Friday, November 5, 2010

Islamic Centre - Ground Zero

Retired Justice Stevens defends plans for Islamic center

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer


  • John Paul Stevens says Muslims should be able to build, even near ground zero
  • Experiences of World War II gave insight into need to fight prejudice, he says
  • Plans for Islamic center have drawn protest from 9/11 victims' families
  • Constitution protects from guilt by association, Stevens says
Washington (CNN) -- Retired Justice John Paul Stevens expressed support Thursday for a planned Islamic community center near the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, urging religious and ethnic tolerance.
"American Muslims should enjoy the freedom to build their places of worship wherever permitted by local zoning laws," the retired Supreme Court jurist said at a luncheon where he was honored by the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation.
The 90-year-old said his experiences as a veteran of World War II, when the United States was fighting Japan, have given him insight over the years into the need to combat "invidious prejudice."
The proposed Islamic community center and mosque -- now officially dubbed Park 51 -- would be two blocks north of ground zero, where two aircraft hijacked by Muslim extremists crashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers, causing them to collapse. About 3,000 people died, and many city residents say the Islamic facility's location would be inappropriate because feelings from that day nine years ago remain fresh and bitter.
But Stevens said it would be unfair to infer the acts of al Qaeda terrorists as reflecting the views of all Muslims, especially those in the United States.
"Our Constitution protects every one of us from being found guilty of wrongdoing based on the conduct of our associates. Guilt by association is unfair," he said. It would be "profoundly unwise to draw inferences based on a person's membership in any association or group without first learning something about the group."
Stevens retired from the high court in late June after 35 years. He has been active giving speeches and works regularly at the Supreme Court in his chambers, which retired justices are allowed to have.
He said he understands how many people would feel about having a mosque near what has become hallowed ground. But he noted a 1994 visit to Hawaii and the Japanese tourists he encountered at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy base bombed by the Japanese, prompting the U.S. to get involved in World War II.
"Several thoughts flashed through my mind: 'Those people don't really belong here. We won the war; they lost it. We shouldn't allow them to celebrate their attack on Pearl Harbor even if it was one of their greatest victories,' " he said of his tour of the USS Arizona, sunk in the Japanese attacks and now the site of a national park. "I realized that I was drawing inferences about every member of the tourist group that did not necessarily apply to any single one of them. We should never pass judgment on barrels and barrels of apples just because one of them may be rotten.
"I suspect that many New Yorkers who lost friends or relatives as a result of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 may have reacted to the news that Muslims are planning to erect a mosque or a religious center in the neighborhood much as I reacted to the sight of the Japanese tourists on the Arizona. ... Some of those New Yorkers may have had second thoughts, just as I did at the Arizona."
Stevens served at Pearl Harbor for two and half years during the war. He noted the 10th anniversary of a memorial, erected a few blocks from the Supreme Court, honoring the sacrifice and patriotism of Japanese-Americans, many of whom were forcibly interned at remote prisoner camps during the war.
That monument "conveys the central message that visitors to the Arizona and participants in the debate about the New York mosque should heed," Stevens said. "That message tells us to beware of stereotypical conclusions about groups of people that we don't know very well."
In a speech last month in Nevada, he defended his bitter dissent in a 1989 Supreme Court case that declared flag-burning to be protected speech under the First Amendment. He said that setting it afire was just as dangerous and offensive as burning a Christian cross or desecrating a Quran.
Such symbols, whether in the name of speech or faith, are "entitled to respect."
Now that he is retired, the Chicago native presumably has discretion to talk more candidly about current events and controversial topics than when he was an active justice and deciding a range of appeals.

1 comment:

  1. Is Justice Stevens tired of hearing about Islam? Sorry, the ever-increasing uproar over Islam's incursions into the West isn't a passing fad, it's here to stay, and it's not about "Islamophobia", it's about Islam, the world's most supremacist intolerant ideology making a comeback. The word phobia means an unreasonable fear of something based on ignorance which leads to irrational decision-making processes. The meaning of the word Islam is submit or surrender for a reason, and it's eminently rational to fear being made to submit or surrender to anything bad, which a study of Islam's history proves it to be in spades. Muslims are not like, say, Sikhs, colorful people with quaint customs who are usually quite harmless unless you attack their Golden Temple. From day one Islam has been a giant horror show, a relentless push for world domination centered in Mecca that churns out zombies, slaves and corpses, and is like a rachet wrench, it only turns in one direction: the submit-to-it direction. Due to Muslim immigration, the once happily Muslim-free West is in increasing peril of Islamic infiltration and takeover, a process that will be all bad news, the borders of the Muslim world are always bloody. Too bad, the media are currently dominated by Islam history ignoramuses and Muslim disinformation artists who claim to see no threat, and worse, blame and try to silence those who do, hoping to stifle all debate about the political dangers of the ideology of Islam itself, repeating the pattern of many proud civilizations of the past before they were absorbed forever.

    When it comes to Islam, Western political principles learned via study of the last couple of centuries of history won't work, nor will appeasement. It's not about Marxist class struggle or Western capitalism with them, it's about eternal rewards or punishments for what they do on Earth for their god Allah.

    Take their slogan that Islam is a religion of love. It is, but only in the sense that all Muslims must love Allah, who then tells them who to hate, namely unbelievers, including Muslims of a different stripe, and what to do about them, push them aside and conquer and rule their territory, then reduce them to dhimmi status, making them pay a tax to keep from being executed, AKA protection money.

    Take their slogan that Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims claim that only because previous Muslims waged bloody holy war for centuries and suppressed the infidels and set up Allah's peace terms of Sharia, meaning rule of the land in his name, which destroys everybody's freedoms and only compensates by giving Muslims a bit more freedom than infidels. So the catch about Islam being a religion of peace is that it's only after you accept its peace terms of total submission along with its horrible Sharia that makes Muslims superior to non-Muslims and men to women. Until then Allah commands Muslims to wage ceaseless war with unbelievers, which historically has come to mean even Muslims of different sects, which is why Islam has been a religion of endless war with an ironic slogan. Allah himself declared the war, and no human can declare peace in his name, sorry, you're either with him or against him, although he does permit temporary truces greased by plenty of jizya or punishment taxes, but their us-vs-them Muslim superiority attitude is intact in all. Just because a wolf dons sheep's clothing, it doesn't change it into a sheep, its true nature remains the same.

    It's not about racism. Islam isn't a race, but it wants to absorb all races, so let's not go there, it's counterproductive. It's not just a religion either, because it comes with a god who wants to control the government.