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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]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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It started with them damn hats. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

A guest post by "Knitsy McPurlson," which we suspect is not a real name.

Yr Wonkette is not the only website run by brilliant peoples unafraid to poke people with sharp, pointy sticks. Ravelry.com – a website for knitters, crocheters, and other folks interested in textiles and fiber arts – is poking people with knitting needles, which are very sharp indeed.

This past weekend, Ravelry.com's founders showed the world how easy it is to de-platform white nationalists and racists when they banned all "support of Donald Trump and his administration" from their website, concluding they "cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy." Seems like people smart enough to decode a knitting pattern are also smart enough to decode Trump's not-so-hidden message of racism and white nationalism.

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One day, God willing, my grandchildren will click open their history textbooks and read about the Central American migrant internment camps. They'll learn about sick kids, locked in cages, kept hungry and dirty and cold for weeks on end, and they'll be horrified.

"Bubbie," they'll say, "how could this happen in America? How could there be toddlers sleeping on the ground without blankets, without soap or toothbrushes to clean themselves?"

"I don't know. I wish I had done more. I'm ashamed," I'll say. We will all have to answer for this atrocity. But some of us will have to answer more than others. Not just the archvillains like Stephen Miller and John Kelly, but the people who kept right on doing their jobs, even as those jobs morphed into defending concentration camps.

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