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Fiery Rhetoric on American Islam

From Ground Zero to California, politicians are promising to keep America safe from Sharia law and Muslim conspiracies. Fearmongering and the election season.

An opponent of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero at a meeting of the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission, Aug. 3, 2010. The commission voted not to landmark the building, making way for the construction of the mosque. (AP)

The Ground Zero mosque in New York has gotten the biggest headlines, but that controversy is part of a broader movement in some Republican circles that sees a real and present danger: the “Islamization” of America. 

Congressmen last fall demanded an investigation into a purported Muslim fifth column infiltrating Capitol Hill. 

Newt Gingrich is calling for legislation to keep Sharia law from taking over American courtrooms. Critics call it the New McCarthyism. Defenders call it a war for the survival of America. 


Samuel Goldsmith, staff writer for the New York Daily News.  He has been the paper’s lead reporter on the Ground Zero mosque story.

Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), who represents Arizona’s 2nd District, which includes Maricopa and Mohave Counties, and towns like Glenndale, Peoria and some of Phoenix.

Intisar Rabb, professor of criminal law, constitutional law, and Islamic and comparative law at Boston College Law School.

Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and professor of theology at, and former president of, the Chicago Theological Seminary. Read her Washington Post/Newsweek columns on the fear of Islam and what she calls the “new McCarthyism,” and on the mosque controversy at Ground Zero.

David Gaubatz, author, along with Paul Sperry of “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.”

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  • sts

    Goodwin’s Law much? Before the conversation has even started at that.

    I’m very interested to hear how this conversation turns out. I find it ironic that the people who say they will protect us from these apparent Islamic ‘conspiracies’ are likely the very same people who would have intelligent design taught in our science classrooms.

  • Zane Beadles

    I’m glad your view point is only shared by the fringe extremists of this country.

    As for the topic, we should apply a basic rule of thumb: Just ask, “What would Osama bin Laden want?” and then do the opposite. Government should never be in the business of telling people where they should pray.

  • Emmanuel Rosenblatt

    It’s unfortunate to see Christian extremists and republicans cling to hate and bigotry in hopes to score a petty political point. They’re truly morally repugnant. This is our version of Christian ‘talibanization’.

  • utahboy

    A slight modification to a famous quote by Pastor Martin Neimoller:

    “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 the Hispanics and Muslims,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Hispanic or a Muslim.]

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

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    As an atheist, I find all three major monotheistic religions to be repressive, thought-controlling, brutal, misogynist, ignorant, self-serving, and anti-life. That said, here in the supposed land of the free there ought to be no controversy whatsoever about the private practice of religion. Let people believe whatever the hell they want, however asinine. Just so long as those religious and moral considerations do not infect our system of law … whoops! Too late! We’ve had religious (Puritan) laws on the books here for years and they aren’t going away. So much for being the land of the free.

    Donen, although it would sadden me to learn you are an atheist, at least then you would not be a hypocrite. But somehow I doubt that … I’ll bet you are probably a “good” god-fearing Christian. If so, then be sure to go out and stone the first adulterer you see.

    Yes, Islam is a religion of conquest–just like Christianity, though both prefer to be considered “proselytizing” faiths. At least Judaism doesn’t fall into that trap, although it’s certainly been guilty of insularity and overweening pride through the centuries.

  • Joshua Hendrickson



    Let us add a line about atheists, while we’re at it. After all, atheists are the most hated group in this holier-than-thou country. Even the most ignorant Christians would sooner vote for a Muslim for President (not counting those who already believe Obama is one) than for an outspoken atheist.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    “What would Osama bin Laden want us to do?”

    1. Invade Muslim countries without provocation, thus inspiring a whole new generation of terrorists.


  • roger

    christianity was fine at the time of its origin as the people of that era needed the guidance of jesus’ teachings to keep from annihilating themselves.

    and islam was fine at the time of its origin to serve as a counterbalance to prevent christianity from overrunning the world.

    but today all religion is anachronistic. people are so much more developed. we are in the era of the new age where all myth, delusion and superstition is being replaced by logic, knowledge and wisdom. given enough time it will happen, and religion will be a relic of the past. and man will at last be free.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    By the way, what’s Goodwin’s Law?

    From the context I would surmise it has something to do with accusing your opponent in a debate of being like Hitler or the Nazis.

  • sts

    Joshua — That’s exactly what it is. It’s a rule from internet forums that states, more or less, that anyone who invokes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis in order to win an argument automatically looses said argument.

  • Brett

    I suppose Trent Franks will be in the counterpoint role in contrast to Thistlewaite and Rabb. What role will Goldsmith be playing? Comic relief? What was the thing about what would bin Laden want? How about, what would Limbaugh say? Then think the opposite of that!

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Roger writes,

    “christianity was fine at the time of its origin as the people of that era needed the guidance of jesus’ teachings to keep from annihilating themselves”

    Of course, it didn’t really work out that way … the early Christians (and the later ones too) were guilty of tremendous and bloody infighting over tiny aspects of doctrine. It’s all about power and influence, heresy and apostasy, not about human kindness. I doubt if the gentler words of Jesus have had that much effect on human history in the long run. After all, most of our most humane developments (such as hospitals, for example) have been a result of science and enlightenment, not religion.

    I agree with your last statement wholeheartedly, although I doubt that religious feeling and willful ignorance will ever disappear entirely … they’re too much a part of the human psyche.

  • Brett

    Isn’t it Godwin’s Law?

  • Joshua Hendrickson


    thank you for answering my question.

    I’ve heard of the principle before, but I never knew it had a name.

  • a candid muslim

    I’ve been hearing a lot of unregulated and untested rhetoric on ‘Sharia’, so let me just put some facts in perspective.

    (i) There are only 14 Muslim countries with Sharia Law (dejure and not necessarily defacto) out of 47

    (iii) In those 14 countries, Sharia Law only applies to adherents of Islam and DOES NOT encompass non-Muslims.

    You have countries like Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. with Muslim super majorities and yet they have not succumb to Sharia. The inference that somehow Mosques and Muslims are a Trojan horse to Sharia in the United States is absolutely absurd.

  • stst

    Brett — Yes, Godwin’s Law. My mistake.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I just read Thistlewaite’s column. The very first comment below the column claimed that Islam would be the source for the AntiChrist.

    Yup, that’s right, counter one insane fundamentalist dogma with another insane fundamentalist dogma. That really moves the conversation along.

    I wish we could find a nice hot planet to send all the fundies to. Then they could have their little Armageddon and leave the rest of us alone. Venus is hot enough for certain, although I suppose the fundies would be unhappy living on a planet named for a goddess.

