Fareed Zakaria returns ADL award as protest over Ground Zero mosque

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61 Responses to “Fareed Zakaria returns ADL award as protest over Ground Zero mosque”

  1. strandedlad says:

    If I could just note, this is not a mosque. It’s a mixed-use community center with retail space for shops, a gym with a pool, an auditorium and media space, all under the auspices of Islamic community outreach. I think there will be a worship area in the building, but that’s a small part of what’s being built. You don’t have to be Muslim to shop or work out there. Similarly, I’m not Jewish, but I swim at the JCC near my house. If people want to get upset about a mosque, there is in fact already a mosque only four blocks from Ground Zero (only two blocks farther away) that has been there for decades and does not even have a pool where everyone can swim.
    Maybe when everyone’s done hating on the Cordoba House, we can go chase out the Muslims over at that mosque, because, you know, 9/11. Or is two blocks too close and four blocks is OK? It’s always so hard to tell where the sacred ground boundary is.
    (BTW, for those wondering about the racist = hate Muslims thing, it’s because all Muslims are Arab terrorists, obviously. It’s not that people hate all Muslims, they just hate all Arab terrorists, which all Muslims are, duh. It’s not racist to demonize the Muslims, any more than it was racist when we rose up as a nation to condemn all the white Christians because of the OKC bombing and the Rudolph terrorist campaign or when that guy shot Dr. Tiller or the other guy who killed all those people at the Unitarian Church. Remember when we decided all Christians should watch their step and stop with all the Christ talk and worshiping everywhere? We should treat the Muslims the same way.)

  2. Christovir says:

    How is Zakira’s opinion on oil in any way relevant to this issue? Can people only have ligitimate opinions if they get everything right on every topic? That would be a lonely world indeed.

  3. grimc says:

    The Wiesenthal Center’s executive director–the group behind the “Museum of Tolerance”– Reply

  • Brainspore says:

    The Wiesenthal Center’s executive director–the group behind the “Museum of Tolerance”–sides with the ADL.

    I’ve been to the Wiesenthal Center & Museum of Tolerance in L.A. a few times over the years and think it’s a very good primer on global prejudice (especially the Nazis’ holocaust) but I did notice they didn’t seem to include any examples of anti-Muslim activity. It’s a shame because their mission is a good one, but even the people who fight for equality and understanding can have blind spots regarding their own behavior.

    • grimc says:

      It’s a bit tragic, really. A singular moment where both organizations could have displayed the tolerance and anti-bigotry beliefs they were established on, but they chose to fail spectacularly.

  • neward says:

    That’s amusing since the Museum of Tolerance is actually going to be built on top of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.

    …it’s also interesting to note that while getting his PhD and studying foreign policy at Harvard he worked under Samuel P. Huntington while he published his “Clash of Civilizations” book. That might taint him more than any article he wrote on energy policy, but I don’t think it is a permanent stain. There is a pretty good Salon article on the topic and how the mosque controversy is more of a “culture war” than a “clash of civilizations”:

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/08/02/ground_zero_us_them

  • technogeek says:

    As others have said: Way to go, Zakaria. And _please_ go, ADL — the sooner, and the farther, the better — because you’re giving us all a bad name.

  • Felton says:

    Thank you. Of course, Fareed Zakaria is one of those many moderate Muslims who is somehow magically invisible to certain people’s eyes.

  • arikol says:

    putting his money where his mouth is, Mr. Zakaria has my respect.

    The ADL doesn’t.

  • Halloween Jack says:

    Good for him, regardless of things he’s said or written in the past.

    And to everyone else who’d disqualify him from speaking on this subject because he failed your personal purity test: that’s not how these sort of things are won.

  • grikdog says:

    For us incognoscenti, presumably “ADL” means “Agonizingly Decadent Language?”

    No, I looked it up on the innertubes. B’nai Brith, right?

    Talk is cheap at current bandwidth rates. We can afford to Spit It Out.

  • bklynchris says:

    Zakaria has my support. Kudos, sir!

