Friday, August 27, 2010

Advancing Ecumenical Understanding

Our Austrian correspondent AMT recommended the following two pieces for translation, and JLH was kind enough to oblige us.

Of the first piece, AMT says:

This is an editorial written by an obvious newcomer to the paper. Unfortunately, it also shows that despite the advances of the Counterjihad’s efforts in educating the MSM and the public, there are still far too many in far too influential positions who just do not (want to) get it. And this remains dangerous.

From the Austrian paper Die Presse, August 17, 2010:

Tolerance for a Misunderstood Religion

by Norbert Rief

The Discussion about the Building of a Mosque near the World Trade Center could be an Opportunity.

The ad is flaunted on every New York City public bus: “A mega mosque — why there?” above the picture of an airplane flying toward the burning world Trade Center. The transportation authority refused the ad; then a court made the provocation possible. The judgment, exulted the lawyer for the citizens’ initiative, is “a victory for the Constitution. It would have been problematic if the government were able to decide what statements are appropriate.” What may escape him is that by referring to the basic right of freedom of speech, he intended to constrict another basic right — that of religious freedom.

Building a mosque less than 200 meters from where Arab terrorists caused the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 is worthy of attention for more than one reason. On the one hand, because the United States until now has been a stronghold of tolerance and openness, this debate is not appropriate to the country. On the other hand, because it could cost US president Barack Obama the election in three months, not because he interceded in favor of the mosque, but because he did not do it decisively enough.

The two points overlap. There would be no US-wide discussion if the congressional elections were not taking place and the Republicans hoping to succeed by — once again — emotionalizing September 11.

They are helped by the fact that Obama has thus far only made mistakes. The question has long been decided: there is already permission to build and the uproar was encouraged by a citizens’ initiative, Fox News, and several politicians. Until Obama raised the discussion to a worldwide level.

One could honor the US president for speaking clearly to emphasize the right of every person to practice his religion wherever he wishes. But before he could be applauded for his political courage, he was already pulling back. On Sunday, he said that his statement could in no way be taken as support for the building.

He has suffered twofold damage: first, because he took an unpopular position; second, because he did not have the backbone to stand up for it.
- - - - - - - - -
It is Obama’s job as president to defend the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom in its first amendment. The US was founded by people who had been oppressed and persecuted because of their beliefs in their countries of origin. It is not without reason that there is a stricter separation between church and state (not necessarily religion and state) than in any European country. If Obama steps over this line, if a mosque is forbidden in Manhattan where there are synagogues and churches, that would be a devastating signal. With that, the US would officially make Islam equivalent to terrorism.

And now we come to the second, socially far more relevant question relating to the protest against the mosque. Apparently, the people in the hitherto so tolerant America regard Islam less as a religion than as a political ideology. And that should be more alarming to Muslims than an uncomfortable discussion.

According to an Imas poll, 54% of Austrians consider Islam “a threat to the West.” The clear “No” of the Swiss last year in a plebiscite on minarets was not based on dim prejudices, but on the uncertainty of people who do not know how to assess this religion.

Needling comments like that of the Pope a few years ago, who referred to a quote according to which Mohammed had brought only bad things into the world, do not advance ecumenical understanding. That is just as reprehensible as the agitation of the FPÖ, which made a campaign out of the natural resistance of neighbors in Wien Foridsdorf to a mosque because they feared a dramatic increase in traffic.

What a remarkable sign of openness and tolerance it would be if official America should support the construction of a mosque in the very spot where excesses of this faith had led to the most devastating terrorist attack in the history of the country.

The Austrian Counterjihad’s Harald Fiegl immediately sent a letter to the editor, which thus far has remained unpublished — undoubtedly along with hundreds of others:

Dear Mr. Rief:

Permit me a few observations in reference to your editorial of August 16, 2010, “Tolerance for a Misunderstood Religion.” If you take the trouble to read the Koran, you will see that it contains passages that are contrary to law and constitution in the West.

Islam is not a religion of the private sphere, but rather an alliance of politics and religion (theocracy). The community is primary. It is a (totalitarian) ideology for all of humanity. From that follows the group pressure to be closed off (symbol=hijab) and to exclude non-Muslims. Evoking religious freedom, the Muslim community demands the collective right to transplant the Islamic life model manifested in the 7th century unchanged into present day life, even though the principles embedded in Islam are counter to the law. Islam presents like a political party, but it works without parliamentary legitimization and cloaks its intentions. Its desired socio-political changes are accomplished without parliamentary discussion and in an undemocratic manner.

Non-Muslims, on the other hand, have only the individual right to pursue their own beliefs in accord with the laws.

The over-emotional or ignorant people you addressed know all this. They also know that Turkish President Erdogan considers making a distinction between Islam and Islamism is an insult and simplistic. These people are also following the persecutions of Christians in Islamic countries and know that Islam has its own human rights: sharia.

Your call for tolerance is too simple. Tolerance of intolerance is no better than “Biedermann and the Firebugs.”

