the State Department sending an iman who refuses to condemn Hamas to represent us in the Middle East when they could send a Baha'i leader? After all, the Baha'i world headquarters is in the Middle East.

  • ||

    Why is the State Department sending any religious figure of any religion to represent us?

  • jtuf||

    Yeah, I would be happy if the State Department left public deplomacy to private Americans acting on their own with their own resources. With over 100 Americans on global social networking sites, we don't really need state funded campaigners.

    However, if the State Department is going to send someone, they can make much better choices than this iman.

  • ||

    It rained last night.

    A little while ago, the clouds broke up a bit, and it appears (unless it's some weird trick of the light) that it snowed "at the higher elevations" as the weatherman likes to say. So we've got that going for us.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    It rains here every day. For about ten minutes.

  • SIV ||

    Dhabiĥa is the method used to slaughter an animal as per Islamic tradition. Shechita is the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds according to Jewish law. Shechita requires that an animal is conscious and this is taken to mean the modern practice of electrical stunning before slaughter is forbidden. All Muslim authorities also forbid the use of electrical stunning.

    * Both shechita and dhabiĥa involve cutting across the neck of the animal with a non-serrated blade in one clean attempt in order to sever the main blood vessels.[1][15]
    * Both require that the spinal cord be avoided during slaughter.
    * Both require draining the blood of the animal.
    * Any adult, sane Jew who knows the proper technique may perform shechita. Similarly, Dhabiĥa, can be performed by any "adult sane Muslim… by following the rules prescribed by Shariah". Some Islamic authorities, though, state that dhabiĥa can also be performed by Jews

  • T||

    Kosher pork! We'll make a million, I'm telling you!

  • ||

    " Both shechita and dhabiĥa involve cutting across the neck of the animal with a non-serrated blade in one clean attempt in order to sever the main blood vessels.[1][15]"

    The the dull, serated blade is used on folks like Mr. Pearl.

  • SIV||

    They sold the meat on the non-Halal market.

  • ||

    Ever been to a McDonald's beef plant, SIV?

    Hell -- ever been to a chicken farm?

    At least medieval Muslims and ancient Jews realized the significance of taking a life and developed a ritual around it. To us, the meat just magically appears wrapped in cellophane.

  • ||

    You mean like this?

  • ||

    Hey, how 'bout dem Bears?

  • ||

    Save us, Feministing!

  • ||

    How can I feel confident in bed as a 26-year-old woman who’s never slept with a man before? I really want to experiment and explore my desires, but what if I’m awful in bed or he hates my body?

  • ||

    1. Most guys won't care if you just lie there and take it.

    2. Turn off the lights and he won't see your body.

    3. Alcohol is your friend.

  • ||

    What the fuck is a cis guy?

    The only cis I know is from organic chemistry, and having to do with double bonds.

  • ||

    It means you sexually identify with the primary sexual characteristics with which you were born... aka not-transexual. It's the height of PCness; you don't need a term to identify yourself or someone else as being part of the vast bulk of humanity.

  • ||

    Well, it kind of makes sense, as cis is the opposite of trans when considering cis-trans isomerism...wait a minute, how the fuck do you know that?

  • ||

    I march daily in the parade of the horribles.

  • T||

    March? Some days you lead the damn parade.

  • ||

    Let's not make this a issue of baton jealousy.

  • T||

    I am jealous of nothing but your unparalleled knowledge of deviance and depravity.

  • ||

    OMG, you are not making this up. Un-friggin'-believable. And in five years this will be in elementary school curriculums.

  • ||

    Just imagine all the things in the past I've told you thought were made up, but weren't.

  • ||

    Noooooo!!! (Runs away sobbing.)

  • BakedPenguin||

    Beijing: 9 day traffic jam.

    No word on whether it was caused by Uighur Muslims building a mosque.

  • Kolohe||

    Or if it's the Face of Bo saving them from the toxic air.

  • Zero||

    No it was caused by the Chinesse Premier going to a fund raiser in the middle of Beijing.

