Kavitha RajagopalanBack to OpinionKavitha Rajagopalan

@ Sarah Palin, pls understand, this is America

If there is anything “too raw” about the World Trade Center site, it is that it remains a gaping pit a decade after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

This Sunday, Sarah Palin tweeted to both “Peace-seeking Muslims” and “peaceful New Yorkers,” entreating the former to “pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.” To the latter, she wrote “pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.”

A perfect storm of New York forces has kept that site what it is instead of what it could have been – a memorial, a stride forward, a community space, a commercial center, an anything instead of a nothing. But we New Yorkers see life where Sarah Palin apparently sees death. We hardly even see the pit anymore. We mourn the loss of our people and our skyline, but we celebrate our lost friends and family privately, we figure out different subway routes and walk the extra block and a half to get to where we have to go. Anyone who argues that an Islamic community center committed to interfaith dialogue near the “Ground Zero” site is a provocation that stabs hearts is keeping us – as a city, as a people, as a nation – from where we have to go.

Photo: AP Photo/Al Grillo

In demographic terms, “Ground Zero” is actually “Ground Infinity” if calibrated in terms of gods worshipped, languages spoken, cuisines eaten, tones of skin seen there on a daily basis. Palin’s tweets beg these questions: who, exactly, is being provoked? Whose heart is being stabbed? Palin’s? What constituency of New York does she represent who require her to weigh in on local urban planning decisions?

What Palin and her compatriots who don’t live in diverse megacities are asking us to do is deny who we are in the service of some untrue idea that Muslims aren’t as natively American as Christians. Palin is essentially asking that Muslims hide and stay out of the way until people who hate Muslims get over their hatred.

Nothing in New York City could ever advance the pursuit of monoculture. In fact, New Yorkers of every religious persuasion in every degree of religiosity — often religiously anti-religious — live and work together in blocks immediately adjacent to the former twin towers. We are not by any means a tolerant society. Many of us are openly intolerant of others, but still we live and work together.

If Palin did her homework, she’d know that there are dozens of mosques already located within a one-mile radius of those craters, and 131 mosques in New York state. That 28 Muslims died on September 11. That there are nearly two million American-born Muslims. That there are about as many militant Muslims as there are militant Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists. That you can’t tell who’s going to develop a yen for self-detonation or violence by looking at his religion alone.

The head cleric for the Ground Zero mosque project, Imam Feisal, believes his project will “push back extremists” and has spent the last decade building ties with neighborhood community and religious leaders. He has the support of local residents and of several officials in City Hall. He has the support of New Yorkers.

If Palin came to my neighborhood in Brooklyn, she’d meet some Muslims who lost real friends on September 11 or in the unjust detentions and deportations that followed. She’d meet Muslim New Yorkers who think that the plural of “you” is “yous” and who wear skinny or baggy jeans with their green basketball jerseys and bandannas and lime-green high-top sneakers on Islamic holidays.

This is what America is. You come here, within one generation you are an American – whether you move to Provo, Utah, or Manhattan. Palin speaks not for these New Yorkers or these Americans, but herself.

 

Comments

  • Sharon Sullivan

    I have read quite a bit about this issue and although I don’t agree with Palin on much, on this issue we stand together. In no way is she asking Muslims to “hide and stay out of the way”. The write shows her insensitivity to anyone other than herself and her fellow Muslims.

  • David Craig

    Garbage!!

    Stop feeling sorry for yourself, the point being made is that “THIS PARTICULAR” location is what’s insensitive not the building of a new mosque.

    The other thing to remember is that in western countries muslims and any others are perfectly able to build mosques, synagogues, etc. without much restriction. In Afghanistan where we’re losing our young folk on a daily basis; we are protecting a society and a government who wouldn’t allow a Christian church to be built there. Or Egypt where the orthodox church is older than the muslim heirarchy, Christians aren’t allowed to build churches. Excuse me if I have no sympathy for bleeding hearts and the easily offended pitiful whiners that populate and denigrate the west with impunity.

  • Danny Hairston

    Actually Sharon, what Palin is doing is far more insidous. It is part of the reductionist narrative that has defined both her as a public figure and those who think like her. Similarly, her defense (and that of most other Conservatives) of the Tea Party against the NAACP resolution condemning racist elements bares little difference to the author’s vis a vis Palin.

