- Nicholas Kristof on the So-Called 'Ground Zero Mosque' The New York Times columnist makes
the usual arguments--that the proposed project is more like a YMCA
center than anything else, that it's not really at the site of Ground
Zero--but then adds two new notes. The first is personal: "I know Imam
Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan--the figures behind the
Islamic community center--and they are the real thing." They are
"open-minded" moderates who "have been strong advocates for women
within Islam." Second, Kristof urges readers to consider that Islam is
not "an inherently war-like religion that drives believers to
terrorism." Writes Kristof:
But don’t forget that the worst
brutality in the Middle East has often been committed by more secular
rulers, like Saddam Hussein and Hafez al-Assad. And the mastermind of
the 1970 Palestinian airline hijackings, George Habash, was a Christian.
- Julia Llewellyn Smith on Emma Thompson Smith delivers
a thoughtful Telegraph op-ed on one of moviedom's more unusual stars,
who recently has been irritating her countrymen with her "otherworldly
edicts." For example: "telling working mothers they couldn't 'have it
all,'" saying Audrey Hepburn was "'twee, mumsy and really couldn't
act." Going over Thompson's life and career trajectory, relating some
details doubtless known by the reader, others likely new, Smith
explains how the "national treasure" could appear insufferable to some.
But, whether intentional or not, the mere cataloguing of Thompson's
feats and quirks--original, unsexy roles, awards kept in the bathroom,
"neglecting her career" for her daughter, adopting a child soldier,
writing her own parts--simultaneously shows how much there is to admire
in the unusual actress.
- Piers Brendon on China's Rise to #2
Among World Economies "How will China use its new-found wealth?"
Wealthy countries have often "equip[ped] themselves with the sinews of
war in order to enhance their position," explains
the historian and writer, currently a fellow at Cambridge, but that
isn't what the U.S. did. "For the the most part, the nation's business
was business," and it's possible that it was this attitude that led to
America's tremendous economic success. China, too, has at points seemed
to espouse the ideal that "globalization fosters international
cooperation." Concludes Brendon: China may or may not "keep its
promise" to expand peacefully. "But doom-merchants predicting that
China will topple America from its pre-eminence should recognize that
history is not necessarily on their side."
- Andrew McCarthy on Muslim Americans: Individuals and Communities McCarthy recalls
"head[ing] up a prosecution team that was preparing to try the 'Blind
Sheikh' Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven other jihadists for conducting a
terrorist war against the United States. The case," he writes at
National Review, "revealed this country's Muslim divide." The
prosecution relied on American Muslims, who "infiltrate[d] the terror
cells" and "helped us shape the resulting evidence into a compelling
narrative." But when the prosecution tried to "retain some civilians as
private contractors" for translating, the team faced a problem:
confidentiality--many were afraid of being "ostracized" for betraying
their religion. "As long as they could do it quietly, they were willing
to help," explains McCarthy.
But doing it quietly was
imperative. Most American Muslims are not instinctively different from
other Americans. But American Muslim communities are peculiar.
In many of them, the leadership of the mosques and Islamic centers is
foreign (or at least foreign-influenced). This leadership tends to be
anti-Western and arrogant, claiming an Islamic authenticity Americans
are said to lack. Many American Muslims are intimidated into silence.
- Lawrence Harmon on Students Saving Boston "The think tank at Boston City Hall is percolating," writes
Harmon in the Globe, "with ideas courtesy of elite graduate and law
students usually found in summer internships at white-shoe law firms
and downtown consulting firms." He tells of summer interns "delving
into the zoning code to determine if urban farming has a place in
Boston's future ... design[ing] ways to make the gears of city
government operate more smoothly ... integrat[ing] social services and
public education." Mayor Menino "has spent a lot of effort bringing
scholars to city Hall," explains Harmon, "but time is running down on
the fifth-term mayor's legacy." The hope may lie in "topflight students
who opt for careers in public service."
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