No Mosque

On the wall of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island–the oldest synagogue in America–is a letter from President George Washington welcoming the congregation to our shores. It is a moving document, for it affirms that this new nation, only a few years old,  intends from the beginning to live up to the ideals upon which it was founded.

Washington eloquently states, “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

Here are the words of Newt Gingrich, welcoming another religious congregation: “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington,” and “we would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.”

At least he can speak in complete sentences, unlike Sarah Palin, who tweeted her own strident opposition to the mosque with these words: “Doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”

My, how far we’ve come.

34 thoughts on “No Mosque”

  1. So true! And I heard another similar analogy the other day…how dare the Catholics put their churches so near daycares and schools!!! There are crazy extremists associated with pretty much every religion out there. We should not condemn an entire religion because of the actions of their most terrible radicals!

  2. Great cartoon. While I can understand the initial negative gut reaction; once one steps back and considers, I can see no objections. If we block this peaceful project, then Al Qaeda and the terrorists have won!

  3. Yep, it’s so disheartening. Unfortunately, I can’t say that Europe (at least Germany) is much better in this regard… there’s so much resistance to letting Muslims out of their run-down back-lot mosques and into buildings that are worthy of any religious group.

  4. “THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  5. Question, What has a letter from Washington to Jews who as a group or as individuals Never attacked this country at the time of his letter. Your cartoon is way off from your editoral below it. I think you are ranting or vetting perhaps. Take a pill , calm down.

    1. Fred,

      If you don’t get the significance, then you are pretty clueless. I think that Ed’s cartoon and editorial are right in line and there is no ranting on his part but, for sure, there is by the “Christians” in this country over this issue. They are the ones that need to calm down and think about what they are advocating. My initial reaction to ‘toon this was going to be:

      Holy Cow, again.

      These two (Gingrich and Palin) make OldBT really seem rational….

    2. So Fred, you seem to be hung up on who it is the letter was sent to, while missing the pertinent content in the text of that letter.

      Your history is a little faulty; Julius and Ethel Rosenberg ring a bell? Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass supplying documents from Los Alamos for the Soviet Union?

      Did they do what they did for religious reasons? No, but they were Jews.

      One could as easily argue that the 9/11 terrorists were acting as much or more for political reasons than religious reasons, but the 9/11 terrorists, like McVeigh, had religious overtones. Too little distinction between their political motives and their religion is recognized.

      We have many muslims in this country who are loyal, patriotic citizens, including serving in our military. There is a prayer room for Muslims in the Pentagon, for heaven’s sake – pun intended.

      Rights should never be subordinated to what is easy or convenient or comfortable. It is the upholding of a right when it is a hard thing to do that makes it a right, that makes it ‘inalienable’.

      Frankly it absolutely is irrelevant if some people, like that idiot Palin, are Islamophobic.
      This proves all over again why we were saved from disaster by McCain and Palin NOT being elected.

      In 2008, I thought they were simply ‘W’ Redux; now i realize they were actually both worse.

  6. Fred–yours might be the strangest, most off-center apologia for the national hate-driven religious hysteria we are in the midst of I have read on any site yet.

    What if some individuals (now citizens) who were Jews (acting alone or in concert) had previously “attacked this country” Why woulds it be any different?

    Fred, Bubba–the letter was written by the very General who had, with many individuals acting in concert, in fact, attacked (and defeated) “this country’. It had just happened to be England at the time they did it.

    Do ya think Ol’ George wasn’t aware at the time of his letter of the centuries-old persecution of, and segregation of, Jews? A basis for all of that–regardless of “country” the segregation and persecution occured in–was a fundamental belief or assumption by the “perps” that Jews were never actually part of “this country”.

    Washington’s remarks then in that great letter and elsewhere are a clarion call that in this new country, descendants of the “Abrahamic” faiths (he specifically also included Muslims) were citizens of equal stature. A revolutionary idea, that.

    Didja ever hear tell of Reconstruction? You might be surprised to know that people in (with antcedents from ) the US South are citizens and can, er, um, even vote? (Thank goodness, since my great great grandfather served as an officer in the Confederate army.)