  • Brett

    Your comment at 12:38am is probably more on point than you can imagine! The conversation on the show should be fairly lively. Mr. Franks, a Baptist, has some very pointed opinions about all sorts of things…I’d bet doughnuts he’s all over “intelligent design” needing to be taught in science classes.

  • grisham

    “Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)”

    The wind of hate is blowing hard in Arizona these days.

  • Irene


    The only problem is that the ones coming are the Muslims….

  • http://tombstone001.blogspot.com MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI, DALEVILLE, AL


    Fiery Rhetoric on American Islam

    All religions, by definition are exclusionary, they must by default claim superiority over all others. No religion could survive by stating it is equal to all or any other, must promise a status not given to any other.

    The Jewish claim to be the “God’s” chosen one is no different than the Christian faith of only “Him” being the way is no different than the claim of Mohammed to be the last prophet.

    An Islamic center, by definition will be a place for the Islamist propaganda, they will not claim that Islam is equal to or just like any other no matter the claim to a different mission or agenda.

    Any facility that talks about a law or a legal system that is against the US constitution, or is designed to promote such is by definition out side the bounds of constitutional protections.

  • marc

    is this what you want here in this country?


  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Mohammed N Razavi writes:

    “Any facility that talks about a law or a legal system that is against the US constitution, or is designed to promote such is by definition out side the bounds of constitutional protections.”

    How very interesting! The constitution protects all ideas and opinions, yet it is supposed to deny protection to ideas that may oppose the constitution itself?

    Does this poster even realize the terrible contradiction he embodies?

    To state that a document that protects free speech may not protect certain kinds of speech is itself an argument against freedom of speech!

    All ideas may not be equal but all ideas must be equally free to be expressed. Anything and everything else is tyranny.

    Yes, some Islamic ideas are themselves tyrannical–but to consider them outside of the bounds of constitutional protection is itself tyrannical.

    I suppose that’s okay for a conservative–after all, conservatives are philosophically on the side of ideological and moral tyranny (save for the libertarians; they just support the tyranny of the strong over the weak). So if you’re conservative, just confront one tyranny with another and see who wins out.

    Liberty–liberalism, freedom, openness–is its own reward.

  • Gary

    The image above is well selected…and I would guess its being held in the hands of a Christan. How ironically illustrative that is of ALL religion.

    Poster Joshua above states the issue very well. Religions are about power, money and hate, with a few fringe members stepping outside the usual dictum and surprising the congregation with actual good deeds.

  • michael

    Remember if you Muslim, Arab make sure to come out and vote and remember who are the ones calling you terrorist and such.

    Plus what i read the Mosque is actually 6 blocks away from ground zero, if it was 20 blocks from there would we have the same reaction from the far right, so far the far-right and republicans have attacked blacks,Latinos and Arabs and Muslims. I’m sure Gays will be next on there hit list and i hope that people are watching what there doing and come out to vote against such. It’s sad the Anti-Defamation League has taken sides with clearly bigoted people .

  • michael

    ts backers plan a 13-storey Islamic cultural centre, including a mosque, on the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory at 45-47 Park Place.

    The driving force in the plan is the Cordoba Initiative, an organisation which aims “to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect”.


    Funny how some republicans and conservative who claim to be all about the constitution are now trying to usuper it to prevent the mosque from being built.

    Good old conservative values. Remember folks these are the same people who want to be back in charge of the country.

  • jeffe

    “Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”

    -Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782)

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom


    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.


  • Steve Cotton

    ARISTOTLE defined JUSTICE as ‘treating similar situations, similarly’.

    That said, if 12 radical Christian’s committed an act of terror (say bombed an entire hospital because it performed abortions) — should ALL Churches be banned from proximity to hospitals?

    Are your guests that argue against the construction of the Mosque, willing to accept that no Churches be built given this situation?

    Further — if the US did not prosecute ALL anti-abortion Christians thereafter, (who have committed no violence) — would it be appropriate to suggest the US is harboring anti-abortion terrorists?

    If your guests suggest it is NOT appropriate to say this, then how do they justify the “War on Terrorism”?

    For the record, I am agnostic personally.

    Steve Cotton

  • Brandstad

    Every American should read the following before they think they are informed on this topic


  • Brandstad
  • Brian

    Irene, you state the problem is the Muslims are coming. I see it as an issue of fundamentalists of any religion wanting to harm non-believers.

    We here in the US have our own issues with this issue i.e McVeigh, Hutaree and the whole Christian Patriot movement.

    Any religion can be used as a rational for hate and violence.

  • Brandstad

    Islam when followed to the word of their holly book says to kill or convert all non-believers!

    This is not a tolerable belief.

  • jim

    why does wbur call “fear of islam is republican” . I am not a republican , I am a liberal and I don’t like its values. Don’t make it Liberal vs conservative. You are not going to make us swallow something we don’t like .

  • Ben

    There was a 20th century French thinker named Michel Foucault who pioneered a theory known as poststructuralism.
    One of its main ideas is the dichotomy of “self/other,” which runs through nearly every society (especially in the West). Going back through the ancient Greeks, the West has defined itself by defining what it is not – barbarians (non-Greek speakers), pagans, Jews, Muslims, indigenous peoples, and so on.
    To put this idea in our modern context, the “other” of America right now is several things: Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, and so on.

    Xenophobia and demonizing of the “other” is not something that is going away any time soon, but we should continue to be aware of it and try to fight it.

  • BHA

    Somehow, I find it hard to believe that there is in imminent threat of Sharia Law taking over in the USA.

  • Brandstad

    Where is the money coming from to build the Ground Zero mosque and what is it going to be named after?

  • Brandstad

    I suppose we are going to have a Japanese Hero Center at Perle Harbor next?!?!?

  • Rex

    Could someone tell the guest to quit hitting his microphone?

  • Donen

    utahboy should have said:

    This is the reality of Islam in most of the countries ruled by Muslims:

    “THEY (Muslims) CAME FIRST for Gays

    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t Gay

    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 Women

    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Women

    THEN THEY CAME for me

    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  • Steve Cotton

    A follow-up to my earlier post.

    A retort to a guest suggesting that the Koran, unlike the Bible, preaches violence:

    If a guest suggests this, they must accept that ‘anti-abortion Christians’ have used the Bible to validate murders committed against abortion providers.

    In other words — it is NOT valid to argue that one text preaches violence when the other does not, given both groups have utilized their perspective texts as validation.

    Instead, we must maintain that these sacred texts are purely open to interpretation — FOR ALL.

  • frances

    Jane! Stop using their language and calling it the “Ground Zero Mosque”!!! It’s the Cordoba Islamic Center. Sheesh.