    As an African-American man I can’t condemn the whole of the Tea Party based upon the actions of a few no more than I can condemn all Christians as hateful for the rhetoric of a few fundamentalists who espouse hateful rhetoric against homosexuals and who at different points in history gave biblical credence to both slavery and segregation. Therefore, to reduce all Muslims, as well as of Islam, to the actions of a radicalized few is just as intellectually dishonest as the examples I previously mentioned.

    Like the author, I too reside in Brooklyn and consider myself truly blessed to live in one of he most diverse communities, according to the Census, in the entire country. I have coffee, share meals and patronize the stores of Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Buddhist, etc… Every one of these individuals are as patriotic and “American” (whatever that means) as the people of my youth, growing up in “America’s Heartland.”

    Among the thousands that we lost on that September morning, we also gave up that which makes us great. The realization of the patchwork that makes up this global example became a tapestry of “us and them” classifications which covered up the nuances of “individuality” of which many on the right so defend. In light of this, we have individuals (like Palin) who have come to exist within this vacuum capitalizing on the fearful emotions that have come to overtake reason in cases such as the matter our author highlights.

    The only way that we can truly come out of this “era” a better country is to understand the errors of this new American narrative and work to supplant our fears and emotions in order to create a new and glorious tale going forward.

  • NLF

    to Sharon and David,

    Sharon, the writer is not muslim.

    David, You can’t compare a country that is completely controlled by one race to one like America – where all races and cultures have been compressed into a “Melting Pot”.
    Learn to be tollerant to one another if you believe in your religion. I am sure, it is Christian – Right!!.

  • David Craig

    NLF

    Your response shows an ignorance of the make-up of the countries I have used for comparison. To Afghans, for example, the distinctions between tribal groups is as strong as between any of the “made-up” sub-divisions of American society, e.g. african-american whatever that is? You don’t hear of English-Americans, Scottish-Americans in the same divisive fashion do you? Religious and sectarian divisions between factions is rife and its easy for you to lump Egyptian christians into the one “pot” with muslims who have been persecuting them and denying them jobs and property for decades.

    Perhaps you should learn more about the big world that isn’t the US of A and you then will be better qualified to respond. Do you seriously believe the the U.S. is the only “melting pot”? The UK has had longer and more varied immigration the the U.S. for example

    Finally, I don’t actually believe in the sky-fairy myself (of any denomination) but positive discrimination is still discrimination. Not only that, if you as a group see yourself as different and separate, why complain if someone else agrees with you?

  • Marina E.

    Well put Danny!
    Sarah Palin can not even use the NIMBY defense as she is so far off from a New Yorker. If you come from an isolated community with not much diversity, you have no place to speak for a hugely diverse and dynamic city (or country) that you know nothing about.
    As all religions are based on “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. How about walking the talk? and stop the hate! The USA is based on welcoming all people. One Love!

  • Carla Keys

    Kavitha, beautiful post. Palin seems to forget the words of her professed religion and of my Saviour–”Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

  • Robert Reno

    Palin is an Islamophobic religious bigot. Muslims in New York have every right to build a community center with a Mosque as any other American community, be they Christian, Jewish, or Neopagan. We need to vigorously reject and confront the ignorant religious bigots that Palin and her ilk represent.

  • Christine

    This is just a tidbit of what is to come if the American people are insane enough to consider this woman for the Presidency.

  • Chet

    While I think that Palin is an idiot, I surprisingly agree with her on this. Islam is abhorrent to many Americans for one simple reason: a lack of tolerance of others is a seemingly endemic aspect of the faith. So yes, let’s change that by fostering interfaith dialogue. But not in New York; as you describe the place is already a center for many faiths including Islam. Let’s put a cathedral next to Mecca. Let’s build a synagogue in Riyadh. Let’s see Muslim countries exhibit the kind of acceptance they enjoy in the West. Maybe then we can talk about building yet another mosque in New York.

  • @ Chet

    @Chet: Your logic does not make sense. You can’t compare Ground Zero to Mecca or Riyadh. Ground Zero is a secular site. While it’s forever embedded in the American consciousness, it does not have a religious significance. Comparing apples to oranges there.

