Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hopefully, no monster mosque next to Ground Zero

Today, at the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, I do not feel optimistic. I am afraid for the world, for the civilization. (To me, "clash of civilizations" is an euphemism, for I see only one civilization.) There is, however, a small piece of symbolic good news that is worth mentioning. It is related to the project to build a monster mosque nest to Ground Zero. After years of opposition from American citizens, and reluctance even of Muslims to pray or gather at this site, the developers of the project have announced that they back off from their original idea and will build a luxury condominium instead.


William Moulton said...


You wrote, “I do not feel optimistic. I am afraid for the world, for the civilization.” Can't I suggest a reason for optimism? A while back I read a book on how the world is getting better. (There was a rash of them in the USA. See the links below to articles on them.) The bottom line is we are doing way better in a whole lot of areas.

Slavery was the big example for me. Once upon a time, not too long ago. Everyone, everywhere had slavery. Now it is universally abhorred.

The other item that surprised me was the UN's projection on the end of poverty. I visited the Gates Foundation recently. A presentation I saw there pointed out something I'd vaguely heard before. We are winning the war on poverty world wide. Fewer and fewer peoples live in poverty and the UN even projects an end-date. Of added benefit is the human habit of having fewer children when you have wealth to bequeath them.

Please look at the article and see some of the additional facts. Main-stream news doesn't discuss this too much because good news does sell newspapers.

“The world is getting better. Why don’t we believe it?”

“Keep smiling... the world is doing fine, say American authors”


Maya M said...

Let me quote from the first source:

"The United Nations estimates that more than 250,000 people have perished in Syria’s civil war, and another million or so have been injured. With vast swathes of the Middle East collapsing, the Islamic State continues to wreak havoc, increasingly inspiring and coordinating attacks outside the region. There are now more “forcibly displaced” people worldwide than there have been at any point since World War II. Russia’s incursions into Ukraine have challenged Europe’s post-Cold War peace, and North Korea has conducted its fourth nuclear test. Pope Francis summarized many observers’ judgments when he lamented that “after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”"

I should write a separate post about this.

William Moulton said...


"There are now more “forcibly displaced” people worldwide than there have been at any point since World War II." We always go to be careful of facts that start with "There are now more..." When I pointed out to someone that slavery was no longer acceptable world-wide he responded that there were more slaves than ever before. I wondered how he could come up with that statistic but replied there are alot more people than ever before. He shame-facedly had to admit I was right.

According to Time Magazine 60 million Europeans were displaced by WW II (That's just Europeans). Wikipedia says the world population at the time was around 2.5 billion (80 million died due to WW II) that means at least 2.4% of the world population was displaced.

Now 60 million people world-wide are displaced of the near 7 billion. That's slightly less than 1%.

My sympathy to those who immigrate at this time, but the problem was twice as bad fifty years ago and the infra structure of Europe had been destroyed.


Anonymous said...

Slavery is not universally abhorred even today. Past rulers of what is now Oman had around 2 million plantation slaves in East africa after the West finally abolished slavery in the 19thCentury (John Reader Africa: A history of a continent). Mauritania was supposed to have abolished slavery in the 70s or 80s but its still around according to HRW and other reports. One of Gaddaffi's daughters set fire to a black female servant who displeased her. In Lebanon the middle classes all have servants and treat them appallingly e.g. overworking them, making them sleep in any old space,making them ride in the boot of the car etc. Saudis periodically beat their infidel (slaves) servants to death. In many other parts of the world, particularly in East asia servants (normally guest workers) are also very badly treated
The muslim brotherhood, salafists and wahabists still insist the option of enslaving conquered infidels is intrinsic to scripture and still mandatory to maintain. They just aren't open about that in western fora. Maajid Nawaz documents MB leaders explaining how to rape an infidel slave in an Egyptian prison. A cleric at Al Azhar University has emphasised (on utube with translation by the wonderful Memri foundation) that enslavement of conquered infidels is part of Islam. Slavery is still open in Mauritania. Saudi clerics inveigh against the abolition of slavery online ("Islam Questions and Answers" or "Islam Q&A" if you search you can find - though they keep changing the number of the relevant question). Even a left wing article by the London school of economics on Muslim attitudes to slavery in history concedes that the Muslim Brotherhood has always been silent or evasive on the issue . Mawlana Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi, founder of the Jamaat-i Islami in South Asia in 1941, insisted that slavery was part of unchallengeable sacred law. (Islam and Slavery, William Gervase Clarence-Smith, London School of Economics,18 March 2005). Personally I find most of Clarence-Smith's article very unconvincing - as the historian of slavery, Adam Hochschild, has said - slavery never became the publicly fought moral and political issue in the Muslim world that it did in the United States and Europe.

Also the Gates foundation, whilst it does do good work, tends to cooperate a lot with large corporations, some of whom actively exploit poor countries, so personally, I'm a little sceptical of their figures on poverty reduction. the earnings of the poorest people globally have gone up marginally over 25 years but not kept up with inflation.

Charles N. Steele said...

A few quick comments.

1. Slavery is not universally abhorred. There are open slave markets in Africa. I met a chattel slave and his owner, in fact even shook hands with both of them.

2. Poverty is indeed dwindling, but *not* because of aid from developed countries and do-gooder foundations. Poverty falls as a consequence of development,which is in turn a consequence of developing market institutions of capitalism, things like private property rights and limited government. These are the very things the left decries as "neo-liberalism" and wants to dismantle. If there's any reason for pessimism, it's because people in the West have turned on the liberal values that make free, peaceful, prosperous civilization possible. (Note, that's *liberal* values, not progressive values or leftist values; these two latter are antithetical to genuine liberalism.)

Maya M said...

Unfortunately, you are both right about the resilience of slavery in Islamic societies. I expect the problem to grow worse with the victorious march of Islam. For the same reason, I fear that development in most of the Old World will be brought to a halt and followed by collapse.