  • Delaney says:

    I can’t agree with everything Zakaria says or does but he’s basically a really good guy and this is unexpected and wonderful. I would expect him (and everyone else for that matter) to denounce the ADL’s stand on this issue, but going back four years to give back an old award and the money associated with it would be more than I would demand of him.

    The whole issue blows me away, the double think, the blatant hypocrisy amazes me. For the ADL to come out against the build is absolutely identical to someone objecting to the building of a Christian church two blocks from where the KKK lynched someone. Evil is done in the name of Jesus, Allah, Shiva, Jehovah and atheism. Those who can’t separate the wheat from the chaff should not have to have their bigotry mollified. Yes, when schools were integrated there was anger and flare ups. The schools got over it, and kids going to school with people who looked differently than them helped them be less racist than they would have been otherwise. When military units were integrated it was the same thing. Racism and intolerance flourish in the dark, miles away from the targets of their hate.

    I can understand the thought process the ADL has gone through on this, but their priorities are really screwed up. They could not be more wrong. I can’t quite say that the ADL reversing it’s position should be a complete no-brainer…but it should certainly not take more than five minutes of self reflection for them to realize they are dead wrong. And most of that five minutes could be spent finding a box to give Zakaria’s award back accompanied by a letter explaining that they’ve changed their minds.

    Foxman is stunned? Somehow I doubt it. Embarrassed maybe. Not stunned. Pretty weak flopper-roo there sir.

  • Rob Myers says:

    “two blocks away”

    Two whole blocks? That’s like almost not in the same neighborhood!

    Moderates don’t build compounds to ostentatiously assert their difference. They just get on with learning about other people and not being in anyone’s face, certainly not being in anyone’s face to the tune of many millions of dollars.

    If you thought that taking money from the George W Bush foundation to build a Disneyland next to Fallujah was the best way of proving how misunderstood The West was in Iraq you might just be wrong, however “moderate” your intentions.

    Just because the ADL are Jewish doesn’t mean they should be the focus of the back-backlash. Or perhaps it does. It’s certainly played well on political Islam sites if you check Google. I doubt they’d lead with news of a senator or three complaining. Boing Boing certainly hasn’t.

    All that ranted, I admire Zakaria’s action (not gesture, action). And if the Scientologists can build wherever they like, anybody can. An open society is more important. Except, please God, don’t let the Tea Party get any ideas.

  • neward says:

    Peter Beinart take on the ADL’s stance in the Daily Beast is also another good read…

    What if white victims of African-American crime protested the building of a black church in their neighborhood? Or gentile victims of Bernie Madoff protested the building of a synagogue?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-02/the-anti-defamation-leagues-ground-zero-mosque-hypocrisy/

  • Baldhead says:

    I think calling it “The Ground Zero Mosque” isn’t helping things. People often only gloss over the details of the story, retaining the headline. I bet if you did a poll you’d find a majority think it’s being planned for the site itself, not two blocks away. Zakaria’s anger with the ADL on this is mostly to do with the simple fact that siding against a Synogogue in similar circumstances is something they would not do- in fact their supposed mandate is that they should side with the Mosque on principle. Yet they allow some level of intolerance in themselves to do other than their mandate.

  • louiszwu says:

    Aside from the painfully obvious immorality of opposition to the mosque, what it does, is tell our enemies that we fear them, almost to the exclusion of rational thought.

    It also says that we’re liars. Because what good does it do to tell the rest of the world what a great country we have, when our deeds say just the opposite? Then again, as a nation, we have consistently failed to live up to those ideals.

    I’d like someone to explain to me exactly when having all the character of a rat on a sinking ship became confused with patriotism.

  • AnthonyX says:

    If I really wanted, I could legally, following zoning and safety laws, start a gun range/gun club near Columbine or l’Ecole polytechnique.

    My goal, to let everyone know that most gun owners are in no way connected to those “unfortunate” incidents.

    I could do it. But I would not. Because I have common sense and decency.

    If we can please..PLEASE remove the default “Evil Right Wingers are too blame” and pursue some deeper analysis then screaming RACISM, it would be helpful.

    • mausium says:

      Or you could just not be a bigot and compare a religious community center to a center of controlled violence.

