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Completely coincidental this happened the day of Trump’s Muslim ban

Here’s one to put in your “Look for the Helpers” file and maybe remember to come back to when there’s entirely too much Trump in your day. And like too many Nice Times, it starts with something terrible: In the early hours of Saturday morning, not long after Trump’s immigration ban (it’s not a Muslim ban, really, even though he campaigned on that! Total coincidence!) went into effect, some jerk set fire to the Islamic Center in Victoria, Texas, and although fire crews arrived quickly, the building was a total loss. Now, of course this wasn’t Trump’s fault, and there’s no reason to think a Trump supporter might do such a despicable thing. It was probably a false flag like all other bad things that happen (and indeed, the cause is still under investigation — we can’t rule out an electrical fire or some ordinary cause, because the universe does like to fuck with us that way. But we’re prepared not to be too shocked if it was arson). By the time the congregation’s president, Shahid Hashmi, who was also one of its founders, got to the mosque, there was nothing to be done but “to stand there and watch it collapse […] the fire was so huge.”

The mosque, built in 2000, was a total loss, but then a Christmas Miracle happened: Robert Loeb, the president of the local Reform Jewish congregation, Bnai Israel, and other members of the congregation, showed up to hand Hashmi the keys to their synagogue for his congregation to use until the mosque is rebuilt. “Jewish community members walked into my home and gave me a key to the synagogue,” Hashmi said.

No arrests have been made in the incident. The mosque has been vandalized before; in 2013, a local man admitted to spray-painting “H8” on the walls, and on January 21 this year, someone broke into the Islamic Center and stole computers and other electronics.

It looks like a lot of people took their frustrations with the president and his anti-Muslim sentiments (which of course he doesn’t have, he LOVES Muslims) and converted them to cash, too: A GoFundMe account for rebuilding the mosque has topped a million dollars, most of that in the campaign’s first two days. That’s well beyond the original $850K goal, so we’re inclined to urge you to save your outrage dollars for the next disaster (this is a nice time post, but there will be another disaster).

But while we’re feeling a little better about humanity, which is basically a lot better than our worst examples, let’s also take a moment to appreciate Mr. Loeb’s explanation of why his congregation helped. Oh, sure, there’s the aw-shucks anyone would do it part: “Everyone knows everybody, I know several members of the mosque, and we felt for them. When a calamity like this happens, we have to stand together.” But then there’s this brilliant little coda:

“We have probably 25 to 30 Jewish people in Victoria, and they probably have 100 Muslims. We got a lot of building for a small amount of Jews.”

You have to admire someone who’s simultaneously such a mensch and so practical.

And as Yr Editrix said, “Look for the helpers. If you can’t find one, be one.”

[Forward / NYT]

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  • Nounverb911

    When will we have to start a ‘GoFundMe’ for Synagogue security?

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      Nov 9th?

      • sweeper

        I wish there was some kind of horrified acknowledgment button for this, but yeah, totally.

    • Werewolf

      Well, bomb threats were called in to multiple Jewish Community Centers three separate times in January, so, any time now is good. My synagogue (I live in the parsonage next door) is getting security cameras.😕

  • Crank Tango

    Well, it’s nice to see there’s something that can bring Jews and Muslims together, too bad it’s assholes.

  • Bill D. Burger

    You mean those good, Gawwwd’ fearin Texas Christians didn’t show up to help?

    ___ Oh! Oh! Clutch the pearls.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/35ed48122d9a7ed4a7f7ebd031aaaeb094ca653f97e095951ac3806d7837144b.jpg

    • Nounverb911

      Rachel did a nice story on the ‘human chain’ around the Texas Muslim Day festivities this week to protect the attendees from people like her.

    • AnnieGetYerFun

      Hey, marginalized folks gotta stick together.

      • Toomush_Inferesistance

        I’ll have what you’re drinking, marg….

    • OrdinaryJoe

      When the ugly in your heart shows on your face.

    • wavicles

      I think they helped the whole thing get started.

  • Toomush_Inferesistance

    I just envision him saying that with a Woody Allen shoulder shrug….

  • Zippy W Pinhead

    too bad Donnie’s regime just eliminated any mention of white supremacy from that terror program

    • Nounverb911

      Supremacy? Isn’t the Macy’s on Herald Square and 34th street in Manhattan, the “World’s Largest Store”?

