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16 August 2010


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FB Ali

Col Lang,

Well said!

It is a great pity that the Wahabis and other such fundamentalist sects are trying hard to force their version of Islam on all other Muslims - and succeeding. This success is partly due to the support the US gives to the Saudi royals, who are the patrons of the Wahabis.



Take a look at this Aug. 9 article that surfaced in the Canadian press regarding it:

Mischief in Manhattan


Col. Lang:

Thank you. I think this may also be a good time for folks to revisit your video lecture on Islam. You posted it at The Athenaeum in March of 2007.


Thank you for the photo of the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. It was by far the most beautiful and interesting building I visited in Spain. And kudos to the brilliant restorationists who preserved the Islamic aura of the place.

I strongly recommend people like Gingrich and Krauthammer visit Cordoba and learn some history. It might broaden their horizons. Or maybe not. Do you really think people like Gingrich believe what they are saying? Public figures who appeal to the worst in human nature usually don't.

G.L. Penrose

Col Lang,

Again, Bravo! You might have mentioned Hodgson and Menocal so that inquiring, and open, minds could have found them. Shifting the debate from "Ground Zero Mosque" to the CORDOBA Center will be hard, but you have made the start.

Medicine Man

Thank you for this post, Col. Lang.

Nancy K

I too was amazed at the Cathedral in Cordoba, at least the part not inserted by the Catholic church and the culture that flourished in Andalucia.
There are numerous churches and synagogues and I believe even a Buddhist Temple in the Manhattan area. If we are going to tar all muslims with the terrorist brush than we would have to say that all young, christian white men who were in the military are terrorists because Timothy Mcveigh was.
I think if I were Muslim I may be afraid of attending a mosque that so many foaming at the mouth radicals are against.


In keeping with your comments about Cordoba, this might be of some interest:
The Masons and the Moors


It's shocking, to me anyway, how many young Muslims, even Arabs, are unaware of the achievements of Andalus. Harold Bloom, of all people, wrote: Harold Bloom, “Our current multiculturalism, the plague of our universities and media, is a parody of the culture of Cordoba and Granada in their decadence”.

They've got a noble plan and good intentions, I think. The last time I was in lower Manhattan I saw little of either. Here's hoping that some of that coming together and elegance can be recalled and result in something good.



I did a google check on the authors of "Mischief in Manhattan," and it looks like it's really mischief from Israel behind the scenes. Those Pakistani authors ought to read the US Constitution.


Professor Gingrich is beating the drum of demagoguery to stay in the race for 2012. He certainly didn't complain about Muslims praying at the pentagon:

He's apparently not concerned over the porn shops and liquor stores 'at' ground zero; at least with 'at' as defined by 'within 1/2 mile' as Cordoba House is about that far away.

different clue

New Yorkers may very well invoke City's Rights, and invite all concerned non-residents to mind their own bussiness.


RE: the Mezquita of Cordoba:

In reference to the Basilica shoehorned into the middle of the Mosque.

"In the 16C, despite opposition from the cathedral chapter, Bishop Don Alonso Manrique received authorization to build a cathedral in the middle of the Mosque. Upon completion King Carlos V was quoted as saying ‘you have destroyed something unique, to build something commonplace.’ "

So on to Damascus: "The spot where the mosque now stands was a temple of Hadad in the Aramaean era. The Aramaean presence was attested by the discovery of a basalt orthostat depicting a sphinx, excavated in the north-east corner of mosque. The site was later a temple of Jupiter in the Roman era, then a Christian church dedicated to John the Baptist in the Byzantine era.

Initially, the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 634 did not affect the church. Under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I, however, the church was converted to a mosque, as many Christian churches were after Islamic conquests. Between 706 and 715 the current mosque was built in its place."

Too bad the Romans are not around to decry what befell the temple of Jupiter in Dimashq.

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Percy Bysshe Shelley, published in 1818

The beaver

Re: authors of "Mischief in Manhattan"
Because the Imam Rauf is a follower of Sufism and , the Cordoba House will be a Sufi Muslim Community Centre, those who are Sunnis are against it ( at least some of them).

Patrick Lang


There are both Sunni and Shia Sufis. Sufi mysticism exists in all parts of Islam except among the Wahhabists whose understanding of Islam is IMO rather cramped and law bound to the extent that they detest the emotional seeking of the Sufis for the experience of God's presence. Sufism in all its forms is unacceptable in Saudi Arabia where the 9/11 crew largely originated. There were no Sufis on the airplanes. pl


All I see in this manufactured controversy is an attempt by the Israel lobby to encourage Government to give itself permission to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Once given, religious discrimination will spread quickly. B'nai Brith might like to think about that.

Patrick Lang


Some people are so tribal that they are incapable of rational thought when tribal "enemies" are involved. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

1. From a Spanish viewpoint, I would take it some felt they were being occupied by a foreign power and culture and religion.

At least the Reconquista seems to raise this matter. Did Christian Roman Catholics enjoy being dhimmis in their own country?... maybe I have missed something.

The Jews seemed to do alright, however, according to some interpretations.

2. I am not clear as to just who is putting this New York mosque/center or whatever together. Does the Muslim Brotherhood have anything to do with this? Just curious.

3. FB Ali, the British Empire arranged things for the Saudis, as I recall. And the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt made nice in the 1930s with the Saudi royal house.

