17 thoughts on “To a Good, Sweet and Peaceful New Year – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. In an interview to cnn
    Imam Abdul Rauf stated few very interesting things:
    1. Denying the muslim right to build the mosque will become a threat to the American national security interest.
    2. If he had known the level of controversy building the mosque would raise, he would have chosen to do it elsewhere.
    3. That he condemns Hamas as a terror organization.

    no one doubts that the American Muslims has the legal right to build the mosque on their property. but as obama himself stated i will not comment on the wisdom of the act.
    however i think that for the sake of national security the united state shouldn’t back because of extremist threats to its national security interest. Personally i do not understand the second statement of the Imam, if he really means what he says he can still relocate the mosque elsewhere, he was even offer NY state assistance in finding a different piece of property for that purpose by the NY state governor, after-all he didn’t start building the mosque yet.

    1. The Cordoba folks have the right to build on the site. So are you saying that the gov’t should step in & forbid it? Under what guise would they be prevented fr. building there? It so happens that if Muslims are forced to abandon the project at this site it will make America look like an enemy of American Muslims. But that’s not the primary reason it should be built there. The primary reason is that America is built of religious freedom & tolerance. If we say that there are places in America where you may not build a Muslim community ctr. then there will be other places you cannot build a synaoguge or a church. Which gets you into the realm of lunacy.

      And this is also why the project should not be relocated. There is no reason to relocate it except to placate nutcases like Pammy Geller & Pastor Jones. If America starts determining its policies on the sensitivities of loons like this we’ll rapidly become the basket case of nations (which may happen anyway w/o their assistance–but why allow them to speed the process?).

      I’m not interested nor are the principals in the so called assistance offered by the governor. Instead of making such empty proposals he should be speaking up forcefully as our president has just done today, Kol hakavod lo.

  2. Happy Rosh Hashanah to the Jewish community and ‘a”id al-fitr al-mubarak lil-muslimiin. May peace come to the Holy Land.
    Heart of the other: A Palestinian confronts the Holocaust
    (The final scene is very strong)

  3. Not only did you compare the NIF to a mosque, you gave the NIF the “enemy of my enemy” tag, while the mosque seems to get your complete endorsment.

    A mosque is still a mosque. You get all excited about muslims being tolerant, you forget that they are SUPPOSED to be tolerant. It’s the millions of muslims who aren’t tolerant that are our enemies, not the muslims who are tolerant who suddenly become saints.
    Even if they accept the idea of gays and women rights, and the freedom of religion of other creeds, they will never fully endorse them. All I ask (or rather demand) is that they accept that other people can hold on to these rights without penalty, and that’s all I offer them. I think it’s terrible that people oppose the project not because it’s a good idea, but because in a democracy people have a right to do whatever the hell they want within the bounds of the law.

    If anything, the mosque is the “enemy of my enemy”. I listened to Naomi Hazan at a rally – she had some very inspiring and true things to say, none of which included the identity of a one true god or of his prophet, or that homosexuality is a sin.

    If the muslims can’t fund their mosque, there is no reason us liberals should do it for them. Defending their right of worship and funding that worship are two very different things.
    I would personally love to donate to both the NIF and Tikun Olam, but the IDF just doesn’t pay that well.

    Shana Tova.

    1. Stop calling it a mosque. It is not a mosque, it is a community center. It will have swimming pools, basketball courts, and classrooms. That is not a mosque.

      1. Muslim community center. If they fully support liberal values despite what Islam has to say about them, then they represent an insignificant fraction of muslims, and are thus irrelevant. If they are only as liberal as Islam allows, they deserve our help against the american right wing, but not our support.
        Part of what the NIF does is protect us from religious nutjobs, so I think the comparison is insulting.

          1. That’s actually pretty funny, and yes, comparing a civil rights group to a religious group IS like comparing a democracy to a religious ethnocracy like israel.

          2. Sufism has so little to do with religious ethnocracy that yr analogy is completely daft. I get the impression that you mean well and I too share you quarrels with religious fundamentalism (though not all religion). But I think you take things too far.

    2. I didn’t compare the NIF to a mosque. I merely posted two causes worthy of support which happened to be NIF and Cordoba House. It’s yr in yr own mind that I ‘compared’ them.