    I guess, judging from your comment, that if you were any more calm, you would be comatose. Please try to not post gibberish on this site when you are in such a state. Ed’s cogent commentary and excellent ‘toon are not a rant. Probably just hit too close to home. Funny how that works.

  7. The churches, one on either side of the OKC Memorial, one Catholic, and one Methodist, have been there since well before the bombing. Before, even, the Murrah Building was constructed. First Methodist was built in 1889, and St. Joseph’s I know less about, but it’s from at least the 1930’s.

    The analogy here, isn’t to the proposed mosque. Rahter it is to the Greek Orthodox church that is currently being denied permission to rebuild. It predated the events of 2001 and had been there since 1922, predating the construction of the WTC. In which chase this cartoon would be genuis, but you missed the mark, Mr. Stein.

    1. Let me explain something about cartoons–they aren’t meant to be taken literally; if they were they’d be photographs. Their purpose is often to present hypothetical situations, like building a NEW church in OKC after the bombing, or to be read metaphorically, is in building a church being a metaphor for building a mosque. As such, they take some small amount of imagination to decipher, which, unfortunately, some readers simply do not possess.

          1. I’ve been thinking about this for a day and I can’t figure out what exact “ideal” you’re referring to? Not the Constitution of the US, right?

    2. RKO, is the Greek Orthodox church being denied permission to rebuild purely because it is an unpopular religion?

      I hadn’t heard that; perhaps you’d be so kind as to post links here to that claim about being unpopular source.

      I have a suggestion — maybe the Greek Orthodox church could provide a double service to the community – rebuild by replacing one of the strip clubs or adult sex toy stores close to ground zero.

      If I had even the slightest quibble with Ed’s cartoon (I hope you don’t mind my familiarity here), it would be that the proposed building in question isn’t a mosque, it is a community center with facilities like a pool, and a basketball court, and meeting rooms. And the prayer room is non-denominatioanl – like hospital chapels. No minarets. No Islam only. More like a variation on the YMCA or YWCA. An improvement to the whole community, not just the part of it practicing Islam.

  8. How can there be any comparison between religions that may have extremists and one that condones and perpetuates an ideology of murder, a religion that is intolerant of every other? Ed Stien, you should be ashamed of yourself for 1) belittling the horror of 9/11, 2) defending a religion of violence and murder, and 3) using an analogy that is clearly inaccurate. Sure, there are peaceful Muslims. But how can they be true followers of the Qu’ran if they don’t subscribe to the instructions to perform Jihad and Taqiyya (deception for the purpose of furthering Islam)? The Qu’ran teaches that any older, peaceful passages should be revised and overridden by the newer, violent ones.
    Ed, your analogy of the OKC bombings is shallow and irrelevant. Tim McVeigh had no religious motivation:

    In a recorded interview with Time magazine[80] McVeigh professed his belief in “a god”, although he said he had “sort of lost touch with” Catholicism and “I never really picked it up, however I do maintain core beliefs.” Throughout his childhood, he and his father were Roman Catholic and regularly attended daily Mass at Good Shepherd Church in Pendleton, New York. The Guardian reported that McVeigh wrote a letter to them claiming to be an agnostic and that he did not believe in a hell.[81][82] McVeigh once said that he believed the universe was guided by natural law, energized by some universal higher power that showed each person right from wrong if they paid attention to what was going on inside them. He had also said, “Science is my religion.”[83]

    Even if he did, neither Catholicism nor Christianity teach and command murder, unlike Islam. Do a little bit of research next time, please.

    1. So Boggled, where exactly did you do your research on Islam, especially the meanings of “Jihad and Taqiyya”? I noticed you quote Wikipedia when it meets your goals. I don’t think you got your definitions there, though.

      Not that I think it really is germane to Ed’s toon; how, exactly, do you know what the motivation was of every one of the 9/11 hijackers? I wouldn’t classify going off to heaven to be with 72 beautiful virgins as exactly religious….

      I’m also not convinced that Osama bin Laden’s motivation is truly religious either. There have been lots of wackos over the years that have used religion to gain what they really want – power.