    • Delaney says:

      I don’t think we’re saying that evil right wingers are to blame, I think plenty of left wingers would agree with the ADL’s stand on this. But racist? Yeah…you could delve into as deep an honest analysis as you wanted, weigh the variety of people’s opinions and the degree, be sensitive to all sides and understand that Limbaugh’s take on the issue is different than the ADL…it would still be racist. Sorry my friend. The only reason to not call this racist would be to make racists feel less threatened. (And I say that as a racist myself…everybody you’ve ever met is racist to one degree or another. This incident just happens to be one where the ADL leadership is displaying their racism.)

      • John Greg says:

        Racist? Islam is a race now? Gosh. Coulda fooled me. I thought it was a theistic ideology. And don’t we have enough trouble with theistic ideologies already? Do we really need yet one more tabernacle to ideology, centrism, and the lunacy of religion, whatever colour, creed, or gleeclub it is? I don’t think so.

        • mausium says:

          “And don’t we have enough trouble with theistic ideologies already? Do we really need yet one more tabernacle to ideology, centrism, and the lunacy of religion, whatever colour, creed, or gleeclub it is? I don’t think so.”

          Atheists can be unconstitutional and intolerant bigots too, obviously. Apparently there are enough right-wing big-A atheists on BB and elsewhere.

        • Felton says:

          Do we really need yet one more tabernacle to ideology, centrism, and the lunacy of religion, whatever colour, creed, or gleeclub it is? I don’t think so.

          Allow one, allow all. If you don’t want to call it racism, religious persecution works just as well.

          • John Greg says:

            I hear you, Felton, I do. It’s just that I am finding it increasingly difficult to be tolerant of religious, or theist-based groups and ideologies.

            Theism, faith, religion, et al, are a madness that is, in my opinion, increasingly divisive and destructive of all our freedoms; all of us everywhere. And yes, I see and hear the inherent contradiction there. But the issue is that unlike the majority of atheists, theists strive to manipulate and control laws, legislation, social control, corporate control etc., to fit a narrow, angry, anti-human, pro-apocalypse theme, ideology, and goal. And however contradictory it might seem on the face of it, I feel that such an allowance of freedom for such a dangerous bunch of ideologues is a really serious danger to the survival of the species.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I feel that such an allowance of freedom for such a dangerous bunch of ideologues is a really serious danger to the survival of the species.

            Which dangerous bunch of ideologues? The ADL? The NYC Planning Commission? Palinites? Mayor Bloomberg? Fox News? All Muslims everywhere? I’m confused.

          • John Greg says:

            Antinous, all theists and other irrational ideologues with a mandate to push, a morality to proselytize, a fantasy to enforce, a way of life to push down people’s throats.

          • futbol789 says:

            Right, because a group of people using public tender to acquire a piece of private property for sale and develop a community center two city blocks away from ground zero are forcing their ideology down the throats of people.

            Whereas Palin and the right wing ilk, with the tacit endorsement of the ADL, are starting a public fearmongering campaign linking a group with murderig bastards so the mob can run their kind out of town.

            Yes, I think it’s quite obvious what ideology is forcing itself down the throats of others.

            And, I really fucking hate that “forced down their throats” has become a commonly acceptable political euphemism. Repopularized by the same people who hate everyone not them. “watch out, or those Muslims will throat f-what, I’m just talking politics.”

            Good on Zakaria. Well stated defense of his reasoning for returning the award.

          • John Greg says:

            As I’ve just pointed out to “Anon”, I am not singling out Muslims, or any one particular group of nutters. And I’m certainly not giving a free pass to that insane Palin clown, nor those nutbar Tea Party people, nor would I give a free pass to such nutters as Limbaugh, or that blonde high priestess of hatred Ann Coulter.

            And you might really fucking hate that “forced down their throats” has become a commonly acceptable political euphemism — whatever you mean by that I’m not really sure…. But forced down our throats is quite precisely what evangelizers and proselytizers of all stripes do, whether it’s religion, or politics, or whatever. Hardcase evangelizers and proselytizers do try to force their ideologies down people’s throats through legislation, morality-based peer pressure, so-called community standards, etc.