The other influentials got consolation prizes: Transjordan, Iraq, and so on. US policy elites just fell into the British policy one might think.

On the other hand, wasn't their some rather sharp debate in the UK between the pro-Hashimite types and the those wishing to use the Wahhabis?...I think so.

And in the 1960s, weren't the Wahhabis favored because they were "anti-Communist" and could "help" in the Cold War against Soviet Communist penetration in the ME. Seems so to me.

Patrick Lang


The reconquista was mounted from those parts of northern Iberia that were not conquered by the Moors. Galicia, Asturias, Navarra, Castile. Large numbers of Christians converted to Islam and were Arabicized in the centuries of Islamic identity. It was largely against the no longer Christian descendants of the Visigoths and Vandals that La Cruzada was waged. The reconquest was heavily supported by the papacy who encouraged the participation of foreign volunteers , plenary indulgences for such crusaders and the employment of the military religious orders, (Templars , Calatrava, Santiago, etc.) After each little piece of Al-Andalus was recovered for Christendom, the reverse process of conversion to Christianity took place among the formerly Christian population and among Jews. The Inquisition in Spain was created to guard against false conversions. It would be an anachronism to think that those Christians who remained faithful under Moorish rule were persecuted for their faith. Moorish Iberia was not a fanatic place with the exception of occasional periods of intervention by Berber armies from North Africa. pl


The link you make between the Cordoba names is inspired. I would just like to add that your readers should understand that in regards to the many versions of Islam you talk about, it may be read that these versions are seperate and distinct so I would like to add that amongst these many there are some that will share very little with the way other groups practice (such as the Wahabis) but for the majority the differences range from a few issues to the practically insignificant.

On the issue of the Cordoba Mosque, I wonder how many of these people decrying it would also view Saudi Arabias banning of churches as a legitimate right?

Patrick Lang


Islam is not unified. There is no "whahda" except within "ijma'" groups. It does no good to claim that Islam is unified. To claim that is to make Muslims more vulnerable to suspicion and hatred. The range of difference among Islamic groups is extremely varied. Law, ritual, theology, interpretation of scripture, vary endlessly and each group thinks itself the possessor of uniquely authentic truth. Muslims want deeply to believe in the unity of the 'Umma, but that yearning is not supported by reality. The very idea of the divisions within Islam is repulsive to Muslims. You are Lebanese I believe. You live amid the evidence of the wide divide that separates Islamic sects and mathahib. An analogy in the Christian world to the relationships among "ijma'" groups would be the relationship among and between Baptist congregations rather than the chain of command relationships within the Catholic Church. An example of the effect of sectarian difference was the religious discord between AQI and the traditional Islam (heavily influenced by Sufism) of traditional Iraqi society. pl

Medicine Man

Is it true that humor plays a distinct role in Sufism?


Dont get me wrong, I am not disputing your description nor claiming that there is a unity of the Umma. My point was only to clarify to any interested reader that the variations are on a theme and aside from the more extreme elements, these variations do not, mostly, extend into affecting the day to day lives of ordinary people and seem to mostly only come up if at all, when things get heated (such as only today when debating with another Muslim, the person asked me to justify stoning because he assumed that as a Shia I would naturally support such a thing!).

You are right, as a member of this electricity lacking country, I get to experience possibly the widest differences in one country in the Islamic world. I also get to see how to some this disparity is an anathema and how to others its differences start and stop and the doorway of their church/mosque. Only today, a friend was showing me round his church, which happens to be smack in the middle of the Dahyieh (the Beirut stronghold of Hizballah).

I am also the son of a Shia father and Sunni mother, and just to add to the mix, the husband of a Roman Catholic. So I guess my background may inform or bias me one way or the other.

Frank Newbauer

I am truly appalled by the reaction to the proposed construction of this building. It is not at all about them - whoever "they" may be; it is about our Constitutional form of government. The system of ordered liberty based on shared rights and responsibilities. This is exactly why we have a Constitution with its Bill of Rights, to guard against majoritarian tyranny. Than the Almighty (whatever she is) that we are not a democracy - the Athenian democracy blithely condemned Socrates to death for asking questions.

The teabaggers and other know-nothings who are up in arms about this (I'm looking at you Newt, McCain, Palin and a cast too large to name) are truly un-American. They are a much greater threat to the American system than bin Laden could ever hope to be. That a solid majority of American polled are against it is horrifying! What happened to the sanctity of private property or free exercise of association and religion?

I fear for the future of the Republic; the real threat lies within, not without!

different clue


I have only noticed this controversy without really studying it as it blew up. My impression is that a few victims families were upset and then the Breitbart-Beck-Teaparty right wingers found out about it. And they inflated it into a loud
"hissy fitroversy" so as to gain yet more media exposure for themselves and lead Democrats into yet another Hobson's Choice based on the lack of principles on the part of those leading Democrats. That Hobson's choice would be: stand up for basic Constitutional principles and lose all those votes they hoped to get among TeaParty-leaning independent voters? Or chase borderline TeaParty voters by attempting to suppress the Islamic Community Center in New York and thereby lose some liberal-radical voters from their own base? (Those Democrats with basic principles don't see any Hobson's choice here. "Leaving New York alone" to build the center in peace is the only choice for them. )

My feeling is that Foxman and others are rather late to Beck and Palin's TeaParty party. But maybe I just haven't been paying proper attention.

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