Skip to comments.The Taboo of the Intellectuals
Posted on 08/12/2010 9:43:25 AM PDT by Kaslin
The controversy over plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan has taken an odd twist. On one side are those making arguments in opposition to the project, along with those who merely have questions they would like answered so they can decide for themselves whether this project will honor the victims of 9/11 or mock them. On the other side are those who support the project wholeheartedly and who respond to both arguments and questions by saying: Shut up.
Most prominent among the second group is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It would be one thing if Hizzoner were saying: I hear your concerns and I have questions, too, but municipal laws and the First Amendment permit this project to go forward. But he is not saying that. He is saying instead that those with misgivings about the 13-story Islamic center that is to rise near where the Twin Towers collapsed ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is a shame that we even have to talk about this."
Last week on CNN, I debated the issue with Peter Beinart, former editor of The New Republic. As soon as we were off the air he called me at a high decibel level -- a bigot. I suggested it might be more persuasive were he to frame an argument for me to consider. Echoing Bloomberg, he replied that I should be ashamed of myself.
To Peters credit, he later apologized for losing his cool. But when I sent him some thoughts on the controversy by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer, he emailed back that I should please stop because he was appalled.
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol describes such responses as stemming from the self-deluding pieties and self-destructive dogmas that are held onto, at once smugly and desperately, by todays liberal elites. Ironically, it is a liberal intellectual historian, Paul Berman, who has thought hardest about this phenomenon. In his latest book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, he ponders why so many academics and journalists refuse to grapple seriously or honestly with Islam and Islamism.
By the way: Moderate Muslim intellectuals have not put their critical faculties on hold. I asked Akbar Ahmed, a professor at American University and the author, most recently, of "Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam, his perspective on the controversy. Muslim leaders need to understand, he said, that 9/11 remains an open wound for Americans. And it is wrong to rub salt into an open wound.
Both by disposition and training, journalists and intellectuals are supposed to be inquisitive. Yet Beinart -- who continues to write for prestige publications and Bloomberg -- whose name adorns a great journalistic institution -- have made it clear that they do not want to know whether the $100 million needed for the Muslim facility (thats the term that Oz Sultan, a consultant to the project, used when describing it to me) will come from individuals who also support terrorism and the ideologies that drive terrorism.
This week, Newsweek editor and CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria returned an award given to him five years ago by the Anti-Defamation League in protest of the ADLs opposition to the project. Zakaria called the ADLs decision bizarre and a form of bigotry. Ill wager that Zarkaria has spent not one hour investigating those behind this project, their finances and their motives. I know: Its so retro of me to expect elite reporters to report.
Or even to read much. Its hardly a secret that some mosques in America, Europe and the Middle East are centers of extremism. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has chronicled, the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center and mosque in Falls Church, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., has provided a pulpit for several radical imams, including Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda terrorist now hiding out in Yemen. Among those Awlaki is said to have inspired: Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a plane on Christmas, Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Hassan and at least two of the 9/11 hijackers.
Terrorists who would go on to take part in the 9/11 attacks also made their base at the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles. As Nina Shea noted, the mosques imam, Fahad al Thumairy, a former Saudi diplomat, was finally expelled by the U.S. in 2003 for suspected terror connections.
The Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn is where Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheik, delivered sermons. Andy McCarthy eventually sent him to prison in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
And just this week, as my colleague Ben Weinthal reported, German authorities banned the Masjid Taiba mosque of Hamburg. It had been a launching pad for the 9/11 terror attacks and had long served as a hotbed for training jihadists and stoking anti-Western ideology.
Why wouldnt Zakaria before slapping the ADL in the face at least invite the key organizers of the Ground Zero project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, on his TV show and ask them about all this? Why it is that hardly anyone in the mainstream media has yet to ask them any uncomfortable questions?
In his Newsweek column, Zakaria asserts that Rauf is a moderate Muslim clergyman. He has said one or two things about American foreign policy that strike me as overly critical but its stuff you could read on The Huffington Post any day.
Among Raufs Huffingtonian statements: that American policy was an accessory to the crime of 9/11 and that Osama bin Laden was made in America.
Rauf will not say whether he views Hamas which intentionally slaughters civilians, has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, and advocates the extermination of both Israelis and Jews as a terrorist organization.
He explains his reticence by saying that the issue of terrorism is a very complex question. No, actually, its quite simple: Whatever your grievances, you do not express them by murdering other peoples children. Not accepting that proposition does not make you a terrorist. But it disqualifies you as an anti-terrorist and identifies you as an anti-anti-terrorist.
A thought experiment: I am grieved by Saudi policies, for example Saudi religious discrimination, oppression of women and persecution of homosexuals. If I were to express these grievances by blowing up a Saudi kindergarten, do you think Imam Feisal would say (1) the Saudi Royal family must share responsibility for the carnage, and (2) whether or not I had committed an act of terrorism is a very complex question?
Rauf also has ties to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), organizations created by the Muslim Brotherhood and named by the U.S. Justice Department as unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-financing case.
A note on the Muslim Brotherhood: It is not a college fraternity. Its founder, Hasan al-Banna, famously said: "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet." In 1991, the Muslim Brotherhoods American leadership prepared an internal memorandum describing its mission as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Gods religion is made victorious over all other religions.
