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The Mosque at Ground Zero: An Opportunity for Quakers and other Faiths

August 24, 2010

Our country needs an Islamic center built on the southern tip of Manhattan near where the World Trade Towers once stood.  I lived and worked just two blocks from the twin towers in the early 1990s and I know the area well. If I had any doubts about the importance of this project, they were erased by the political furor that has erupted this summer over plans to build the Mosque. Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Harry Reid and many others acknowledge that the bill of rights guarantees the free exercise of religion, but not this religion this close to ground zero.

Even the president, after defending the legal right of any group to build an Islamic Center near ground zero, added that he wouldn’t comment on the “wisdom” of that decision. Well I will comment on the wisdom of this project: the Cordoba Center has become more important for Christians than it is for the Muslims who originally proposed the project.  Only through a process of dialogue and getting to know “the other” faith can our own communities begin to break down the prejudices that still drive too much of our own views.

Why? Because the words in the First Amendment guaranteeing the free exercise of religion only come to life through the experience of the nation. Remember that although many of the original white colonial settlers came to this country to escape religious persecution in their home countries, they saw no problem with inflicting their own persecution on individuals and communities that didn’t feel called to their faith. Working at a Quaker institution, I’m of course reminded that the Quaker Mary Dyer merits a statue on the Boston Common because in an earlier time colonial leaders were so threaten by her faith that she was hung on the Boston Common.

As a nation, we have struggled with how to define religious freedom for centuries. The First Amendment was already a part of our founding documents when thousands of Protestants rose up in anti-Catholic riots in Pennsylvania in the 1830s and it was still part of the constitution when both of my parents went to college in the 1940s at a university that did not admit Jews. Several of our most prestigious universities had quotas or in some cases outright bans on Jewish students (lasting until the early 1960s).

Today, the Muslims are the new Quakers, Catholics and Jews. For the majority of people in the United States, Muslims and Islam are “the other,” the unknown and for many that also means the people to be feared. Their ignorance contributes to their fear.

Our political leaders can not hide behind a lack of knowledge. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both publicly recognized Islam as a “religion of peace” and both generally tried to draw a distinction between the violent extremists that bombed the World Trade Center in the name of Islam and the 1.3 billion people of that faith in the world today.

Yet many other political leaders see opportunities to gain votes and support by exploiting the fear of the general population for their own gain. My view is let’s embrace that public discussion, not back away from it. As a Quaker organization, the Friends Committee on National Legislation is urging Quakers around the country to reach out to Muslims within their community and get to know the “other” in their community – we can have our separate faiths while still understanding the faith of others. I would urge other faith communities to do the same.

There are hundreds of thousands of places of worship in the United States. If even 10,000 of those places of worship sought out the Muslims in their community and invited them in for a cross faith dialogue focused on the importance of the Islamic Cultural Center in downtown Manhattan, that would be a tremendous advance for this country. A Time Magazine poll released August 19 found that 61% of respondents opposed construction of the Islamic Center and many people in this country “harbor lingering animosity toward Muslims.”

Yet what I found interesting was this summary of the poll written up in The New York Times

Unfamiliarity might be partly behind some of the negative opinions of the religion. More than 6 in 10 say they do not personally know any Muslim Americans. And these people are more likely than those who personally know a practicing Muslin to say they have a negative opinion of Islam. Indeed, among those who personally know any Muslim Americans, a majority have a favorable view, the poll found.

Which is why the Christians in this country may need the Cordoba Center to be build on the southern tip of Manhattan more than the Muslims do.  No, it isn’t just Christians. As individuals have discovered throughout the history of the United States, keeping the First Amendment alive and well in this country requires a combination of public policy work in Washington and engagement in our own local faith communities.

34 Comments
  1. August 24, 2010 9:34 am

    Even some who basically defend the Muslim community center’s freedom to build at its proposed location seem to equivocate and say that it’s not “sensitive.” I wonder at the implied definition of “sensitive” as a quality that OTHERS must exhibit, not us!

    What is the unspoken implication of the idea that “be sensitive, don’t build a Muslim institution near Ground Zero”? Isn’t it this?–“Your presence is repellent to those who suffered on 9/11.” However nicely the sentiment is put, it translates into a gratuitous and unworthy insult to a group of organizers who had no part in the 9/11 crime and whose ideals are completely counter to that crime. In other words, it’s hard to conceive of a more insensitive promotion of sensitivity.