          • futbol789 says:

            “But forced down our throats is quite precisely what evangelizers and proselytizers of all stripes do, whether it’s religion, or politics, or whatever.”

            Only that isn’t remotely what is happening from the Muslim side of this equation. You can blather about the evils of your throat fucking proselytizers all you want, but it ain’t this bunch of people. They were minding their own business not bothering anyone until a bunch of throat fucking proselytizers found them and saw an easy opportunity to gin up hate.

            All this bullshit from the ADL that this site selection is too direct a move for their stated goals is a bunch of side talking nonsense justifying the throat fucking bigots shouting at the nice people.

            This nonsense basically boils down to: how dare the quiet nice people with the religion and their god make me spew hate out of my mouth at them. How dare they legitimately acquire private property and develop it in a way allowed by the city? Don’t they know that calmly and quietly exercising their constitutional rights is exactly the same as forcing throbbing god loving membership down my throat?

            The only people forcing anything in this instance are the people shouting down the building of a mosque. Or do you find your way to vociferously oppose the construction of every single church, mosque, temple Scientology outpost in the US?

          • John Greg says:

            “Or do you find your way to vociferously oppose the construction of every single church, mosque, temple Scientology outpost in the US [and elsehwere]?”

            Well, in a sense, yes I do.

          • futbol789 says:

            Well without trying to be overly cheeky, that makes you a pretty aggressive proselytizer doesn’t it?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            all theists and other irrational ideologues with a mandate to push, a morality to proselytize, a fantasy to enforce, a way of life to push down people’s throats.

            Ah, Homo sapiens.

          • Daedalus says:

            Mosques don’t push anything, though. They basically serve a community as a place of worship and learning.

            Of course, this being lower Manhattan, most of the “community” is made up of upper-class twits too busy kissing their moneypiles to care about what their brownish-colored doormen and cabbies do.

            Still, I, personally, entirely favor a visible demonstration of Islam’s non-insanity at the place where some crazies tarnished its name in the first place. Seems entirely just to me, and good on Fareed for slapping the ADL in the face.

        • Delaney says:

          Oh I’m so sorry John Greg, you’re right…I should have made up a completely new definition to the word “religionist” or made up an awkward phrase like religious intolerationist. Or I could just say it was racist and everyone would know what I meant.

          Do we need another “tabernacle to…the lunacy of religion”? I don’t personally, although I do need people to be free to practice their religion wherever they want in whatever form and build whatever buildings they want on whatever land they own because otherwise my atheism is threatened. If they can’t build a mosque what is to stop someone from saying I can’t build a humanist meeting center?

          • John Greg says:

            Delaney, accuracy in diction is critical, especially when you’re discussing such potentially disruptive issues as racism. Do you even know what the word racist means?

            Religious persecution, as mentioned by Felton, works much better, because it is accurate and correct and specific. Calling this issue racism is just wrong, not slightly, not vaguely, but completely wrong. Islam is comprised of many races; religion is not a race.

          • Delaney says:

            Yes diction is important. Meaning is important, getting across meaning is very important. It is why we use language. I wish there were more words in our language. I wish our language was better than it is. I wish there was a single word that meant someone who has an irrational aversion to a person based on their religion.

            I wish the word that describes what “homophobic” meant didn’t include the word “phobia” because fear of gay people isn’t really the main part of what we’re describing when we use the word and “homo” is too specific as we use the word to describe people who have extreme aversions to bisexual and transgender people as well. I use the word homophobic, but it’s not a great word to use.

            I also use the phrase “person who persecutes based on religion” but I wouldn’t use it here because it’s both awkward and inaccurate. The building is going ahead, what we’re objecting to is that the ADL thinks it shouldn’t be built. They’re not persecuting people of a certain religion, they are showing that they discriminate based on religion, which is a different thing…not a world away, but different.

            And yes I know what the meaning of the word racist is. Do you believe that asking that question was helpful in our conversation?