  • Lisa

    Chet, you seperate Islam from Americans ” Islam is abhorrent to many Americans” forgetting that many American are Muslims, many New Yorkers are Muslims, many victims of 9/11 were Muslims. You can’t seperate that. As a New Yorker/American/Muslim, how can anyone tell me i can’t have a place of worship and education in my neighborhood. I and my family were hurt by the terrorists of 9/11 and the ignorance of some of my own fellow americans during the aftermath af 9/11… and it continues.

  • Chet

    @ Chet: actually you are making my point. You are describing Riyadh as “having a religious significance”. Its just a city. Is all of the Middle East holy ground for Muslims only? If not then as there are mosques in New York, why can’t we have a Cathedral in Riyadh? Because Islam is an intolerant faith, that’s why. If you want to affect change, it needs to happen over there, not in New York. Most Americans will never buy the insane argument that in order to be accepting, we have to accept those who refuse to respect beliefs other than their own.

    @ Lisa: Yes many New Yorkers, many Americans and ALL of the 9/11 attackers were Muslim. And we already have religious diversity in New York. You already have mosques in NYC (I used to live there and have family there). I don’t entirely disagree with you, but my point is this: if you want broader acceptance of Islam by Americans, worry about the intolerance of Western ideology in the middle east. Because that is what is offensive to many Americans. That and Muslim treatment of women. And yes, I know there are Muslim Americans.

    As an American, am I supposed to think it would be a good idea to build an American Southern Baptist church, or for that matter, a McDonalds at ground zero in Nagasaki? No, that would make me one ugly, insensitive, self-involved American… “more politically correct than thou”, be I Muslim, Hindu, Christian or whatever.

  • beth

    chet – you say,”Most Americans will never buy the insane argument that in order to be accepting, we have to accept those who refuse to respect beliefs other than their own.”

    I would hardly call folks who want to build a mosque and Islamic community center committed to interfaith dialogue “those who refuse to respect beliefs other than their own.” I personally think it is a beautiful peace offering – an olive branch, of sorts. You remember those, right?

    You also said, “As an American, am I supposed to think it would be a good idea to build an American Southern Baptist church, or for that matter, a McDonalds at ground zero in Nagasaki?” If the church was making a peace offering and trying to build an opportunity to heal the wounds created at that Ground Zero, and if the locals agreed and thought it was a good idea and actually wanted it there, then Yes, as an American you might think it was a good idea – especially since they have every legal right to do so, and Americans are so big on rights. Supposedly, it’s why we are all here. Why exactly are you here?

    If the people wanting to build this theoretical church at Ground Zero in Nagasaki were Japanese, would it be okay then? Because the people who want to build this mosque in Manhattan’s Ground Zero are American. That would be a more accurate analogy.

  • Kirk C

    very well said, Ms. Rajagopalan.

  • Laura Michaels

    I’d like to know how many of you who agree with Palin on this issue actually live in New York City. If you don’t then shut up, it’s not yours to decide on.

  • Deb

    Wonderful article. Thank you so much for getting to the heart of the matter. The fact that we are even concerned about where a mosque might be built highlights the fact that we still have an “Us vs. Them” mentality in this country. “Us” includes people of all faiths and of no faith. I hope this mosque gets built, as does the one near my own hometown that is raising a similar kind of controversy.

  • Karen

    Palin speaks for whoever will pay her enough. Whether or not she knows what she’s talking about is beside the point.

  • Miles Rothstein

    Thank you, Kavitha. Palin and her followers have led secluded lives, and they see every issue in terms of preserving the unrealistic world they have constructed around themselves.
    Thank you for speaking up as someone who realizes that the United States must learn to play in a global society. The more attention we give to the isolationists, the stronger they get, as they continue to grind out fear-speak. I much prefer your view of a world in which my children can grow.

  • Ron C

    Many thanks, Ms Rajagopalan, for the well-presented voice of reason. May you all be able to continue to enjoy and thrive in the New York you love. We appreciate the example you’re setting for the rest of us!