For Zakaria, Beinart, Bloomberg and so many other members of the intellectual elite, its as though such information were either too trivial to bother with, or so personal that no gentleman would mention it in polite company.
Of course, that cant be the real explanation. So what is? Paul Berman concludes that multiculturalism and moral relativism, doctrines devoutly embraced by the intellectual classes, render everything the equal of everything else. As a consequence, some very smart people have lost the ability to make the most elementary distinctions. Except one: They reflexively regard those from the Third World as virtuous and those from the West as steeped in blame, shame and guilt.
So if Imam Feisal says hes a moderate, he must be a moderate. Why read his books or inquire into what he preaches in his mosque or with whom he associates on his frequent trips to Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other exotic locales? Would we ask such questions of a Baptist minister building a church near Ground Zero?
That the terrorists responsible for the atrocities of 9/11 and more than 1,500 other acts of terrorism since proudly proclaim that they act in the name of Islam is irrelevant! Anyone who says that Raufs project is confrontational or in bad taste or disrespectful of non-Muslims to borrow a few descriptions from Raheel Raza, board member of the Muslim Canadian Congress is intolerant and a bigot and an Islamophobe! Shame on her! She is appalling! End of discussion.
They're doing this on purpose. In old timey pro-wrestling it was called "heeling."
Tar and feathers.
It’s an old prescription, but it works.
Americans should be ashamed that they don’t want a monument built to Muslim murderers in the vicinity of the WTC.???
I beg to differ.
These rectums argue about freedom of religion while banishing prayer in schools, and banishing cross’s . Screw em.
We all know whop needs to be ashamed
To repeat a quote I saw somewhere else. “Building this mosque near Ground Zero is like rubbing our faces in our own s**t.”
How is it possible that this clown remains mayor of New York after such a statement? Is there no manhood left in New York?
Liberals are going to destroy this country and the left-wingers in Europe are going to destroy that civilization.
I don’t remember who said it, but a Freeper had the best quote on this subject worth remembering:
“Muslims build Mosques at the sites of their military victories.”
If Americans don’t get that this is what this mosque is all about, we are doomed as a nation.
I have been to Israel, India, Southeast Asia and other religious and culturally significant sites in Europe that were once taken over by Muslims.
Do you know what the Muslims do when they have a military victory over the barbarians?
They build a mosque.
Do you know what would happen if Christian groups in the United States decided to go on a church building spree in Muslim countries or in countries with a large Muslim population?
The terrorism that we saw on 9/11 would be nothing in comparison to the blood baths we would witness all over the world if Christian Americans just had the audacity to consider doing such a thing. Just the thought itself would be considered an insult to Muslims.
What makes me sick is that these liberals who run around calling conservative bigots for protesting this mosque would be the first to scream bloody murder if any Christian American built a church in Iraq or Afghanistan at the sites of our military victories.
Bienert is a jerk.
Self-evident to anyone that has eyes to see and ears to hear.
Bloomberg’s message that he shouldn’t be the arbiter of religions, and that religious tolerance is the order of the day could stand a test. Would NY approve a petition to build a cathedral for the Church of The Aryan Nation in Harlem or in Brooklyn Heights?
Saudi Arabia is said to be funding the building of the mosque. Saudi has hundreds of squillions of oil dollars, including an annual 3/4 of a trillion from the US.
Whenever a politician pontificates sanctimoniously, it’s time to apply the fsmell test. Follow the Saudi money.
This puke will sell out New Yorkers in a second to take care of his investments in Dubai.
As always, FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!
Quote I read the other day that stuck with me, "Putting a mosque at Ground Zero is like putting a pig in the Temple."
I suspect you are right.
I was thinking of something less graphic, but fitting: Like the Jesuits applying to found a school in Westminister after Guy Fawkes did his little prank.
I think it’s simpler than that -
intellectuals, ie, ATHEISTS who think they know better than everyone else,
are on THE SAME SIDE as the Muslims in the Cosmic Spiritual Battle, against Christ and His Church.
Since I'm against chr*stianity too, I suppose that means I'm on the same side.
Wrestling ignorance here. Please describe "heeling" (and the derivation of the word -- from "heeling" a dog?) and why a wrestler would do it.
Also, why are intellectuals and Crusterati like Beinart and Bloomberg doing it in this case?
I see their reaction more as one of people who are trapped, intellectually (and in Bloomberg's case, financially, by the interests his Arab "partners" can be suspected in retrospect of having deliberately lured him into).
They are in a position now where reacting appropriately to the cordial, utterly deadly, and deliberate insult offered by the Moo's would invalidate some of their dearest and most useful techniques of intellectual domination of the national discourse -- I see their relativism and so on as self-empowering, liberating, profitable (in all senses of the word) tools that allow them to ignore inconvenient subtitles of the social contract and to act and speak as they wish from day to day.
It's likely way easier than that: MONEY.
I'll bet one fine day, we'll find out how much Bloomberg et al was/is paid off by Saudi/Soros money.
You may not like us, but the muslims think you're on our side, and that means you're probably on our side like it or not.
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