            I used the word racist because it is inflammatory. The ADL’s behavior here is not an unfortunate little thing, it’s awful, it’s heinous, it should be derided. People say and do awful things all the time, but generally the ADL steers clear of those things at least more than, say, religious hatred-baiters do.

            Meaning is very important and language is always inadequate for one reason or another. If you know of a single word that means a person who has an extreme, irrational aversion to a certain religion I would love to know it. “Religious persecutor” is not it.

  • Teo says:

    I find it odd that so many people in mainstream society confuse the views of a group of foreign Islamic terrorists with the views of moderate American Muslims.

    The reason this strikes me as odd is that mainstream society is so clearly uncomfortable with the suggestion that Israel’s policies be taken as the party line of Jews in America.

    • AnthonyX says:

      Teo.

      Islam is not a religion, it is a way of life. It is a social system. It has rules for believers and non-believers.

      Your use of the word “foreign” is interesting. AS the problems are not foreign. They are now western.

      To morph the words of Mohamed Ali…”No Jew ever threatened to kill me.”

      • Delaney says:

        “Islam: the religion of the Muslims, a monotheistic faith regarded as revealed through Muhammad as the Prophet of God.”
        -Merriam-Webster Dictionary

        Note that in addition to being a religion there are numerous different ways of life among different people in different places that are associated with Islam just as there are with Judaism, Christianity and every other religion that I’ve spent any time studying.

      • neward says:

        Islam is not a religion, it is a way of life. It is a social system. It has rules for believers and non-believers.

        How does this differ from any other religion? If you are following a religion strictly and by-the-book (ie, not semi-practicing liberal mainline Protestantism, reform Judaism, etc) then you lead a very prescribed lifestyle, no? Is being a Buddhist Monk (or monk of any other) a religion or a way of life?

  • Delaney says:

    Xeni- Quick correction…Mr. Zakaria is not Muslim, he was born into a Muslim family which also celebrated Christian and Hindu holidays, but he himself identifies as non-religious. (He even states so in the “Build the Ground Zero Mosque.” “I am not a religious person.” -Zakaria)

  • pixleshifter says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with any religious institution building anything anywhere within legal limits. As long as they pay their tax right?
    Oh, wait…

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s a Republican ploy to rile up the rubes for the November election.

    • irksome says:

      Along with the “threat” of gay marriage. I’ve been alive long enough to notice the pattern; another boogeyman every election cycle. Affirmative action, gays, color-coded terror alerts, immigrants… the list goes on and on. Nothing rattles the base better than a threat to life as we knew it back in the Eisenhower Administration.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hopefully that means that this political trend will, um, ‘trail off’.

        @John Greg,

        If you aren’t trying to be an epic troll, try critique of the many christian atrocities. Catholic, many flavors of Protestant, Greek Orthodox, whatever. Or Jewish. It’s your monolithic focus on Islam that suggests trolling.

        In fact, that stupid glass pyramid is clearly uglier than any minaret ever!

        PS. Captchas are getting really hard! Rarely words, full of punctuation, blurry, twisted. You almost need a sophisticated algorithm to decipher them! ;D

        • John Greg says:

          Anon said:

          “If you aren’t trying to be an epic troll, try critique of the many christian atrocities.”

          No I am not trying to be an epic troll. Since when does disagreement and criticism equal trolling?

          If you had read what I said a little more closely you would have noticed that I included all religious and faith-based organizations and people in my criticism. I did not single out any one particular branch of lunatics, as I think they’re all lunatics whether Islamic, Judaic, Christian, Pink Dragonists, whatever.

  • Baldhead says:

    To suggest that all Muslims believe/ live the same way is as inaccurate and, frankly, idiotic as saying there’s no difference between Anglicans and Amish

  • irksome says:

    Excellent. “Refudiate” intolerance!

    Want to p!ss off Bin Laden? Build the thing, as a monument to what this country is supposed to stand for. I find it ironic that so many right-wing mouth breathers are so interested in interfering with an individuals free enterprise. This is strictly a zoning issue and has already been approved.

    As to “sacred ground”, also within a few blocks is a strip club and a sex “shoppe”.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bravo to you, Fareed Zakaria! You put your integrity before the cash that was awarded to you. It takes a wise man to make such a bold and brilliant move. Keep your head high. Let your backbone remain as strong as your resolve.