  • ||

    I'd like to know where the money came from. Saudi Arabia? Iran? Poor Muslims in other countries?

  • Thomas L Friedman||

    It all starts with the Federal Reserve, the “central bank” that literally puts money into circulation at our financial institutions. The banks we use day-to-day (like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and People’s), may borrow from other banks, but ultimately they borrow from the Federal Reserve – known as simply “the Fed” for short – once it is printed by the US Treasury. As a quasi-public institution, the fed is charged with regulating the nation’s money supply through its setting of monetary policy. Primarily, this consists of setting the interest rates at which banks lend money to other banks, which greatly influences how much money pervades the economy at any given time. When these inter-bank lending rates are too low, many argue, money becomes too easily available and creates economic bubbles.

    The Fed reports data on the nation’s money supply weekly and monthly in the form of M1 and M2. M1 is a measure of actual, physical currency, consisting of, “…currency in the hands of the public, travelers checks, demand deposits, and other deposits against which checks can be written” according to the New York Federal Reserve Bank website. This includes currency held by foreigners, as this can, in theory, be spent on US goods. In April 2008, for example, M1 was clocked at $1.4 trillion. M2 consists of everything in M1, “…plus savings accounts, time deposits of under $100,000, and balances in retail money market mutual funds.” M2 was clocked at $7.7 trillion in that same period, the difference consisting largely of savings deposits. The fed typically reports both M1 and M2 data every Thursday at 4:30PM, and you can find the latest stats in Friday business papers like the Wall Street Journal.
    The Internal Revenue Service


    Outside of physically distributing money, the other main way the government puts money into the economy is by first taking it out of the economy. Before money can be dispersed to particular groups via subsidies, welfare payments, or payments in kind (such as free or subsidized housing), it must be collected from those originally in possession of that money. This is done primarily via income taxation, which represented 44% of all collected taxes in 2006, but also through a number of other taxes including: corporate income tax, gift taxes, employment taxes, excise taxes, and estate taxes. Capital gains (investment income) are taxed as well. In total, it is estimated that the IRS took in $2,518,680,000,000 in taxes during fiscal 2006 according to the Heritage Foundation.

    A breakdown of which taxes contributed most to this figure can be found here.

    Once collected from taxpayers, this money is then distributed by government to various groups and agencies through vehicles described below.


    One of the most common ways government puts money into the economy is through the distribution of subsidies. Any business or industry receiving payments from the government is said to have been subsidized. An oft-cited example is agricultural subsidies, which the government pays to various farmers and corporations deemed (at least ostensibly) to be vital to America’s food supply. A Washington Post investigation into farm subsidies reveals that while most subsidy payments go to farmers growing important crops, as much as $1.6 billion has gone to farmers who grow nothing at all but receive checks anyway due to neglect and systemic fraud. For our purposes, however, we need only know that such subsidies are paid to businesses and industries whose survival is politically important.

    Another form of subsidy involves payments in kind, such as subsidized housing. In this case, low-income families are provided with housing paid mostly or in full by the government – that is, taxpayers. The construction and maintenance of subsidized housing puts money into the pockets of contractors, developers, and utilities as well.
    Government Contracts


    While the government at federal, state, and local levels is responsible for everything from building roads to building schools, government officials do not literally build any of these things. Instead, private firms and individuals are hired to do the work through government bids and contracts. When a town needs a new school or playground, for instance, local contractors and construction companies will typically submit bids of how much they would charge to do the job. The government then selects the winning bid and pays the winner an agreed-upon amount, which then gets spread around to materials distributor, the salaries of those working on the job, and the contractor’s profit.

