I’ve been putting off commenting on the whole GZ mosque thing for awhile. There’s just so much to include and respond to and comment on, and only limited time. (Plus, I have other things I’m reading/researching/writing on.) But, I finally decided to make one, relatively brief post, so here goes….
To borrow a phrase, “let me be perfectly clear,” no one is challenging any Muslim’s constitutional right to worship or to build a house of worship on private property. (Of course, this right is still subject to certain basic human rights, e.g., the right to Life, which is why we try to prevent and prosecute ritualistic killings and terrorist attacks in the name of any religion.) To state or imply that this is a “freedom of religion” matter is disingenuous and misleading. The real issue is the place of the proposed mosque — 2 blocks north of where the WTC used to be — and the date on which it is to be opened — September 11, 2011.
To build a mosque on or near that particular site — Ground Zero for the 9/11 attacks by Islamist terrorists — is, at the very least, inappropriate and insensitive to patriotic Americans, New Yorkers, and especially to those affected directly by the attack. The date in question would just add insult to injury. It would be an affront, deliberately provocative, and just asking for trouble. Finally, there may be many peace-loving Muslims who would take advantage of the proposed, 15-story “Cordoba House” Islamic cultural/community center — complete with mosque, auditorium, swimming pool, etc. But, there is the distinct possibility of it also becoming a base for jihadist recruitment, indoctrination, and operations. Yes, that is a possibility no matter where the mosque/center is built, and it’s a risk we have to take.
But, there’s more to it, because of what happened in that section of Manhattan on that fateful day by Islamist radicals. There is already historical precedent for Muslims building mosques wherever they have conquered an enemy. The fact that jihadist leaders like the idea of this “community center” being at this specific site is a tell-tale sign. A mosque on that site, even if it doesn’t serve as a base for the jihadists, would serve as inspiration to them. The symbolism is just too great to ignore. Those who are pledged to conquer or annihilate us certainly won’t.
That’s it. I’ve said my piece.
UPDATE 8/23/2010: I have been asked to elaborate on my statement about “historical precedent for Muslims building mosques wherever they have conquered an enemy.” It’s not just building on conquered territory but first tearing down a temple/church/cathedral and building a mosque at that location. (It has been said that, in Islamists’ eyes, the WTC was seen as America’s church/temple to decadent materialism, or some such thing.) It is a reminder to the locals of who’s more powerful, who’s in charge. The practice started with Mecca and continued with such notable cities as Jerusalem, Damascus, and Cordoba (in Spain). I had heard/read of this before writing my post, of course, but I will direct you to an amazingly sensible article over at the Huffington Post that was just posted today.