Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In America, We Don't Do That: Patel on the "Mosque"

The last thing I intended to do when I got up this morning was a pair of posts on the "Ground Zero Mosque."* But Eboo Patel (via Glenn Greenwald) wraps it up with such pristine clarity that he gets 10 points for craftsmanship, whatever he gets for content.  "Lemon" is CNN Anchor Don of that ilk:
Lemon:  Don't you think it's a bit different considering what happened on 9/11?  And the people have said there's a need for it in Lower Manhattan, so that's why it's being built there.   What about 10, 20 blocks . . . Midtown Manhattan, considering the circumstances behind this?  That's not understandable?
Patel:  In America, we don't tell people based on their race or religion or ethnicity that they are free in this place, but not in that place --
Lemon:  [interrupting] I understand that, but there's always context, Mr. Patel . . . this is an extraordinary circumstance.  You understand that this is very heated.  Many people lost their loved ones on 9/11 --
Patel: Including Muslim Americans who lost their loved ones. . .
Lemon:  Consider the context here.  That's what I'm talking about.
Patel:  I have to tell you that this seems a little like telling black people 50 years ago:  you can sit anywhere on the bus you like - just not in the front.
Lemon:  I think that's apples and oranges - I don't think that black people were behind a Terrorist plot to kill people and drive planes into a building.  That's a completely different circumstance.
Patel:  And American Muslims were not behind the terrorist plot either.
 Boldface is Greewnwald's, but it's alright by me.   BTW, how many Muslims did die as a result of the twin towers crash on 9/11?  There's an estimate and a discussion here.  Of course, Patel's point would be right even if the correct answer were zero.
*Not a mosque, and not at ground zero.  I know.

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