    Government contracts are so potentially lucrative that a website – Business.gov – was established to direct businesses on how to go about submitting bids for them. Between construction, administrative processing and defense, hundreds of billions of dollars are awarded by government contracts every year.
    Stimulus Spending


    During economic disasters, the federal government typically attempts to “stimulate” the economy by allocating money to sectors or industries in trouble. Perhaps the most famous example of government stimulus spending is the New Deal, enacted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt between 1933-1935 to offset the crises caused by the Great Depression. The agricultural subsidies discussed earlier actually originated during this time, as farming was hit exceptionally hard by the Depression. In addition, the New Deal sought to right a sinking ship by instituting public works projects. Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration spent some $3.3 billion in taxpayer money paying private companies to build 34,599 projects ranging from dam construction to bridge building, according to Jason Scott Smith’s Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works.

    A comparable effort to the New Deal is President Barack Obama’s $787 billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The industry deemed most troubled today (as opposed to farming in the 1930′s) is the automotive industry. In order to drive sales in this beleaguered sector, Obama instituted the Cash For Clunkersprogram, which pays individuals $3,500-$4,500 (depending on how fuel-efficient their current vehicle is) to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle. The program’s website states that Cash For Clunkers is slated to run from July-November 2009 (although this is probably unlikely), and pay over $2 billion to car buyers and that over 250,000 cars have been sold so far, though Edmunds.com notes that interest is reportedly dying down.

    MSNBC notes that the stimulus includes a $50 billion “rescue fund” to prevent homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure. Presumably, these funds are dispersed to the lenders in position to foreclose so that they will not exercise that option.

    The stimulus also pumps $40 billion more into expanding payments to the unemployed, $19 billion to food stamps, $3.95 billion for job training, and $125 million for “subsidized community service jobs for older Americans”, according to Wikipedia.

    Additionally, some $27.5 billion has been allocated for road and bridge construction, as well as $6.9 billion for public transportation. All of these programs represent money being placed into the hands of various individuals and groups by the government.

    So, as we have seen, the ways in which government puts money into the economy are virtually endless. They grow in number every year, and vary according to which way the political winds happen to be blowing at a given time.

  • waffles||

    I laughed, hard

  • poop||

    In April 2008, for example, M1 was clocked at $1.4 trillion. M2 consists of everything in M1, “…plus savings accounts, time deposits of under $100,000, and balances in retail money market mutual funds.” M2 was clocked at $7.7 trillion in that same period, the difference consisting largely of savings deposits.


    The national debt is greater than the entire money supply.


  • Tacos mmm...||

    Do you mean commodity money or fiat money?

  • ||

    TSA's checkpoint security screening procedures for persons with disabilities and medical conditions have not changed as a result of the current threat situation. All disability-related equipment, aids, and devices continue to be allowed through security checkpoints once cleared through screening.

    Additionally, we are continuing to permit prescription liquid medications and other liquids needed by persons with disabilities and medical conditions. This includes:

    * All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;
    * Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;
    * Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;
    * Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,
    * Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.

    However, if the liquid medications are in volumes larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml) each, they may not be placed in the quart-size bag and must be declared to the Transportation Security Officer. A declaration can be made verbally, in writing, or by a person's companion, caregiver, interpreter, or family member.

    Declared liquid medications and other liquids for disabilities and medical conditions must be kept separate from all other property submitted for x-ray screening.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Signs of the times: Funemployment, staycations - and backyard chickens.


    Ooh, dirty little CNN. I see what you did there.

  • ||

    I read somewhere on Friday that these mosque folks only have $18,500 of the $100,000,000 that they need to build the thing.

    If you ask me, this whole thing is just a fucking prank / publicity stunt. Just like the Flying Imams. Pretty junior high.

  • ||

    They have almost 20% down...they can get a Freddie Mac loan.

  • Jen||

    I think you've misplaced a few decimals. They almost have .02% down, if what EAP read is correct.

  • Mad Max||

    "Don't mention the mosque!" - Basil Fawlty (paraphrase)

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Mosque. Bloody mosque. We aren't supposed to talk about the bloody mosque, but there's a bloody mosque winking me in the face. I want to c-u-u-t it off, ch-o-o-p it off, and make guacamosque.

  • ||

    You started it!

  • Tacos mmm...||

    The first junior high was Indianola Junior High School in Columbus, Ohio. On June 30, 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Indianola sucked. So did Everett.

