Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Islamism, D. H. Lawrence & The Ground Zero Mosque

Robert responded as follows to the post "The Mosque near Ground Zero & D. H. Lawrence":

Robert: Do you really believe those who'd like to build this mosque are Islamists? How did you find that out, unless you think all Moslems are Islamists?

Lawrence: Actually, I have only read a few articles about the mosque. The reporters closer to the event than I am are calling them Islamists. Who am I to argue with the press: See and and

The latter article makes a point that tells me the motivation behind the mosque is Islamist or at least sympathetic with it: "The issue is the building of an immense mosque and "community centre," overlooking the Ground Zero site from the 9/11 attacks on Manhattan. It is called the Cordoba Initiative, in memory of the grand mosque in Andalusia, erected in the ninth and 10th centuries on the foundations of the demolished grand Visigothic church in that city. In Islamist, and indeed general Islamic legend, that mosque symbolized the conquest of Christian Spain by Muslim armed forces (later reversed in the "Reconquista" by armed Christian forces).

"The choice of name, as well as the choice of scale, is worthy of attention. . ."

In my studies of Islamism, the Andalusia theme was often presented. All the lands conquered by Islamic forces must forever remain Islamic. It was an insult to Mohammad and Allah for Andalusia to have been retaken by Spain. To name this Mosque "Cordoba" is a rather bold statement that the Jihad begun by Mohammad is continuing, especially in America where the Americans seem to be so weak and cowardly that they can't prevent a symbol of that Jihad from being erected near the greatest attack by Islam ever perpetrated on American soil.

Maybe some wear Liberal glasses and see these matters in accordance with American race relations, but that is not the way Muslims, whether Islamist or Traditional see these things.

Robert: [quoting Lawrence] 'He also believed that we had no sense of ourselves. We didn't believe in our identity the way Europeans believed in theirs. Of course if he were alive today he'd have to revise his opinion of the Europeans. They are now as bad as the Americans. The fact that some of us are willing to deny the building of churches (part of our American tradition) in order to deny Islamists (who have sworn to destroy our tradition) the right to build mosques is just the sort of absurdity that D. H. Lawrence delighted in ranting about.'
Same concerns + 1.
Lawrence: Same answer as +1

And then in a follow up note Robert went on to say,

Robert: What is 'part of our American tradition'? The building of churches? It's no more part of our American tradition than building baseball fields or trailer parks. What you seem to mean, but won't say, is that Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Arkansas snake handlers, and so on, have a constitutional right to worship as they please and a civil right to build, zoning laws permitting, places of worship—but Moslems don't. That's it. Say what you mean and don't wrap yourself in the shallow and bigoted thought of a man who died in 1930.

Lawrence: That could have been written by the ACLU. I am impatient with that which implies that we have painted ourselves into a constitutional corner such that we cannot defend ourselves against those bent on destroying us. Sell-defense trumps constitutional niceties. And if it doesn't, it ought to.

As to Christianity, I am assuming what modern scholars assume. It isn't even treated as a theory. It is mere history. The West grew out of the Christian Church. What Marcel Gauchet argued in The Disenchantment of the World, a Political History of Religion is an excellent scholarly treatment of this matter. That is, that the West grew out of Christianity. The West could not have existed without Christianity. Should I give up an understanding of our history and replace it with an ACLU bias? I don't see why I should.

Robert: You keep repeating that those behind the building of this 'mosque' are Islamists. This seems false, but perhaps you have some private knowledge which you prefer not to share. Your notion that Mayor Bloomberg, who favors allowing this project to go through, is thereby furthering the cause of those behind the 9/11 attacks strikes me as sheer fantasy.

Lawrence: To deny the obviousness of the erection of an argosy of a Mosque over the ashes (or nearly so) of the greatest attack the Islamists have made against the U.S. strikes me as sheer naiveté.

Robert: The +1. You accuse [Blogblather] of raising frivolous and irrelevant points, the stuff one might expect from a wild-eyed Islam-loving-leftist-liberal, things that need no reply. This strikes me as sheer evasion on your part. [Blogblather] has asked what Lawrence meant by some of his remarks. I'd like to know the same thing, for what he says is by no means transparent or obviously relevant to the topic at hand.

Lawrence: I have been in another discussion off-line. The person I was debating invoked D. H. Lawrence and his Studies in Classic American Literature. I last read this book in 1988; so I was in the process of rereading it when I noticed the treatment of the Mosque-erection issue. I noticed how it fulfilled, or was consistent, with the very things I was reading out of this book. In several cases D. H. Lawrence was very prescient about American foibles. In the past I had attributed these foibles to a more-recent Leftism, but perhaps D. H. Lawrence is correct. Perhaps these mistakes we keep making are more ingrained. If he could see us doing this sort of thing back when he wrote his book (1917-1923), perhaps we are as a nation more pathetic than I realized.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks for responding. I must confess that I can't see that your position is strengthened by the Internet sources you cite: a writer at the Ottawa Citizen who's lucky to have somewhere to practice writing and takes his arguments from something New Gingrich has said without doing any fact-finding himself; a letter-to-the-editor from someone in Florida, who appears to have no credentials other than his own opinion; and the Web page of a small, conservative group which exists to frighten the easily-frightened into thinking that Moslems are the source of all evil (along with Barack Obama and the Marxist-Leninists hiding in the strawberry fields of the Central Valley).

I believe that in another context you'd find these 'arguments' to be no arguments at all but unsupported ideological cant. I'll be more specific about the faults I find in them, and add something about your own arguments—but not just now. Maybe later tonight, or in the morning.