Skip to comments.'Ground Zero Mosque' Controversy Shows America's New Nativism (Elites say we're "know-nothings")
Posted on 08/11/2010 2:32:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The proposed community center would enrage bin Laden, so why are Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich taking up his cause?
Have you heard about the "ground zero mosque?" They're going to build a great towering monstrosity of a thing, a gloating reminder of what they did to us on 9/11, a thumb in the eye of any real Americans who want to pay respect to those lost on that tragic day.
It will, according to Rudy Giuliani, be a "desecration" of ground zero. Newt Gingrich has called it an "assertion of Islamist triumphalism." And Sarah Palin was so incensed at what she called a "stab ... in the heart" that she coined a new word, calling on peaceful Muslims to "refudiate" the project.
It's too bad they're wrong. The debate over the so-called ground zero mosque, which is neither a mosque nor at ground zero, is certainly a cause for anger and outrage. But it's not because some Americans want to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to worship freely. Rather it's troubling as an expression of a new Know-Nothingism that is infecting our politics, especially on the demagogic right.
The phrase "ground zero mosque" conjures images of a minaret-adorned structure sprouting on or abutting ground zero. But the truth is less provocative. The project is sponsored by the Cordoba Initiative, a group whose stated mission is to achieve an "atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect" among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The $100 million building they want to construct, called Park51 (for its address on Park Place) is not a mosque as such, but rather a community center with a restaurant, a swimming pool, a performing arts center, and, yes, prayer space. (Muslims, by the way, already gather weekly in the existing building to pray. Should they be barred from doing so?)
And it's not at ground zero. Park Place is a small street two blocks north of where the twin towers stood. The intervening blocks have buildings taller than the planned center. Someone standing at ground zero, in other words, would not be aware of Park51's existence; though when the Freedom Tower finally rises from the World Trade Center's footprints, it will be visible throughout most of lower Manhattan and beyond. Park51 will be just another building in what Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a defender of the project, called the "diverse and dense" city.
The symbolism of a Muslim community center being just another building in the shadow of the Freedom Tower is one we should embrace. It speaks to our diversity and the strength of our ideals. It's certainly more attractive than that of political leaders in the world's most powerful nation rallying to deny its most fundamental rights to a tiny minority.
Opponents say that Park51's mere proximity to ground zero is an intentional political statement, and it almost certainly is. It says that not all Muslims are radical killers and thugs, and that Islamic moderates won't be cowed into letting terrorists be the face of their religion. Isn't that what we've wanted?
Certainly it's a provocative message, one that will incite rage in Osama bin Laden and his ilk. Interfaith tolerance and respect are the last things on their agenda. So why are the likes of Palin, Gingrich, and Giuliani taking up bin Laden's cause?
Perhaps because the distinction between the terrorists and the religion, which George W. Bush was so careful to make after 9/11, is no longer operative. But it bears repeating. The fact that all the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim does not make all Muslims terrorists, any more than the fact that Ku Klux Klansmen are avowedly Christian makes all Christians white supremacists. The problem isn't religion but fanaticism.
Indeed, the Park51 debate is symptomatic of a new nativist fanaticism emerging in certain quarters of our politics. You can also see it in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where plans for a Muslim community center (or mosque, as its critics call it) were a hot issue in the Republican gubernatorial primary. One candidate, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, suggested that First Amendment protections for freedom of religion might not apply to Muslims. "Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, a cult, whatever you want to call it," he said in a campaign appearance, a video of which was posted last month on YouTube.
And the trend is evident in recent calls to deal with a new phantom menace, sharia, or Islamic law. Ramsey, who placed a distant third in his primary Thursday, also talked about the danger of sharia gaining power in this country. It's an admittedly imbecilic fear but it's one shared by legislators in Oklahoma, who will likely put on November's ballot a referendum pre-emptively barring state courts from using sharia, and in Iowa where the GOP party platform weighs in against "any effort" to implement it in this country. This illusory threat has gained enough credence that Gingrich, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute last month, described it as a "mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States."
And it's not just Muslims who demagogues are demonizing. There's the hysteria over the supposed crime-soaked tide of illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border and the federal response to illegal immigration. Consider that violent crime rates in border states have declined in recent years and that this year the administration deported a record number of criminal aliens.