  • Reality Kills

    Making arrangements for the Trump Recession Party in mid 2018! Date, TBD.

    • Mike Steele

      Yeah, that 20K Dow tanked in a hurry. Also, too, since tariffs will raise consumers goods and we’ll be trading with no one but ourselves, it ain’t looking good for the WalMart brigade or the Chrisianista retirees.

      • Reality Kills

        Yup. Who wants to talk about growing your company domestically (like two centuries ago) when now you have billions of people around the world. Way to go Donald!! The economy is going to shrink bigly!!

    • JustDon’tSayPeriod.Period!

      Yeah, I’ve been thinking of converting some of my 401(k) to ‘Cash for the Crash’.

      • Unmutual Tetsu Kaba

        I’ve been thinking the same thing.

    • President in Exile Firefly

      I’m saving up my trillion mark Weimar notes and Zimbabwe bucks.

  • whitroth

    Remember, something like three-quarters of all Americans who could vote *didn’t* vote for this fascists son-of-a-bitch (no insult meant to dogs of the female persuasion or otherwise).

    • LucindathePook

      Or offspring of said dogs.

  • Sir Leggy Mountbatten III

    Kind people are losers!

  • JMP

    But god says you’re supposed to hate your neighbor if they worship him in slightly different ways than you do!

  • Spotts1701, Resistance Pilot

    Kindness begets kindness. We just have to keep pushing back on the wave of darkness.

  • gamera23

    Trump loves Muslims that don’t get their mosque burned.

    • FlownOver

      No. No, he doesn’t. He loves everyone who is Donald Trump. And nobody else.

  • WomanInTheResistance

    Yeah, I’m not crying. You are crying.

    Fuck it, we’re all crying.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Pretty much non stop.

    • BearDeLaOursistance

      Quick, someone declare onions both treif and haraam.

  • puredog

    If I were in Texas and there were maybe RWNJ arsonists about, I’m not sure how comfy I’d feel in a synagogue, either.

    • JustDon’tSayPeriod.Period!

      Well, as long as you didn’t go to temple in the wee hours of the night, you’d be safe enough.

    • Werewolf

      I live next door to a synagogue in Texas. Of course, it’s the People’s Republic of Austin, so….

      • Alan

        You guys should be building a wall.

  • Trump has released the following statement regarding this situation:

    The Jews have always been a weak people. To allow radical Islamist to invade their boarders just proves that they are weak. They have betrayed all good people No wonder when Jesus came down with his blue eyes and blonde hair, he quickly decided he was not their messiah. Sad.

  • Bill D. Burger

    ManOMan…Republican Jesus is sure different from this fellow:

    http://blog.bakerdavid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/LoveYourEnemies.jpg

    Mahatma Gandhi: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    ~boom goes the dynamite~

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    Saw this last night on Rachel’s show. Snark off–God bless the helpers.

  • Beanz&Berryz

    Good decent generous people make us all a bit more good decent and generous by reminding us how…

    And, an appreciative call-out to Wonk and Dok… for the reasonably nuanced acknowledgement of what might have been in the cause of the fire without one teensy bit stepping over into any alleged mongering… we here in this wonk place might snark, even a fuck of alot sometimes, but we to try hard to get it right.. thanks for that too…

    • WomanInTheResistance

      What you said.

    • meanlawyermom

      This is why I love Wonkette.

    • keenanjay

      All true. But the speed of the fire suggests accelerant.

  • moebym posted this

    Different sets of beliefs. Different holy books. Different traditions. Different holidays. Different houses of worship.

    Same blood. Same flesh. Same species. Same hopes and dreams. Same planet.

    So tell me, are those differences more worth fighting over than the similarities are worth fighting for?

    • Scrofula

      I don’t disagree with the point, but technically:
      Same core beliefs. Same holy books. Same prophets. Mostly same traditions.
      It’s all the same God of the Desert, which I wish more fundie Christians here understood. Islam isn’t wholly alien like, say, Buddhism, that doesn’t even have the same concept of linear time or deities.

      • WomanInTheResistance

        People of the Book is the usual phrase.

        • JustDon’tSayPeriod.Period!

