Kicking ass and taking Twitter handles!

Crossposted to New Voices
Riddle: What is neither a mosque nor located at Ground Zero, but is on Twitter?
Answer: Park 51!
(This can be confusing though. It’s called the Ground Zero Mosque by people using it as en election wedge issue and by those who buy into their rhetoric. The institution itself, once its built will be called Cordoba House. Park 51 refers to the projects future address and refers to the organization that is raising the funds for construction Cordoba House.)
After their twitter, @Park51, was mentioned in a big article, they’ve been doing quite a lot of back-and-forth with fairly hostile Twitter users. And they’re kicking ass. So here’s a roundup of some of my favorites.

annahandzlik: But Imam Rauf wants more Sharia compliance in the US. He has been open about that. Who are you? #whereisthesharia?
stoning in Iran (regularly), gays executed (Iran & Saudi Arabia), blasphemy law (Pakistan & Muslim world), genocide (Sudan). #mmmk
Park51: we can’t answer for all Muslims or other countries or practice of law overseas
annahandzlik: if u can’t speak for entire world, then what is your version of Sharia law? If we’re supposed to be compliant we need to see it.
Park51: Insults aside, I asked you for clarification on your blanket statements several times. Waiting………..
JordanSekulow (works for the American Center for Law and Justice, which is suing to stop the project): I encourage you to read the lawsuit, here’s the direct link http://bit.ly/afME66 (can’t make it any easier for you)
Park51: Oy vey, for the fifth time we read it. In 140 char and from you, why are you doing it?

Park51’s twitter has also been kindly informing people who @reply them, but won’t return Park51’s responses that “twitter is about conversations.” And on one occasion, they told one antagonist to get a real profile pic because they look like a bot without one.
DovBear has also been tweeting about Park 51 a lot today. Here’s his round up of the Twitter front. Here’s a little conversation he and I had:

DovBear: Curious. If you oppose mosque, how large should no-mosque buffer zone around ground 0 be? 10 blocks? Does prayer in conf room count?

davidAMwilensky: Further, when they rebuild the WTC, what if Muslims work there and do salat in the office?
DB: Obviously that will be against the rules
dAMw: Well that makes me feel better. Anything less would be dancing on the graves of brave Americans.
DB: What about Sikks. They look sort of Muslimy. to be on the safe side they shouldn’t be allowed to pray in Manhattan either
dAMw: I hear Sikhs are into swords. Sounds dangerous, if you ask me
DB: Sefardim look a little Muslimy 2 some even speak Arabic. I’m pretty sure we don’t want them praying near Ground zero either

31 thoughts on “Kicking ass and taking Twitter handles!

  1. How does avoiding answering legitimate questions about the believes this cultural center’s leadership spouses classifies as “kicking ass”?

  2. Because the people asking are baiting. The notion that there is a vast list of unanswered questions about the project is meant to make it seem as though there are unanswered questions so that people will feel mistrust toward the group.

  3. Baiting? I’m a Jew (not Israeli) and I’m asked about the policies of the state of Israel quite often and I have no money nor can I influence the situation in Israel. Guess what I do? I answer people’s questions to the best of my abilities so we can move on to another subject. People are entitled and will ask whatever they want, especially when the subject is controversial. Acting outraged that someone is asking this questions will not make them go away.
    Why can’t these very rich, influential (getting paid by that State Department to travel around the Middle East? I want!) people answer some simple questions about their religion when they are invested in creating a cultural center that promotes their religion in a very controversial location? How about some questions about the financing of this 13 story center, is that out of bounds as well?

  4. The finance question is unbelievable. If a new JCC was being built in Manhattan, no one would care who was paying for it. (Except the people paying for it, whose names would be plaques all over the damn place!) But because these are Muslims they are guilty of being terrorists until proven innocent and we must know where their money is coming from. If they don’t tell us, they must be terrorists. Right?

  5. Regardless of whatever “right” muslims may have to build a mosque so near to ground zero, it’s still a dick move.

  6. former, what’s the point of the scare quotes here? And what does near mean? Would five blocks be far enough? Ten? To whom is it a dick move for moderate Muslims to build a community center with an interfaith bridge building mission?