      If Muslims are SUPPOSED to be tolerant, then so are Jews. But there are just as many hateful, violent Jews as there are Muslims. Well, there are many times the number of Muslims in the world as Jews so perhaps there are a few more intolerant Muslims than Jews, but we certainly don’t lack for intolerant ones among our tribe.

      the millions of muslims who aren’t tolerant that are our enemies

      Who is “us” as in “our enemies?” Who are you speaking for? Jews? Israelis? You’re certainly not speaking for me nor for most of the Israelis I know. So who precisely are you speaking for? Yourself? That I concede. You may speak for yourself and others who hate Islam. But for no one else.

      If the muslims can’t fund their mosque, there is no reason us liberals should do it for them.

      There you go again with the “us” rhetoric. Who says you’re a liberal? Perhaps you’re a libertarian. But anti-Muslim racism doesn’t qualify you as “liberal.”

      the IDF just doesn’t pay that well.

      Save yr shekels.

      1. You seemed to portray both groups as equally donation worthy, and prehaps park51 as more so. This is what I found so objectionable.

        Ofc jews are also supposed to be tolerant. If anything, intolerant jews are way more dangerous to me personally as an Israeli than intolerant muslims.

        “us” as in liberals/left-wingers generally. All intolerant people our “our” enemies. My point is, muslims shouldn’t get any discounts for being usually the oppressed side of most conflicts. Just as “we” won’t see any intolerant jew as in any way acceptable, there is no reason any intolerant muslim should be anything other than “our” enemy. A group of muslims working for tolerance aren’t “better than most muslims who are also ok”, but rather tolerant muslims are the only muslims that should receive any tolerance at all.

        I am not a racist, however if I were, I would certainly represent most Israelis.

        Abrhamic religions are by definition intolerant. Anyone who chooses to follow one of them without atleast partially renouncing the many many hateful parts of them is intolerant and an enemy of “us”.

        I hope this clears things up a bit.

        1. Of course they’re equally worthy. You appear to hate all religions including yr own so at least you don’t discriminate. Despite yr distaste for ’em you should study a bit about Sufism, which this project is sponsoring. Of all religions in the world it’s one of the least dogmatic, more accepting, most tolerant, most loving, etc. They’re the Muslim equivalent of Quakers fer Godssakes! In many ways, it’s deeply ironic that Cordoba is being attacked in this way & lumped in w. Al Qaeda & other Islamist groups. And that is why I support them. As you wrote, any religion would be legally permitted to open a house of worship on that site. So why not Muslims? And let’s also keep in mind that this is really & largely a community center w. a small mosque included in it just like a hospital will include a small chapel on its grounds.

  4. Shana tova, Richard.

    About 2k from my house on the Brittany coast is a site where an American C-47 was attacked by two Messerschmitts and shot down during the war. There was one survivor. He was rescued by two teenage girls who kept him hidden in the woods until the Résistance could get him safely across the Channel to England. Sadly, the other four airmen were killed.

    The villagers gave the four dead Americans a proper Catholic funeral, and a most public one at that, which was a brave thing to do under the eyes of the occupying Germans. Over 4,000 people attended, an amazing number of people for this very rural area of France. Mourners could only have come from many kilometers. The women were described as wearing garlands of flowers to indicate their sympathy and solidarity. There were reprisals, as everyone knew there would be.

    After the war a Breton stone wall with a memorial plaque was erected at the site of the crash. Local people still leave flowers there.

    Having attended university in New York, and being attuned to such things, I noticed that two of the airmen had Jewish names.

    On Rosh Hashanah I take apples from my orchard to the wall with little American and French flags. (Honey would only make a mess and draw wasps.) The French flags are because when foreign soldiers fall in the service of France, they belong to France and we care for these fallen as we do our own: Les Américains Morts pour la France.

    I will go to the village church and light a candle for peace.

  5. L’Shana Tova! Best wishes to you, your family and the rest of the world. May 5771 bring Peace and harmony to us all.

  6. Dear Richard,
    This poem by Vaclav Havel explains the quality of the soul that is required to write a blog like yours better than I could ever do it myself. I wish you all the best in this new year. And of course, we do hope for a good outcome.

    Deep in ourselves we carry hope;
    if that is not the case, there is no hope.
    Hope is a quality of the soul, and does not
    depend on what happens in the world.
    Hope is not to foretell or foresee.
    It is a directedness of the mind,
    a directedness of the heart,
    anchored beyond the horizon.
    Hope in this deep and powerful meaning
    is not the same as happiness because all
    goes well,
    or readiness to devote yourself
    to that which has success.
    Hope is to work for something because it is good,
    and not only because it has a chance to succeed.
    Hope is not the same as optimism
    neither is it the conviction that something will end well.
    Rather it is the certainty that something is meaningful,
    irrespective of the outcome, the result…

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