  • Dawn

    I am not sure how this would help people to heal who have lost loved ones. New York has not yet gotten over the aftershocks of the act of war it witnessed on 9/11. What needs to be preseved is a place for mourning, remembering, healing and paying tribute. How does this fit in? If it can be presented in a way to understand each other and try to prevent further hate…it would be beneficial.
    But I do not think this is what is being proposed.

  • Kristi

    @Karen and Christine, you got it spot on!

  • Scotchtown

    What’s next, Palin, banning Germans from visiting the Holocaust museum?

    We are Americans, we do what is right. Apparently, however, the anti-NY mosque crowd would rather we be more like less tolerant countries. No thanks.

  • Fran Board

    To the author: This is so excellent. You remind me how proud I am to live in a free and diverse society. Your article is well written and brings tears to my eyes. Thank you very much.

  • Lee

    So, now “small government” conservatives want to restrict property rights and the rights of owners to do what they please with their property.
    There seems to be a disconnect here that some will stand for “My First Amendment” rights, but not “Their First Amendment Rights”.
    As long as the property owner complies with building codes and regulations, what is the problem?
    Personally, I would not want to see one of those money-grubbing megachurches in the area, but they have just as much of a right as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, Catholics and even us Methodists.

  • http://www.sowal.com/bb/politics-current-events/49536-should-we-like-saudis-re-religious-freedom.html#post685411 Should we be like Saudis re Religious Freedom? – SoWal Beaches Forum

    [...] are weighing in on the urban planning of the NY area and what constituency she represents. ;) @ Sarah Palin, pls understand, this is America "… In demographic terms, “Ground Zero” is actually “Ground Infinity” if calibrated [...]

  • maria w.

    Dawn, we New Yorkers are indeed over the aftershocks. What we are sick and tired of is special interest groups and other outsiders holding up the process of rebuilding. 9/11 was a great tragedy but the best way to honor the memory of those lost is to MOVE ON and rebuild. An empty hole in the ground does nothing except remind us that we are allowing politics to prevent the movement forward. Having a mosque there sends a message to the world that we are all one, that we don’t hold our fellow Muslim-Americans responsible for what a bunch of lunatics did, anymore than we hold Christians or Southeners responsible for what the KKK did 40 years ago.

    Chet, we New Yorkers do not find Islam “abhorrent” any more than we find Jews, Baptists or Mormons repulsive. What we hate is extremism, intolerance, and ignorance.

  • Diane

    Excellent article – beautifully stated. Sarah Palen – divisive and hateful, as usual. Evil, or just stupid? You be the judge.

  • Molly

    Well said.

  • Kathy

    Wonderful article. Thank you.

  • Murt

    I don’t live in NYC, but I see such a mosque as an excellent opportunity for people in the area and open-hearted people everywhere to demonstrate tolerance and solidarity.

    I know many people who consider Judaism as “one of the Big Three” world religions. In truth, it is half the size of Sikhism and being closed upon by the Baha’i Faith. Two religions of which most Americans have never heard.

    I also have been in the presence of people who, in passing an Islamic community center, referred to it as a “bomb making school”

    “Ground Zero” will always be a tourist attraction. The presence and acceptance(by its neighbors) of a mosque there would be a wonderful opportunity for the world to see that the people who commit terrorist atrocities are an extreme minority of what is actually a beautiful religion.

    People have commented on building churches, temples or synagogues in the Muslim world(NOT the Middle East, as the largest Muslim population is actually in Indonesia). The question is: do we take the first step to such a reality? We have the opportunity to “turn the other cheek” just as many Muslims in the US have to do on a daily basis.

  • Birdie

    I appreciate this thoughtful response as much as I appreciate the responses to it as that is the beauty of this America. The America I love. The America that allows me to break bread with whomever I choose. The America that is all for one and one for all. Palin and others like her have not, in my opinion, truly experienced this America and prefer their “real America”, whatever that is or wherever that is. I take it to mean white and christian from the tone of their proclamations and the cut of their jib. So be it. Palin, you are missing out on a beautiful America. It’s not a utopia. It’s not perfect. But it’s ours. Full of uniqueness and sameness, henna and hummus, baseball and apple pie. Your ‘”real America” does not appeal to me, and does not exist.

  • So tired of NY

    There is more to the US than New York. The rest of us have brains & opinions as well yet for some reason everyone uses New York as the prime example of “American”.
    I can say for a fact that New York is absolutely nothing like where I live. We have just about every religion represented in one form or another but can’t get a Super Walmart. Now that is a problem.