    I much prefer the sensitivity represented by the “opportunity” that Jim Cason is advocating in this post–the sensitivity that Christians now can extend to Muslims.

    Right now I’m traveling; I confess that when I get back home (to my adopted town in Russia), and back in touch with our Muslim friends there, I’m going to be feeling somewhat embarrassed by the controversy in Manhattan. It has not put the USA in a very flattering light. A visible movement of grace and courtesy among Christians all over the USA, directed toward Muslim neighbors, could be timely and helpful right now.

  2. Mark Grantham permalink
    August 24, 2010 4:34 pm

    This is a well written article, which prompts the reader to do some soul searching, go inwards and reflect. There has always been a “other” in America, ask the Chinese,Japanese,African-Americans,Hispanics etc… This issue causes,hopefully, the reader to stop and ask themselves, “have I been that? “Have I done that?” Abuse is not only physical or mental, it is also in our eyes!
    We,Quakers, and all Americans should have a sense of reconciliation and forgiveness in our hearts. If Americans are lumping all Muslims together, regardless of where that person comes from, should we then lump all Christians together? How about our Friends of the Jewish faith?
    We need to reach out and be forgiving and loving! When I mention forgiving, I only refer to our mistakes and errors, which we all make each and every day! If we are to let our life speak for us, maybe we need to live a little louder and more loving!

  3. J Kirby permalink
    August 24, 2010 4:34 pm

    It’s so important to get out of your own little circle and have interaction with people of different cultures… Hate & fear are bi-products of ignorance…

  4. Mark Grantham permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:02 pm

    I guess I come from a train of thought that allows all to have a voice in matters. I am a bit “old school” when it comes to grammar and spelling, I guess the English educator in me comes out. The amount of hated I sense from the letter writer is scary to me. I hope the writer remembers that about 10% of those killed on 9/11 were believers in Islam.
    This community center will not be at Ground Zero, it is not “hallowed” ground. It is a place where all are welcome, to learn, relax, play basketball and talk.

  5. Dave Powelson permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:13 pm

    We could learn something from how one Hopi village related to their traditional enemy the Navajo. Hotevilla had a dance where the Kachinas were in Navajo dress. There was clearly an effort to acknowledge that Navajos are a part of the Hopi world and to show them respect.

  6. Jo Ann Aeflwine permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:24 pm

    People forget that among the 3000 killed on 9/11 were several Muslim-Americans (and I’m not talking about the hi-jackers!) So Ground Zero is just as sacred to Muslims as it is to followers of every other religious tradition in this country. And don’t worry “buddy-a-nam-tay-say”. I can’t imagine any self respecting Muslim would want to stoop so low as to live next to you, either. Why, if you are so full of hate and fear are you on this blog? Native or not, there is nothing truly American about you. IMO.

  7. August 24, 2010 6:34 pm

    The more I read about this the more it is clear that people are running on misguided emotion being stirred for political reasons. Sensitivity is the word being used a lot. There were Moslems killed in the tower also. All the Moslems I know condemn violence and shouldn’t be punished for the heinous acts of people claiming to be of the same faith. It seems that sensitivity is being demanded by one side and being denied to the other. It also seems to me that there shouldn’t be a side. We are a people of many faiths that was attacked by evil demented beings, period. The Imam behind the building of the cultural center is and has been used by our government to forge bridges to those of his faith that are suspicious of our hegemony. Most people I know want peace and respect and we have to open our vision some to see things from multiple directions so that understanding comes into play rather than emotion. The cultural center should be build because American fairness should not be violated. The cultural center should be build because viewing it with an open mind and heart will make it be seen as a bridge to peace not a poke in the eye. The Moslems wanting to build the center are not at fault for the evil perpetuated by theocratic radicals. Theocratic radicals exist in all faiths. If it weren’t for the fact that I am a pacifist…I would take Reverend Fred Phelps, Yigal Amir (the orthodox Jew that killed Prime Minister Rabin) and Bin Ladin and turn them over to…. But I will not do what my enemy does because if I do he wins! http://church-state-separation.blogspot.com/

