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Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

"We are more alike than we are different"v  Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

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You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

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Pope Francis:

 

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Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

A Mosque Or A Shared Holiday?

2010-08-17

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

National media headline ongoing, and growing, controversy over the proposed Cordoba Islamic Center in downtown New York City. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has given his wholehearted support to the leaders of the proposed religious center. He vows that it will be built. In his endorsement of the mosque, Bloomberg affirms the religious rights of all Americans and recognition of Muslims as an integral part of city life. Thank you Mr. Mayor.  

But are there not other perhaps less confrontational means of establishing these principles? I can suggest one: that’s the inclusion of Muslim Eid holy days in the city’s school curriculum. By removing your objection to the Eid holiday plan you may even achieve real integration and deeper respect for Islam. 

In general the acceptance in the US of its Islamic peoples is an uphill struggle. We recognize this. Strategies and priorities need to be carefully thought out.  

Opposition to any mosque project in lower Manhattan could have been anticipated. Resistance is so strong it demonstrates still widespread and shameful anti-Islamic sentiments across the country. The issue promises to remain a source of antagonism; opposition tactics will doubtless stir up even more anti-Islamic feelings. These must be laid bare for the world to examine. At the same time they must be forcefully and rationally confronted. Dispute—in the courts and in the streets—is the history of American justice, and injustice.  

Anti-Islam opponents vow to continue their challenge even after the New York City Council cleared one hurdle to the mosque’s construction, deciding the building under question was not a city landmark and was thereby available for commercial or other private use. Demonstrations are ongoing; OpEds commentaries are plentiful. (Although our Muslims themselves seem to be letting others speak on their behalf.)  

With Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement of the mosque in question, the Muslim community has a good friend on its side.  

But Mr. Mayor: you could have chosen something more reasonable than this nationally debated and heavily polarized subject which could explode. You could allow the City Council vote on another issue-- adoption Muslim holidays in the New York City schools-- to move ahead. Several cities already recognize Muslim holy days.  

Last year, the same New York City Council voted overwhelmingly (50-1) to adopt the Muslim holiday proposal. It needed only your nod to make it law. You refused, Mr. Bloomberg. And that issue languishes. Meanwhile the question of a new city mosque introduces tension and controversy. Do we not already have abundant crises associated in the minds of the public with Islam? 

Do we not have sufficient mosques—almost 200—in the city today?  

A new downtown mosque will, we are told, be an educational center. Good. But surely the inclusion of Muslim schools holidays for New York City’s more than one million children can serve a wider educational role. All children as well as their parents would learn what these holidays mean and share the Muslims values represented therein. The Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha in our school calendar would incorporate Muslim values in the lives of many more than a single mosque will.

Mayor Bloomberg and our Muslim leadership need to get their priorities in order.

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