    Kidding aside (no need to flame – I am kidding to make a point), Palin does not represent the entire conservative movement or all the Tea Party members…no more than New York can accurately represent other parts of the US.

    Her opinions are exactly only her opinions. She may be a part of the Replublican Party but that does not mean all of us share her opinion & to automatically judge the party or movement based upon her words…well, isn’t that just as judgemental & small minded as her words?

  • Katy B.

    Sure…let’s have fanatic Muslim terrorists attack our country and THEN put up a mosque where they attacked to serve as a trophy to them and a reminder to us that we CAN be defeated as we casually let our guard down. I guess all the men and women in our military have been fighting for NOTHING all these years!! COME ON PEOPLE WAKE UP!! I know if I was a New Yorker the LAST thing I would want to hear on my commute to work is Muslim prayer as I walk past the site that was laid to waste!! I was shocked as a proud American to hear that this was even a thought. Yes make it into a memorial….but if you want to be fair…leave religion out of it completely. If a mosque is put there it will cause nothing but problems….. I say let the New Yorkers vote on it….you’ll get your answer.

  • Phyllis

    Excellent opinion piece, and one with which I happen to agree.

    As a child I was taught that the founders of this country came here seeking freedom to practice their religion, and to do so without interference from the government. The founders were not without their own prejudices, of course, and the intervening centuries have not shown us, as a country, to have an A+ in the area of tolerance of “the Other” — and there have been many, many “Others.” However, I think it is important that we keep striving toward the ideal of tolerance of all kinds, including religious and cultural.

    I remember when John Kennedy ran for President, there were churches who preached from the pulpit that one should not vote for him because he was Catholic, for as everyone knew, Catholics were puppets of the Pope and our nation would be turned into a Catholic theocracy. I find the notion that Muslims inherently hate all that is non-Muslim to be as ridiculous as the notion that all Catholics are Papist puppets. And who were the “haters” who were preaching against John Kennedy? Not Muslims, as far as I know.

    We can either stoop to the level of extremist religious fundamentalists (from ALL religions), or we can take a stand and try to live and work with people to make this country and this world a better place, even if we don’t subscribe to their personal beliefs.

  • Raghu

    I consider myself a New Yorker, because that is where I have lived the most, and that is where my heart lies. Having said that, I do not think building a mosque near Ground Zero is the right way to extend ‘olive branch’ or whatever. If it matters so much, let us build a world marvel of an architecture that symbolizes the unity of all faiths, races and civilizations. It is not Islam alone that matters now.

  • Carrie

    Can’t we just leave religion out of it altogether. I think Raghu is correct. Religion is what caused this mess, it isn’t what is going to fix it. Go worship on your back porch. Does anyone really think, if there is a God, that he cares about your shrines and idols? I think he cares for them about as much as he cares about some football player making a touch down on Sunday. And suddenly the player falls to his knees and praises God? Crosses himself and spikes the football? WTH what a mockery of God.

  • Kira

    Insulting Sarah Palin does not solve anything!

  • Brian Anderson

    @ David Craig, ever hear of the term Italian Americans?

  • Mikki Mack

    It is people like Mrs. WA-silliness that keep stirring the pot, causing trouble.

    To Mrs. WA-silliness and ALL far-right, Conservative “Christians” :

    This is the United States of AMERICA!

    It is NOT the United States of Jesus!

    That being said: I do not feel the Islamic Center should be built near Ground Zero. Even though a ‘few’ violent Islamic men caused the horrors of 9/11 I know they do not represent Muslims as a culture or religion.

    However, where are the Muslims standing up against the violence and hatred of radical Muslims, Imams, and the Taliban?

    I don’t see you condemning them and their actions. Once you stand out against the violence, maybe others will listen and be more understanding and tolerant?

  • Thomas K

    I live and work in NY. I worked in 2WTC. I, like every other New Yorker lost a bunch of friends on 9/11. I have gone back and forth on this issue, and the question I keep coming back to is, “why do they want to build a Mosque in that particular spot”? To heal? To promote tolerance and understanding? I agree with the people who feel that all religion should be left out of the ground zero development. This mosque idea is a bad one because the motive behind it is misguided- not because I think there are wounds that are still raw or hearts that will be stabbed (Palin you freak- who writes that stuff for you?)