  8. August 24, 2010 7:16 pm

    Hi Friends!
    My comment has been erased twice…
    I keep wanting to congratulate Friends for having a site that protects from cyberbullying.
    Friends Committee on national Legislation suggested that we could use our linkedin accounts to connect with Obama and influence policy.
    So I did, and one of the sites addresses the “mosque question”.
    As I support the mosque, (i.e for real a Cultural center)the waves of hate that washed through my computer was truly frightening.
    I now more than ever appreciate Quaker ‘s use of temperate language.
    Altho it is hard for me not to fight back with words when once again she who shall not be named exploits our great city (which did not vote for her) to sow seeds of hate.
    So I got off the site.
    My son was baptized at cathedral St John the Divine and as such I am friends with dean Morton who is good friends with the iman involved.
    My son’s godfather met him at a dinner for the dean’s Interfaith Center, which I believe was shut down by the Bush administration.
    I went to Brooklyn meeting for refuge last Sunday (where I have attended for years) and of course found like minded Friends.
    I work as a museum educator and my students tell me all the blogs have been taken over by right winger sowing hate-some of the linked in blogs that address more practical questions have fended them off. (the site for the gulf oil spill is a good one)
    Any linkedin blog that addresses a social issue is attacked- all the hate that was directed at gay marriage or women seeking abortions is now directed at Muslims.

  9. Heloise Rathbone permalink
    August 24, 2010 7:56 pm

    I am a Quaker in Brooklyn and I am also part of an interfaith group of clergy in downtown Brooklyn which includes Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy. In our Quaker Meeting we think every member is “clergy” and there is no hierarchy. I am pleased that the interfaith clergy group is happy to have Quakers as part of the group even though we haven’t been to school to be trained to be in the clergy.

  10. Jeanne McKnight permalink
    August 24, 2010 9:26 pm

    FCNL should post a photo of the statue of Mary Dyer that stands in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. It is a beautiful statute, and commemmorates a true martyr for religious liberty. As most Quakers know, Mary Dyer was hanged on Boston Common in the 1600’s as a result of her defiance of laws had been passed banning Quakers from settling in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony; preaching Quakerism was punishable by death. When I think of Mary Dyer’s giving her life for religious liberty, the idea that some think this is not an important freedom and should yield to other considerations is disheartening.

  11. Mark Grantham permalink
    August 24, 2010 9:29 pm

    This Friend speaks my mind!

  12. Ann Hardt permalink
    August 24, 2010 11:20 pm

    1] It has been years since I lived in NYC, but 2 blocks away there could be miles anywhere else.
    2] To not want a group of Moslems who practice non-violence near Ground Zero suggests that we expect all Moslems to be violent as those who hit on 9/11. The scary part there is too often people live up to the expectations of others even if they desire otherwise. Are those remarks pushing Islam to become more violent?
    3] Have we considered our international impact? Are we really saying to the many who are Moslems in this world that we do not want to have anything to do with you? That could have consequencs for years to come. Maybe we are justs fearful they could become more dominant as the US becomes less so in the world.
    4] Richard the Lion Hearted brought blood to Jerusalem in the Crusades, but reports of the Moslems were of tolerance to those who lived there. So who are the violent ones? Do we not sing Onward Christian Soldiers?
    5] As an educator I have met a few Americans who converted to Islam because they questioned all the negativity they heard and wanted to find out for themselves. When they did, they converted. What does that say about our painting Islam so negatively?

  13. John Doe permalink
    August 24, 2010 11:41 pm

    Religion is irrationality by definition. I don’t see why religion, any religion, should be protected by the First Amendment. People can be stupid and irrational but we don’t have to protect that as a constitutionally guaranteed right. No mosques, synagogues, temples or gurdwaras anywhere. All they do is cause trouble. Even reasonable people can get into trouble. Irrational people always get into trouble. Worse, they hurt their reasonable neighbors.

  14. Joseph A. Belisle permalink
    August 25, 2010 7:53 am

    First time posting to this site. But I have been working with FCNL for years.
    Excellent article Mr. Cason
    It’s all too human the way the opposition to this Muslim center thinks. But sadly it’s all too unChristian. And all so illogical. But then most Americans do know and don’t understand why so many peoples throughout the world hold animosity towards America. It’s easier to think that those who bring violence against the western powers as sick and evil. Granted their belief in violence to resolve problems is sick. Bringing Americans out of ignorance of the Islamic faith is a key part in bringing an end to this conflict.