  • ||

    I'm tempted to drive to Jackson Hole and heckle Bernanke. I wonder if Timmay will be there.

  • ||


  • thoreau||

    I like what you guys have done with this thread.

    Anybody have advice on whether the Blackberry Storm 2 is a big enough improvement over the 9530 to make an upgrade worthwhile? I can get a discount with a contract extension, but there's always some hassle with getting it set up exactly the way I like it.

  • ||

    What the fuck do you need a blackberry for in a pencil factory?

    InRe: Grab a bag of clay and mix

  • T||

    Join the cult, man. Get an iPhone and submit to the Will of Jobs.

  • ||

    I think Blackberry may be circling the drain. I have a 8900,and while it's a well built little device, I plan on getting an Android phone ASAP and many BB users I know have already done or will do the same thing.

    The added benefit is that I get a much bigger screen and don't have to squint at my phone so much.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Publicity stunt Hall of Fame:

    The Olympic Torch Relay.

    Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

    Tour De France.

    Sex Pistols Sign To A&M Records.

    The Peanut Protest.

    Hands Across America.

    Ikea’s Bondi Book Stunt.

    Calendar Girls.

    Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty.

    The Boston Tea Party.

    Harrods Gift Wrap A Helicopter.

    That Dress. (Liz Hurley)

    The Big Bird Race.

    Trafalgar Square Turfed.

    The Blair Witch Project.

    Squirrel Crisps.

    Earth Hour.

    FBI’s Most Wanted.

    David Blaine In A Box.

    Madonna kisses Britney.

    Prince Changes His Name.

    The Goodyear Blimp.

    Elvis Presley joins the army.

    The Beatles Rooftop Gig.

    h/t: http://www.taylorherring.com/b.....ty-stunts/

  • T||

    Prince changing his name was actually a brilliant legal stratagem to get him out of his recording contract, not a publicity stunt. I applaud him and his legal team not only for thinking of it, but having the perseverance to execute for 7 years.

  • Insensitive Bystander||

    I took a shit on Ground Zero once.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Sandi? That you?

  • Sandi||

    **shakes fist**

  • SIV||

  • SIV||

  • ||

    Gone already. Just code.

  • ||

    Oh, okay...somebody give her a cheeseburger.

  • SIV||

    Second link doesn't work?

  • ||

    It does, she just looks hungry, that's all.

  • ||

    "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

    -Kate Moss

  • ||

    After spending a childhood being inundated with images of starving Africans I find pictures of Kate Moss more disturbing than anything else.

    As to the quote, obviously, Kate has never had smoked lamb chops.

  • SIV||

    Kate Moss isn't the emaciated waif she used to be back when she started her career. She's filled out quite nicely. Not like Doutzen Kroes NSFW nicely though.

  • ||


    I have to say that I would never work anywhere where that pic would be considered "not safe".

  • Psychic Octopus||

    Anorexics: one of the last few categories where progressives won't get mad that we discriminate. Of course, they created them, with all the obesity furores.

  • ||

    The troubled U.S. housing market is not a place where Americans should speculate or look to invest, the chief of the Kansas City Federal Reserve said Monday.

    "If the American people are looking at the housing market to be their investment opportunity, I think they are making a mistake," said Thomas Hoenig, president of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.


  • ||

    I get the strange feeling people are tired of talking about the mosque. I can't understand why,

    It's almost like everything that could be said HAS been said, at LEAST 100 times.

  • ||

    OTHODOXGREEKCHURCH!!! For the win, and ANCHORBABIESHATE'EM, of course.

  • ||

    Oooh, I thought of one, it's regarding the Duran v. Leonard rematch--->

    No mosque, no mosque

    Sucks, but it's all I have.

  • ||

    Gods above, Cathy, every question that you asked yourself to show the wrongheadedness of the opponents of Park51 was answered with a drawn out form of 'We don't know' or 'We can't be sure'--except one....

