Wednesday, August 18, 2010


My daughters and I are reading the book SHABANU by Suzanne Fisher Staples. It's been around a while--about 10 years now. It's about an 11-year-old girl growing up in the Cholistan desert in Pakistan. I'm not sure why my daughter picked it out at the bookstore, but it couldn't have come at a better time.

I'm sure you've heard about a little neighborhood issue we are having here in Manhattan? Certainly lots of people have chimed in. I was pregnant with my second daughter on 9/11, and I'm not going to go into the whole experience of living through that day. I'll only say that it took many New Yorkers into a dark, dark place for a long time.

We read the newspaper every morning, and my 8-year-old always has strong opinions. I generally have to issue a mass apology to the other mothers in her class for some of the death-and-destruction stories she brings in. She seems to think it's her job to corrupt young minds. Yesterday, I was discussing the mosque issue with my dad and things got heated (with most of the heat coming from me, to be honest.) Later, in the car, my daughter and I had this conversation:

Daughter: But, why are people mad about the mosque?
Me: They think it's disrespectful to build it so close to where all those people died.
D: Like (redacted)'s dad?
M: Yes. Where he died.
D: Is (redacted) mad about the mosque?
M: I don't know. I'd rather you not ask her. It might get her upset. Okay?
D: Okay. (pause) But what does that have to do with a mosque?
M: Well, the men who hijacked the plane were Muslims, and Muslims worship at a mosque, and some people think it's wrong to worship there.
D: But they were bad guys.
M: Yes. And not all Muslims are bad guys. Most are living their lives, just like anyone else.
D: Like Mrs (redacted).
M: Uh huh. And grandpa's doctor you met last month. And daddy's friend from L.A. And Shabanu, from the book.
D: She's not real.
M: I know.
D: I still don't get why people are mad that they want to pray there. They didn't do anything wrong.
M: I don't know, honey. I don't agree with those people.
D: You don't agree with Grandpa.
M: I don't. But he still loves me.

I think I'll close this one for comments. No offense, regular blog readers.

ETA: Since posting, my dad has come around to my way of thinking, sort of. He still sees it as insensitive, but he does NOT agree with the other side's bullying, ugly, bigoted tactics to get them to move.