    Besides, the commercial real estate market in NYC is in a bad place, so there are plenty of places they could locate for what I assume would be a better cost.

    All that said, I sort of want to build a statue of Mohammad- oh wait, your not allowed to….

  • Melinda

    @Karen
    “Palin speaks for whoever will pay her enough. Whether or not she knows what she’s talking about is beside the point.”

    Succinct statement and yet a poignant illustration of how we celebrate greed, arrogance and ignorance

  • camoe

    Chet is right.

  • dottie

    Either absolutely NO religious element at this site or include multiple religious elements representing the religions of any/all who were lost in that tragedy. There are lists of names — nationalities — the diversity of those who were lost needs to be represnted in some manner — why not in some symbolic religious multiplicity incorporated into the overall memorial? I find myself returning to the very basic element of nearly any given religion — Love one another or perhaps the Golden Rule could serve. We really must get past the divisive fundamentalism no matter what our own religious background — and yes, ALL religions have fundamentalists in their midst. Fundamentalism is antithetical to diversity and acceptance in my opinion. Any memorial at this place must be one of inclusion, acceptance and diversity — somehow, some way it must not become a battleground between us and them whoever us and them might be.

  • Jonnie J. Jerloggen

    No Mosque at ground Zero PERIOD! If the Muslim religion would have been more vocal and pro-active about its violent members POSSIBLY it would be a different situation. Unfortunately the worlds largely ignorant members of the Muslim Faith would consider this another victory AND That Top Rung/Jihad thing that “Religion” espouses as valid..please! Please Read Son of Hamas! Wake Up people.

  • sunbum

    The mosque is not the issue- the issue is the location- Muslims build mosques upon areas that they have won battles-no mosque at Ground Zero- build it any where else in the city- but not there- this battle was not noble nor victorious- it was a cowards battle

  • NLF

    David Craig,

    I am writing this the second time, as the first just disappeared from the screen. I am bushed.

    My first draft was to jump all over you, as although you seem to be academically qualified in the English language you seem rude.

    I do not want to prolong this conversation if I have somebody who blabbers, just because……

    I just want to answer your comments to the point and leave it at that.

    Tribal groups in Afganistan or Iraq or Iran or any other Middle Eastern or any other uncivilized country or even some Asian countries like China, India, Indonesia, etc. have strong tribal (Or Dialect ) ties just as the American or European countries or Russian countries – have you not heard that the USSR is now divided into many other countries. Well, when it was not broken up they fought together as one United Communist country – Russia. Right!!.

    Brian Anderson – Pointed out as above – Italian Americans – These ties are still whispered as German Americans, Japanese Americans – Have you forgotten!!. or maybe you are so well versed in Afganistans that you forgot your own American history. And whoever heard of an American that doesn’t recognize “African American” Havn’t you heard the everyday news reports People in This country calling the President “African American” or whisper – Spanish Americans, Chinese Americans, Polish Americans etc., I am sure you get the picture. Please don’t write rude comments about those who don’t have your own tastes.

    Talking about Egypitans persecuting others – Remember the Crusaders !. They went to conquer jerusalem from the Egyptians – They slaughtered the Surrounding countys Egyptians. but fell short of Jerusalem. There was SALADIN- the Egyptian Ruler who conquered the Jews after the jews had conquered Jerusalem and slaughtered the Egyptians. But Saladin spared all Jews when he took Jerusalem from the Jews. You should see PBS channel 8 and get copies of these history episodes for $$$$. $ is what America is About – they don’t care about rights. Right!!.

    I don’t know what experience you have of the “BIG World” as you put it, I come from the other side of the world, and although not knowing of America’s Slave World until I came here in 1983, I was shocked that the slave astrocities were in the Land of my COWBoys!!. I am yet reeling from this shock and I never heard of this so called Fairy Sky Tooth or whatever!!
    I only live to better myself and fight for my rights in this “Work -at -will Slave law state. – That people like you do not worry about, but concern yourself of things that don’t matter.