  9. The “No Mosque” cartoon is one of the most idiotic, unintelligent things ever. The OKC bombing had nothing to do with religion or Christianity. He targeted the federal government, the FBI specifically and that particular FBI field office even more specifically because of the role those agents from that office played in the Waco siege. One dumb cartoon Mr. Stein.

    1. Would you approve of the Ku Klux Klan plan to build a ‘cultural center’ near a holocaust memorial? Of course they have the RIGHT to do it…does that mean it’s appropriate? I guess the question really is: What would motivate someone to approve of a building that will be used to condone death, intolerance, and deception?

      1. Even if you had a logically or constitutionally valid point (which you don’t), do you actually know anything about what the building (not really a mosque, btw) will be used for, the man who plans to build it, and his particular sect of Islam? And for that matter, what religion doesn’t promote all of those terrible things? Sure, you can argue that your particular branch doesn’t, or your “modern version” doesn’t but then again so can the man building this community center.

        It kills me how many people like you just gobble up and blindly repeat talking points crafted by fear-mongers instead of thinking for themselves and looking at the world as it really is, instead of the black and white version fed to them. If you knew anything about Islam, you’d realize that grouping the entire religion into the most extreme category the way you do would be like me saying that every Christian in the world believes that AIDS is caused by homosexuals and the U.S. is going to perish because of its tolerance a la Westboro. But I’m not doing that, because I can think for myself. You ought to try it.

      2. Boggled, you have grossly mischaracterized Islam when you write “What would motivate someone to approve of a building that will be used to condone death, intolerance, and deception?”

        Are you defending Christianity in contrast? The I would suggest you are glaringly unfamiliar with both the old and new testament. The parts that address things like slavery, voluntary castration, polygamy, and any number of other things of which we disapprove.

        “For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19:12 ASV)

        “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT

        I can provide you with many more, if you need them. Those ideas about stoning and homosexuality and what is appropriate for women etc — those came into Islam from the Bible and the Torah.

        And don’t tell me there isn’t plenty of religious intolerance going on right now – apparently you missed the Polish roman catholic priest who expressed in a recent television interview – it’s online, in translation – how he wished to bring back the good old days of burning homosexuals at the stake.

        So if you are going to tar any religion with being intolerant and frankly just plain backwards, lets also blame christian extremists – including clergy.

        I write a daily ‘in history’ post on, and nearly every day I have an inclusion of some outrageous violent act where a religion – and its Christianity as often as Islam, and only occasionally other faiths – do something where politics, and religion and violence are a bad mix.

        Islam is NO MORE guilty of religious violence than Christianity, and the terrorists are not representative of Islam either. I would sincerely suggest you learn more about Islam before you write such ignorant things.

        These people are Americans, their faith is as legitimate as any other, and there is no justification for the objection to what is similar to a YMCA or a YWCA being built 2 blocks from ground zero.

  10. Then you all agree that religion is a fact of war and nut jobs since time begain. It is kind of like mine is bigger than yours. A human conditiion that shows we are all nuts.

  11. Excellent cartoon. And for those who haven’t checked, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and the First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City are each across a street from the site of the Alfred Murrah federal building that was destroyed by Christian extremists Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh. (Yes, some may want to deny this or pretend otherwise, but the OKC bombers were driven by beliefs that conflated a warped Christianity with extreme right-wing and violent politics). Where’s your outrage about those structures?

    1. Those structures were there before there was an Alfred Murrah federal building or a Timothy McVeigh. They weren’t destroyed by a terrorist act as was the Greek Orthodox church when the South Tower fell. What’s your point?

    2. Here is another comparison for you.

      The Cordoba House, aka the Ground zero not-a-mosque will have a prayer room.

      Per this week’s update (8/20/’10) the Pentagon has just such a non-denominational prayer room specifically to honor the 9/11 Pentagon attack. There is no reason to believe that such a prayer room is any more disrespectful or insensitive in New York City than it is in the Pentagon – both were equally attacked on 9/11. Both are honoring those who suffered from the attack, and both honor and respect the practice of multiple faiths.


      “Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Lorraine K. Potter, chief of the Air Force Chaplain Service, lights a candle at the dedication ceremony for the Pentagon chapel on Nov. 12, 2002.
      The truth is that there is no “mosque” in the Pentagon, according to Army spokesman George Wright. There is a chapel inside the Pentagon where Muslim employees can go to pray, as ABC News recently reported. It’s just not exclusive to followers of Islam.