          Children of Abraham, also too.

          • zerosumgame0005

            Old Abe was a real asshole in any case

        • Scrofula

          Librarians might disagree.

          • WomanInTheResistance

            Notice that it’s just the book. No plurals.

          • Scrofula

            AA members might disagree.

          • Serai 1

            Librarians would know what the phrase meant.

          • Scrofula

            Librarians would disagree with the term “preferred” and catch the “God of the Desert” reference.

      • DahBoner

        Buddha is a deity.

        And the past affects the future, which means time goes forward.

        Some Buddhists believe Lord Brahma is the Creator.

        And Joseph Campbell says Jesus and Buddha are virtually identical. Both woke up and realized they were divine.

        Jesus’ dad was poor, Buddha’s dad was rich.

        Even more remarkable 😀

        • Scrofula

          In the Soto Zen tradition, at least, Siddhartha Guatama was a human being, not divine. He was just one of many “Buddhas”, time being cyclical.
          Jesus and the Buddha have similarities in offering a kind of “salvation”; although in one case, it’s immortality, in the other, it’s release FROM the cycles of time, ie. death.

  • Lesser Tiffany

    I’m not at all being facetious here (I mean this sincerely) when I say that Presbyterian minister Mister Rogers probably would have done the same thing.

    • HazooToo

      So many people are letting him down these days.

    • mackafritz

      It’s the neighborly thing to do.

    • WomanInTheResistance

      Fred Rogers was a profoundly decent man.

      https://youtu.be/NQqKBqj5xhY

      • aureolaborealis

        I remember watching his show as an adult and bursting into tears when I suddenly understood that he knew he was the only positive, nurturing adult in the lives of many of the children in his audience.

        • WomanInTheResistance

          That is so true. Yep, I’m weeping right now.

        • DT

          There are some realizations you make about your childhood (or about things in your childhood) upon reaching adulthood that just fucking crush you.

      • Goposaur

        I had the honor of meeting him several times when I worked in juvenile publishing for Putnam-Grosset back in the ’80s. He is everything you can imagine… gentle, brilliant, and oh, so funny. Truly influenced me to try to be a better person.

      • meanlawyermom

        I’m going to watch this even though it is going to make me ugly cry.

      • docterry6973

        I worked as a psychologist in a psychiatric hospital. A staff member – a staff member in a psychiatric hospital – asked me if watching Mr. Rogers would make their son gay.

        True story.

    • Scrofula

      Then again, my Presbyterian friend in HS explained it as “thou shalt potluck.”

      • Lesser Tiffany

        SO MANY FUCKING POTLUCKS. Also have you had walnuts in green jello? I have. Thanks presbyterians.

        • TxSpinyLizrd

          In Texas, we put pecans in our green jello (with cream cheese and pineapple).

          • How do you make an initially gross thing grosser?

          • DT

            Like that, apparently.

          • Painter of Goats

            Substitute cottage cheese for the cream cheese. Now it’s lumpy!

          • Biel_ze_Bubba

            Gak. This whole “creativity” thing is waaaay over-rated.

          • AJ Milne

            Thanks for that. Sure, the memories were… Painful. But I think I have finally begun to understand my phobias of Jello and of church basements. Perhaps now the healing can begin.

        • aureolaborealis

          With whipped cream on top? That shit is pretty fucking awesome.

      • SweetDeeKat

        Shout out for Lutherans and hot dish.

    • Kateaux

      Fred Rogers is/was an excellent example of what ministers are *supposed* to be like. They don’t have to lead a worship service every Sunday, and they certainly don’t have to name drop Jesus every time they open their mouths. (But then, I’m biased — my dad was a UCC minister.)

      • WomanInTheResistance

        My mom is a UCC deacon. And a very good person. Not all Christians are assholes. Some actually behave like they are followers of that Jesus guy.

      • Jukesgrrl

        I know a graphic designer in Pittsburgh who used to work for Fred. He once told me, “You haven’t lived until you’ve shown your art to Mr. Rogers and he tells you, ‘That’s very nice, Jim,’ in that inimitable voice.”

      • Skeptical_thinker

        The only time you hear Jesus’ name in a UCC church is when the janitor falls down the stairs.