  • John

    Can we rid Salem of Christian churches?

  • l

    This is a joke. When are people going to wake up. This is exactly what they want. It is a slap in the face of all those who died at ground zero. It is known that the man who started this wants sharia law in the U.S. It is still the U.S. isn’t it? I don’t care if the average muslim is a moderate muslim.
    What does that mean anyway? A moderate muslim? Does that mean they don’t quite believe in killing all infidels? They want as many mosques built as they can. Then eventually it will be a take over. This has been said on how they want to do it. Wake up! It is a front organization. They want to gain strength from within. STop being so politically correct. You can totally rip into christians, but muslims are off limits. I’m sick of it.

  • JP

    Want to know about Conservatives and Republicans in our country?

    Take a look at their comments during the last three days of this show, where the topics have been Islam in America, the Iraq drawdown, and immigration.

    That should be enough to convince most Americans that they certainly DON”T want to vote for Republicans this year.

  • Ilene

    When all non muslims can go to mecca or build churches and synagogues then we can think about building mosques.

  • Brandstad

    Jane, Can you please explain why the mosque is named “Cordoba” and the significance of this name in Islamic history?

  • Jon Nix

    After the expulsion of Jews and Muslims in 1492, the Great Mosque (Mezquita) in Cordoba was violated by having a church inserted into the middle of it, not the other way around. It was one of the great acts of architectural vandalism in history, ranking with the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas. The Congressman should get his facts straight.

    On the other hand, perhaps the motive for invoking Cordoba in this context is specifically pay-back for that act. If so, it’s grossly inappropriate.

  • michael

    Wow advocation by Trent Franks to deny muslims or arabs from working in congress, sounds like something Avigdor Liberman saying pretty much the same.

  • John

    Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ)speaks as if he sees no parallel to McCarthyism and anticommunist rhetoric. We really need more educated and open minded people in Congress.

  • cathy c

    WBUR: Please stop calling it a mosque.

    The Arizona representative shrouds himself in the rhetoric of religious freedom and then says absurd, uninformed, and hateful things. He is despicable.

    Cordoba, Spain was known as a place of tolerance under Muslim rule. That tolerance should be celebrated and honored (especially considering what came under the Catholics).

  • Kevin Smith

    The imam of the proposed mosque holds extremist views. The useful idiots keep assuring us that no harm is intended by the building of the mosque. No one can make such promises. The Cordoba initiative is a symbol of victory over Christianity. The radical muslims have declared war on the west. Most Americans are very ignorant of the use of symbols by muslims. Muslims are not. The radiacal muslims want to make the USA shiria compliant. Those who argue that there is no imminent threat of shiria law in the USA, have no clue about the long time lines that radiacl muslims have. I suggest that you inform yourselves about the political, social, and religious positions of Islam. Read the Hamas Charter. It is on the Internet. The problem is that moderate muslims are controlled by radical muslims. Islam has never had a reformation like other religions in the west. Radical muslims want to convert the west to Islam. Islam is not just another religion. Wake up. You are very ignorant about rdical Islam. I guess that many of you have long forgotten about what occurred on September 11, 2001. Radical Islam is a fifth column in this country. It is no accident that the proposed mosque will open on the tenth year anniversary of 9/11. There are already shiria courts in England that handle domestic relations cases. How come the dems and libs are not outspoken about how women are treated under shiria law? Radical islam is creeping. Those who deliberately decide to ignore the threat of radical islam will be the fools of history.

  • BHA

    Can we PLEASE just stop referencing comments by Gingrich, Limbaugh, et al?

    Their sole intent is to stir the pot with provocative and FALSE accusations against those with whom they do not agree.

  • Brandstad

    Any Judge that cites Sharia or international law in their decision should be thrown off the bench immediately. We are an independent country with the separation of church and state.

  • http://NPR Bret N.

    It is sad because Rep. Franks sounds just like Sen. Joe McCarthy. This is just a scare tactic that is making us lose sight of what the real issue is. I can’t believe that they believe we have interns in congress that will infiltrate the govt. and turn the country over to violent extremists?

    I thought the communists were hiding under our beds, but the extremists must be more competent. What a joke!

    The U.S. was built on diversity and will only move forward with an acceptance of all religions and ideas.

  • sandy

    i am totally against the mosk its just throwing it into our face and to name it this would be a total victory for muslim terrorists and cause them to see it as a great victory i am not buying into this peacful moslim we are infideles and they are not even ever going to discuss their real plans for this country and us they just want us dead im am sure they would not be to happy about some religiousu group from US to build a church or whatever in their country i agree that we are definetley under seige!!!! Americans wake up if its not muslim its illegal aliens both groups will cause the downfall of AMERICA as we have always know it

  • l

    Can you please get someone on that has an opposing view.

  • Brandstad

    Why is the current media trying to make the US more Islam tolerant while they are also pushing us to be less Christian tolerant?

    May I remind you we are a Christian country founded by Christians.

  • Sarah Walz

    Just curious on what possible grounds NYC could reject the mosque. To do so on would be seem to fly in the face of zoning law, not to mention the constitution. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) would preclude NYC from rejecting the establishment of a religious facility simply because it is an Islamic facility.

  • Ken

    I’m a life-long Democrat, but the host needs to ask intelligent questions instead of just expressing shock and disapproval of conservative charges. Instead of putting words in a congressman’s mouth, she should evaluate his charges on the facts. And she should find to whether or not any U.S. judges have cited Sharia law.

    The show she’s been hosting thus far is worthy of Keith Olberman, not NPR.

  • JP

    Hey Christians!

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law.

    I havelearned a great deal from you, and try to share that knowledge with asmany people as I can.

    When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle,for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it tobe an abomination … End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you,however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female,provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mineclaims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify?Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. Theyclaim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. Idon’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev.. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. Howshould they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    *(All excerpted from a letter to Laura Schlessinger from a professor at U. of Virginia)

  • James

    As an atheist I find Republican position on this issue rife with hypocrisy if not entirely surprising, they go out of their way to force their christian mythology on America whenever they can whether its through school prayer and science classes, marriage rights, and all the other “christianity under attack” causes that they take on as “social conservatives.”

    Islam and sharia are dictatorial and misogynistic systems, but we would be better served by respecting the separation of church and state than by undermining it.

  • A. O’Connell

    I consider myself just right of flaming liberal, but this conversation is pretty one-sided. You’ve picked one republican who has extremist views to weigh in for 20 seconds—and then you have two commentators who clearly support the same side.

    It would be nice to have a reasonable centrist or republican weigh in on this mosque debate.

