The Bad Taste of Collective Guilt

If Nazi sympathizers and members of the Ku Klux Klan are guilty of anything, they are at the very least guilty of bad taste.

Many Americans apparently believe that building a mosque at Ground 2.0 would be in poor taste. This belief is itself in poor taste. To disapprove of Muslims building a mosque within an arbitrary, undefined distance from Ground Zero, simply on the grounds that they are Muslim, entails the implicit assumption that all Muslims should feel personally guilty and responsible for all of the actions of all other Muslims, even Muslims they may strongly disagree with. The bad taste here is the concept of collective guilt, a concept at the very core of intolerance and bigotry.

Much Christian anti-Semitism over the last two millennia arose from the belief that Jews killed Christ, or were at the very least indirectly responsible for his death at the hands of the Romans. Many Orthodox Jews believe this, as do some branches of Christianity, including Mel Gibson's denomination, for which his film The Passion of the Christ was wrongfully criticized as anti-Semitic.

It is not anti-Semitic to believe that Jews killed Christ. To the extent that I believe that Jesus Christ existed, I believe that Jewish people killed him, either directly or indirectly. It is, however, anti-Semitic to hold Jews collectively responsible for his death, just as it is intolerant and bigoted for Jews to hold Germans collectively responsible for the Holocaust. Not all Jews killed Christ. I certainly didn't, if only for lack of opportunity. Not all Germans are responsible for the Holocaust, and certainly no German born after the Holocaust happened could be held responsible for a crime committed prior to that same German's birth. So too, not all Muslims flew airliners into the World Trade Center, nor do all Muslims support the flying of airliners into buildings.

And it is in bad taste to claim otherwise.

I have no problem concluding that this means 70% of Americans and 63% of New Yorkers are intolerant bigots. So they are. Intolerance and bigotry are common intellectual and moral mistakes. The concept of collective guilt - though riddled with bigotry, intolerance, and incoherence - satisfies a natural human impulse, for we evolved as tribal creatures, and treating people as individuals worthy of respect in their own right and not merely as members of collectives - the outgroup, the other - is counterintuitive.

Can you think of any other time in history when 70% or more of Americans were intolerant bigots? I sure can. Is there any good reason to think that this collectivist impulse was just a passing phase in human history? Or is it more likely that we still have many of the same impulses our human ancestors had before us, including the intellectual ease with which we (including myself) fall into us-versus-them tribal thinking?

This is not an issue of free speech. Intolerant bigots have the right to protest the building of a mosque anywhere they like, just as intolerant bigots have the right to declare - seemingly at random - that God Hates Fags, just as intolerant bigots have the right dress up in Nazi regalia and march through Skokie, Illinois, a largely Jewish community with many Holocaust survivors. But all of these activities are in bad taste.

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Opposition to building a

Opposition to building a mosque near ground zero need not involve collective guilt.

To disapprove of Muslims building a mosque within an arbitrary, undefined distance from Ground Zero, simply on the grounds that they are Muslim, entails the implicit assumption that all Muslims should feel personally guilty and responsible for all of the actions of all other Muslims, even Muslims they may strongly disagree with.

It doesn't entail that implicit assumption. The problem is a symbolic problem. The problem with the location of the mosque is a symbolic problem. Symbols take on meaning in combination. Meanings are created when you combine symbols which disappear when the symbols are separated. For example, if you combine the symbols "germans" and "jews" by putting them into a sentence, "germans are racially superior to jews", then you have created a new meaning which may possibly be offensive to Jews. Separate them, and you just have "germans" and "jews" again. If a jew is offended by the sentence, "germans are racially superior to jews", this does not mean that he holds germans collectively responsible for anything. His anger is (rightly) directed only at whoever it was who brought those two symbols together that way, without anything being presupposed about any collective guilt.

Mosques are like flags in that they are heavily symbolic, whatever else they are. And corpses and graves also have potential symbolic meaning. For example, if you dance on someone's grave, then that is a symbolic act, and the grave is being used as part of that symbol. The grave, in that context, is a symbol of the person buried there, and also a symbol of the fact that he is deceased. Dancing on a person's grave says something like, "I am happy that this person is dead".

Suppose that someone dances on the grave of a relative you loved. You might be offended. Does this offense mean that you blame all dancers in all the world for the death of your loved one? Does it mean you assign collective guilt? No, it does not. Dancing in itself is innocent and is deemed innocent. It is the combination of dancing and the grave which creates the offensive message.

Similarly, it is entirely possible to deem Muslims innocent of 9/11 while finding the act of building a mosque quite close to ground zero to be offensive. It is the combination of symbols which creates the offense. Positioning a symbol such as a mosque at or near the graves of victims of muslim terrorists is a bit like planting a flag on or near the corpse of someone who had been killed by people fighting under that flag. It is a symbol of triumph. If you are an American, then you defeat the Japanese, then you raise the American flag at the site of the defeat, this symbolizes your triumph over the Japanese. The Japanese would understandably find this annoying. When a mosque is placed near (maybe even as near as possible) the site of the victims of a bunch of muslim terrorists, this is very easily read as a symbol of triumph. Maybe it is an inadvertent symbol of triumph. It's possible that an innocent child comes along and plants an American flag right on top of the grave of a defeated Japanese soldier. That's possible. But if you walk along and you notice that there is an American flag planted on the grave of a Japanese soldier killed by Americans, it is quite natural to interpret this as a triumphalist symbol. This interpretation does not in any require that you assign collective guilt to Americans. Rather, it requires only that you assign a high probability to the hypothesis that the particular person who planted the flag on the grave intended it to be a symbol of American triumph.

Where would that high

Where would that high probability come from, Constant? Certainly not from the words of the Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf. See Jeffrey Goldberg here and here. Also consider the high probability that this is not merely a case of disapproval of unintentional (arbitrary) proximity to ground zero, but disapproval of Islam and the building of mosques in general. For that, see Glenn Greenwald.

Not that there is anything wrong with disapproval of Islam in general. I disapprove of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and theism in general. It's the singling out of Islam as uniquely problematic, and the refusal to acknowledge even the possibility of a moderate, enlightened Islam that is wrong. A self-fulfilling prophecy, I might add.

If a person inadvertently

If a person inadvertently creates a symbol (such as a child innocently putting an flag on a grave), and he is informed of what he did, he is likely to dismantle the symbol. If he refuses to dismantle the symbol, then a reasonable interpretation of his refusal is that the symbol is deliberate after all. A person, once aware of the implications of his actions, is unlikely to allow himself to form symbols of messages he does not mean to express.

In language this is obvious enough: you don't allow yourself to write down things you don't mean, and if you inadvertently write something which has a meaning you did not intend, you are unlikely to leave it in your text. You will almost certainly edit your text so that the inadvertent meaning disappears.

In interpreting Rauf, you must look at all the symbols he produces. If he produces one symbol whose meaning clashes with other symbols, then you don't automatically know which of his symbols speaks the truth and which is deceptive. When weighing his symbols, you should weigh his actions more heavily than his words.

Suppose someone plants American flags on the graves of defeated Japanese soldiers, telling everyone around him that he does so in order to symbolize reconciliation. It would be reasonable for you to weigh his words against the natural interpretation of his actions. Since actions speak more loudly than words, it would be reasonable to conclude that he is bullshitting you with his words in order to facilitate the symbolic act of placing a flag triumphantly on a grave. Whether or not Rauf is what he says he is, it is reasonable to suspect he is not.

But let us set aside the question of intent. Even if the flag placed on the grave is genuinely intended by the person placing it to be a symbol of reconciliation, nevertheless it continues to inadvertently form a triumphalist symbol, and this continues to be offensive, though the offense is inadvertent. Similarly even if Rauf is exactly what he says he is, nevertheless the positioning of the mosque near that site continues to be an offensive symbol, despite his good intentions. And the offense does not involve anybody assigning "collective guilt", for the reasons I have explained.

Also consider the high probability that this is not merely a case of disapproval of unintentional (arbitrary) proximity to ground zero, but disapproval of Islam and the building of mosques in general.

While some may disapprove of mosques in general, the extreme imbalance in the size of crowds opposing this particular mosque, and crowds opposing each of the other mosques in in the US, suggests that disapproval of mosques in general is a very small factor. I do not remember, at any time in the past decade, seeing such opposition to the building of a mosque in the US, and I presume that at least a few mosques have been built in the US in the past decade.

It's the singling out of Islam as uniquely problematic, and the refusal to acknowledge even the possibility of a moderate, enlightened Islam that is wrong.

But what's being singled out here is not Islam, but this particular mosque, being built on this particular site. If Israel attacked the US by destroying the Empire State Building, and then somebody built a synagogue on the site of the former building, we might see protests. The obvious reason that this mosque here is opposed as opposed to that synagogue there being opposed, is that the particular historical events were what they were and not something else.

Symbols have no inherent

Symbols have no inherent meaning; Symbols only have the meaning we ascribe to them. I assume you agree with this.

When weighing his symbols, you should weigh his actions more heavily than his words.

Why? The principle of interpretive charity suggests that we should take him at his word, unless we have good reason not to. Do we have good reason not to? I don't think so. Unless you believe that moderate Islam is inherently impossible, and therefore any claims made in the name of moderate Islam are inherently dishonest. Which brings us back to the original assumption of collective guilt.

Suppose someone plants American flags on the graves of defeated Japanese soldiers

I reject the analogy. The proposed building site is not on ground zero; It is two blocks away. Perhaps two blocks is two blocks too close. Is three blocks okay? How about four? What principle are you using to determine the appropriate distance object A must be kept away from object B? And a flag is not a mosque nor a community center, nor were the civilians who died on 9/11 soldiers, nor were they defeated in any military sense.

Even if the flag placed on the grave is genuinely intended by the person placing it to be a symbol of reconciliation, nevertheless it continues to inadvertently form a triumphalist symbol, and this continues to be offensive, though the offense is inadvertent.

Then that seems to be a problem with the interpreters of the symbol who perceive it to be offensive, and not with the makers of the symbol who explicitly state the opposite meaning.

It is not clear to me how this could even symbolize triumph, even if we assume the worst intentions of the symbol makers. Let's say Osama Bin Laden wants to fund this mosque directly, and is explicit about his intentions. What has he proven with the building of a mosque? That Americans are an extremely tolerant and understanding people? The U.S. military has already killed far more innocent Muslim civilians than Osama could ever claim to have killed; Building a mosque as a symbol of triumph would be even sillier than Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner.

The most a symbol maker with evil intent could hope to accomplish is to pull off a David Horowitz-style publicity stunt, where the options are to either allow the stunt to take place, with little fanfare, or make a big deal out of the stunt by preventing it, granting free publicity and a hypocritical demonstration of the rejection of one's own liberal values of freedom of expression, religion, and tolerance. The second option, of course, is what Horowitz was hoping for and received, and the very same thing will happen here if people give in to their tribalistic fears of the other, assuming the most nefarious motives on the part of the symbol maker. Nefarious motives for which you have presented no evidence.

While some may disapprove of mosques in general, the extreme imbalance in the size of crowds opposing this particular mosque, and crowds opposing each of the other mosques in in the US, suggests that disapproval of mosques in general is a very small factor.

To me, it suggests just the opposite. Why are there crowds opposing the construction of other mosques in the US at all, if not for tribalistic fear of the outgroup? Are there crowds opposing the construction of synagogues and churches? You seem to have just conceded the point that I've been making all along: This is about fear of Islam, full stop.

I do not remember, at any time in the past decade, seeing such opposition to the building of a mosque in the US,

Exactly right. To Bush's credit, he made very clear, immediately following the WTC attacks, to distinguish the radical Islamic terrorists from Islam in general. It is only within this current election cycle, during a severe economic downturn, when Republicans don't have much else to offer other than appeals to the most base of instincts, that we see Republican demagogues ginning up Islamaphobic sentiment.

Why are there crowds opposing

Why are there crowds opposing the construction of other mosques in the US at all, if not for tribalistic fear of the outgroup?

I was understating. I was not aware of anybody anywhere in the US opposing any other mosques at all, until now. Only this mosque, only this location.

But suppose I simply missed the news on opposition to other mosques. Still, size matters. I can't imagine very many people have opposed other mosques, because if they had, it would have become newsworthy enough that I would have learned about it. So any such opposition would have had to be very small. This would suggest that the fraction of Americans who oppose mosques as such is very small - maybe one percent. but 70% oppose this particular mosque. If the numbers are right, then that means that at least 69 out of every 70 Americans who oppose this mosque, oppose only this mosque and do not oppose mosques in general.

So the typical person who opposes this mosque - by far - does not oppose the construction of other mosques. Therefore opposition to this mosque is - by far - not tribalistic fear of the outgroup.

When weighing his symbols, you should weigh his actions more heavily than his words.

Why?

Because words are cheap. Economists who swear by "revealed preference" have got it right, I think.

To Bush's credit, he made very clear, immediately following the WTC attacks, to distinguish the radical Islamic terrorists from Islam in general. It is only within this current election cycle, during a severe economic downturn, when Republicans don't have much else to offer other than appeals to the most base of instincts, that we see Republican demagogues ginning up Islamaphobic sentiment.

I don't think that has any relationship to reality. During an economic downturn the strong tendency is to vote the current party out of power and vote the other party into power, so Republicans are sitting pretty this election cycle. It's the Democrats who are desperate. Seventy percent of Americans, you say, are opposed to the mosque. If that's because of Republican manipulation, then why the Republicans use their powers of manipulation to get McCain into office with 70% of the vote? If so many people oppose the mosque, it's probably because this is their first reaction upon hearing about it. Americans are bathed in both left wing opinion and right. It's hard for either side to manipulate the American, because the other side is also making itself heard.

I reject the analogy. The proposed building site is not on ground zero; It is two blocks away. Perhaps two blocks is two blocks too close. Is three blocks okay? How about four? What principle are you using to determine the appropriate distance object A must be kept away from object B?

That can be said of anything. On the screen, the letters of this sentence are spaced close to each other, but are not on top of each other. How close is close enough? If you widen the space between letters, you can probably still read what I wrote. Keep widening the space between the letters. How much space can you put between letters before they're effectively disconnected, no longer readable as words? It's a judgment call. But probably quite a bit of space can be placed between letters without disconnecting them and destroying (making unreadable) the symbols (words) they form.

Similarly, to many people, two blocks seems pretty damn close, especially in Manhattan, where the difficulty of building anything new means that two blocks is probably the same as "as close as possible". So a person can read the location of the mosque as being, "as close to ground zero as it was possible to build a mosque within the budget available".

Then that seems to be a problem with the interpreters of the symbol who perceive it to be offensive, and not with the makers of the symbol who explicitly state the opposite meaning.

Symbols are, of course, nothing without an interpreter. But if you were to write an email to your girlfriend saying the words, "you disgust me", and the girlfriend was offended by it, she can hardly be blamed for being offended by it, right? I am ignoring your own intent here. I'm just looking at her as an interpreter. Now, if you tell her, "I didn't mean it", will she believe you? She probably will not believe you, at least not without a huge effort on your part, and even then, she'll remember what the email said, and it will likey continue to bother her from time to time, for a very long time after. She knows what she saw in the email.

Now, is it fair to say that there is "a problem with the interpreter" here? It seems that the interpreter is functioning correctly.

I can't imagine very many

I can't imagine very many people have opposed other mosques, because if they had, it would have become newsworthy enough that I would have learned about it.

Perhaps if you had bothered to click on the Glenn Greenwald link I so graciously provided for you, you would have discovered some news. If you only watch Fox and listen to Rush, you might end up missing out on some pretty important stuff.

Here, let me make it even easier for you. Greenwald:

The intense animosity toward Muslims driving this campaign extends far beyond Ground Zero, and manifests in all sorts of significant and dangerous ways. In June, The New York Times reported on a vicious opposition campaign against a proposed mosque in Staten Island. Earlier this month, Associated Press documented that "Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation's heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near ground zero, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive." And today, The Washington Post examines anti-mosque campaigns from communities around the nation and concludes that "the intense feelings driving that debate have surfaced in communities from California to Florida in recent months, raising questions about whether public attitudes toward Muslims have shifted."

Back to you:

I don't think that has any relationship to reality. [in reference to my remark: "during a severe economic downturn, when Republicans don't have much else to offer other than appeals to the most base of instincts... we see Republican demagogues ginning up Islamaphobic sentiment."]

I try to avoid needlessly violating Godwin's law, but it's just too obvious here for me to avoid it. Do you know anything about the history of Hitler's rise to power, and the economic conditions that existed in Germany between the two world wars? Think there might be a connection there? Note that I am not trying to label Republicans as Nazis; I'm merely trying to demonstrate the most well-known example of poor economic conditions leading to an opportunity for scapegoating demagoguery.

Now, is it fair to say that there is "a problem with the interpreter" here?

Let me refer you back to a previous DR discussion, in which you participated, discussing a problem with the interpreter: Black Hole is a racist term.

Victory Mosque erectedon the bodies of the enemeis of Abdul Rauf

There is compelling evidence that Rauf is a supporter of terrorism and mass murder, but suppose he is a complete innocent, like the hypothetical child who accidentally plants an American flag on the body of a japanese soldier. The family of the Japanese soldier is still entitled to be upset.

But still, an insult and a declaration of triumph is a lot more of an insult, when it is intended to be so let me answer your question: Who is Rauf:

The US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end, says an Islamic cleric invited to Sydney by Premier Bob Carr.

New York-based Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who impressed Mr Carr at an international conference last year, arrives in Sydney today for two weeks of meetings and public talks.

Speaking from his New York mosque, Imam Feisal said the West had to understand the terrorists' point of view.

In a move likely to cause controversy with church leaders, Imam Feisal said it was Christians who started mass attacks on civilians.

These are the words of a man who would intend his mosque to be an insult, a threat, and a triumph erected on the corpses of his enemies.

There is compelling evidence

There is compelling evidence that Rauf is a supporter of terrorism and mass murder

[citation needed]

The US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end... Speaking from his New York mosque, Imam Feisal said the West had to understand the terrorists' point of view.

I agree with all of these statements. Ron Paul says similar things all the time. Does that make me and Ron Paul supporters of terrorism?

Or are you just taking the Rudy Giuliani position that any explanation of the motivation behind Islamic terrorism other than "they hate us for our freedom and are entirely irrational" is unpatriotic, anti-American, pro-terrorist, etc.?

What is support for terror

I agree with all of these statements. Ron Paul says similar things all the time. Does that make me and Ron Paul supporters of terrorism?

The difference between Ron Paul saying these things, and Raul saying these things, is the difference between Chris Rock saying:
"Niggas can't read. A book is like kryptonite to a nigga"

And me saying
"Niggers can't read. A book is like kryptonite to a nigger"

If I was to say it, you would probably cry "racist". And you would be right.

Raul says things that are violently, horrifyingly, foully offensive, when he says them, things that are shockingly offensive for an Islamic preacher to say.

Victory Mosque erectedon the bodies of the enemeis of Abdul Rauf

There is compelling evidence that Rauf is a supporter of terrorism and mass murder, but suppose he is a complete innocent, like the hypothetical child who accidentally plants an American flag on the body of a japanese soldier. The family of the Japanese soldier is still entitled to be upset.

But still, an insult and a declaration of triumph is a lot more of an insult, when it is intended to be so let me answer your question: Who is Rauf:

The US and the West must acknowledge the harm they have done to Muslims before terrorism can end, says an Islamic cleric invited to Sydney by Premier Bob Carr.

New York-based Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who impressed Mr Carr at an international conference last year, arrives in Sydney today for two weeks of meetings and public talks.

Speaking from his New York mosque, Imam Feisal said the West had to understand the terrorists' point of view.

In a move likely to cause controversy with church leaders, Imam Feisal said it was Christians who started mass attacks on civilians.

These are the words of a man who would intend his mosque to be an insult, a threat, and a triumph erected on the corpses of his enemies.

There is NOT compelling evidence

There is compelling evidence that Rauf is a supporter of terrorism and mass murder

Then provide the evidence.

The family of the Japanese soldier is still entitled to be upset.

Not if the flag was planted two graves away. If they are still upset it is because they are frightened and grieving. Emotionality is no reason to abrogate the rights of others.

These are the words of a man who would intend his mosque to be an insult, a threat, and a triumph erected on the corpses of his enemies.

Doesn't sound like it to me.

9/11 Commission Report, 6.4, pg203:
Working-level officials were also to consider new steps on terrorist financing and America's perennially troubled diplomacy efforts in the Muslim world, where NSC staff warned that "we have by and large ceded the court of public opinion" to al Qaeda.

That sounds an awful lot like paraphrasing on the part of Rauf. That article you link to simply strengthens my resolve that Rauf is indeed a man of peace and intelligence.

Emotionality is no reason to

Emotionality is no reason to abrogate the rights of others.

The issue we are discussing is the meaning of the mosque. Whether that translates into rights is a separate issue. In fact they do have the right to put a mosque there. But in the reasonable opinion of many, it's either poor judgment for them to do so, or a hostile symbolic act.

Rauf is indeed a man of peace and intelligence.

I find this assessment hard to square with his decision to place the mosque there and his refusal, upon being made aware of how the symbolism is read, to change the location. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I infer that he is a fool rather than an enemy. But I am open to the possibility that he is not a fool.

Assume, for the sake of

Assume, for the sake of argument, that Rauf is indeed a man of peace and intelligence. Ignore, for now, the reasons why he decided to build a mosque there. Just accept the fact that a building proposal has been made.

What do you think might happen if he changed the location in response to pressure from non-Muslim Americans? Specifically, how do you think radical Muslim leaders would interpret this submission? Do you think this would help or hurt their propaganda campaign against America and the West?

The mosque is a threat, and a symbol of victory

Not if the flag was planted two graves away. If they are still upset it is because they are frightened and grieving.

The Mosque is on the site where the undercarriage of the plane fell. The symbolism is obvious, and from the previous terroristic threats issued by Raol, appears intentional.

Raol is not just some random preacher. He has a history of menacing and intimidatory speech: The mosque is intended as a triumph, and a threat. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and property rights, do not allow one to make threats.

You claim all this history

You claim all this history but you cite nothing to prove your extraordinary claims. You don't even respond to the issues that are raised by your detractors. Despite what they teach in Sunday School, communication is a two way street, not just some uppity WASP spouting non-sense from the front of the classroom.

In fact they do have the

In fact they do have the right to put a mosque there.

I have yet to hear a moral or logical justification as to why placing a mosque that close to the former WTC complex is hostile or the sign of poor judgement.

