The proposed Park51 community center/mosque/whatever you want to call it has been in the news for the last few weeks. Personally, I'm of two minds about it and can hear both sides' argument. As a result, I don't have terribly strong feelings on the matter one way or the other.
Other people, of course, have strong opinions about the building -- and they're certainly entitled to them. But sometimes people make some really silly statements and I wonder if they actually give much thought to their statements and whether what they're saying might be just as equally applicable to themselves or their community.
Let's take a look at a few examples, courtesy of the YWN Coffeeroom.
The first response in the thread is a good example in fear-mongering.
What I find scary about this whole thing is they'll build one mosque, than another and another....and than they will literally just take over!
Now, I'm going to switch just one word in the quote -- tell me how is sounds to you.
"What I find scary about this whole thing is they'll build one synagogue, than another and another....and than they will literally just take over!"
Not too nice sounding, is it? But I bet you could have heard some people saying the same thing in communities where Orthodox (and even non-Orthodox) Jews moved in. I would not be surprised to find out that such sentiments were uttered by long-time residents in places such as Lakewood, Williamsburg, Boro Park, Postville, Monroe and Flatbush in the past who saw the character of their neighborhoods changing. And if someone uttered it today, we'd (rightfully) denounce the person as a bigoted, ignorant and antisemitic. But yet, the very same people who would scream and holler about it being said about them have no compunctions about using such language against others.
A similar sentiment is expressed further down the thread by a poster named Baruch-1:
It's bad enough to have a growing Muslim population in America, I don't want it in my back yard in NY! And if it means using logic like not allowing a mosque on WTC grounds, then I'm up for using whatever it takes to prevent Islam from growing here.
And, again, here's the "revised" quote:
"It's bad enough to have a growing Jewish population in America, I don't want it in my back yard in NY! And if it means using logic like not allowing a synagogue on WTC grounds, then I'm up for using whatever it takes to prevent Judaism from growing here."
Again, sounds pretty ugly, doesn't it? We'd scream and protest (again, rightfully) if someone said that today, but to say it about Muslims and suddenly everything's okay?
Next, we turn to the hypocrasy that some of the posters, knowingly or unknowingly, exhibit.
Here's one from a poster with whom I usually agree and is usually pretty level headed:
No, it should not be built. The freedom of religion does not apply to a religion that BANS ALL freedom of religion.
I would suggest that before she suggests stripping Muslims of their freedom of religion on the basis that they don't allow it that she actually look into just how much freedom of religion is allowed to non-Jews under halacha. Granted, they don't have to be Jews, but their choices are actually quite limited and Judaism clearly does not have the concept of "freedom of religion."
Baruch-1 (who provided a quote above) also gave us an example of this as well.
Islam is by its nature (according to the 'pashut' reading of the Quran) a controlling and an intolerant religion! There I said it! Forget about contemporary Talibans and Wahabis, since its very creation, Islam has subscribed to the belief that Christians and Jews are Dhimmis thus making them subserviant to Muslims under Shariyah law.
Is Baruch not aware that halacha is also very controlling and, at times, intolerant? Does he not understand that, under halacha, one could find situations where non-Jews are subservient to Jews? Is he really so blind as to not see it? And yet he basis his opposition to Muslims on this. As the saying goes, "doctor, heal thyself."
I have no beef with people who have strongly held opinions on whether this building should be built. As I said, I can see both sides of the argument and both sides have valid points. But when people resort to pure hatred and hypocrisy to make their points, then I consider it out of bounds and in very bad taste.