Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a moderate moslem

Mark Steyn was in Phoenix, AZ September 6, 2007 to address the Goldwater Institute and to promote his new book "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It". Dr. Zhudi Jasser was in attendance. The AZCapitolTimes reported as follows:

One Muslim in attendance, Dr. Zhudi Jasser, a vocal critic of what he sees as Muslims' refusal to rally against its own virulent element, said he agreed with much of Steyn's discussion.....

But Steyn's message falls short, he said, and lacks an urging to ingrain upon Muslims America's "central tenet" of immigration, which he regards as the basis for the nation.

And after escaping at-home dictatorships and theocracies, arriving Muslims should feel free to keep their culture, but should also refrain from segregating themselves and falling under the strict direction of religious authorities, said Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

A medical doctor and son of parents of Syrian origin, Jasser said he believes his outspokenness and sense of personal responsibility has left him with few allies. Muslim leaders, he said, seem more interested in either weilding faith to maintain followers or promulgating a sense of "victimhood that is monopolizing the media bandwidth."

"Within the Muslim community, the leadership pretends I don't exist because they want to maintain theocratic control," said Jasser, who calls for "liberty-minded thinktanks for Muslims.

"Outside the Muslim community, political correctness refuses to let anyone be crititcal of Muslims or Islam becuase that's a faith issue, and nobody wants to critical of a faith," said Jasser.

"But it (radical Islam) is not a faith issue. It is a political movement masquerading as a faith."

Wow! Never heard a moslem say that before! Well, that's one little step in the right direction.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Clash over Arizona's 9/11 Memorial

I tried to find these viewpoints articles online at but after searching for over 30 minutes and finding nothing, I give up and will retype them here without the permission of The Arizona Republic Viewpoints Section of September 9, 2007....


The Clash over Arizona's 9/11 Memorial
As another Sept. 11 nears, dispute comes to a head

Tom Smith, Governmental Mall Commission Chairman
Flaws in memorial must be fixed

For a memorial that was supposed to bring Arizonans together, the 9/11 Memorial still divides us.

A year after the memorial was unveiled featuring sometimes in appropriate, sometimes odd inscriptions, we still have not come up with a plan to appropriate remember the 3000 people who died six years ago.

Meaningless and political inscriptions fill the memorial.

"Gracie made kids giggle again", reads one. Few can explain who Gracie is, where is she from and how she made "kids giggle again." (Actually, I can. Gracie is a member of the Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission - Kirls).

"You don't win battles of terrorism with more battles" not only insults the current war effort but doesn't represent the view of the vast majority of Arizonans.

After meeting for a year, Arizona's 9/11 commission has approved the removal of two of the 54 statements. "Erroneous U.S. air strike kills 46 Uruzgan civil ans" and "Terrorist organization leader addresses American people" will no longer stand in the Wesley Bolin Plaza at the state Capitol in Phoenix.

The 9/11 commission also approved adding President Bush's name where it currently just says "President".

It also will include two panels to help explain the memorial, something sorely needed.

The biggest problem with the memorial is it seems to be a memorial to the 9/11 commission. Several of the inscriptions highlight random thoughts of members ("You don't win battles of terrorism with more battles" was something overheard by a commission member on a road trip) and each commission member is listed.

Each memorial should be self-explanatory.

A red flag should have been raised when the 9/11 commission found the needed a panel to explain the inscriptions.

Every day the sun shines on that travesty is a disgrace to Arizona's residents and the families of those who fell in New York and Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

A working group of the Legislative Governmental Mall Commission has met and recommended that all inscriptions that do not pertain directly to the events of 9/11, as required by Govs. Jane Hull and Janet Napolitano, be removed.

In it's place, we should put a real timeline of events of 9/11 instead of a hodgepodge of unrelated sentiments. The working group also recommended that the two panels be placed inside the memorial so everyone who views it will understand what they are looking at.

The Legislative Governmental Mall panel also requests that the statement referring to international terrorists be changed to read radical Islamic terrorists.
The inscriptions on the memorial never mention that the planes were hijacked. Our timeline will include that overlooked point.

Permanently removing the memorial and starting over is another viable option that should be put on the table.

As head of the mall commission, I am committed to seeing that we honor those who died, accurately reflect the views of Arizonans and memorialize that tragic day.
My goal is to have a 9/11 memorial that units Arizonans in a way that reflects the way all Americans were united on that terrible day.

Former state Sen. Tom Smith, a Republican from Phoenix, is chairman of the Arizona Legislative Governmental Mall Commission, which has oversight of all memorial at Wesley Bolin Plaza, across from the Capital.

And get a load of this timeline. It's all about the memorial itself, the politics, and the controversy rather than the lack of any timeline on the memorial.


Sept 22, 2006
- Republican gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil calls the memorial n insult to 9/11 victims and vows to tear it down and build a new one, if elected.

Sept 24, 2006 - The influential Drudge Report links to the valley news story on criticism of memorial. Conservative bloggers and Rush Limbaugh begin targeting the memorial as insensitive and unAmerican.

