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If He Could, Bin Laden Would Bomb the Cordoba Initiative

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Jeff Goldberg

This seems like such an obvious point, but it is apparently not obvious to the many people who oppose the Cordoba Initiative's planned mosque in lower Manhattan, so let me state it as clearly as possible: The Cordoba Initiative, which is headed by an imam named Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an enemy of al Qaeda, no less than Rudolph Giuliani and the Anti-Defamation League are enemies of al Qaeda. Bin Laden would sooner dispatch a truck bomb to destroy the Cordoba Initiative's proposed community center than he would attack the ADL, for the simple reason that Osama's most dire enemies are Muslims. This is quantitatively true, of course -- al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates have murdered thousands of Muslims -- but it is ideologically true as well: al Qaeda's goal is the purification of Islam (that is to say, its extreme understanding of Islam) and apostates pose more of a threat to Bin Laden's understanding of Islam than do infidels.

I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I've spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country. Bin Laden wants a clash of civilizations; the opponents of the mosque project are giving him what he wants.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/08/if-he-could-bin-laden-would-bomb-the-cordoba-initiative/60833/

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Jeff Goldberg

This seems like such an obvious point, but it is apparently not obvious to the many people who oppose the Cordoba Initiative's planned mosque in lower Manhattan, so let me state it as clearly as possible: The Cordoba Initiative, which is headed by an imam named Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an enemy of al Qaeda, no less than Rudolph Giuliani and the Anti-Defamation League are enemies of al Qaeda. Bin Laden would sooner dispatch a truck bomb to destroy the Cordoba Initiative's proposed community center than he would attack the ADL, for the simple reason that Osama's most dire enemies are Muslims. This is quantitatively true, of course -- al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates have murdered thousands of Muslims -- but it is ideologically true as well: al Qaeda's goal is the purification of Islam (that is to say, its extreme understanding of Islam) and apostates pose more of a threat to Bin Laden's understanding of Islam than do infidels.

I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I've spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country. Bin Laden wants a clash of civilizations; the opponents of the mosque project are giving him what he wants.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/08/if-he-could-bin-laden-would-bomb-the-cordoba-initiative/60833/

In order to be a loyal citizen of say the USA, practices such as stoning and female circumcision which are illegal here would need to be discontinued. Killing animals without stunning is already allowed under special rules for halal and kosher so no problem there.

I suppose it would be ok under US law and the 1st to be in favour of stoning and female circumcision as long as one does not engage in it in the USA

However, until Muslims here disavow the cruel practices that are common in some African Muslim countries and Saudi for instance, eg cutting hands off on peak time television programs, they will not gain much favor here even if they are strictly in compliance with the law

As far as the mosque is concerned, why not ? There are many other religions that I find equally unattractive. If some Baptist assassinated the President and his family for religious reasons, would we ban Baptist Churches ? I think not.

Anyway, where I come from it's all the other way round and people get stoned first and then commit adultery


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bin Laden would bomb anything in the US if he could.

Trouble is it all looks the same - so what would he target ?

Whatever, it's all made of glass fibre and plastic so it could be easily replaced by Monday


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In order to be a loyal citizen of say the USA, practices such as stoning and female circumcision which are illegal here would need to be discontinued. Killing animals without stunning is already allowed under special rules for halal and kosher so no problem there.

I suppose it would be ok under US law and the 1st to be in favour of stoning and female circumcision as long as one does not engage in it in the USA

However, until Muslims here disavow the cruel practices that are common in some African Muslim countries and Saudi for instance, eg cutting hands off on peak time television programs, they will not gain much favor here even if they are strictly in compliance with the law

As far as the mosque is concerned, why not ? There are many other religions that I find equally unattractive. If some Baptist assassinated the President and his family for religious reasons, would we ban Baptist Churches ? I think not.

Anyway, where I come from it's all the other way round and people get stoned first and then commit adultery

Actually, stoning comes from the Talmud, Jewish law. It's not in the Quran.

Very few places practice any of the practices you mentioned, not all who practice them are Muslim, and not everything that is deemed to be from Islam is. Most are cultural practices that are improperly justified as Islamic.