    Are "moderate Muslim" initiatives sometimes not as moderate as they profess to be?

    The very one that opponents cling to--and the answer was, of course, yes.

    When you combine that yes with your string of 'we don't knows', how does the picture stack up? When you add in your own admitted questions about some of Rauf's statements and attitudes, how can you deny that perhaps, just perhaps, opponents have some point.

  • Mike M.||

    Exactly. He often sounds like a "moderate" compared to the radical extremists, but then again he often doesn't sound very "moderate" compared to our notion of political moderation in America.

    In other words, the article doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know. Rauf is the Muslim version of Barack Obama; his biggest supporters like to pretend they know everything about him, when in reality nobody truly knows this guy much at all.

  • DesigNate||

    Just to get this straight: We should restrict the freedom and liberty of other people because they may, someday but were not sure when, TRY to restrict and impede our freedom?

  • sarcasmic||

    Saying "it would be bad taste to build a mosque at that location and I question the motives of the person building it" is not the same as saying "we need to use the power of government to stop them from building a mosque at that location", though it does make an effective straw man argument.

  • Fluffy||

    Ron Paul:

    “Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

    “It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”

    “The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

    “Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

    “Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

    “In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

    “They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

    “The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

    “The nineteen suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

    “Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

    “This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

    “There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

    “If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

    “The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

    “Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

    “Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam--the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

    “It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

    “The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative’s aggressive wars.

    “The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

    “This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

    “We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

    “Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”
  • BakedPenguin||

    What he said.

  • Warty||

    I can't believe that Ron Paul has made such a successful career out of stating the obvious.

  • ||

    I can't believe that Ron Paul has made such a successful career out of been roundly decried as a kook for stating the obvious.

  • DesigNate||

    That is a great Ron Paul speech.

  • ||

    S'funny, innit, that neither Paul nor any of you question the sudden love of property rights exhibited by people who generally agree with the phrase 'property is theft'?

    Oh, they can 'wake up' to the importance of proprty rights, sure, but do any of you really think they have?

    And alluva sudden, they're real big on the rights of religions to practice as they see fit......when, absent this mosque controversy, they are indifferent to hostile to religions being practiced at all.

    Well, hostile to numerous forms of Christianity and Jydaism being practiced, at any rate.

    And, finally, how, suddenly, people don't have the right to not be offended--when normally these same people have made political careers on nothing more than blaming this one for having offended that one.

    If all the wrong people suddenly seem to be on the right side of an argument, I would question whether that 'right side' is really right in this instance.

  • ||

    I am offended by your unsubstantive argument. Why do you not like mollusks?

  • ||

    I adore mollusks. Particulary bivalves.

  • sarcasmic||

    They're for it because talking heads on the AM dial are against it.

    If Hannity and Rush had come out in support of the mosque for the reason of property rights, you can bet that the libtards would be against it accusing Hannity and Rush of being insensitive to friends and family of 9/11 victims.

    They care about who, not what.

  • ||

    You go girl!

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you still beat your wife?

  • Warty||


  • ||

    Does your wife still beat you?

  • ||


  • Mike M.||

    Exactly. If this were Fred Phelps and those Westbroro Baptist Church freaks buying the property instead of the Cordoba Initiative, you'd have a hard time finding one liberal or Beltway Cosmotarian willing to waste much energy defending their religious of freedom rights.

    This issue is now pure, 100% culture war, plain and simple.

  • sarcasmic||

    That would depend on whether or not the talking heads on the AM dial took a stand on it, in which case money could be made betting that the libtards would take the opposite stand.

  • ||


    That is all.

  • jtuf||

    Yeah it does bother me that such a huge percentage of the people supporting the Islamic Center at Ground Zero don't spend any effort defending other cases of land right violations or religious freedom in jeopardy.

    On a related note, I've read dozens of comments here that say that those who oppose the Islamic Center at Ground Zero are bigots, but I'm the only one who cited www.scadi-ny.com, www.reformislam.org, Kosovo, and Kazakhstan as examples of tolerant Muslims. Most of the people who champion the Islamic Center at Ground Zero are more interested in spreading the stereotype that Conservatives are full of hate than in dispelling the stereotype that Muslims are full of hate.