  7. I think the real problem is that the former occupant was burlington coat factory… people just REALLY like coats…

  8. Mr. Wilensky, it is not reality that certain “freedom fighters” around the world get their financing from rich Saudis, Iranians, Malaysians, Indonesians? If there are questions regarding the finances is not because anyone thinks that all Muslims are terrorists, but because it is FACT that certain Muslims who have a lot of money like to finance activities that range from building harmless madrassas to training men and women who wish to blow themselves up in a crowd. That includes not only individuals but governments as well. Once again, diffusing all these questions is easy, just answer them.
    You are right, people usually don’t care about who is paying for a religious center because it usually not a question that makes people act offended.

    1. If this community center were really a secret front for a terrorist training site, wouldn’t they pick a less conspicuous location?

  9. Mr. Brazilian, you are buying into the fear-mongering. This is simple. Imam Rauf has the most sterling record of moderation and liberalism you can find in any imam. You are suggesting that because “certain Muslims” do bad things, we must be suspicious of all Muslims.
    “Certain Jews” beat women who they do not believe to be appropriately attired and then have the audacity to walk through their neighborhood. “Certain Jews” throw rocks at cars that drive by their houses on Shabbat. Therefore, I don’t want to live in any neighborhood that has Jews in it.

  10. and certain Jews demolish houses, arrest innocents and deport children… and, oh yeah, drop two-ton bombs on people…

  11. Right, let’s just ignore how Jihad financing works (through “charities”) and bring in some weak comparisons with individual Jews. Then of course bring in what Israel does because it is somehow equivalent to financing terrorism in a worldwide scale. I must have forgotten where I was posting, sorry. All that so we can avoid asking some pesky questions about the moderate Imam Rauf, who days after 9/11 stated that the US was “an accessory to the crime that happened”. Liberalism indeed.

  12. What is your concern, BJ? That terrorism is funding the Cordoba House? That the Cordoba House funds terrorism? What is the POINT of these financing questions? The point of bringing up “certain Jews” or the acts of the state of Israel is that no one entity speaks for a global community. It cannot be that because there are certain muslims in the world who engage in terrorism then we should suspect all Islamic cultural centers of being complicit with it or connected to it in any way. If we are going to fall into that trap, then we must also say that because the IDF destroys houses and kills individuals with two-ton bombs, then “Jews” demolish houses and prefer excessive force. It is a preposterous argument. MOST MUSLIMS ARE NOT TERRORISTS. That is a statistical fact, if most Muslims were in fact terrorists, then their caliphate would have been reestablished long ago because there are so damn many of them no one would ever be able to stop them!
    So, I ask you, what exactly is your concern, BJ?

  13. Justin, if you want to understand the concern about the financing do a simple search about Soho Properties, the company that purchased the location where the center will be built. Do a some research into Sammy El-Gamal, Nour Mousa and their associates.
    You are right, no one entitiy speaks for an entire community, but I’m sure this entity has something so say about Islam, or else it would not be investing 100 million dollars on a community center. People would like to know what they have to say about certain issues, that’s all. You don’t have to put it in all caps that most Muslims are not terrorists, I know that and I never suggested otherwise. I guess you are trying to be humorous with the Caliphate bit. There are a lot of Muslims indeed, nothing wrong with that. There are 47 countries in the world with a Muslim majority plus dozens more with significant Muslim minorities. There is no need for a Caliphate, there is enough oil money and UN circus to turn a blind eye to many oppressive regimes and finance Jihad in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South East Asia and even in Europe and North America.
    I don’t have a concern regarding the building of a cultural center or a Mosque 600 ft from ground zero, I just think it’s insensitive. There are enough family members of victims who are opposed to it and that should be enough for its planners to get a clue and build it somewhere else. I also think its very amusing that a bunch of progressive Jews get all bent out of shape by simple questions someone might ask the developers of the center regarding their views on gays, women, other religions and the project’s finances. The people building this community center are not some helpless minority group that needs to be sheltered from scrutiny, they are very rich people with questionable friends.
    By the way, they don’t call it the Cordoba House anymore. I guess someone in this entity realized that Cordoba was a city where Christians and Jews paid the jizya and the site of a famous pogrom.