  • http://prochoicethankyous.com sobdee x

    Why are we acting so surprised at this uprising of hate across the country? The USA was founded on white supremacy, fear-mongering and the slaughter of minority communities. If anything, we’re going back to our roots. I’m sure Newt Gingrich is proud

  • Mel

    All that priest who is proposing to burn the Koran is going to do is incite violence. By burning the Koran they are alienating all Muslims, not just the extremists who they claim to be protesting. What would the reaction be if a Muslim group proposed to burn bibles? These same “christians” would be calling for blood.

  • Rick

    Fascinating to hear the congressman from Arizona and Newt Gingrich justify the Spanish Inquisition. Fascinating!

  • Gerald Fnord

    The more reasonable of these people say they’re against only the ‘bad’ Muslims and the worst interpretations of Islam, but very quickly just say ‘Muslims’ and ‘Islam’. (Ezra Pound used similar tricks, and for all I know, Ogg-who-invented-bigotry did as well.)

    I welcome the opportunity to be brave against the forces that threaten our nation and our values. I was not alive when the Ursuline convent was burnt, or during the Palmer raids, or when Ukrainians were murdered in their millions, or when almost all my family were murdered by racists, or when Sen. Joseph McCarthy did enormous damage both to innocent lives and the cause of anti-Communism. I was mostly interested in cookies and cartoons when the FBI targeted peaceful dissent, and encouraged the un-peaceful in their violence. (I am less interested in cookies now, and more in the fate of my nation.)

    I hope I will act well, and (again) bravely.

  • jake

    “After the expulsion of Jews and Muslims in 1492” Jon Nix

    Jon this is wrong: Jews were expelled in 1492, but the Muslims were not expelled till much later.
    Jews were also forced to flee Muslim conquered Spain in many areas; Maimonides, for example.

    Islam has always had ruthlessly ruled areas and more tolerant areas, just like today. Of course Islam is tolerant to some Muslims only if they submit to Islamic rule. Otherwise, they get killed.

    Those who think that liberals would be better off under Muslim rule should go live some Islamic country, especially American Jewish liberals. You people are just posturing.

  • w bradford

    I dont know if there are churches or temples
    included in the 9/11 site. but i have to wonder
    the motives of people who want a mosque there.
    I mean, we’re human.. feelings are still raw..
    and would this always be a connected reminder
    of the people who did it ?

  • Drew

    I agree that most, if not all the fear tinged rhetoric is political strategy, and those politicians who employ it are the most hideous face of America. Likewise, Christians who fear the faith of others generally have a distorted and corrupted view of their own faith.

  • JP

    “Unlike Christianity, which preached a peace that it never achieved, Islam unashamedly came with a sword” Steven Runciman

  • Bill Farley

    It doesn’t take a lot for conservatives and Christian fundamentalists to decide it’s time to toss out the Constitution and crack down on everybody else (but them). The conspiracy theorists are, as always, just nuts, but the politicians who run on a platform built on racial and ethnic hatred are un-American, unpatriotic, and unethical. They prey on the ignorance and bigotry of the lowest common denominator.

  • Bob Baine

    Forget Limbaugh and the other pundits, both left and right. Do some reading. Read the Hamas Charter. The imam of the proposed mosque refuses to condemn Hamas. The talking points are alive and well on Onpoint today. It is all politics, I guess. Do not believe the guests on today’s show. They are propagandists. How come there are no Christian churches in Saudia Arabia? How come the muslims are so exclusive? Where is the evidence that muslims are inclusive? Use your critical thinking skills, folks. Do not permit yourselves to be fooled. Look at the facts. Radical islam rejects modernity. How come the moderate muslims do not speak out against the radical muslims? It is the radical muslims that are the problem. Just as with the illegal immigration issue, the dems, libs, and statists conjoin the language and declare that the right is against all muslims. (You will recall that dems, statists, and libs falsely declare that the right is against all immigration. Sound familiar?)

    Using a George Bush recording? I thought Bush was a dunce?

    Driving wedges between Americans is what the left does oh so well: men versus women, black versus white, rich versus poor, etc. The left thrives on the division of the country.

  • Dominick

    A couple of thoughts:

    - as some of the commenters have noted, the conservative element manages to direct the rhetoric in these issues, in particular how an interfaith peace center near the world trade center gets called a ground zero mosque, even by some who try to defend it.

    - Newt is playing his old fashioned straw-man tactics talking about a rule barring Shariah law. I’m curious to know who ever suggested that a court would legitimately give equal consideration to religious rules over constitutional law. Moreover, what if someone proposed a counterpart law – that no court should consider the Ten Commandments or any other Judeo-Christian rule in its decision.

    - Finally, if this ostensibly Christian resistance is serious about their faith, I wonder where the “turn the other cheek” lessons come in for them.

  • sandy

    why would the muslim women who called in try to put this into the same league as hate of other groups in american THEY WERNT TRYING TO KILL US THEY DID NOT OPENLY HAVEIN THEIR HEARTS THE DEATH OF ALL INFIDELS
    and what the germans did was not because they were afraid that the Jews were going to KILL THEM OR BLOW THEM UP

  • Chris

    I think it’s very important that this discussion be kept in the context of the fact that 0.6 PERCENT OF OUR POPULATION IS MUSLIM. REPEAT SIX TENTHS of ONE PERCENT OF OUR POPULATION IS MUSLIM. One more time, 0.6% of our population is Muslim. At a time when we are facing such massive problems economically, it is a travesty that we are even having this discussion.


    If Americans been saying that Religion has nothing to do with terrorism.

    Those muslim don’t have the funds yet probably 10 years from now and the Mosque doesn’t even look like a Mosque.

    Yes the Terrorist were muslims it doesn’t mean ALL Muslims and Islam are Terrorist.

    I understand the Mentality of those people. So Out of this world.

    God help this world.

  • WSChien

    It occurs to me that this debate highlights the difficulty of living in a democracy. We have so many ideas that sound so appealing on paper – things like the freedom to worhship as ones pleases without government intervention. Yet, in practice, it seems that we almost always fall painfully short of the vision. We need to trust the vision that the constitution provides instead of fearing how it will fail us.

  • Ken

    the politicians who run on a platform built on racial and ethnic hatred are un-American, unpatriotic, and unethical.

    The congressman prefaced his charges by saying he doesn’t hate anyone, but just pretend he does so the issue can be black and white and you can label and dismiss him.

  • Postman

    “I welcome the opportunity to be brave against the forces that threaten our nation and our values. I was not alive when the Ursuline convent was burnt, or during the Palmer raids, or when Ukrainians were murdered in their millions,…” Gerald Fnord
    So what? What is your point.

    “or when Sen. Joseph McCarthy did enormous damage both to innocent lives and the cause of anti-Communism.”