  15. Joseph A. Belisle permalink
    August 25, 2010 8:01 am

    Sorry, that should be ‘….most Americans don’t know and don’t understand….’

  16. Brian JP Craig permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:24 am

    One of the things I hate about the “logic” of the anti-Mosque people is how weak their logic is. Muslim terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, so no Mosques should be allowed in the vicinity. But when Timothy McVeigh, a Christian terrorist, attacked the Federal Building, nobody suggested there shouldn’t be any churches in Oklahoma City! A religion is NOT to blame for the attacks of September 11. And a religion is NOT evil, just because it’s not your religion. And if they’re all the wonderful Christians they claim to be, maybe they should read their Bibles and turn the other cheek! I don’t claim to be a Biblical scholar, but I have read the book from cover to cover several times, and can’t seem to recall a passage where Jesus’ message was “We gotta get them and teach them a lesson!”

  17. Davies Nagel permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:43 am

    Americans fighting Americans, just what the terrorists love to see. It must give Bin Laden much satisfaction to see this spectacle. We need to work together to remedy this instead of shouting across the streets at each other.

  18. Mark Grantham permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:44 am

    A person of another faith ran a plane into a building, that is a shame, and my heart bleeds for these families. But, we do not dare to lump a belief/mis-belief on one faith. Should we judge all Baptists because of the actions of Reverend Phelps? Should we judge all catholics because of the current child abuse scandal? Should all New York Jews be judged by the Hassidic Jews in New York? The answer to this friend is a resounding NO! As was stated earlier, these were not Muslims, these were terrorists!
    We, Americans, are granted the Freedom of Religion, that is something I am very thankful for. Many religions rely on mankind and its’ propensity for fear, this idea needs to be addressed, we are afraid of the “other”. There has always been a group we decide will be the “other”. It was the Immigrants in New York and Chicago, then it was the Japanese, we proceeded onto the LBGT community. oops, I forgot women, who are still marginalized.
    Let us reach out and say “I love You”, let’s find a way to be friends and find a common ground together. As my mother used to say, and boy, those moms were usually right, “You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.

  19. August 25, 2010 11:13 am

    Thank-you all for this conversation. Some of my dearest friends are Muslims who have shown me a depth of generosity and hospitality that is truly humbling. The charity fundamental to their sacred texts is written in their hearts. My friends are doctors who choose to work with low income clients, and who educate their children to serve. It grieves me so much to think of them suffering abuse and bigotry from a nation built on higher ideals.

  20. Angeline WAlczyk permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:54 pm

    The more we know about anothers beliefs, the more Christian we may be knowing that other beliefs have the truth as my own. So the more truth we seek, share and know the greater is our tolerance, love and support we may give one another.

  21. Susan Boyr permalink
    August 25, 2010 3:10 pm

    Last night my husband (an Episcopal priest) and I (a certified Spiritual Director) were invited to an Iftar dinner (breaking the day’s fast during Ramadan) at our local Islamic Center. We were among a group of 30 non-Muslim guests of our Muslim hosts. We observed and joined in prayers, received generous hospitality, and learned about the meaning of Ramadan and the basic tenets of Islam.
    I was particularly struck by two things. First, the level of devotion that is expected and is the norm made me feel as though my engagement in the spiritual life was very tepid. Yeah, I’ve done a little fasting here and there – maybe a day or 2 in Lent… but Ramadan fasting is from sunrise to sunset (14 hours…) every day for 30 days. Yes, I pray daily (mostly) but for Muslims prayer is expected 5 times daily all year with an extra intense period of prayer in the middle of the night during Ramadan. And this after getting up before dawn to eat a big meal to prepare for a long fast. When do these people sleep?? Yes, I have studied sacred text rather a lot, but a Muslim is expected to memorize the entire Qu’ran, in Arabic no less, even if they were born in the US. And all the prayer and study and fasting focuses on letting go of vices such as violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, profane language, gossip and on growing their charity, forgiveness, trust in Divine mercy and protection, justice-making, and good relationships both within and outside the Muslim community.
    Frankly I can’t think of a better influence on my beloved country nor a better way of healing the wounds of 9/11 than having an Islamic Center nearby. Surely some fasting and devotion to the highest values of humanity as expressed in all “true” religions could do some good for those whose ranting is so mindless and ugly.
    The second thing that struck me last night were the comments of one of our hosts regarding the Ground Zero controversy. This man was born in the US, was educated at a premier university, and is a practicing attorney. He is appalled and I think frightened at the way in which all practitioners of his religion are being smeared and the way in which our civil liberties are being ignored by the hate-mongers. I was sad and embarrassed and angry.
    Now if we could only get some folks besides the ones who are supportive of the community center to read some of these blog posts. I feel like I’m preaching to the choir.