  • yoteech2002

    Sadly, conflict between differing points of view will not come to an end any time soon. Those who have evolved enough to be tolerant of others and accept differences without feeling threatened by those differences are always going to be with us. Those who identify themselves in a much more limited fashion are also going to be with us. Life is like a standing wave – we pass through it – learn and go on to re-experience on another plane. Don’t worry…keep learning to tolerate as much as you are able. <3

  • Katherine

    No, Sarah Palin is not a new yorker. Does that mean only new yorkers are allowed to have opinions about a site that so deeply affected the entire nation? She shared her opinion. And ya know what? I agree. I’m so happy that the people who pass it every day “hardly notice” it anymore. So if you new yorkers, who are offended anyone else in this country weigh in on your “local” issue, “DONT NOTICE”, it’s because there is NOTHING. THERE. Why don’t we make it something that the children in this country and grow and play in, instead of something they apparently walk by without noticing.

  • john woodruffe

    If Sarah Palin had been in the London blitz would she still
    be bleating on about it- give us a break!!!

  • Bob

    OK, Sarah. But first give us the PROOF that Muslims had anything to do with bringing down the Trade Centers.And don’t use the video of the “right handed” Osama Bin Laden “stand in” confessing either.

  • Diana

    @ Diane- S. Palin: as the conservative/republican party she affliates herslef with is a self serving, shrewd
    (not stupid w/ her calculated strategy) a non tolerant- non christ-like, evil human being.
    Sadly and shamefully {for most of us} our world has too many of these overpaid on mostly tax payers $$$ self centered public figures challenging our democracy, abusing the biblical shield on their platform to the trusting they canather, to spew the very things that I believe that God will punish severly.
    Psalms 5:6 You will destroy those who speak lies.
    Yahweh abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man [woman]

  • Murt

    @Mikki Mack
    How do you know that Muslims don’t speak out against terrorism? Do you really pay attention and seek out information outside of our media?

  • Dawn

    I am a New Yorker and I am not over 9/11, nor is anyone I know. To think this issue is not multi layered is to me, childish. It can not be ” I am tollerant and you are ignorant”.
    What is the benefit of having it so close?

  • Gary Willams

    @Murt re: Mikki Mack
    Of course he doesn’t. Otherwise he would know that Muslim dominant nations take a far harsher stand than the US does against domestic terror groups, with Saudia itself executing Islamists opposed to the ruling families interpretation of Islam on a near-weekly basis. Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt and UAE states all plagued by domestic terrorism and not shy about sending the message that it wont be tolerated ….at ALL!

    Here he can go to a CAIR or similar orgs website and find repudiations of terrorism galore. But if he wonders why he never hears an actual Muslim person speaking out against it, he must first ask himself what the chances of that might be if he neither knows or speaks to the kind of person whom he complains he’s never heard speak out on the issue. I’ve never heard a Kurdish guy speak out on pornography, seal-hunting, masturbation or capitalism either, but I don’t infer from that that this means all Kurds are pro- whey (or anti-masturbating seal marketers either! ) .

    Once again, I don’t know if this is a cultural thing here or if people in general are as oblivious all over regarding the negative effect it has on one’s ability to make a reasoned decision on something if they don’t take into consideration what has to happen if they restrict their sources to blogs and news websites they know are reflective of their own. preconceived notions about what’s happening around them. And for a lot of them, it sure looks like they really don’t want to know what the truth is if it threatens to force a reappraisal of what they’ve already been told.

  • Jane

    Gawd! How I wish Sarah Palin with her “Palinese” would just go the f*** away… I’m sure John McCain is tired of her, too.
    Such a loud mouth know-it-all egotist. Someone gave her 5 minutes in the political spot light, and now we’ll never have a moment’s peace…
    Meanwhile the media, who is just as guilty for giving this insipid woman any credence, trails after every her move, insulting the American public’s
    intelligence at every turn. Sarah Palin believes she is somehow important and, in so believing, thinks her vapid opinions are news worthy. Spare us your barbs Sarah, I’d rather hear from someone who’s not so insecure they have to write a whole book dedicated to defending themselves. Rogue this, honey.