    McCarthy didn’t kill anyone, and most of the people who were jailed at the time were communists. At the same time Communists in Europe and Asia were murdering millions of people.

    The comparisons are ridiculous.

    “or when almost all my family were murdered by racists,”

    When and where was this, Fnord?

    I have a hard time believing you.

  • Henry

    Zane’s point is perfect: “As for the topic, we should apply a basic rule of thumb: Just ask, “What would Osama bin Laden want?” and then do the opposite.”


  • Zainab

    I really love this news program and radio station that brings fair reasonable discussion to raw debates. NPR is not afraid to expose unAmerican fear-mongering that would have us become a mob easily manipulated and blind to real issues. The GOP and religious leaders that support a witch-hunt against Muslims are themselves terrorists against American ideals.

  • JP

    FBI Reaffirms CAIR’s Terrorist Ties

    Sixteen months ago, the word GUILTY was read in a Dallas court room a total of 108 times, as a jury convicted the Holy Land foundation, and each of the associated defendants of raising money to fund Hamas terrorism. Implicated along with those convicted was supposed Civil Rights organization CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations which lobbies the government from its headquarters in Washington DC. CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case, and its leaders are frequent guests Network News Programs, where they are usually called upon to white wash some terrorist act.

  • Ken

    if this ostensibly Christian resistance is serious about their faith, I wonder where the “turn the other cheek” lessons come in for them.

    Does the injunction to turn the other cheek supersede the one to love your neighbor, which starts with protecting your nearest neighbors, i.e. your family? I’m not saying the threat is real in this case, just that your reasoning is extremely simplistic.

  • Gary

    Someone mentioned something about genocide on the show, implying that there is a contingent in America that wishes genocide for the Muslims. I’m sure that’s not going to happen. But religion is the only place I know of where genocide is supported and approved. After all God told the Israelites to murder all of the Cannanites, Moabites, etc. according to the Bible.

  • Gerald Fnord

    It is only natural for people who want there to be no real separation of Church and State to assume that people they hate want exactly the same thing. It is only natural for people who want their own, peculiar, view of the Constitution and the laws to dominate all courts to assume that their enemies want the same.

    It’s only natural for proponents of an ideology that is good only for the top 0.5% of the income pyramid to assume that their enemies are working for the good of only a small group.

    The best defence against bad ideas is the teaching of reasoning and critical thinking to the young; unfortunately, this is not an option, as doing so would threaten not only foreign ideologues and authoritarians, but the homegrown ones already in (partial) power.


    In the island in Mindanao Catholic churches and Mosques are built close to each other.

    Sometimes you can hear both held masses at the same time. you can hear both religions praying at the same time.

    Mindanao the melting pot for all religion.

  • achit

    Hi Jen,
    What kind of a panel discussion/debate is this? Both ‘Rev’ and ‘Prof’ are of the view that Newt and congressman from Arizona are doing fear mongering. When there is only one thought it is a conference not debate.
    No one is seem to be asking the most important question about the mosque! Why is there an outrage?
    Wheather you accept stealth jihad or not. one point cannot be denied. Believers who commited 9/11 believed in Islam!! Islam that is going to be represented by a tall gleaming glass building near a site which represenetd the biggest attack on American soil.
    On the question of sharia, one of the panelist said there are common point between ‘it’ and US constituition. There could be but what about the point where a non-believer is always treated as an inferior being. Some times not even as human. To me Sharia as an ideology is not different than ‘jimcrow’ laws except white is replaced by Moslem and blacks by non-moslem.
    I hope we will not blow this issue just by calling it an election season fire.


  • Rick

    I bet you can find tracts in hundreds of evangelical christian churches that calls for severe punishment of gays and people that play sports on Sunday. So what?

  • Kalai Mugilan

    If majority of Americans freely choose Islam as their religion of choice, what then? I think, then, with our Constitution, we will have Islam moderating as did Christianity.

  • d..k

    I don’t work for a religion, but part of my job in life is to make accommodation for people of all faiths in a public capacity.

    I have learned that people cannot function or a religion or philosophy (atheism) and still work for the public good. It starts with an attempt to create parallel judicial systems and family services, and ends up taking control of peoples lives.

    My dear friend had a husband who beat her often and sent her to the hospital. The family services of a major denomination still tried to convince her to stay married and just put it behind her.

    The topic of this discussion is Sharia, but I am against all religious arbitration. And I say this as a person of faith who encourages people to fully practice their faith.

    Religious arbitration perhaps should be allowed, but should never ever ever be given status greater than elected officials. Religious arbitration should be limited to groups setting up ombudsman, but not actually providing the services.

    But the other part of this topic is hate. We need to resist that.

  • Ken

    I bet you can find tracts in hundreds of evangelical christian churches that calls for severe punishment of gays and people that play sports on Sunday.

    Not even close.

  • jeffe

    May I remind you we are a Christian country founded by Christians.
    Posted by Brandstad,

    You should read Thomas Jefferson on this. You are wrong by the way.

    Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom,/i>

  • Jack

    Listening to Congressman Franks right now. Unbelievable. There was a time when white men like him, if they wanted to own some land, all they had to do was go out and shoot a few more Indians, then make their slaves build on it for them. Those days are gone forever, and guys like him will NEVER get over it. His hatred is unbelievable. Does anyone seriously think that some of these “Christian” groups won’t resort to bombings or lynchings or killings just like Islamic terrorists do? Hypocrisy and hatred.

  • Steve V

    Haven’t I heard remarks from “Christian” leaders about Americans going into the world to convert the world to Christ? And something about the “end times”? – perhaps I’m mistaken.

  • jim thompson

    It appears from all accounts that the local community has supported this project. Two and a half blocks is a world away in cities like New York.

    However, I did read somewhere that there were plans to open this center on Sept. 11 next year. I think if that is true those folks need to re-think the 9/11 date.

    A little respect and consideration from all sides would go along way.

  • Larry

    Can someone please name just 1 US court case where Sharia Law was cited?

  • s

    Screw religion. This is an ideology that is right in your face. They say in the open that they want to take over by doing it this way. Take over from within. Read up on the man that wants this built. He has been linked to radical views and have a foreign legal system! Where is the money coming from to build this too? Tell me.

  • sandy

    yeah jerry i think you said it well WHAT ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN can we live with that? I constantley hear that we misunderstand them There are so many that are violent We constantly have to investigate what groups are violent and which groups are not who is putting money into these groups that are against us I beleive that all people should try to live together but it seems like we are definately being attacked in all way that cannot be detected upfront

  • Kris Carter

    Rather than emotionally reacting to the issue, I suggest that you individually research the issue and then draw your own conclusions.