  22. sharon hoover permalink
    August 25, 2010 3:32 pm

    The Friends above speak my mind. My own reflections turn to the fact that I have done what so many of our leaders say children and citizens should do: studied American history and political documents, wars and their aftermath, grammar, persuasion, and literature. I, too, am appalled not only at the incendiary comments about our friends of other religious persuasions, but at the insensitivity to one of the communities in the United States which doesn’t happen to be our own. How many commentators know what two or four blocks means in Manhattan? How many people who work in Manhattan daily even know (and they certainly cannot see) what is a few blocks from them? And who is to decide for New Yorkers what they can and cannot do within their own city regulations, etc.? And how many commentators know the distance from the liberal wing of their own religious denomination to its fundamentalist wing? And how many of us feel that we are a member of a planet, not merely a political coterie? 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights can be summarized as follows:
    The right to believe, to worship and witness
    The right to change one’s belief or religion
    The right to join together and express one’s belief. (Not as a governmental establishment but on a piece of private property.)

  23. Diane H. Fabian permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:26 pm

    “Unfamiliarity might be partly behind some of the negative opinions of the religion. ”

    Traditional Orthodox churches have an “onion dome” rather than a pointed steeple. Out of ignorance, people sometimes get upset if a domed church is proposed for their (Christian) communities (note: The Russian Orthodox Church is solidly mainstream Christian). Ignorance creates a great deal of foolish, irrational fear. The antidote to ignorance is knowledge.

    To deny Americans the right to build a house of worship — or to say, “Fine, but not here… No, further away than that!” is clearly anti-American.

    Is Christianity so fragile, and the nation so weak, that we dare not allow the proposed mosque to be built? Must we crush our freedoms in the name of protecting our freedoms?

  24. Diane H. Fabian permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:32 pm

    Suggestion: It’s not unusual for people to think that the proposed mosque would be built right
    on the site of the former WTC. I think more effort needs to go into explaining to the public exactly where the proposed mosque site would be.

  25. August 27, 2010 6:06 pm

    Wow, what a great conversation. I’ll add a few points, without in any way wanting to stop the conversation
    1. thank you to everyone who pointed out this is really more of an Islamic Center than a Mosque. The press is full of misinformation about this project and I would recommend the background Joe put up here https://fcnl.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/cordoba-community-center-a-conversation-with-daisy-khan/
    2. I’ll look for a photograph of that statue of Mary Dyer — what a beautiful idea.
    3. Susan’s post makes us wonder if some folks might want to seek out public celebrations of Eid ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) on Friday September 10. We would have to be sensitive to what the Muslim community might want in our communities, but I think there may be public celebrations involving people of different faiths. If Christians publicly joined these celebrations that could be one response.

    peace,
    jim

  26. Michael Daugherty permalink
    August 28, 2010 11:00 am

    While not opposing this Islamic “whatever-it-is” (mosque, cultural center) there are PR things that it’s organizers are faced with. Public statements it’s figurehead has made that could be interpreted as radical and bring to question intent…questions of funding sources, etc…so, while pacifism and acceptance is admirable, does that require us to not inquire as rational believers into whether or not this “sheep” is a wolf wearing a disguise? Has that been lost in this “spiritual” dialogue? If we found dubious intent in the details of this endeavor, then what should be our response as believers in God, to radical terrorists in sheep’s clothing?