  • jtuf||

    Reason, please make it possible to check links in the preview.

    Reform Islam

  • jtuf||

  • jtuf||

  • jtuf||

  • Mo||

    And all of the sudden a bunch of people who were afraid of the government intruding on free exercise of religion are now encouraging the government to do the same.

    I don't care why people advocate for property rights, I just care that people care for property rights.

  • Psychic Octopus||

    Bad people do the right thing for the wrong reason a lot of times. As a matter of fact, that was one of the arguments for allowing the invisible hand to operate, wasn't it?

  • CatoTheElder||

    Butchers, bakers, and especially brewers are not bad people.

  • Jack||

    Candlestick makers?

  • ||

    I disagree unequivocally: The "why" is important because the means and procedural safeguards essential to private property rights don't exist but for a thoughtful examination of "why." It's not always an ends game. Otherwise you get Mayor Bloomberg sanctifying private property in one breath while concurrently seeking to seize it from private owners in Brooklyn to build a new sports stadium. When property rights are selectively and arbitrarily applied to achieve only political or social goals, it's a mere exercise in power, not an exercise of an inherent right.

  • DDavis||

    ## This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

    I've got plenty of hatred for wannabe imperial, totalitarian theocracy based in Islam, and make no apologies for it.

    I don't give people a free pass for totalitarianism just because they claim "God told me so." Do you?

    A disturbingly large number of muslims are in favor of Sharia. Our supposed moderate Imam is, though he seems to believe in a kinder and gentler Sharia.

    Check the Pew research poll on religious attitudes in Pakistan - roughly 80% of muslims in Pakistan are in favor of death for apostates and adulterers, workplace segregation of men and women, and whippings and amputations for theft and robbery.


    I have plenty of hatred and contempt for those attitudes. Don't you?

  • Ooga Booga!||

    Yum! I can't wait 'til they serve falafel!!

  • sarcasmic||

    If you live to the East of Mecca do you bow to the West?

  • mr simple||

    Oh, finally! Please, just one more mosque story to make it through the day. I swear I'll quit tomorrow!

  • Emperor Hirohito||

    I am looking to buy land near Pearl Harbor for a WWII cultural center I'd like to build since Kamikazes are so misunderstood by the West.

  • ||

    There are no sushi restaurants near Pearl Harbor out of respect and sensitivity.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    THAT'S NOT TRUE! It's because there's no market for it. Raw fish. Gross.

  • Google Maps||


  • CatoTheElder||

    It should be up to New Yorkers whether militant Muslims get a victory monument near the twin towers. It would round out, however, the so-called Pentagon Mosque that commemorates 9/11 and the Crescent of Embrace that commemorates 9/11 Flight 93 at the crash site in Pennsylvania.

  • jtuf||

    Here's a analysis of Obama's stance on the Islamic Center at Ground Zero.

  • DDavis||

    I'm disappointed at Cathy's lack of honesty. This issue seems to bring it out in Reason columnists.

    ## Does Imam Rauf represent precisely the kind of moderate, tolerant Islam that opponents of jihadism should encourage? Or is he a closet radical Islamist out to replace the U.S. Constitution with Koran-based sharia law?

    The Imam wrote an article in the Huffington Post.

    “What Muslims want is to ensure that their secular laws are not in conflict with the Quran or the Hadith, the sayings of Muhammad.”

    Though I grant that the Imam also says positive things about the US system of government, Sharia with a Smiley Face is not something I support. Fundamentally, he seems to want Sharia, and just disagrees with the (other?) fundamentalists on the interpretation of the Quran.

    ## The answer to the latter is a pretty straightforward "no,"

    Technically, if you read the article, he seems to believe the constitution can be reinterpreted into being consistent with Sharia, a la the Living Constitution, so that you don't even need to bother with replacing it.