    Shiria law is a real threat. That is my conclusion.

    Shiria law is already active and present in Great Britain. There are 59 shiria courts in Great Britain that handle domestic relations issues.

    Look at the facts. Read Muslim Mafia. Many of you may not be aware that CAIR’s own papers, writings, and documents served as the basis for the book the Muslim Mafia. CAIR went to court to try to obtain the papers. The papers were turned over to the FBI. These people are playing for keeps and for the long haul.

    Read about the Muslim Brotherhood.

    “Shiria compliant” is the new term. Look it up.

    How anyone can sit idle about the threat of Shiria law is very uninformed, ignorant, and unsophisticated.

    Islam is not just a religion. It is about culture, social life, religious, and politics.

    I would have more faith in moderate muslims if they would rise up and speak out against radical islam. They don’t do it often enough or frequently enough.

    CAIR and other muslim organizations heavily lobby the Congress.

    Finally, even if the majority of Americans do not want a shiria compliant America, it will be forced down our throats by the dems, libs, globalists, internationalists, the apologists, the left, and the statists. Just because the Constitution prohibits something does not mean that America and its citizens will be protected from shiria law. We already have jurists citing to foreign law as authority for their decisions. Wake up, people.

  • George Shumar Jr

    The problems that exist between Islam, Christianity and Judaism are different interpretations of works of fiction.Islam is not the problem. Religion is the problem.

  • Ken

    I have learned that people cannot function or a religion or philosophy (atheism) and still work for the public good. It starts with an attempt to create parallel judicial systems and family services, and ends up taking control of peoples lives.

    What you have “learned” is that all religion is fundamentalist religion. What the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlewaite is saying on this show alone should disabuse you of that remarkable notion.

  • Jim in Omaha

    If they bought the property and have legal title to it, don’t free market principles entitle them to make any lawful use of it? Why do some people clamor to have the government dictate how these people use their private property?


    I am Roman Catholic but religion is the Medium of destruction for mankind.

    We argue about belief and if we don’t Agree we kill each other for the sake of religion.

    Comparing each other religion is like comparing your wife with your friend’s wife.

    Hey my wife is ugly How come yours is sexy and pretty?

  • Jack

    Sorry, not Congressman Franks. David what’s his name. BTW, there are many Christian churches in Indonesia, the worlds largest Islamic country.

  • Christal Williamson

    As a Wiccan living in the bible belt, I can’t even be at work without someone handing me a card with all the steps to conversion or talking about Christianity to me. Not once has a Muslim attempted to do this. This country isn’t being taken over by Islam, but by Christians!

  • Brandstad

    Jim in Omaha,

    The property is on the list of national historic buildings and rarely are buildings taken off of the list. Because of this they can not tear down or modify much of the building without removing the building from the Historic list.

  • Brian

    Thank you, Jane, for this amazing conversation. I love it when the flashlight of truth is shone upon the rhetoric of fear. The truth will always persevere. If we could have had this kind of dialog in the public forum about Communism during the McCarthyism movement, it would have been brought to an end very quickly indeed.
    If there isn’t a movement yet to remove Representative Franks from any caucus or committee that he sits on concerning religion, I plan to start one.

  • d..k

    Oh my gosh…

    That guy who wrote Muslim Mafia wants to build churches in Saudi Arabia? He is exactly the OPPOSITE person who should be asking about that.

  • Abdul Al’Mussad

    Where is the outrage by the right (especially the christian right) on the 7 years of the bush presidency that never was able to achieve the freedom tower?…the building that was supposed to be at ground zero to honor those who died in 9/11. Furthermore, why has obama not achieved this either in his (almost) 2 years of tenure? This is partisan idealism and ignorance…a hallmark of the american political/social system.

  • listener

    Both James and Ken, self-identified as liberals are correct. This show is so one-sided that it is propaganda, not true debate. The host, whose own mind was clearly made up, is moribund. What a wasted opportunity this hour represented.

  • http://emjones@charter.net Eric M. Jones

    Islam treats women as second class citizens??? How about Christianity??? Even Buddhism was a little late to the equality party. I vote women not have anything to do with men of Muslim or Christian faiths.

    Now that we’ve solved THAT problem, how about starting a new crusade with all the wacky religious types armed with sharp swords and have them fight to the death? We’ll watch on TV.

  • d..k

    Oh and there has to be some acknowledgment that atheism has killed off more people than all religions combined.

    Some religions, that are heavily exclusive in orientation, are more at risk of creating the conditions that allow communism to arrive.

    Stalin has everybody beat hands down, and yet everybody still has a grudge against religion.

    Hateful speech against any religion in particular leads to hateful speech against all religions. This leaves us vulnerable to the next Stalin.

  • Drew Peberdy

    When I began listening to this story, I found it hard to believe that anyone would buy into the kind of rabble-rousing garbage spewed out by Gingrich and his ilk. We’re Americans, I thought to myself, and we’re better than that. We’re smart enough to know the difference between violent extremists and the religion of Islam as a whole.

    I was wrong.

    It has been a profoundly disturbing and disappointing experience to listen to some of the comments made during this hour. Americans everywhere are greedily swallowing up the old kind of fear and stupidity that we’ve always succumbed to in moments of crisis, and a handful of ambitious politicians are exploiting those fears for personal and political gain.

    Why is it that every time the going gets tough, we surrender all rational thought? Are we really a nation of cowards?

  • jeffe

    I don’t know about anyone else but that mans laugh at the end of the show was nasty. This man is a zealot, period.

    I’m not sure what my feelings are about a Islamic center being built so close to the sight of 9/11. On the one hand I think it is a direct confrontational act and I’m not sure I can support it if this is the reason. On the other they the right to practice their religion in this country without being harassed.

    Asking that a Church or Synagogue be built in Saudi Arabia is even more of a confrontational approach. Saudi Arabia is not a secular nation as we are. Of course they will reject this, and the people demanding this know all well that this will be the outcome.

    I will say this about Islam, they have strict laws about usury, we could use a little of this.

  • Iraj Aghdasi

    Im an immigrant of the U.S. I give my life for America as presented by mayor Bloomberg. Let freedom expression prevail. However I suggest Hajaar and all muslims who uphold and enjoy freedom in America to take a strong stand against religious prosacution which is happening in all islamic countries and promote making nice churches and mosks as they have in the U.S.

    Iraj Aghdasi M.D.

  • http://homeabroad.com Carl Stewart

    “Those who ignore history are condemned to relive it”.

    The arguments now being made in this country about Islam are amazingly similar to the arguments made against the Jews by Hitler, Goebells, Streicher, et al., during the Third Reich. The Jews had to be eliminated because their goal was to take over Europe, and then the world.