  27. sandy valencour@msn.com permalink
    August 28, 2010 10:34 pm

    I have been mad at this county for a long time as the idiots took over. I would like to see every single crime giving the religion of the criminal and see how they like this. Thank you “press” for continually reporting, “a muslim did this” Just once, I want this country to live by her own made up rules. Yah, I know, ya all feel this is a city problem. NOT EVEN! It is Constitutional as many smaller towns have now cancelled building permits for ANY muslim religion. Total IGNORANCE. We have a constitution and Bill of Rights as the law of the land. We either follow it or be like all other stifled countries or we fight to protect it at every level. Can’t have it both ways. They have said education has failed. Well look around because these idiot are spouting pure puke against the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Don’t you understand? This is why America is so great except for you idiots. I am so embarrassed by the idiot republicans, a few idiot democrats , Palin and her zoo of nut the nutbaggers, Oh sorry, Teabaggers, anti American groups and the media which gives them power. Where is our intelligent, fair reporting. Used to be the press really had a job and alway put in the truth on these matters. Maybe we should be paying you to educate the adults of this country on how government works, how a bill is passed, how a bad vote for this country got us Geo Bush/Cheney and then turned them loose to destroy the entire country. It is time you start naming the crime, the crimals, their actions and consequenses. When has been okay morally to lie and then print them as facts. Why do we let lying hatemonger group (Faux “news”)any recognition for what is is? What happened to morals/scruples of our country. When did the rich get the right of way to crime and hurt hard working people like Americans. To say about the unemployed what the hateful Republicans say is immorally wrong and Americans should sue every one of them with a class action suite so they will learn to stop lying . When did we throw open our mental hospital doors and tell them to all run for our highest office? It all must come to a stop and now, not tomorow.. We were taught to protect our Constitution and Bill of Rights and none of these idiot even know what it is and am learning that some oldtimers have worked for years and don’t have a clue they are there representing the people, not the party, not big business, not wall street, not lobbiests and not taking pay offs that go against our countries best interest. We are looking so foolish and stupid to the rest of the world with these crackpots spewing lies. We were the greatest county in the world and respected and look at us now. We aren’t even forcing Congressmen to tell the truth! I doubt we will ever be the first choice for many in the world any more. Even our press is political and it should have never allowed to lie either. Think about it. We all have computers and can access the truth if it isn’t lost in the maze of hidden ownership. Just because you agree doesn’t make it true. Every republican congressmen have spent the last 2 years trying to stop any help for we, the people, and have stopped Obama just because the no balls democrats have LET them control. Obama’s mistake was thinking he could make peace with the “other side” and work together to help our county, but those repubs on his staff are destoying him from the inside but doubt he will ever get it since he doesn’t even think like them. They HAVE stopped him on anything passed these 2 years as they are all so watered down the bills are useless. Perhaps ALL americans have’ ADD and can’t remember **** . Our country is in great trouble and it is the fault of years under bush/cheney. Now ya all sit back and let this party envoke what WE want, like h@ll. They don’t know any of us or how we live, how we struggle to feed our families but so many of you believe all the made up lies. I am about to give up because stupid is stupid and it seems the entire nation need to go back to school just on our government operation and how it works at every level and then they MUST memorize the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  28. sandy valencour@msn.com permalink
    August 28, 2010 10:49 pm

    I’m sorry Jim. Great articles and some good positive thinking to get back on track. I love my county and most people but lying is something I can not forgive. Murder, rape, robbery etc have “reasons” behind it but NOT LYING to the American people, just pops my top. The press helped get us to this point. I would cancel ANY newpaper if I saw it leaning in either direction because, even as a kid I wanted the truth. At 65, don’t think this country gives a rip about any truth, only winning the race. In the day they would cover any event and would tell you the truth, the outcome both ways with TRUTH. Truth is not easy for most but is still worth fighting to get back. Wasn’t it Bush that gave this to the Supreme Court and they came back lying falls to the freedom of speech? I remember when it was announced and was livid

  29. Mike Kelly permalink
    August 29, 2010 4:28 pm

    I am blessed to count many Muslims as friends and fellow seekers of God and never have I been taken to task as Christian for the sins of the inquisition, the crusades or the holocaust. In this I see that of God in my Muslim brothers and sisters.
    I’ve often shared with them this bit of Quaker light: “:The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask, they will know one another through the diverse liveries they wear here that makes them strangers.” William Penn, 1693
    Peace, Mike Kelly

  30. September 5, 2010 12:29 pm

    it’s nice to read to many supportive comments. i live in a very small, southern town, where most people apparently think Obama is Muslim. but even here there are some people defending the Cordoba house.

  31. June 15, 2011 3:55 am

    After all that’s enounced and done I ‘m curious to get word how many peoples truly realise the author has merely revealed. Thank you.

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