    The crucial question - in favor of Sharia? Clearly yes.

    ### Is the building intended as an Islamic Victory Monument at the WTC?

    Well, the plans to put it elsewhere in Manhattan always seemed to fall through, but once placed at the WTC, the stars magically aligned and the project went ahead. And now moving the site from the WTC is not an option, according to the organizers. It was always an option before, but isn't now. How curious. Is there something special about that site, that makes putting a mosque there especially meaningful?

    As for what is intended, one must ask, intended, by whom?

    What do all the financial backers of the mosque intend to glorify? Who will the leaders of the mosque be in 20 years, and what will they glorify? 50 years? 100 years? The House of Saud wields a lot of power, money, and religious influence. I think it is reasonable to assume they will eventually be running that show. What do they intend?

    ## Will radical Islamists worldwide interpret the center's construction as a symbol of their glorious victory even if it is not intended as such?

    Anyone else notice Cathy didn't have the honesty to answer this question? Yes or No, Cathy?

    I think it is a clear Yes.

    ## Was the construction of a mosque and Islamic center so close to Ground Zero an "in-your-face" gesture guaranteed to spark a furious reaction?

    Wow, about as dishonest as you can get. She attributes our knowledge of the Mosque to a right wing blogger, supposedly filled with hate. Talk about poisoning the well.

    Should we assume that no one would ever have noticed a 13 story Islamic Center built 190 yards from the WTC site?

    I don't see how it can possibly matter who told us first. This is a dishonest argument, plain and simple.

    The bottom line - building a 13 story building to glorify Islam 190 yards from where Islamists destroyed what they saw as a defining symbol of the West has obvious symbolic significance. Stop pretending otherwise.

  • progressive troll||

    You are obviously a bigot and the only way you can prove otherwise is to retract everything you just said.

  • RichN||

    On the day radical Islam landed in the continental United States the landing gear from one of those planes that took down the WTC landed at that site. Damn right there is symbolism there whether that is the Iman's intentions or not it will be used for propaganda purposes to recruit more radical jihadist.

  • ||

    EVERYTHING you just stated is irrelevant to the question of whether they should be allowed to build their mollusk.

  • RichN||

    No it isn't. For the reason stated above the site should receive landmark status for historical reasons.

  • ||

    Oh please...

  • ||

    Since the Muslims won that "battle" back in '01 and the victors write history, please refer to the attack as the Manhattan Raid from now on.

  • ||

    so, for the sake of argument,

    lets say this mosquunity center is just a facade for cheerleading anti-west, pro-sharia propaganda.

    how long will that last? and if they actually began to materially support terrorism, do you think Big Brother won't be watching this place like a hawk?

    what i dont get about the social conservatives is their short-sightedness. if they turn out to be right, and it is BS, it would be a HUGE victory for their view that them Muzlums are all bad to varying degrees.

    and yes, keeping it in the current site is very insensitive, and does undermine the stated purpose of increasing interfaith dialogue quite a bit.
    but, so what?

    let them build it, if they fuck up, then deal with it appropriately.

  • Jamie Gorlick||

    Memo: No racial or religious profiling at Muslim outreach community centers.

  • scarf||

    I support (at least I say I support) your right to speak your ratty little mind. I'm not horsing around here.

  • bags||

    Technically, if you read the article, he seems to believe the constitution can be reinterpreted into being consistent with Sharia, a la the Living Constitution, so that you don't even need to bother with replacing it.

  • fendibags||

    I'm disappointed at Cathy's lack of honesty. This issue seems to bring it out in Reason columnists.

  • Henry Kissinger||

    Naturally, those who supported it insisted Rauf was a moderate Moslem, the very sort of modern moderate Moslem we should support. He does refuse to call Hamas a terrorist organization, but that's okay for those who are looking for love in all the wrong places.

    The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens reminded readers that the press, like the deluded, lonely women who send mash notes to psychotic killers, regularly tag as moderate Moslems people who are anything but.