  • sandrarita

    regardless of how anyone feels about the issue, we have to remember that Sarah palin is an opportunist and a golddigger and is only interested in Sarah palin. for her to give an opinion on anything of substance is disingenuous and intended to further her own ambitions. i don’t believe a word she says. having said that, i agred that it in poor taste to build a muslim temple near ground zero.

  • Gen Von Clapper

    Aftermath of 911 and the Bush League Economy

    Civilization requires a shared value system and leaders that take responsibility for their actions. New Yorkers are not known for their collaborative negatiation skills or responsible management teams. Moreover, it is not representative of what most Americans think of when they picture America in their minds eye. I think NY is the last place to make a case for who America is. Unless you think the Reagan/Bush/Rove investment model is just starting to kick in.

    There is some employment — yet no one has time for family.
    No one has time for family — yet the factories build patriotic products.
    The factories build patriotic products — yet patriotic doesn’t mean value.
    Patriotic doesn’t mean value — yet people buy Patriotic to feel secure.
    People buy Patriotic to feel secure — yet everyone feels insecure.
    Everyone feels insecure — yet Wall Street is fine.

    Wall Street = REMF. Move that glorified accounting office of corruption out of NY. If you want to be religous, give Wall Street to the Amish or Pennsylvaia Dutch. Most Amish can do more math in their head than the Wharton mafia but they don’t lie enough to be cool. “Take a bite out of the Big Apple – don’t mind the maggots.” Mick Jagger

  • NLF

    To Everyone,

    The only issue to this is those people in America that control
    the land issues.

    They take away the peoples right to acquire land for their own existence. This is one of the very few countries that don’t sell land to the Middle Class and the Poor. And I mean that you are not allowed to buy land unless you buy it from a Corporation.

    Whether they are Wall Street or any other controlling authority,
    They will be the only law that sells land – For what purpose, they do not care.

    So don’t blame who the buyer is but the authority that is in control.

  • Chet

    NLF and other dissemblers and Islam defenders, I revert to my original point, but this time I’ll put it simply: What faith is it that is driving the imminent act of a stoning? And describe to me another faith that is fostering terrorism in the present day and age. Maybe something should be done about that eh?

    Sure, go ahead with the NYC mosque if you think that will help Islam get accepted. I think you are looking at the wrong thing.

  • NLF

    Chet, I don’t think you understand, we are not dissemblers but speak the truth. I come from a muslim country, but I have yet to see or hear, the Act of Stoning – Except in the Christian Bible, actually it has never been heard of in this modern society, except maybe in the Middle East, but not in my country or the other Muslim countries, especially in the Phillippines, Bosnia, other parts of Russia and many more.

    I am not defending Islam, but merely explaining the ignorance of Americans that committed Atrocities with the Blacks, Indians, Japanese that they made slaves of, just because they, the so-called rulers of the land felt that it is their right.(And who are these “Rulers” that make the law “Whitemen?”.

    But they did not do the same to the Germans during World War II although Hitler was a German, Why?.

    Lots of countries have terrorism, but you don’t hear of it. Even in America. The amount of Everyday Rapes, Killings, Roberies, Pedifiers etc., most go unreportedand unsolved. This is because America pushes it “Under the rug”.. The Law, “Work-at-will”Why?. in a civilized country?. If you don’t know about that, then you don’t know anything, because that is a slave law.

  • wow

    OO palin such a RObot.

  • NLF

    David,

    “Stop feeling sorry for yourself ” is a copout.

    Discuss the issues with fact!!.

  • Anonymous

    Kavitha’s points are strong and comprehensive.
    Palin forms opinions and speaks of things of which she has no knowledge, just as she always has.
    Palin, stay out of New York.

  • ben 1000

    So 70% of Americans and New Yorkers are Palin robots because they oppose this. 2 churches and 0 synagogues in Riyadh – why? If Riyadh not diverse – why? Let’s kiss Muslim butts just as much they kiss ours.

  • NLF

    S. Sullivan,

    The writer is not Muslim!!.

  • http://travelinminute.com/?p=2424 PBS Features “Starved For Attention” | Travel In Mintue – Travel News – Looking For Tour – Trip Around The World

    [...] an aside, I also noticed on Need To Know an article by Kavitha Rajagopalan on the buffoonish remarks made by Palin on the plans to erect a mosque and [...]