Monday, December 10, 2012

Wingnuts see suspicious lack of activity at NYC Islamic center

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Artist’s rendering of completed Park51
Park51 (artist’s rendering)

Only two years ago, the Right-wing mediasphere was going bonkers – more than usual, anyway – over Park51, a planned Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan that’s been dishonestly smeared as the “Ground Zero Mosque”, despite being located several blocks away from the World Trade Center site and where a prayer space will only be one of the many features on offer once completed. It finally opened last year to remarkably little fanfare, as pretty much everyone other than a few obsessed reactionaries had failed to maintain any outrage over peaceful Muslim-Americans wanting to build a community center in the same city where unrelated extremists committed a horrible act years previously.

Well, the same cranks who were convinced Park51 was really just a ruse to plant a breeding ground for terrorists in the heart of New York City have been keeping watch over its development, and they’ve recently made a disturbing, even shocking, discovery: Only one year after the still-unfinished center opened its doors, people are actually praying there rather than partaking in its many activities (that don’t exist yet)! Enter the New York Post:

And while the developers behind Park51 insisted for two years that the project was more than a mosque, it now appears to be just that. Dozens of worshipers gather at the site on Park Place Friday for prayer services — but that’s the only activity in the building.

Gone are the Arabic classes, workshops in calligraphy, talks on the genealogy of Muslims in America, film screenings and art exhibits. The sole community event is a class in capoeira — an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance and music. The teacher of the twice-weekly class said she has five students.

And after the article does its best to try and convince readers that the Islamic center’s current dearth of activities is somehow suspicious or newsworthy, it then slips in this telling little piece:

Development plans are now in limbo over fund-raising for the project and a dispute with Con Ed, which owns half the site. In 2009, El-Gamal’s company bought half the property, which once housed a Burlington Coat Factory store, for $4.8 million, and leased the other half from the utility. It is seeking to buy that part of the property.

In other words, the reason why Park51 doesn’t include most of its promised activities yet is a busy terrorist training schedule lazy immigrant developers mass khlav kalash poisoning mundane financial disputes.

Better yet, here’s how that bastion of nuance, Fox News, covered this non-story:

Screenshot of Fox News Channel: “IT'S A MOSQUE-RADE / Ground Zero Site: Lack-Of-Activity Center”

Because on Planet Wingnuttia, lack of any suspicious activity whatsoever is itself proof of suspicious activity. Reality just can’t win.

(via @SimonMaloy; RT: @mmfa)