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Ground zero mosque: to build or not to build? 16, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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The debates over the construction of the Mosque near ground zero in New York continue. Obama has said that America as a country promoting freedom can – obviously – not object to the construction of a holy building. Others have argued that, well, yes, America is a place of freedom but, well, not in this case. A moving argument indeed.

Adding their 2 cents to the debate is a group of cleric from the Arab world’s most revered University, the Al Azhar in Cairo. They reject Obama’s idea and prefer that it is not built there, joining an auspicious array of right-wing lunatics and shock-jocks (birds of a feather…). If the mosque is built so close to ground zero, they reason, Islam will be connected to the the 9/11 tragedy. A reasonably reasonable point which they cap off by calling this plan to build the mosque there “a Zionist plan.” They just can’t resist…almost making a serious point, almost fathoming and elucidating a reasoned argument then they go and ruin it all. Typical.

Chinese closure of Mosque in Xinjiang 24, June 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China.
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Reuters in Beijing is reporting that the Chinese authorities have closed down a Mosque in the Xinjiang region because it refused to put up posters supporting the Beijing Olympics. Aside from this initial fact, the story descends into something of a ‘who do you believe’ situation.

One the one side, the Chinese authorities trot out the familiar line about how there are terrorists in the area are “supported by Al Qaeda”. Obviously, China are not the first country in the world to take advantage of this new phrase in the political lexicon, which magically conveys gravitas, a suspension of questioning and  – by and large – human rights. Russia and the Central Asian states (not to mention countless Middle Eastern countries) frequently speak of Al Qaeda as a defensive barrier to Western human rights, international law and morality concerns.

And on the other had there is the World Uyghur Congress, who hit all their marks with their reply. They talk of how the government have seized their copies of the Quran, stopped allowing free worship, closed the mosque entirely, and have been torturing Muslims. Many of these instances could well be true, but the beseeching nature their diatribes, beseeching Muslim countries to intervene somehow (hence the buzz words: Quran, Mosque, pray, and torture) I feel takes away some of their gravitas.