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!!

  • SB-129 says:

    (A)DL speechless.. makes a nice change.

  • Anonymous says:

    “If I really wanted, I could legally, following zoning and safety laws, start a gun range/gun club near Columbine or l’Ecole polytechnique.”
    There are several gun shops within a few minutes drive from Columbine High. Somehow, the people of Littleton get through the day. So what is your point?

  • SeattleGuy says:

    The ADL, I’m no longer sure just what they stand for anymore.

  • John Greg says:

    Godophobe? Theistist? Antiangellus?

    Seriously though, I am not so sure it is important to have a single word, however appealing that may be, for just this issue.

    Although you have explained your feelings on this, I just don’t quite get it — the importance of having just one word to describe, with extreme prejudice, such specific anti-religious sentiment.

    Delaney said: “And yes I know what the meaning of the word racist is. Do you believe that asking that question was helpful in our conversation?”

    I asked it legitimately, because your use of the word was so incorrect.

  • John Greg says:

    Antinous, not all people try to force their way of life and/or belief system down everybody else’s throat. I’m not even completely certain that the majority do.

  • Jack says:

    Good for Zakaria! As far as Foxman goes, he makes me embarrassed to be a Jew. And check out this quote from this piece:
    http://bit.ly/8YTjyt

    “If you want to reach out, if you want to reconcile, if you want to show love, why not listen to the people who suffered, the families, the victims, the responders who say, not here; not in my cemetery,

    This genius is now declaring a building not affected by 9/11 and two blocks away a “cemetery.” Technically speaking, Conde Nast is planning to move their offices to Ground Zero; this genius’ “cemetery.” And hey, look! Someone in the Atlantic knows what I am talking about:
    http://bit.ly/cqeExx

    • Joe says:

      And what about the 50 Muslim victims of the 9/11 attack? Isn’t it their cemetery too?

      It’s Osama bin Laden who wants to claim that he’s heading a war between all Muslims and the West. Any moronic right-winger who wants to stir up a war against Islam is playing into bin Laden’s hands.

  • Anonymous says:

    Fareed’s mistake was in rejecting a kind ADL gesture. ADL’s mistake was to play this for publicity.
    Now the Muslim/Jew bashers are happy. They get to take a side! By polarizing the issue publicly, ADL has ‘Mel Gibsoned’ it. Nobody can be neutral now, or have the private meeting they should have had about this…’ante-bellum.’
    We must enjoy living with our follies. There are so many around.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zakaria sucks.

    Here he is kissing up to oil companies:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/podcasts/fareedzakaria/site/2010/06/20/gps.podcast.06.20.cnn.html

    We don’t vilify oil companies, they do a good enough job of that by themselves.

    He basically says there’s no alternative to oil so we should just give up and not try to get off it.

    Why is the news media discouraging alternative fuels or the search for alternative fuels?

    If there’s no technology to get off oil what of EV-1 and Tesla cars.

    This guy’s head is way up big oil’s ass.

  • Xopher says:

    Wow, $10,000 isn’t just a gesture. I’m stunned by that, even though I applaud Zakaria for his actions.

  • futbol789 says:

    Basically what the ADL said, and a number of others in trying to move by criticisms of racism: think of what this would have sounded like if a soda jerk had said something like this to a black person during the civil rights era.

    “Son, I know you have a right to eat here, but you’re going to upset a lot of folks who are still upset over all those national guard incidents. And I support your right to eat here. Believe me, I couldn’t be more on your side. But, if you really want to advance your cause, and I’m on your team in that effort, you should eat somewhere else.”

    Meanwhile the other folks overhearing this say, “Exactly, I mean it’s his civil right, but does he have to shove it down our throats? It’s like being stabbed.”

    There’s so much angry violent imagery in the protest of this. And none if it that I’ve seen reported comes at all from the people being lumped in with psychopathic murdering bastards.

    Or, shorter: I really hate how my dryer seems to always eat one of my socks. But what the fuck does that have to do with an already approved building permit?

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