If you build it, they will come...out of the woodwork.
Plans for the Cordoba House--a Muslim community center modeled after the YMCA and Jewish Community Center of New York City has been in the works for years now. Imam Feisal, one of the project's organizers, said the idea for an Islamic space near the former site of the World Trade Center was a way "to push back against the extremists." But while most people haven't heard of the Cordoba House, they've heard of the Ground Zero Mosque. Why? A New York Times article predicted last December that the project "could very well become a target for anti-Muslim attacks," a prophecy that's been fulfilled by the right-wing media response. Here's a round-up of some of the major scumbags and douchebags behind the hate.
Pamela Gellar - blogger of the right-wing Atlas Shrugs, is credited with fanning the flame on the media shitstorm that transformed the Cordoba Project into the "Ground Zero Mosque." Gellar's group "Stop the Islamization of America" began the project "Campaign Offensive: Stop the 911 Mosque!" causing Mayor Bloomberg's office to be flooded with emails. Gellar and SIOA planned the first protest of the mosque, and she's since been a go-to for trash-talking the mosque.
Laura Ingraham - Oddly enough, Ingraham originally interviewed Daisy Khan, Imam Feisal's wife, in December, stating "I can't find many people who really have a problem with [the Cordoba Project]...I like what you're trying to do." Ingraham's changed her tune though, and now argues for the "importance of assimilation," drawing a clear line between "American" and "Muslim" ('cause you know, there's no such thing as being both). She claims Muslims have a "deeply negative distrustful view of America and her citizens" (false) and that Khan "says if we object to the mosque, we're Muslim haters" (true). THEN Ingraham GOES there, and brings in theDisney worker who was not allowed to be a hostess because of her headscarf as evidence of the "Clash of Civilizations." I'm guessing the irony of Disney representing "American Civilization" is lost on Ingraham.
Ron Ramsey - Who is Ron Ramsey and why should we care? He thinks this: "You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it." Um, no, no you couldn't even argue that: Islam, or whatever you want to call it, is the second largest religion in the world. His comments were in response to some community members' concerns over plans to build a mosque and community center outside of Murfreesboro, a town near Nashville, TN (Note: NOT the past site of a terrorist attack). Later, Ramsey said that his opinion stems from the fact that "far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion," which is funny, because that is what Islam has come to resemble...on Fox News.
Terry Jones - is an extremist Christian who's called for "International Burn a Koran Day." For a second you might wonder why the New York Times has bothered giving any press to a gun-toting eccentric who has even admitted having "no experience with [the Koran] whatsoever. I only know what the Bible says," and then you realize that International Burn a Koran Day has over six thousand fucking fans on Facebook.
SP: "There are a hundred mosques already in New York. If the purpose of this mosque, as we're led to believe, is to um, create this tolerant environment to avoid anything like a 9-11 repeat, then you have to ask, why didn't one of those one hundred mosques already accomplish such a thing?"
And, before you chalk up all the bigotry to talking (shit)heads, keep in mind that these messages have truly frightening repercussions-- TPM reports that a recent poll shows that less than a quarter of American view Islam as "favorable," and hate crimes across the country are cropping up. Also via TPM, Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council said,
The hateful rhetoric that is being spewed by people like Newt Gingrich and then being amplified by mainstream media outlets poses a grave danger to the safety and well-being of everyday Muslim Americans like this cab driver, an innocent person...If there's blood on anyone's hands, I think part of that blood goes on Fox News' hands, and the kind of round-the-clock news cycle that is just amplifying the hysteria rather than having an intelligent conversation about matters where people have differences of opinion."
The cab driver was Ahmed H. Sharif, who was stabbed in the face, neck, arms, and hand by 21-year-old college student Michael Enright, who got into Sharif's NYC cab, gave him an Arabic greeting, asked him if he was Muslim, and with Sharif's affirmative, attacked him saying "Consider this a checkpoint." There's theIslamophobes mosque-protesters in New York with signs reading "Mosque Supports Hamas" and "Islam= Slavery." And before you believe that bigotry is limited to New York or "red states," hate crimes in Madera, California have also happened recently, where an Islamic center has had a window smashed and hateful signs reading "No temple for the God of terrorism at Ground Zero" were left by the "American Nationalist Brotherhood."
And now, a real moment of zen--Russell Simmons' loft overlooking Ground Zero: