# # #
Location: 9704 Good Luck Road, Lanham, Maryland.
Plan acreage reported in planning document: 14.6 for mixed institutional and residential (10 units) development.
* * *
It has been about four years since the “Ground Zero Mosque” brouhaha and about three years since documentary filmmaker Eric Allen Bell went through something like a spiritual sea change during the course of his investigation of bigotry surrounding the construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee — Bell went in for it, but baffled by the scale of it, came out against it.
* * *
Probably, my fellow Marylanders will consider the construction of twin minarets potential visual competition for the gleaming Disneyesque towers of the Mormon Temple farther north on the Capitol Beltway.
Carol M. Highsmith’s photograph shows not only those towers but a sense of the site’s proximity to the Beltway, which is about 1,000-ft. The mosque complex under construction today will be about twice that distance (judging from the Google map).
About that visual impression off what is called the “outer loop of the beltway”, we shall see, literally.
* * *
Here is my question at the moment: how do Americans who are not Muslim feel about Islam today?
* * *
While the news gets around the terrorism-inspired “anti-Jihad” and “Islamophobe” communities, it also provides a moment for very loose social science measurement.
“It will be a place that will help counter an epidemic of “Islamophobia” in the United States, according to Turkish government officials who recently visited the construction site. The delegation was led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose goals include increasing Islamist influence in America.”
Now The End Begins sets off its note on the project with this: “The Muslim call to prayer is one of the prettiest sounds on earth” — Barack Hussein Obama.”
Do I detect a hint of contempt in that framing?
“The leaders of two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities in attendance included Naeem Baig, is the president of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo lists ICNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The memo says its “work in America is “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” The memo even refers to meetings with ICNA where there was talk about a merger.”
From YouTube poster “Joseph Rudyard Kipling” whose attitude (with what sounds like the music from Platoon) needs no interpretation of the fine points:
“This monument will be a symbol of our understanding of culture and civilization,” Erdogan said.
The center will be a good way to show how wrong Islamophobia is by giving messages of Islam’s brotherhood and tolerance, Erdogan noted.
With the completion of the center, the state of Maryland will have a different richness, Erdogan said.
“With its multi functional character, the center would be a source of pride for the Turkish nation,” Erdogan indicated.
The Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center would be an expression of co-existence based on love and tolerance, Erdogan also said.
On the other hand, a blog titled “Stop Turkey” has a page devoted to remarks made by the state sponsor of the Turkish Culture and Civilization Center, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — “Favourite Erdogan Quotes” — and those are not so friendly.
Ramp it up, as may The Thinking Mom — “Imagine a $100 million facility devoted to Nazi-ism on American soil with the complicity of the American government. The Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center is every bit as dangerous as that” — or wind it down as so many of decent and good conscience — and without reference to race, creed, color, or religion — may try, that mosque is under construction in my backyard.
If it were a synagogue of similar scale with some houses planted around it, no one would bat an eyelash.
* * *
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
I repeatedly drag in Quran 9:29 for its being unambiguous and sticky, at least, and may be representative of the conversation that it will take great courage to have as regards the goodness and validity of an Islamic civilization clinging to the above and other off-putting and seemingly explicit instructions.
Here’s David Wood marching up to and through the talking points in relation to the recent beheading in Woolwich, UK:
When are we going to have this conversation?
My Muslim friends all over the world may approach this line in a different way, all of them well noting the persecuting character of the Taliban, Al-Nusra (an Al-Qaeda group in Syria today) and others around the fringes of their own lives and, tragically, sometimes in close and direct.
In the more central areas of the Islamic Small Wars, events like the “Boston Marathon Bombing” — an insult to all civilized hearts globally — hit the newspapers on a daily to weekly basis, and the same are similarly repudiated en masse, and yet . . . the text remains embraced, even if passively.
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Ali preferred the term “subdued” to merely “humbled”.
May one of the “People of the Book” or other “kafir” ask why not “conquered”, “enslaved”, or “subjugated”?
May an insider, a believer, ask, “Why attack the autonomy and dignity of another on the basis of faith at all?”
* * *
Maryland has a reputation as a deeply liberal and moderate state, one in which Catholics and Protestants learned to get along right quick, and so I have no doubt the citizenry will welcome the new mosque and regard it as a good sign of the power of development and investment in keeping life around the Capitol Beltway ever affluent, hopeful, and pleasant.
# # #
The fairy tale I’ve played up in relation to contemporary conflict has been “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which gets at the essential components involving corruption, power, and speech. http://deoxy.org/emperors.htm Those who follow my themes will recognize in it the “malignant narcissist” and the related and fearful pandering and toadying involves as well as the innocent bravery of the child who says what is plain.
I’ve remarked this to “M” with reference to development: with age (plus Facebook and blogging), I’ve become both more aware of geospatial variables in improving qualities of living anywhere as well as culture-wide variables that either abet or impede the creation of more survivable societies.
In tactics, that comes down to looking over a neighborhood, town, or region plus population, assessing its suffering and asking what can be ameliorated, improved, or introduced toward a greater and benign general good.
In the values components, integrity counts as may a benign will to include more people in more good things, and then added emphasis on apportioned responsibility, so that neglect or willful blindness are not allowed to remain contributors to greater sorrows.
Regarding the life of the mind in literature: the discussion is more important than the illustration that promotes it, but it’s the illustration in the head — play, poem, story, legend, myth, instruction, song, painting, dance — that transmits cultures across generations.
Uncontacted peoples and those “contacted” but remaining within state protection essentially live with less challenged (uncontacted) or softly defended (because they are welcome to leave when they are ready) language.
A primitive Amazonian tribe of fewer than 150 souls (reference: linguist Daniel Everett) may go many generations — even for something like forever — left alone in the modern world. Nations involving millions or tens of millions or hundreds of millions haven’t so cozy an option — and there we are back with a geospatial or area-wide approach to change (in the direction of a higher level of integration of many systems, both by way of physical infrastructure and of the underlying structure of the mind that finds expression through art and language).
There are more Muslims entered into the rolls of Yad Vashem and altogether a larger story.
Here I would like to suggest a few things not mentioned.
First, the role of religion, any, may be less important as regards the energizing of a seemingly religious conflict than the attitudes, beliefs, characteristics in personality (e.g., charisma, narcissism) and self-concept of leaders and the followers attracted to them that together comprise malignant subcultures and, at times, malignant societies.
Next: I believe, albeit not quite superstitiously, that language holds the content, shape, and interests of each mind together, and that “language uptake” includes the internalization of intergenerational attitudes, beliefs, and social behaviors. To de-energize what drives some men, usually, although there have been “black widows”, to blow up innocents, much less offing 14-year-old Pashtun school girls, wants for getting into that living language machinery at perhaps overlooked and very early developmental levels.
For this educated and highly literate group, I’ll stop here: the basic experience of language is mouth-to-ear, not text-based, and ears are conduits to signal discerning minds.
We’re a curious species, always listening (from womb to tomb, probably), always filtering and discerning.
The behavior that deflects attention from culpability for crime or disaster, that extols virtue, virtuously, on one hand and denies all presence of or association with evil in some part gets its start somewhere in the narrative of personal development.
A tank (or drone) cannot be aimed at that, but a switch in signal — example, expression — can (or so one may hope).