  14. you know what was insensitive? not investigating the attacks which killed nearly 3000 americans. THAT was insensitive. You know what else is insensitive? protesting the construction of mosques in america–mosques are not just protested near the wtc site, they are protested across the country. this has nothing to do with sensitivities, it has to do with old, home grown hatred and intolerance. start investigating the finances of far right-wing christian groups in america, start investigating the finances of senators and congressmen, start investigating the finances of catholic churches that harbor child molesters, start investigating the finances of BP, start investigating the finances of halliburton. start investigating important things, then investigate the finances of the islamic cultural center.
    but do not think for one second that the concern of 70% of americans is about your questions. americans are bred on manufactured consent which is used to gain political clout and corporate profit. that’s all this is about, this generations constructed ‘other.’ it’s so much easier to keep people fat and stupid when they’re distracted by fear and hate, after all…

  15. BJ, do you believe that people’s emotions are tied to geographical measurements? If so, I think your position could be cleared up right now if you clarified just how far away from Ground Zero a mosque / community center should be built for it to no longer be “insensitive”.
    To another point… I believe (though I don’t pretend to speak for all Progressive Jews, as you seem to), that this bunch of progressive Jews is “all bent out of shape” not by the content of the simple questions which you note, but rather that the questions are being posed at all. NOBODY asks these questions when a YMCA or a JCC is built. Why are they being asked now at all, let alone by people on the opposite side of the country?

  16. And I’m sure you get all up in arms when a building project in West Jerusalem, near sites where Muslims were murdered at some point in history or another, is funded by Sheldon Adelson who’s got many many iffy connections.
    And switch “oil money” with “banker money” and you’ll see why we’re not taking you seriously.

  17. Justin, that is very interesting. When the Right raises questions about conflicts and regimes that oppress and murder people around the world and don’t get anywhere near the exposure that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict gets, the Left starts shouting “red herring”. I guess its ok when you want to bring up completely unrelated subjects to make your own point, that’s not a red herring, right?
    I do agree with you that 9/11, Right Wing groups, the Catholic church, corrupt politicians, BP, Halliburton and many more all need to be scrutinized for one reason or another…that does not mean that the people planning this community center/mosque don’t. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are looking to profit politically from all this. That doesn’t mean that all the people opposing its location are malicious and ignorant; or as you put it are “kept fat and stupid”.
    Jesse, if people’s emotions were not tied to geographic measurements there would not be a Palestinian/Israeli conflict, no Pakistani/Indian conflict and many others. I think if the backers of this project could pick a building, unlike the one they purchased, that was not hit by large debris from the 9/11 attacks the controversy would probably not have started.
    I speak for myself only, always. Maybe people don’t question YMCAs because there are no Churches inside them, maybe they don’t question JCCs because there are no Synagogues inside them. I know there is going to be conference rooms, classrooms and sports facilities in this center, but there will also be a Mosque, a place for a couple of thousand Muslims to pray. While no one would deny the 1st Amendment Right Muslims have to build a Mosque, some people are opposed to its location, its that simple. People all over the country have an opinion because most people feel that 9/11 was a national tragedy, not a “crime that happened” as Imam Abdul Rauf stated a few weeks after it occurred.
    B.Barnavi, I have never been to West Jerusalem, I don’t know or care who Sheldon Adelson is. Please read the above about red herrings. To the defense of any Israelis building anything anywhere controversial, I doubt they would have the hubris to claim that building this center at such a controversial location would promote healing between communities as the proponents of Park 51 like to claim. I think so far the results have been quite the opposite.

  18. I never said don’t investigate the finances. I simply said that we should get our priorities straight. people are hiding behind claims of insensitivity. I also have never spoken about herring unless I am enjoying it in some wine sauce or I’m quoting Monty Python. I still am unclear on what your discomfort is, BJ. Unless someone has some proof that the funders for this project finance terrorism or are financed by terrorism, I’m not sure what the concern is. And FYI, Sheldon Adelson is a Vegas tycoon who is also a Jewish philanthropist that funds construction projects in Israel and was a major donor of Birthright. You can find some entertaining posts about him on this website. And unless you’ve spent some time in America, and specifically out of the urban centers, then you may not fully understand the fat and stupid comment. we have a problem with fat and stupid in this country, they seem to be our #1 exports these days.
    So based on your response to Jesse, your problem is that people will pray there? You also must be unfamiliar with freedom of religion in the US. Oh and how dreadful that the people behind Park 51 seek to heal the rift between communities. dreadful i tell you! that’s the last thing we need in America, right? healing between communities… so, again, for the third time, what is your concern, BJ?