    This kind of ignorant hate advances no useful cause. If we are to have salvation, we need love and understanding not hate and anger. It seems so simple, but I fear that this very basic truism is escaping many, many people.

  • Emmanuel Goldstein

    My grandfather ran a Jewish court, deciding disputes among orthodox Jews who agreed to be bound by his decisions, made as they were by an authority on the Law, and enforced only by their respect, their desire to do right according to the tenets of their faith, and by the threat of ostracism and other non-violent social sanctions.

    Muslim, Mormon, and Appliantologist courts are not at all incompatible with our legal system—as long as their decisions are not enforced by force. In that case (as has VERY occasionally happened in the case of orthodox Jewish me who refuse to grant their wives a divorce) a crime or crimes has been committed, and should be prosecuted firmly—the monopoly on routine, authorized force is a foundation of government, where it does not exist we get not freedom but the routine application of force by _little_ dictators, religious and otherwise.

    This distinction does not exist in Sa’udi Arabia…strange that the Congressman seems so concerned with what THEY do. Perhaps he considers them a suitable model for Christian America, perhaps not—but in any event, predicating what we do on what they do sounds like having our laws influenced by a foreign power and ideology.

    (Note how much of a crush many conservatives used to have on the Soviet Union: THEIR young men didn’t wear their hair long and resist the draft, THEIR young people didn’t listen to African Rock Music, THEIR young people shut up and did what their nation’s institutions told them to do—and no institution was more respected than the Military, and no activity more respected than War. One might almost think that some soi-disant ‘freedom lovers’ were latent authoritarians chafing against their own urges, much like some anti-gay pastors you can name.)

  • jeffe

    Why is it that every time the going gets tough, we surrender all rational thought? Are we really a nation of cowards?
    Posted by Drew Peberdy,

    It appears to me that we may be a nation cowards. I just read an article about a woman who has been unemployed for almost two years.
    The thing that stuck out for me was the amount of nasty comments aimed at this woman who was laid off.


  • Roni

    “Islam treats women as second class citizens??? How about Christianity???” Eric M. Jones

    When was the last time a christian court sentenced a woman to death for adultery?

    This is the problem with Islam.

    Most religions change. Christianity of today is the same as it was hundred years ago much less a thousand years ago.

    Islam never changes. Shariah law is immutable it is like a rock.

  • Ellen J. Gardner

    I am listening to On Point program on Islam.
    I’ve never been so infuriated as I have been listening to the congressman talking about the dangerous of Islam. It was not Muslims who tried to eradicate the Incas, Mayas, Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere. It was not Muslims who killed 12 million people including 6 million Jews in WWII. It is not Muslims who are killing each other in Ireland. It was not Muslims who tortured and killed thousands during the Spanish Inquisition. It was not Muslims who established and maintained slavery in the U.S. South, nor Muslims who tried to keep free Blacks from participating in American culture by lynchings and Jim Crow laws. It was not Muslims who traipsed across Europe raping, pillaging and murdering anyone in their path on the way to “rescue” Jerusalem during the Crusades.
    And it is not Muslim Imams who are being caught molesting young children in their place of worship. I could go on, but the point is that any Christian who looks at his/her own history must sadly admit that more people have been tortured, killed, raped and disenfranchised by so-called Christians,than by any other religious group ever. The hypocrisy of Christians espressing fear of Islamic terrorism and violence while ignoring Christians past and current violence is horrifying. Muslims wanting to take over the world?… Isn’t that what Christian missionaries have been trying to do for generations. Jehovah Witnesses go out every day on our streets to try to convert people. Mormons spend millions of dollars sending their religious troups out to other countries to try to convert people to their religion. Whatever Muslims are doing today cannot compare to the horror and violence that Christianity has wrought on the world from the beginning of that religion to this day.

    Yes, I am angry, and disgusted and fearful that decent Americans may actually be listening to the ignorant, hateful and deceptive rants of — guess who–Christians who see their own power and control slipping away and are attempting to co-opt the current fear of terrorism by scapegoating Islam instead of looking into their own hearts and souls. Don’t buy into it!


  • drew

    “I just read an article about a woman who has been unemployed for almost two years.” jeffe (the communist)

    Read about a woman in Islam:

    “Brazil’s Plea for Asylum for Iranian Facing Stoning Seems to Fail” By ROBERT F. WORTH

    “WASHINGTON — Iran’s conservative establishment appears to have reacted coldly to an entreaty by Brazil’s president to allow an Iranian woman convicted of adultery to take asylum in Brazil rather than face execution by stoning at home.

    The reaction to the plea over the weekend by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may introduce a strain into what has been an increasingly cordial relationship between Iran and Brazil. It also reinforced what critics of Iran view as a barbaric form of justice that is especially repressive toward women….”


  • peter nelson

    Any facility that talks about a law or a legal system that is against the US constitution, or is designed to promote such is by definition out side the bounds of constitutional protections.

    This is completely and totally untrue!

    The Constitution guarantees your right to free speech. If you wanted to start a website or a political party dedicated to completely eliminating the Constitution and replacing it with a totally different document your right to do so is STILL protected under the (current) Constitution.

  • peter nelson

    Islam when followed to the word of their holly book says to kill or convert all non-believers!

    Christianity says we should kill adulterers and witches. What’s your point?

  • Alpert

    Ellen Gardner says:

    “It was not Muslims who killed 12 million people including 6 million Jews in WWII.”

    Muslims helped kill Jews. Read about the Mufti of Jerusalem and the murder of Iraqi Jews in 1943.

    The Muslims were pro German and pro Nazi and they gave refuge to thousands of Nazi war criminals many of whom converted to Islam.

  • jeffe

    Drew if it’s OK for you to call me a communist can I call you a neo-nazi?, how about fascist? You don’t like it then don’t start calling people names. Or right wing a$$.

  • Jim in Omaha

    Brandstad at 10:58 AM:

    Historic designation interfering with one’s property rights? Sounds to me like the same thing as a snail darter’s or rare toad’s well being used to block free enterprise. I still don’t understand why the government can prohibit the lawful owner of the property from making any lawful use of it they want. Or don’t you believe in capitalism?

  • Gerald Fnord


    I think what you’re seeing is a reflexion of Our Glorious Calvinist Heritage, and of the anxiety of our times.

    Calvinism divides the universe of people into the Elect and the Preterite, the Saved and the Damned. In its modern, dumbed-down, form, this becomes Us and The Losers, Good Guys and Bad Guys. No matter what the circumstances leading to someone’s being a Loser, their status means that any form of abuse may be levelled at them; conversely, no matter what a Good Guy does, e.g. conduct torture sessions on Bad Guys, his position as a Good Guy is unassailable.