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Jeff Goldberg

This seems like such an obvious point, but it is apparently not obvious to the many people who oppose the Cordoba Initiative's planned mosque in lower Manhattan, so let me state it as clearly as possible: The Cordoba Initiative, which is headed by an imam named Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an enemy of al Qaeda, no less than Rudolph Giuliani and the Anti-Defamation League are enemies of al Qaeda. Bin Laden would sooner dispatch a truck bomb to destroy the Cordoba Initiative's proposed community center than he would attack the ADL, for the simple reason that Osama's most dire enemies are Muslims. This is quantitatively true, of course -- al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates have murdered thousands of Muslims -- but it is ideologically true as well: al Qaeda's goal is the purification of Islam (that is to say, its extreme understanding of Islam) and apostates pose more of a threat to Bin Laden's understanding of Islam than do infidels.

I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I've spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country. Bin Laden wants a clash of civilizations; the opponents of the mosque project are giving him what he wants.

http://www.theatlant...itiative/60833/

The bolded part makes no sense to me.

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Actually, stoning comes from the Talmud, Jewish law. It's not in the Quran.

Very few places practice any of the practices you mentioned, not all who practice them are Muslim, and not everything that is deemed to be from Islam is. Most are cultural practices that are improperly justified as Islamic.

and the cutting off of hands ..? Which religion practices that ? Female circumcision - it ain't the mooneys

When I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, there was a white woman kept in a cage in the main square and she was fed a bucket of slops

She had gone insane after 18 months in there

She had been caught with a beer

It's no good making excuses for extreme Islamic practices because everyone knows they go on and they are cruel

Try Northern Nigeria. Try North East Africa. Try Afghanistan.

I once got a stingy xmas present from my Jewish employer but that was the worst he did.

Edited by saywhat

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and the cutting off of hands ..? Which religion practises that ?

When I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, there was a white woman kept in a cage in the main square and she was fed a bucket of slops

She had gone insane after 18 months in there

She had been caught with a beer

It's no good making excuses for extreme Islamic practices because everyone knows they go on and they are cruel

Try Northern Nigeria. Try North East Africa. Try Afghanistan.

I once got a stingy xmas present from my Jewish employer but that was the worst he did.

What you describe is not an Islamic practice. Living in Saudi Arabia is no substitute for factual knowledge about Islam. They don't practice Islam there.

Everybody is an "expert" on Islam these days in ways that they would not accept from people demeaning their own faith.

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What you describe is not an Islamic practice. Living in Saudi Arabia is no substitute for factual knowledge about Islam. They don't practice Islam there.

Everybody is an "expert" on Islam these days in ways that they would not accept from people demeaning their own faith.

They don't practice Islam in Saudi Arabia ?

what is it then - Buddhism ? Flower power ?

give it a rest for Allah's sake


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I'm a Muslim, Alan. Who do you think knows more about Islam, me or you?

That's like saying I am obese, so who knows more about eating disorders

Just because you are a Muslim doesn't mean you have a good perspective on how it's practised wordwide - probably just the opposite as you are biased towards only seeing the good side of it. You know what you do personally - but that's the extent of it.

You don't even know that the religion of Saudia is Islam so how can I trust your knowledge ?

Where do you pray to every day - Mecca (In Saudi) or McDonalds.

Unless you acknowledge the evil of people who share a version of your faith, you will not be able to have any influence in changing it

You need to go on the haj then you would know the religion of Saudi.


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That's like saying I am obese, so who knows more about eating disorders

Just because you are a Muslim doesn't mean you have a good perspective on how it's practised wordwide - probably just the opposite as you are biased towards only seeing the good side of it. You know what you do personally - but that's the extent of it.

You don't even know that the religion of Saudia is Islam so how can I trust your knowledge ?

Where do you pray to every day - Mecca (In Saudi) or McDonalds.

Unless you acknowledge the evil of people who share a version of your faith, you will not be able to have any influence in changing it

You need to go on the haj then you would know the religion of Saudi.

Actually, I do have a good grasp on how it is practiced worldwide, as I also have a good grasp on the difference between what Muslims do and what Islam allows. Islam is not the religion of Saudi Arabia, Wahabbism is. Do you know how that came to be or what Wahabbism is?

I pray toward Mecca, not to Mecca. It matters not at all that it is in Saudi. Non-Muslims are mistaken to think that the Muslim world revolves around Saudi; it doesn't.

Islam doesn't need changing.

If you're Episcopalian, and Baptists do bad things, would you feel responsible for what the Baptists do?

I've been on Hajj more than once and to Saudi many times. That's how I know that they don't practice Islam there.

I teach Islam, have a Masters and Ph.D in the faith and its history. I have lived and worked in Muslim countries for decades and am Arab myself, from a Palestinian family. Are you serious that you know more about my faith and those who share it than I do?

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“...Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

. Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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