Daily Archives: May 26, 2010

Judging Millions by the Actions of a few

Diversity is a bit of a swearword for the Daily Mail and its readership, and it is a word that is often used to make people scream in outrage and miss the real point of something. Take this story from today’s Daily Mail: ‘‘We don’t want to upset 9/11 families but we have to balance diversity': Mosque near Ground Zero gets go-ahead‘.

For starters, the planned Mosque is actually 2 blocks away from Ground Zero, so it isn’t literally being built on the rubble of the World Trade Centre. The Mosque is also merely part of a much larger ‘proposed 13-storey Muslim community centre, which will include a swimming pool, gym, theatre and sports facilities’. The purpose of the proposed building is to:

meet a growing need for prayer space in Lower Manhattan as well as provide a venue for the dissemination of mainstream Islam, to counter extremism.

They have previously said they picked the spot precisely because of its location near Ground Zero.

Building a mosque ‘where a piece of the wreckage fell…. sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, told the New York Times last year.

‘We want to push back against the extremists,’ Feisal, 61, added.

So it is really an attempt to demonstrate that there is a significant difference between mainstream Muslims and the minority of extremists, its location is supposed to be significant. Unfortunately, the Daily Mail has picked up one word (diversity) and used it to imply that this is just another act of appeasement, and one that is disrespectful because it is being proposed very close to where they blew up the Twin Towers. The diversity comment was made by Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer who supports the project:

‘I don’t think anybody wants to do anything to disrespect those families. They made the ultimate sacrifice,’ he said.

‘At the same time, we have to balance diversity and look for opportunities to bring different groups together.’

…’What I want people to do is to take a look at the totality of what they are proposing,’ Mr Stringer said. ‘What we’re rejecting here is outright bigotry and hatred.’

Bringing ‘different groups together’ seems like a pretty good idea, for how else are we supposed to combat extremism? Sadly, the response by the families – and I can understand their anger in a way – is to lump all Muslims together:

Rosemary Cain, whose fireman son was killed, said: ‘I think it’s despicable. That’s sacred ground. It’s a slap in the face.

‘How could anybody give them permission to build a mosque there?’

And this attitude is what we find in the comments:

I could go on, but it just too depressing watching an entire culture being demonised for the violent actions of a few deluded people.