No matter. This is the politics of fear, not the politics of fact. It's a politics that targets, most simply, "they," whether they're from a different faith or a different country. They're everywhereeven the president was born in Kenya, we're told. So be afraid, and stay that way.
The Saudis have been buying a stake in Western media.
The Saudis are also building the world largest clocktower and situating it in the world’s second tallest building. It just so happens to be in Mecca, a segregated city with a standing death penalty for any sub-human non-muslim who’d dare enter. AND they would like to make Mecca the new standard for time in the world.
No imperialist goals, my a&&.
Cordorba your New Mecca if you want, but don’t expect me to buy the lies about the motive.
Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian and hated harming animals. Why do American vegetarians take up Hitler's cause?
What garbage. I’d call 1 in 10 residents being here illegally, an invasion. Real Americans are sick of the class warfare being waged against them by the elites.
Gimme a break. Maybe the author is secretly relishing thte thought of being fitted for his man-burqa.
These people make me sick. BTW, I didn’t realize that the Muslims were ALREADY having their “prayers” at 51 Park.
Islam is a religion which has its own laws, its own army and it own stated expansionist agenda. It treats non-believers as less-than-fully-human. Those who treat this as a freedom of religion issue are naive fools. Talk about your ‘know-nothings’.
Nativism: only okay when Palestinians do it. And Atzlan.
Muslims build mosques to symbolize conquests and they have for centuries. Look at Hagia Sophia and the Temple of the Rock. The elites make assumptions based on their own ideologies rather than that of our enemies.
The project is sponsored by the Cordoba Initiative, a group whose stated mission is to achieve an “atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect” among Muslims, Christians, and Jews.”
Well, if the Muslims say it’s about interfaith tolerance and respect, who on earth could challenge such a noble minded undertaking. After all, Muslims never lie especially when it comes to dealing with the infidel. That it’s all about understanding and respect is no doubt the reason they’ve chosen the name Cordoba, a name closely aligned with Muslim tolerance.
Schlesinger will make a dandy dhimmi.
Spare us your lectures.
Who decides what memorial is to be placed at Ground Zero? Us or foreigners?
How unifying is this if 65% of polled Americans want it out?
How sensitive are they to Americans if we told them we do not want it?
Why did their spiritual leader, Abdul Rauf, say that ‘America was an accessory’ to 9/11?
Blame the victim, blame America first. We need to hear that piece of spit tell us that 9/11 was our fault, and then he is going to lecture us on bigotry.
Why can’t he be honest about Hamas? Why can’t he be honest about the money?
If Rauf wants to help, go to Egypt, India, Sudan and Saudi Arabia and other places where Muslims collect and where they are murdering Christians, and teach them about diversity, we really don’t need you and your lectures in New York City. We invented diversity. You only eliminate it wherever you go.
How dare you come here, to this site and lecture us on bigotry and diversity. You have far more murderers killing under your banner whom you need to speak with, before building your “monument” here.
Don’t you have some women to stone today? Get the hell out of here!
...the people who see racist boogeymen under every rock can’t possibly understand why a Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero would offend anyone.
Give me a break...
More people stand against the Mosque than read that rag.
Cluelessness, thy name is Robert Schlesinger.\
US News and World Report, another magazine they have to give away to keep up their circulation numbers.
Yeah, but we're well armed know-nothings, so they'd better watch their step.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
Hagia Sophia was taken away from the Christians as an act of conquest, but it was built by the noble Justinian.
A better example of a "victory mosque" in Istanbul is the Blue Mosque. It was built on the scale of Hagia Sophia for exactly the reasons you cite.
If the intention of Cordoba Project was interfaith co-operation, well, its too late for that. I am sure if they were serious, they could have avoided the publicity stunt.
On the other hand, exactly what radius would reduce this from being offensive to constitutionally permitted right. Rash statements would be none, nowhere, outside US, Saudi Arabia, hell, etc. But still, at exactly what distance would this stop being stab in the heart?
If these people are praying there now, then are they going to revamp the existing building to build a new mosque? Was it always there, and just getting publicity now?
Thanks, I didn’t mean that they had built it - otherwise it would not be known as Hagia Sophia.
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