I would be happy to hear from you and send you greetings from Vienna.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ground Zero Muslim center may get public financing (Reuters) - The Muslim center planned near the site of the World Trade Center attack could qualify for tax-free financing, a spokesman for City Comptroller John Liu said on Friday, and Liu is willing to consider approving the public subsidy.

Zenster said...

From the article by Norbert Rief: The transportation authority refused the ad; then a court made the provocation possible.

The author simply could not wait to inject his own obvious bias. In only the second sentence he frames opposition to the insulting outrage of Rauf's planned Ground Zero mosque as a "provocation".

Indeed, if there is any "provocation" it comes from those Muslims who are incapable of demonstrating the least restraint in crowing over their own terrorist atrocities.

What may escape him is that by referring to the basic right of freedom of speech, he intended to constrict another basic right — that of religious freedom.

Yet more horseradish. Setting aside the intensely caustic nature of this project, there is no connection between "religious freedom" and the legal hoops of zoning and planning commission requirements that regulate such construction.

Much like how Free Speech does not trump being allowed to make death threats or shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, neither does Religious Freedom steamroller the sensitivities of an outraged citizenry.

Building a mosque less than 200 meters from where Arab terrorists caused the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 is worthy of attention for more than one reason.

Another splendid example of Rief's personal bias. His writing makes it seem as though collapsing the Twin Towers was a primary objective when, in fact, the terrorist's goal was killing almost 3,000 people. Far be it from the author to recognize such massive loss of life over mere property damage.

On the one hand, because the United States until now has been a stronghold of tolerance and openness, this debate is not appropriate to the country.

Gah! This rat bastard just cannot give it a rest. He opines that "until now" America had "been a stronghold of tolerance and openness" as if opposing this glorification of such a grave atrocity must be allowed by a tolerant nation such as ours.

I am curious as to just how tolerant Mr. Rief would be when shari'a law precluded him from indulging in his fine Austrian beer or pork sausage.

On the other hand, because it could cost US president Barack Obama the election in three months, not because he interceded in favor of the mosque, but because he did not do it decisively enough.

One more time this scumbag downplays the reality of this situation. BHO acted quite "decisively" in this matter. In fact, BHO was so decisive in the ill-chosen support he displayed to fellow Muslims at the White House celebration of Ramadan that he had to backpedal on the issue almost immediately thereafter.

America's electorate will most likely find that BHO acted all too "decisively" when the 2012 presidential elections arrive.

The two points overlap. There would be no US-wide discussion if the congressional elections were not taking place and the Republicans hoping to succeed by — once again — emotionalizing September 11.

More pap spewing from this human tripe volcano. He portrays America as some weepy sob sister that cannot refrain from "emotionalizing" over the most heinous atrocity and act of war ever committed upon this nation's soil.

One can only imagine how Mr. Rief would remain unmoved by a similar devastation were it inflicted upon Vienna by Islamic terrorists. It speaks volumes that this dipstick so readily dismisses the need for constant remembrance of such vicious barbarity. Thus do Islam's teary apologists routinely display their own callous disregard for the human life they so vigorously pretend to prize.

Zenster said...

It is Obama’s job as president to defend the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom in its first amendment.

Thereby handily ignoring how Islam is a political ideology and nothing remotely resembling any sort of truly spiritual religion.

If Obama steps over this line, if a mosque is forbidden in Manhattan where there are synagogues and churches, that would be a devastating signal.

What is it with this moron bastard? It is as if there are no mosques in Manhattan and the Ground Zero edifice is an attempt to rectify a total absence of same. Is there any degree of misleading sophistry that this ink stained rutbag will not descend to?

Apparently, the people in the hitherto so tolerant America regard Islam less as a religion than as a political ideology. And that should be more alarming to Muslims than an uncomfortable discussion.

Clearly, this swine is wholly immune to irony. He is equally uncontaminated by any sense of self-preservation. Muslims remain entirely unalarmed by the ideological nature of Islam and, from all outward appearances, are more than content for it to continue upon its course of global domination.

The clear “No” of the Swiss last year in a plebiscite on minarets was not based on dim prejudices, but on the uncertainty of people who do not know how to assess this religion.

And now this buffoon adds mind-reading to his repertoire. Anyone who pays even slight attention to world politics and history knows damn well that mosques, with their minarets, are symbols of Islamic dominance that have no place in civilized cultures.

Needling comments like that of the Pope a few years ago, who referred to a quote according to which Mohammed had brought only bad things into the world, do not advance ecumenical understanding.

To Hell with "ecumenical understanding", what about simple survival? None of this even addresses how Pope Benedict was spot on in his criticism of Islam's coercive nature or his abject cowardice in withdrawing from the field without further defense of his own flock.

What a remarkable sign of openness and tolerance it would be if official America should support the construction of a mosque in the very spot where excesses of this faith had led to the most devastating terrorist attack in the history of the country.

What a remarkable display of complete and total dhimmitude by this wretched lout. Even worse is his attempt to diminish Islam’s inherently violent doctrine by portraying the 9-11 atrocity as having resulted from “excesses of this faith” as opposed to its routine and prescribed practice.