    Take Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, who, my friend Rick Ballard reminds us, is now justifiably the target of predator drones -- part of the administration's "this hellfire's for you Moslem outreach program." Awlaki was the imam of the mosque attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers and spiritual mentor to Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood mass murderer, as well as two other would-be bombers of innocent Americans. Here's how, per Stephens, the press described him not so long ago:

    * The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2001: "Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, spiritual leader at the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Virginia, one of the nation's largest. . . . is held up as a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West."

    Or take Brian Williams, another great moderate Moslem-spotter, of whose judgement Stephens reminds us.:

    * NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Dec. 9, 2004: "It's the TV industry's newest experiment, 'Bridges TV,' billing itself the 'American-Muslim lifestyle network,' featuring movies, documentaries, cartoons. . . . It's the brainchild of Aasiya Hassan, an architect, and her husband, Muzzamil Hassan, a banker, who are disturbed that negative images of Muslims seem to dominate TV, especially since 9/11." [snip]

    As for Bridges TV, the saccharine story told by Brian Williams and reporter Ron Allen (complete with scenes of the family's domestic bliss in their modest home in Buffalo, N.Y.), came to an abrupt end in February 2009, when Mr. Hasan beheaded his wife after she had filed for divorce, evicted him from their home, and won an order of protection. Last week, Mr. Hasan's attorney defended her client on the grounds that he was, of all things, a "battered spouse."


  • ||

    henry k,
    assuming everything you say is true, what conclusion is to follow?

    some people are too quick to trust certain people as moderates...

    okay, but then what? should we jump over to the extreme of suspecting every muslim who says something or has a belief that we think is not sufficiently respectful of the west and usa?

    that is my main problem here. i am seeing a small number of reasonable suspicions being raised. but since when is that enough to get all butt-hurt about this?

    one need not love, nor even like rauf, to say that the reasons for trying to stop this thing are just hunches, vague snippets of speeches, and anecdotes about others who turned out to be not so moderate.

    show me some real evidence that this will be used to support terrorism, and i will quickly join the chorus.

  • Henry Kissinger||

    Read the Koran Blake and what you'll find is that OBL is not distorting it but reading it word for word its the so called moderate Muslims who are distorting it.

    Bomb bomb bomb
    Bomb bomb Iran

  • Pseudonym||

    Yo. When are the libertarians going to condemn this fascist bitch?


    Her blog is called Atlas Shrugs. You'd think libertarians would be trying to disassociate this racist pin-up girl from the movement. You'd be thinking incorrectly.

  • ||

    Why don't you show us how it's done by condemning Obama for the chorus line of Marxists and communists he's surrounded himself with throughout his life? After all, historically speaking, the Marxists/commies wracked up a MUCH BIGGER body count than the fascists ever did. So logically one would have to conclude that Marxists/commies are more dangerous than fascists. Right?

  • ||

    Will you fucking people stop saying that 60% of Americans are against this mosque??

    60% of poll respondents are against this mosque!

  • ||


    how does the koran determine whether or not we should let a community center with a mosque in it go up somewhere?

    the koran is full of shit, but i dont think the bible is that great either. the old testament is not much different than the koran is its moral perspectives.

  • JC||

    New Testament cancels old, love thy enemy, turn the other cheek and such...

  • Henry Kissinger||

    "how does the koran determine whether or not we should let a community center with a mosque in it go up somewhere?"

    Its not determined by the Koran but by a local zoning commission. More the question is: How does the local zoning commission come to the conclusion that the site is not of historical significance and doesn't receive landmark status because it is part of GZ since the landing gear and other parts of one of those planes landed there?

  • ||

    This stated interfaith harmony goal of Rauf is BS and there are one of two possible underlying motivations. Either he's a hopeless idealist who doesn't understand religion or how human beings operate, or he understands people who don't understand religion or humanity and he's trying to leverage their ignorance in order to advance Islam in the US.

  • mike||

  • ||

    I do understand, discarding other motives, how you do not see the ground zero mosque as insensitive. You are insensitive.

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