    Doing anything considered to the Winners is tabu-tabu—think of the hatred of income and estate taxes—but anything that happens to a Loser is well-deserved by them (so it’s just fine, and in fact funny, when a young drugs-dealer or car-thief gets beaten or raped when in the care of the State).

    Add to this heritage the extreme anxiety over income and work, and you get people desperately wishing to psychically separate themselves from the Loser, and verbal or written abuse is a fine way. It’s actually kind of beautiful: our ideology of difference makes it very hard to do anything for the poor, and that grudgingly, and the resulting horror of being poor makes many of us desperate to believe that they have nothing in common with them. This is wonderful for those whose happiness depends on the rest of us either being poor or being extremely afraid of it…and no-one else.

  • Chris

    “Christianity says we should kill adulterers and witches. What’s your point? peter nelson

    The point is that Christianity has changed and doesn’t kill adulterers. Islam still does.

    Read the post above about the decree to stone of an Iranian woman by an Iranian court.

  • Jim T

    Muslims want Islam to be the world’s only religiion?

    I went to a parochial school where we were taught to work and pray for the day when all the world would be Catholic. If a religion that wants to convert the entire world is a threat to America, then we really ought to be afraid of Catholics. After all, there are many times more Catholics in this country that there are Muslims. Also, shouldn’t we have legislation that would prohibit our courts from considering Canon Law when rendering decisions?

  • peter nelson

    Shiria law is already active and present in Great Britain. There are 59 shiria courts in Great Britain that handle domestic relations issues.

    But no one is required to use them. It’s no different than if a married couple go to their pastor or rabbi to help them settle a divorce dispute.

    Here’s an excellent LSE lecture on the topic . . .


    As I’ve mentioned before, the LSE has an excellent free lecture series featuring top scholars from around the world, and given to mainly LSE graduate students. So while some posters on this forum may post links to YouTube rants, I think we can keep the discussion at a higher level by going to more scholarly sources.

  • http://Google Howard Garey

    Many religions have codes or laws that regulate the private lives of believers in order to maintain a moral standaard as understood by that religion. It is also true that many nominal members of such relious communities obey those laws with various degrees of compliance ranging from absolute compliance to absolute zilch, with everything in between. Catholics have canon law, often violated by those who practise contraceptions;Jews have halachah, and have degrees of restricting their diet with respect to what’s kosher American Muslims have shariah: Muslim women in America are free to adopt any degree of modesty of dress, voluntarily choosing full body concealment, or just a head scarf, or no head scarf at all.None of these various codes has the force of American law and all are obeyed as each individual sees fit.
    I agree that there is great abuse by Muslim countries of their control of religious schools to preach hate and destruction. American Muslims are free to resist such odious teachings. The cry is often raised that “moderate”: Muslims do not object to such provocations, but there do exist Muslim youth orgfnizations that preach peace, love, and tolerance. You can find them on the internet if you make an effort.

  • BHA

    Kevin Smith:
    9/11 was not an attempt to get the people of the USA to convert to Islam.

  • Rudolf

    Let’s allow the mosque near ground zero when Saudi allows churches to be built there, perhaps near Mecca! It seems a reasonable reciprocity.

  • peter nelson

    Are we really a nation of cowards?

    I don’t think it’s a question of cowardice; I think it’s a question of ignorance. The people who post or say the most outrageously bigoted things here are the people who are the most ignorant. They hardly ever cite sources, or if they do, the “sources” are rants and screeds on YouTube or something they think they heard somewhere but can’t remember the details.

    When I cite sources they are things like the actual US Constitution or graduate lectures at the LSE.

    Increasingly conservatism in the US is anti-intellectual. It operates at the level of emotion and rejects scholarship. I’m not religious, myself, but I support religious freedom and I don’t draw distinctions between religions. ALL religions have extremists and wackos, and all of them can cite stuff in their text to justify whatever they believe. But the ignorant seem unaware of this.

  • James

    Congressman Trent Franks might do well to compare his beliefs to the actual history. The Grande Mosque in Cordoba Spain is an enormous and spectacular mosque, into the center of which was plunked a baroque church in about the 16th or 17th century; not the other way around.

    Who conquered whom, Congressman? Whom should we really fear? Yes, Jihadists. Also, Crusaders and Political Zealots.

  • BHA

    Posted by Jim in Omaha at 11:26 AM
    ” I still don’t understand why the government can prohibit the lawful owner of the property from making any lawful use of it they want. Or don’t you believe in capitalism?”

    Because we live in a society and when something is generally a ‘lawful use’ there must also be consideration of the impact of that use on others; rare and endangered animals included. These animals FREQUENTLY become rare and endangered because humans have made ‘lawful use’ of their property for decades until the animals’ environment disappears.

    Capitalism is NOT: “Do whatever you want in the pursuit of money regardless of the consequences to others”.

    Capitalism IS:
    An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.
    Source: Dictionary.com


    Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights.
    Source: Capitalism.org

    Individual rights in the second definition means the rights of ALL people affected by the actions of those in the first definition, NOT just the rights of the person taking the action.

  • peter nelson

    The point is that Christianity has changed and doesn’t kill adulterers. Islam still does.

    “Islam” doesn’t kill them; individuals and governments do these things. I know lots of Muslims and as far as I know none of them have killed anyone.

    Using your logic we should not allow Koreans to build churches or have businesses in the US because the North Koreans treat their people so brutally. North Korea is HALF of Korea! Is half of Islam as brutal as half of Korea?

    Another example – the tribunal known as the Spanish Inquisition lasted from 1478 to 1834. During that time many great historic churches were established in the US (e.g., the Old North Church in Boston or St Mark’s in New York City), but by your logic they should not have been allowed because Christianity was still too barbaric at that time.

  • peter nelson

    Let’s allow the mosque near ground zero when Saudi allows churches to be built there, perhaps near Mecca! It seems a reasonable reciprocity.

    Oh great idea. We’ll let Saudi Arabia calibrate our standards for us.

Sep 3, 2014
This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn't stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff's murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

Another beheading claim and ISIS’s use of social media in its grab for power.

Sep 3, 2014
In this Fall 2013 photo provided by the University of Idaho, students in the University of Idaho’s first Semester in the Wild program take a class in the Frank Church-River Of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. (AP)

MacArthur “genius” Ruth DeFries looks at humanity’s long, deep integration with nature – and what comes next. She’s hopeful.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Five Midterm 2014 Races To Watch
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014

The five most interesting races of the 2014 midterm election cycle, per our panel of expert national political correspondents.

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Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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