    1. All this talk of “insensitivity” is bullshit. Since when does the right care about sensitivity? This is just another example of the right attempting to use frames from the left, but misunderstanding them and therefore ending up with a grotesque caricature of the left’s frames instead, cf. Sarah Palin and Michael Steele complaining that they’re being treated unfairly because they are a woman and an African-American respectively, or the haredim citing religious pluralism and tolerance as a reason to keep the pride parade out of Jerusalem.
      So I’ll do the same and respond with a grotesque caricature of right-wing frames: Boo hoo hoo, you’re worried that having some Muslims around will hurt your feelings? Waaaa! Grow some balls, and learn to deal with it. You can’t always have the nanny state looking out for you.

  19. BJ: “Maybe people don’t question YMCAs because there are no Churches inside them, maybe they don’t question JCCs because there are no Synagogues inside them.”
    I don’t know how many JCCs or YMCAs you’ve been in, but there are certainly chapels and prayer spaces in all that I’ve been to, including those here in New York. If your issue is with Muslim prayer spaces, then that’s an entire separate can of worms.
    Certainly physical locations of importance have emotions tied to them, as you note. But this community center is NOT AT GROUND ZERO. So, to reiterate my previous request. Since the center is NOT at Ground Zero, how far away from Ground Zero must it be for it to no longer be insensitive in your eyes? I’m looking for a physical measurement here…
    BZ: Well said. Profound, and eloquent.

    1. Jesse writes:
      Since the center is NOT at Ground Zero, how far away from Ground Zero must it be for it to no longer be insensitive in your eyes? I’m looking for a physical measurement here…
      And if the answer is more than 4 blocks, what do you propose doing with the Manhattan Masjid?

  20. Justin, I’m sorry, I guess my “name” is causing some confusion. I am Brazilian, I was born and raised there, but I have been living in the US for about a decade now. I have served in the military for about 6 years and I am a lesbian. SO yes, I do know about the Constitution, freedom of religion and I know about being a minority in the United States. This country is far from perfect but I still don’t agree with you on the “fat and stupid” comment. I think you might want to give it a try in a third-world country for a few years in order to gain some appreciation of what we have here.
    If people are afraid of being labeled an Islamophobe for asking questions about the financing or the positions of the proponents of this center, we will probably never know about the origins of the money and what they think about gays and women, right? That is all. And no, I don’t have a problem with people praying there or anywhere else, is just that people love to play with semantics. The project calls for a Mosque with capacity for 1,000 to 2,000 people, then call it what it is, a Mosque not a “prayer area”. Sorry, I don’t think an Imam who is all hot for Sharia and refuses to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist group is trying to heal anything.
    BZ, that is a nice rant against the Right wing. Now, is Howard Dean part of the Right? How about Harry Reid? How about all the polls showing 60 to 70% of Americans opposing the location of this community center/Mosque? The majority of Americans are Right Wing lunatics “attempting to use frames from the left”? Maybe this guy is from the Right pretending to be sensitive too:
    Jesse, yes I have been to two YMCAs down here in Florida and no, there are no “prayer spaces” in either one of them. No, no issue with Muslim “prayer spaces” at all, just the location. Like I said on my previous post, a good location would probably be a location where a jet engine from one of the planes that flew into the Twin Towers did not land (like it did on this building).

    1. BZ, that is a nice rant against the Right wing. Now, is Howard Dean part of the Right?
      No, he’s just spouting off uninformed. I have to say I was disappointed.
      How about Harry Reid?
      How about all the polls showing 60 to 70% of Americans opposing the location of this community center/Mosque?
      They’re putting the 9/11 families in the role of the dog from this classic Onion story.

  21. BJ writes:
    How about all the polls showing 60 to 70% of Americans opposing the location of this community center/Mosque?
    60 to 70% of Americans oppose a lot of things about New York. But the community center is in Manhattan, and should be a local issue. For that matter, maybe it should even be a neighborhood issue… since I don’t live in Lower Manhattan, maybe I should keep my mouth shut.

  22. >>“All this talk of “insensitivity” is bullshit. Since when does the right care about sensitivity? This is just another example of the right attempting to use frames from the left, but misunderstanding them and therefore ending up with a grotesque caricature of the left’s frames instead…”
    —BZ · August 18th, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Naturally. Because only leftists are sensitive…

  23. I’m not saying only leftists are sensitive, but I’ll certainly say the right has a way of being particularly insensitive when it comes to issues of tolerance for religions, homosexuality and immigration (just to name a select few)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.