So far, my responses to Elizabeth Moon's Park51 posting
have been pretty simple stuff: take a few statements from the posting and see if they stand up to scrutiny. (There's more to this than just disagreement. Ms Moon's views are shared by many folks in the West. They may change their minds if given more accurate information.)
When it comes to some of the historical and political stuff, though, I'm all at sea. The last time I studied history was Tudor England in Year 8. Getting a grip on the complexities is going to take a lot more than reading a couple of books.
So when it comes to this part of the posting, I can't make a meaningful comment; I can only ask questions.
"It would have been one thing to have the Muslim victims' names placed with the others, and identified there as Muslims--but to use that site to proselytize for the religion that lies behind so many attacks on the innocent (I cannot forget the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown, or Maj. Nadal's attack on soldiers at Fort Hood) was bound to raise a stink."
As you can see, Moon's ire here is partly based on a mistaken belief that Park51 would be a memorial to Muslims killed on 9/11. (On the one hand, I can see how such a memorial could be seen as provocative and divisive. On the other hand, I can't work out at all how Ms Moon arrived at this belief.) ETA: Just wanted to point this out: a lot of online commenters say that Ms Moon's posting called the community centre a "mosque". It didn't.
The wheelchair-bound Jewish man was Leon Klinghoffer, murdered by PLO terrorists in 1985 aboard the Achille Lauro
, which they had hijacked. They shot him - in front of his wife - and threw his body and his wheelchair overboard.
The murder was needless, inexcusable brutality; it's no wonder it's stuck in Moon's mind. The thing is - and here's where my lack of nous becomes frustrating - were the PLO an Islamic organisation? Was their terrorism fuelled by religion? (And if not, what does this tell us about equating "Arab" with "Islam" with "terrorism"?)
The account given in Islamic Politics in Palestine
suggests that the PLO was part of a secular movement, one which competed and clashed with Islamic groups. Similarly, The Dual Nature of Islamic Fundamentalism
describes Islamic groups in Palestine regarding the secular PLO as Palestine's "internal enemy". (Similarly, I recall the conflict between Fatah - part of the PLO - and Hamas - an Islamic group - during Operation Cast Lead
I suspect the situation's far more complicated than anything a quick poke around in Google Books can explain. I'll keep reading. In the meantime, if anyone's got any insights, please share them!