        • Kateaux

          I think you may have the United Church of Christ confused with some other denomination.

          • keenanjay

            Could you have confused a (needlessly specific) joke with a smear?

          • Kateaux

            No. If that was a joke, it was a very poor attempt.

          • keenanjay

            I guess I have a thick skin.

          • Skeptical_thinker

            You are correct. I will edit post.

  • Jamoche

    http://www.bbc.com/news/video_and_audio/features/world-us-canada-38817701/38817701

    BBC, from JFK airport: Iraq war vet makes friends with man waiting for his wife to make it past the Muslin Ban.

  • Crystalclear12

    I have an odd head because what popped into it first is:
    Hey, they can even share potlucks.

    • Alan

      With yummy food even.

  • FlownOver

    “when there’s entirely too much Trump in your day.”

    24/7/365. You know this.

  • Look for the helpers. If you can’t find one, be one

    This should be the left’s mantra.

  • Swampgas_Man

    This is why I hope there’s intelligent life on other worlds; imagine how depressed God must get if this is the only channel he gets.

  • azeyote

    christian miracle? – it would be a miracle if a christian didn’t burnt down the mosque

    • Bongstar420

      I’ll take those odds

  • Jgb979

    In dark times like this it’s important to not focus on the darkness but the ongoing glimpses of humanity shining through.

    Kudos to the Jews for showing the grace and dignity all humans should expect from one another’s.

    • wavicles

      They seem nice.

      • WomanInTheResistance

        They are nice.

  • Kooolest G

    hmmmmmmm, a building that was built in 2000 (even in texas where building codes are mere suggestions) is a pretty unlikely place for an electrical fire. just sayin

    • Alan

      Yeah I was thinking the same thing.

    • mardam422

      Jeebus made it spontaneously combust.

  • goonemeritus

    Nice people are nice.

  • The Wanderer

    A beautiful gesture.

  • mancityRed6

    For one brief moment, I had faith in humanity again.
    At least now I have a memory I can fall back on.

    • Bongstar420

      It is nice to see people help each other, but is religion really much more than a recreational activity these days? They are like think tanks with magic.

      • sweeper

        Religion is way, way more complex than that. It’s about understanding the self in a community of meaning, connecting via shared values. You can see it in familiar, popular expressions of religion and in places you might not expect. Whether or not the community shares a God-concept,or even has one is not what defines religious expression.

        • C4TWOMAN

          One might argue the definition you’re using is properly “spirituality”. The concept of spirit is associated with religion, but isn’t actually dependent on it, or even theism.
          Just a thought.

          • sweeper

            Religion is (anthropologically) the confluence of practice/actions, social expression and concepts. Spirituality is a subjective experience which may or may not be an important part of the ideas about the religion.

          • C4TWOMAN

            Kay, fair enough.

          • keenanjay

            Also good. I took that class as part of my anthro major, but it was the 70’s. I’m ancient.

          • keenanjay

            Very nice description.

        • Heather

          I have problems with this definition. Admittedly, I’m an atheist, so it might be just that. But doesn’t this sort of broad, all-encompassing view mean that ANYTHING (even if humanist, secular, atheist in nature) could be co-opted and chalked up to religion? I’m not prepared to cede all community values and meanings to religion. I think that’s just… culture. Or cultural values anyway. Cultural values PLUS some sort of mystical or supernatural beliefs (if not “God-concept per se), OK, I would accept that as a definition of religion.

          • sweeper

            “Chalked up” indicates a kind of lesser, invalid category. The human religious impulse isn’t a lower impulse, it’s one in which people connect their values to their experience or non-experience of the numinous. It isn’t a write off, it’s an important exploration of what it is to be human, how one confronts mortality, consciousness.

          • Heather

            I meant that if you are attributing to religion things which are not religious in nature, then yes, it is a lower and invalid category because it’s not accurate. Religion doesn’t get to trump everything else just because you have decided it’s the most important thing.

          • sweeper

            I haven’t decided anything. Religion is an important human phenomenon. There’s no status of more or less important. It’s something that one has to consider when one thinks about sociology, philosophy, psychology, art. The problem, I think, is that rather than understanding that there is a phenomenon or a confluence of phenomena that describes religious experience, sometimes people go to their own emotional narrative of what has been presented to them as defining religion.

