The political silly season and the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’
In politics, symbolism is often an easier sell than substance.
So no one should be surprised that a proposal to build a Muslim mosque and community center within blocks of the former site of the World Trade Center — blown up by a gang of vicious Muslim thugs and murderers on Sept. 11, 2001 as a largely symbolic attack on the United States (if 3,000 murders can be reduced to a “symbol”) — has become a political hot-button issue.
First, let’s be clear: The organizer of this project is not some clueless cleric, taken completely by surprise by the furor. No, the project was initially named the “Ground Zero Mosque” not by opponents but by the imam Feisal Abdul Rauf himself, and his new and supposedly less offensive moniker, the “Cordoba Center,” honors the location in Spain where the conquering Muslims built a huge mosque on the site of the demolished Christian Basilica of St. Vincent the Martyr, launching an era of persecution of the local Christians under Abd-ar-Ramman II, which included the martyrdom of St. Eulogius.
There are already scores of mosques standing peacefully in New York City and environs — whether New Yorkers will permit Muslims to live and worship peacefully in their midst has never been at issue. New York Gov. David Paterson even offered the mosque-builders free state land if they’d agree to build in a less provocative location. They said “No thanks.”
The goal here is an in-your-face declaration the militant Islam is still at war with America. Allow the construction, and its proponents figure it will stand as a monument to the fact that they’re winning, while their opponents are too weak-willed even to prevent their erecting a monument neat the site of their murderous “victory.” Turn it down, on the other hand, and the radicals will have further proof that America’s claims of tolerance and pluralism are all lies, at least when it comes to the Mohammedan faith.
That Democrats — led (off and on — can’t quite make up his mind) by our first anti-American president, Barack Hussein Obama, who as a child attended prayers at the local mosque with his stepfather in Indonesia (www.danielpipes.org/5354/confirmed-barack-obama-practiced-islam) — take the side of the Muslim provocateurs is predictable enough. On this rare occasion, they do happen to be correct: Once someone buys a piece of land and proposes to use it in a manner consistent with minimal, reasonable local planning and zoning standards, no government agency in a free country should stand in their way. It is not the job of municipal governments to prevent anyone going ahead with a construction project just because it’s in excruciatingly bad taste. Else, where would Chuck E. Cheese be?
That said, only three more comments are really called for: First, it’s wonderful to see these leftists re-discover the bedrock Constitutional principle of property rights: Wal-Mart should quickly file applications to build stores in all their favorite upscale neighborhoods before they again change their minds.
Second, if religious freedom truly trumps city zoning concerns, why have the members of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which stood directly across the street from the World Trade Center and was completely obliterated in the 9/11 attacks, been snarled for nine years in municipal red tape frustrating their efforts to rebuild their church; why haven’t our brave liberals spoken up for them?
And third, simply in the interest of confirming imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s sincerity on all this “demonstrating that we can live in peaceful tolerance side-by-side” business, the local Zoning Commission should promptly approve a gay bar and exotic dance club next door to the Ground Zero Mosque — as proposed by TV host Greg Gutfield — and might also ask the imam to promptly begin the process of applying for permission to build a Christian church in Mecca, updating us all regularly on how that’s working out.