If my neighbor is scared of balloons because a red balloon popped in their face as a child, it is hardly required that I refrain from placing balloons in my backyard for a birthday party. Could my neighbor possibly perceive this festive event as a celebration of frightening balloon explosions? Yes, but without the blinders of culture and religion on, we would see clearly that my neighbor is a whack-job. The fear and hostility that my neighbor has irrationally developed in response to ALL balloons is one of emotion and naivete.

The "reasonable opinion of many" turns out to be unreasonable under basic examination. Besides, argumentum ad populum is not the fastest way to my heart.

I find this assessment hard to square with his decision to place the mosque there and his refusal, upon being made aware of how the symbolism is read, to change the location.

He would be a fool to abandon his prime location that he undoubtedly greased the wheels of local government to acquire the rights to build a mosque at. He would be an even bigger fool if he did it because of the squealing of misguided, hateful conservatives who want nothing more than to use the government to defend their "cultural sensitivities". That basically translates to enforcing David Lane's Fourteen Words with Janet Reno-esque enthusiasm.

Christopher Hitchens, who

Christopher Hitchens, who criticizes opposition to the mosque, nevertheless provides reasons to think that the imam is less fool and more enemy.

Read it, and read a lot (but

Read it, and read a lot (but not all) the comments. Hitchens' commentators did a pretty good job of attacking his assumptions. The only folks defending him did it by kissing his arse, not providing valid arguments.

The next time you hear someone say, “It’s disrespectful to the victims of 9/11 to build near Ground Zero a monument to the religious ideas that motivated their murder,” tell them: “Darn right, we shouldn’t have any mosques or churches or synagogues in the area – it’s an insult to those victims of monotheist ideology.” -Roderick T Long

I tend to agree with Roderick. Folks like to single out Islam, as if it is the only evil in the world, as if it is the only religion with evil lurking within the shadows of revered temples. If we are going to lump all sects of every religion together and treat them as if they are members of the "worst kind", the Christians get to be identified with the FLDS and Catholic Priests.

Collectivism. Unfairly joining people together for easier tabulation in a government filing cabinet.

How to make threats.

I have yet to hear a moral or logical justification as to why placing a mosque that close to the former WTC complex is hostile or the sign of poor judgement.

It looks like a threat. If you inadvertently utter a statement that looks like a threat, you correct or clarify. If you don't correct or clarify, you intend it as a threat.

When Raol says "Terrorism will continue unless ...", this necessarily means something very different from when Ron Paul says "Terrorism will continue unless ..."

What threat does the mosque

What threat does the mosque pose?

When Raol says "Terrorism

When Raol says "Terrorism will continue unless ...", this necessarily means something very different from when Ron Paul says "Terrorism will continue unless ..."

They say the same thing, but it is different because one of them is a Muslim?

That must be what you mean because NOTHING you have provided proves that this Rauf fellow is any more dangerous than Ron Paul or the 9/11 commission members. Yet you keep going on and on about "threats" perceived by folks who tend to believe in some omniscient jewish zombie, yet no evidence actually exists that Rauf has ever said anything more inflammatory than anyone else in political life.

Has he ever committed an act of terrorism? Thats right, the answer is NO. So he gets the benefit of the doubt, like Ron Paul.

Actually I think it was Romans who killed Jesus...

...so I'm curious as to why you would say Jews killed him without mentioning Romans.

Redacted portions of the

Redacted portions of the Talmud indicate that many commentators believe that Jews executed Jesus directly. Even under the Mel Gibson interpretation, Jews indirectly killed Jesus through Pontius Pilate:

In all gospel accounts, Pilate is reluctant to condemn Jesus, but is eventually forced to give in when the crowd becomes unruly and the Jewish leaders remind him that Jesus's claim to be king is a challenge to Roman rule and to the Roman deification of Caesar.

Fair's fair....

I support the right of the Jedi to build a temple, but does it have to be two blocks from the ruins of the Death Star?