          • Heather

            Ah yes. My emotional narrative. Of course. How foolish of me.

            The problem that I’m having is not my “emotional narrative,” but your persistence in defining religion as encompassing everything, including the non-religious. It’s like saying vegetarianism is about your experience of non-meat-eating, whether you eat meat or not. The problem with that definition is not the existence of vegetarianism, its importance to society, our judgment of its relative importance, or our emotional narrative of what has been presented to us as defining vegetarianism. The problem is that that’s not what fucking vegetarianism is.

          • sweeper

            Edit: Also I’m very sorry for not hearing you properly. I didn’t think I was saying it encompassed everything. I was more saying it affects and interacts with society, culture, thought.

      • M.E. Lawrence

        Bongstar420, as a 3rd-generation atheist, I personally agree with you, but religion is be VERY strong in many parts of these United States. Even those who are not all that religious (as in believing in an imaginary friend) like it as some sort of community bond; a favorite cousin, who is a very left-wing Dem, has given up Catholic dogma, but calls herself a “cultural Catholic.” Childhood teachings are sometimes impossible to shake.

        • Skeptical_thinker

          Ms. Thinker is a “cultural Jew”. Her brother is an atheist and president of his synagogue. Some things can’t be explained.

  • Begin Anew Day

    OK. I’ll try to be a helper right now.

    Here’s a handy tip for everyone who is going to the rally, demonstration or mass meeting this coming Saturday. (Here in Denver it’s about Immigration, natch.)

    Everyone who is out there needs to be a LOT LOUDER! And this tip will help you get louder with not too much expense.

    You need a nice big sheet of stiff paper, card stock or plastic.

    Start at one corner and start rolling a cone. Check there for what it looks like:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cone

    Once you have the cone rolled, tape it securely with (what else?) duct tape.

    Now get a hobby knife or heavy duty scissors. (Don’t start running a round with them! This is serious bizniz!)

    Cut the tip end of the cone off. You can do it! This is America dammit! Be careful! Don’t make a mess!

    You want the hole on the small end to be a little bit bigger than your own mouth.

    You now have a directional MEGAPHONE just like GW Bush used to use when he was a cheer leader at YALE! (Sis Boom Bah!)

    Yell in the small end and it comes out the large end LOUDER! Watch where you point that thing! Try to be nice to the people around you.

    America! Fuck Yeah!

    • eka

      okay so i’m going to the protest in philly on saturday. question: is it still advised that any non-citizens (not from the banned countries) stay away? Philly’s mayor has basically declared us as a sanctuary city but I’m still worried. I guess I’ll probably go alone and leave the husband at home, just in case. Because apparently it doesn’t matter what country you’re from, if you’re detained, they can fuck with you even if you have a green card and are from europe (not that that should matter, but it shows the thoroughness). Nice country we live in.

      • Dazza

        Call the ACLU and ask, maybe?

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Be a shame if something happened to it.

      • keenanjay

        If you protest peacefully and follow lawful orders there is no reason to think that you might fall into such a situation. I would go.

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    Somebody should watch over the synagogue at night. Just sayin’.

  • Bebecca

    Baptists in Victoria TX: Yay, they’re gone.
    Jews in Victoria TX: Here let us help you.
    Which one is more like Jesus and the answer is pretty ironic isn’t it?

  • docterry6973

    Well, I guess we know who supports terrorism in Victoria, Texas.

    • Kateaux

      Actually, Christians in Victoria have also offered support to the members of the mosque. According to a story on Houston tv station KTRK’s website, “Ten different churches and even a synagogue have offered their help and opened their doors.”

      • Leonard McElroy

        How is this relevant exactly? The point of this story is to highlight an example of heartening tolerance, cooperation, and benevolence between 2 groups who are, together, more commonly associated with conflict. It should serve as an example of how decent people behave in their lives, and not a point of comparison on which to make a case for equivalency. The absence of a mention of the Christian perspective here stems mainly from the fact that this has nothing to do with “Christians in Victoria” in the first place.

        Assuming what happened was a crime and not a freak event, how many of those churches welcome the perpetrator(s) of the crime into their congregations as one of their own? In my opinion, likely more than can be made up for by gestures of charity that are too little, and too late.

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