Sept 25, 2006 - Republican Reps. Laura Knaperek of Tempe and Russel Pearce of Mesa explore the possibility of a special legislative session to consider tearing down the memorial. Napolitano continues to support the memorial but says she never say the wording.

Oct 1, 2006 - Billy Shields, chairman of the Arizona 9/11 memorial commission, says he will recommend reconvening the commission after the Nov. 7 election to look at whether any statements should be removed.

Dec 15, 2006 - The 9/11 memorial commission meets to gather public comment. About 100 people attend. Chairman Shields says it's "highly likely" some changes will be made.

Aug 17 (2007) - Tom Smith, chairman of the Arizona Legislative Governmental Mall Commission, which has oversight of memorials at Wesley Bolin Plaza, recommends that the mall commission remove inscriptions that don't "specifically apply to the events on or of Sept. 11". Proposal is tabled, to be reconsidered.

Sept 28 (2007) - The mall commission will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 to consider recommendations by the memorial commission for changes.

And now for the opposition...

Billy Shields, Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission Chairman
We're addressing valid concerns
(even the title is if to say, we'll determine if your concerns are valid or not! - Kirls)

Never, never forget!

"On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States was victimized by a murderous terrorist attack. Hijacked commercial airlines were flown into the World Trade Towers in New York City and the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C. A third aircraft crashed in Shanksville, Penn, when heroic passengers attempted to regain control of the plane.

"Nearly 3000 people lost their lives i those attacks, including an Arizonan. Among the dead were 343 New York City firefighters and dozens of police, Port Authority and EMS officers. More than 30,000 lives were saved at the World Trade Center in what is one of the greatest rescue efforts in history. These were the most deadly attacks by foreign agents on American soil in our country's long history.

"Most of the world recoiled in horror as video of airplanes flying into the World Trade Center were replayed over and over. American citizens were filled with both grief and anger. Most soon recognized that 9/11, as it soon came to be known, although a time-specific reference point, represented much more than just a date. It was an event that profoundly altered our sense of security and of ourselves.

The above quotation was taken from the proposed addition to the Arizona 9/11 Memorial. The words represent a literal narrative of the events of that tragic day. The words also represent the deep listening of a group of volunteers called the Arizona 9/11 memorial commission. (you hear that? it's not about you or the rest of the people of this state! it's all about the commission members - kirls)

The commission consists of a cross-section of Arizonans (including family members of those who perished) who worked for four years to plan, design, fund and involve the public in the Arizona 9/11 Memorial. More than 40,000 people were involved.
The result is a memorial that is unique to Arizona, reflecting Arizona's experience with 9/11, and honoring those who lost their lives in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

Weeks after the memorial was dedicated and blessed (by an imam no less! kirls) a politician railed against it (a half truth. yes, a politician railed against it, but not until after public opinion had been galvanized against it - Kirls) and drew it into the ugly world of partisan politics. Horrified that the families were being victimized again for political purposes, the 9/11 memorial commission agreed to hear additional input on the memorial, but after the election, not in the carnival atmosphere of a partisan election. (my opinion is that the 911 memorial commission members were horrified that their work was unacceptable to normal people and that it might be forcibly changed! - Kirls)

In December, well after the elections, the commission listened again. After holding more than 50 public hearings in the prior four years, it held another. This hearing was for the sole purpose of taking additional public input on a completely public memorial. For five hours, the commission listened. (see? it's all about the commission members and how hard they worked. Well, guess what commission? you messed up! it's time to face that truth! Kirls)

In additional public meetings this year, the commission developed a list of recommendations that have been forwarded to the Arizona Legislative Governmental Mall Commission, which approved the original design and must approve any changes.

The changes include two new entrance panels. One panel would be the narrative of that day, which I began this column with. The second panel would describe the memorial and how to view it. This panel would describe the use of the sun, Arizona's most plentiful resource, in the design.

It would also describe the sacred artifacts that are the heart of the memorial: a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, rubble from the Pentagon, and dirt from the field in Pennsylvania.

Most of the constructive criticism we received on the memorial had to do with the thoughts that people in the future would not know the details of what happened that day as we do and that the memorial is unique and could be improved by letting visitors know how it is laid out in advance. (Did you see that? they decide which of your criticisms are constructive or not! Kirls)

In addition to the two panels, the commission recommended the removal of two of the original phrases. Gone would be the factually incorrect statement referring to the errant U.S Attack on Uruzgan civilians (isn't it lovely the way this is worded? they can call it errant but still call it an attack on Uruzgan civilians in this way. Kirls), as well as the notation that a terrorist leader addressed the American people in the horrible aftermath of the attacks.

The Arizona 9/11 commission listened. We have forwarded our recommendations to the mall commission. I believe these changes will be in improvement to the memorial in that they help meet our missions of making it educational for future generations.
But, I am most proud that Arizona will never forget 9/11 and of how we came together as a nation. And we will ever forget those innocent souls we lost that murderous day.

Yeah, well guess what Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission - I don't care about your recommendations! You have proven that you are unable to be trusted with a task of this significance without allowing the artists and other political activists to turn it into a manifestation of their hatred of President Bush and all things conservative.