Worst of all is how it will far too late for all of us when Islam eventually leads Mr. Rief and his other Liberal facilitators of jihad straight to the chopping block. His usefulness to Islam will have ended a short while before devout Muslims end his miserable and deceitful career. All of us will be fortunate if the day comes when Mr. Rief answers in open court for his clear betrayal of Western civilization. One can only hope that well-deserved capital punishment awaits his conviction on charges of treason.

Zenster said...

To close, I would like to applaud Harald Fiegl's deft rejection of Mr. Rief's unmitigated balderdash. I have had the immense personal pleasure of meeting Mr. Fiegl and will readily confirm his dedication in addressing Islam's threat to the civilized world.

Thank you, Harald.

Zenster said...

PS: For those who are curious, here is a link to the plot summary of "Biedermann and the Firebugs". I saw this play but unfortunately was too young at the time to have appreciated it actual message.

NorseAlchemist said...

I have to say, this GZM just doesn't want to clear up, one way or the other. It is a shame when dogma gets in the way. That reporter doesn't seem to understand the nature of America.

Having been to a couple of Pagan blogs talking about this very subject, I must say that I've discovered a willingness to discuss this topic. Perhaps it is our common situation as a tiny religious minority, but it seems that for everyone fearing a restriction on religious freedom, there are others willing to look Islam in the face and see what it means to us Pagans and Heathens.

I think the biggest thing that really hinders discussion of the Mosque and Islam isn't bigotry or racism on either side. I think it's the lack of realization that while the West experienced the horrors of WWI, WWII, the Atomic Age, and the Cold War. They didn't experience the mind numbing horrors of those events like we did. They also didn't have a Christian background (which for better or worse) to predispose them to a distaste for violence. In fact, none of the world did. That is why when the West tries peace, everyone else is more than happy to go to war. Where we learned to tolerate, they never learned past infighting and seeking supremacy. It is hard to say that without the mixture of Traditional European Pagan Enlightenment and Christian Pacifism, that these other civilizations could learn such a thing.

If the West can realize that, we would have a better time discussing Islam, and many other things.

1389 said...

Zenster, you've summed it up very well indeed.

And Obozo's support for the mosque has nothing to do with taking any sort of a courageous stand for his, or anybody's, idea of religious freedom. He supports the mosque because he is a Muslim, and that's that.

Even more evidence that Obama is Muslim

EscapeVelocity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EscapeVelocity said...

Let's try that again...


via Assyrian International News Agency

Building Churches in Egypt and the Ground Zero Mosque


(AINA) -- Egyptians, Muslims and Christians alike, are closely watching the controversy associated with the Ground Zero Mosque project, though for different reasons. The Egyptian media is giving this issue full coverage with articles mostly accusing Americans of Islamophobia, and supporting Muslims to hold on to their rights to build a mosque anywhere as guaranteed by the US constitution, regardless of what Americans think.

...

Most Copts interviewed on the issue of the Ground Zero Mosque thought that even if Moslems had the right to build a mosque, it should be somewhere else, to save the victims families any pain. Others thought the Muslim attitude was typical "They go to a country and want to take it over, making the best of democratic rights to their advantage, but when it comes to Islamic countries, matters are different, and they forget about the rights of others," commented one young Coptic girl.

"Let Muslims experience the rage and frustration we have been going through for centuries, every time we want to build or repair a dilapidating church in our own country," commented Coptic activist Mina Hanna, in what sounded like Schadenfreude. "It would be interesting to see what happens if the West decided to treat Muslims like Christians in Egypt."

goethechosemercy said...

Amazing how those Coptic Christians never quite make it into the discussion of tolerance.
This GZM issue is about religious tolerance of Muslims as much as it is about religious tolerance in the west.
Islam stands accused.
It is indicted.
Submission? No, not today.

Zenster said...

goethechosemercy: This GZM issue is about religious tolerance of Muslims as much as it is about religious tolerance in the west.

Le bingo! A succinct encapsulation of this entire matter and one that goes almost entirely ignored by both the Left and Right, although for rather different reasons.

Let me know when Muslims finally get around to delivering the same sort of religious tolerance that they so stridently demand from the West.

Until then Islam can STFU.

EscapeVelocity said...

Turkey is the same with dissallowing Christian Churches to be renovated and repaired, let alone new ones built.

Saudi Arabia of course is a Christian free zone, in totality.

And every other Muslim country has similar hostility and intolerance of Christians and Churches.

EscapeVelocity said...

Here is a video on the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church which is headquartered in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople).

60 Minutes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHiqidzKNx0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiFfPkUwm5Y&feature=related

EscapeVelocity said...

"Every society has a right to fix the fundamental principles of its association, and to say to all individuals, that if they contemplate pursuits beyond the limits of these principles and
involving dangers which the society chooses to avoid, they must go somewhere else for their exercise; that we want no citizens, and still less ephemeral and pseudo-citizens, on such terms. We may exclude them from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease." --Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, 1816.

"A strict observation of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws
of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lost the law
itself, with life, liberty, property, and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means." --Thomas Jefferson to John Colvin, 1810.

EscapeVelocity said...

Spread those Thomas Jefferson quotes around.

the second quote has a typo...should read...

"would be to LOSE the law itself"