Friday, August 27, 2010

Do People Actually Hear Themselves When They Speak...?

... or write, in this case.

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.

The Wolf


Clifton Guy said...

This is the first time you commented on a CR discussion without participating in it.

G*3 said...

Even without the blatant double standard, the comments are nonsense. The first is an instance of the slippery slope fallacy, and one that makes no sense. The second ignores that there are already many mosques in NY. The third equates religion with government. Christianity is no more tolerant of other religions than is Islam. It is the government of the US that guarantees religious freedom, often over the protests of its fundamentalist citizens. And the last comment pretends that that other religions don’t also hold those of other faiths to be heathens and infidels, to say nothing of the attitudes of the Chareidi community towards “the goyim.”

Cg said...

Why the censoring of comments here?

BrooklynWolf said...

I have not censored any comments in this thread.

Aside from spam, I rarely delete comments.

As for my absence from the CR, that's my concern and I will not be addressing it in public.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...


Apparently you seem to be deleting your own comments. I have NOT deleted any comments from this thread.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

Wolf is censoring comments.

BrooklynWolf said...

Wolf is censoring comments.

No, I am not.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

Wolf - if someone deletes their own comment in blogger, it still shows up as a deleted comment. Only the blog owner can delete it so there is no more remez, as is happening here.

Then I don't know what to tell you. I don't know why your comments are being deleted or not going through.

I have not deleted any comments and, as a rule*, when I do delete a comment, I explain why I did so.

The Wolf

* Except for spam. That gets deleted without comment.

BrooklynWolf said...

Wolf, you left the cr in a spiffy after your "cryptic comment" bemoaning the mods didnt allow you to call yourself an apikorus.

As I said, I will not be publicly discussing why I am not commenting in the CR.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

The comments are showing up for a minute or two before being deleted.

BrooklynWolf said...

The comments are showing up for a minute or two before being deleted.

I honestly don't know what to tell you about that. It's not my doing.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

Only someone with the blog password can delete comments that were made without a blogger login.

I don't know if that's true or false. All I can tell you is that I am not deleting any comments.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

How did anonymous comments get deleted 2 minutes after being up? Anon cannot delete their own comment.

Then there must be something strange going on at Blogger. I can't explain it.

The Wolf

jrs said...

I also think this issue has many sides & nuances. But the claim of a double standard on the part of frum Jews is not so solid. Yes, halacha has its [many?] examples of intolerance, but beside the fact that in practice, we haven't applied any of that (killing the Canaanites, stoning adulterers, etc.) in many centuries----the one extant Jewish state is a paragon of liberal democracy---in complete, utter contrast to virtually every single Moslem entity in our own time, be it a state, organization, or clan.

Jewish Atheist said...


Yeah it's hilarious to watch Jews condemn Muslims for doing what the (written) Torah says to do in a lot of circumstances. They're all proud that Jews haven't acted that way in a long time, yet they long for the Moshiach when they can start doing it again!

Miami Al said...


There is a good reason that we care about restrictions under Sharia and not under Halacha. Halacha has never actually been implemented as a governing philosophy or legal system. It's been implied that it was in affect during the second Temple era, but given the massive differences in practices recorded in the Mishnah, of which Halacha follows one or the other, clearly it wasn't "in place" or the "other option" wouldn't be there.

On the other hand, MANY countries claim Sharia as the basis of their legal system, several of which have religious courts that are implementing it. The Caliphate was recent enough and the legal system in place that we have reason to fear.

While Halacha puts non Jews under very limited freedoms of religion, not a single gentile has been subject to this restriction. The only Jewish state does NOT have Halacha at it's core, and the only place where Halacha affects non Jews in any way is conversions in Israel.

That's a major difference.

No defense for the one mosque and where will it end (especially since their are two OTHER mosques in that area as well) comments, but worrying about Sharia is based on reality, while worrying about Halacha only matters in Hareidi fantasy land.

JRS said...

Well put, Miami Al.

ZachM said...

Not to harp on this issue, but Jewish Atheist's comment needed a response in my mind-- halacha's "intolerance" is and has ALWAYS largely been "on the books." Adulterers were never stoned (or killed by strangulation or the hot lead down the throat most likely either) and even murderers were rarely condemned to death because of the intentionally almost impossible situation which requires the death penalty. I think a clear distinction can be drawn between modern day Muslim countries, which have tens of women on the docket for execution for the crime of adultery.

That being said, any argument that uses these views and examples of Islam in its true form is probably uninformed, and I agree with Wolf that it's a terrible argument against the Mosque.

fred said...

If a non jew violated any of the sheva mitzvos bnei noach he was beheaded according to halacha. He did not need two eidim or hasraah either.

moshe said...

Hey, genius, here is a simple difference: Islam prescribes our extermination. Their moshiach cannot arrive until the Jews are exterminated. This is an Islamic midrash (a Hadith from al-Bukhari, considered among the strongest of Hadith). In the meantime, the Jews are to be enslaved (Islamic mizvah d'oraita, based on multiple verses of the Koran, e.g. Sword Verses). The enslavement is to be ruinous and humiliating (Islamic mizvah d'rabbanan, as per Reliance of the Traveller and other Sharia rishonim). Any who resist are to be killed (mizvah d'oraita, again as per Koran Sword Verses, etc.) Further, Islam command global conquest and prohibits peace with infidels. Again, d'oraita. Jihad is as strong a mizvah for them as shabbat and kashrut are for us. In fact, Jihad is the essence of Islam in which all thwe rest of Islam is included (al-Banna, based on Sharia rishonim and acharonim).

So here is the bottom line: You are defending people compared to whom the Nazis were errant schoolboys out for a few pranks. Go learn something about Islam before you shoot off your ignorant mouth.

Ichabod Chrain said...

For whatever it's worth, I agree pretty much with Miami Al, although I'd add that it's traditional to build mosques in an area where the Moslems had a military victory.

Wolf, it makes no sense to do the substitutions you made, because the situations are not identical. Since they aren't you haven't made out a case that the commenters were hypocritical. All I see is that they might not have written their comments to draw the distinctions they might have made had someone pressed them to do it,

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Dovy said...


I've almost always agreed wiith you on all inds of issues, but this is where you and I part company. Anyone who understands how Moslems/Islam operate and understands the dark hatred in many of them will realize that they will, unless we stand ever vigilant, be the death of us all. This is is so obvious to me, and I thank G-d that so many other Americans see it the same way.

btw, it would've been one thing had I witnessed at least one "Not In My Name" rallies after 9-11, but I'm still waiting.

mlevin said...

Look those comments were made in ignorance. To us Jews it matters little whether we live in a Christians country or a Moslem one. If you don't believe me, please check out Jewish history in Europe where Christians killed Jews in the name of religion on regular basis. If they did it once, they could start killing jews again

dara@israel said...

hah, i got your point, and yes, there is a lil part of truth is there. but the difference is :jews are not agressive (most of them), jews has very internal calture-muslims try to spread their religion. thats already pretty enough.