      The Pentagon’s non-denominational chapel was built and dedicated in 2002 in honor of Pentagon employees and passengers of American Airlines Flight 77 who died in the terrorist attack on the building on Sept. 11, 2001. The chapel was constructed at the site where the hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon nearly nine years ago.

      Wright told us that the chapel, which can seat about 100 people, hosts services throughout the week for Pentagon employees of various faiths including Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Episcopalians, Hindus and Muslims. Wright said that the chapel’s schedule for the week of August 16 actually includes daily mass for Catholics; Bible study sessions for Protestants, Jews and members of the Church of Latter Day Saints; as well as a prayer service for Muslims.

      The chapel is run by the Office of the Pentagon Chaplain, and prior to its construction, all religious services were reportedly held in either conference rooms, auditoriums or informal prayer rooms inside the Pentagon.”

      The ignorance and the misinformaiton surrounding this issue is sick, much of it appears to be deliberate and exploitive in the worst possible way. I hope that the comments here provide a basis for better information as well as respectful discussion. Most of all I hope that people try to maintain an open mind and not a closed one – especially closed minds made up either without any information, or based on misinformation.

      For starters, shall we call this by the correct name – Cordoba House – instead of the Ground Zero Mosque?

    1. Ben, I may be many things, but I think I have demonstrated here quite capably, and on the two blogs for which I write, that ignorant is not one of them.

      Your failure to be aware of other instances of the left standing up for religion simply demonstrates YOUR ignorance of both religion and the left. Your ignorance and misinformation about Islam, specifically, is palpable.

      Your poor grammar – “I never seen” – marks you as nearly illiterate. It is Muslims or Moslems, not ‘maslums’.

      Pot. Kettle. Black. Now go look in the mirror to see what ignorance looks like.

  12. Hey, guys, can we talk about the issue and not each other? The name-calling is galling. And another thing I really dislike is the labeling. I don’t know what “liberal” or “conservative” mean anymore, which is why I try to refer to individuals who have taken a specific stand, or to the political parties when they have a specific policy. Ben, there are millions of Americans, many of whom you would likely identify as being on the left of the political spectrum, who have stood up bravely for freedom of religion–which is the issue here (not standing up for a particular religion, which makes no sense in this context). I assume you refer to those courageous individuals who stand FOR religious freedom by opposing the attempts of some religious leaders and their political allies to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, beliefs that if enacted into law would limit our freedoms. Supporting them would indeed be standing up for A religion, and I and many who cherish religious freedom proudly stand against them and their ilk.

  13. georgie had no problem with Moslems; why now do the republicans have such a conniption? and the republicans anger me by the extreme degree of danger they put all of us here and around the planet with such antics of self-righteous rage. The ‘bad guys’ over there do not have to invent false charges and (fake) propaganda since the republicans are giving them such good fodder to turn even more people against us.
    McVeigh and Nichols and their ilk use faux christianity as pompous self righteous justification and affirmation to vent hate and intolerance. What would a true Christian do? What would their lord and saviour do? Were he to return and see these bozos of uneducated spiteful hateful antagonist killers ie Scott Roeder, and take back his own religion from them for plagarism of his true faith of Christianity.

    1. It was a Republican administration which led the United States military into Iraq, under overwhelmingly false pretenses.

      It was many of these same Republicans who have supported the Iraq conflict continuing who are now making the most strident noise in opposition of the Moslem facility in Manhattan.

      I can only wonder in shock and horror (no awe) if these same individuals remember at all, as they rant, that our allies in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, much of India, etc. etc. etc. ARE MOSLEM?

  14. Aside from Mayor Bloomberg, the only political office holder I’ve seen so far make a respectable statement on this issue if Sen. Jeff Merkley:

    Bloomberg also made a great point about this issue on the Daily show: When this building was discussed a year ago, nobody, even on Fox News, had any issues with it. What’s changed since then? This is an easy way to stoke up emotions during an election year, and take the focus off of other issues that are of more pressing importance to most Americans.

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