Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley has his own view on the Cordoba Center mosque in New York City: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Finley’s a smart guy and we quote him here from time to time. This time he’s all wet.
Finley’s proposing we all get behind the building of the Cordoba Center; but let’s have all the other religions build cathedrals and synagogues and ashrams at Ground Zero, too, resulting in a triumph of religious coexistence. (“Finley: Don't fight NYC mosque; join it”). Kind of like a religious food court.
“Ground zero,” writes Finley, “would seem the perfect place to demonstrate that religious tolerance is why so many flocked to our shores in the first place, and remains a key block in the foundation of our freedom.”
I don’t see what makes Ground Zero the perfect place to demonstrate the foundational American virtue of religious tolerance. Anyhow, Ground Zero’s already perfectly suited to demonstrate for Americans something else, as it first did on 9/11, namely, the insane absolutsim of Islamic intolerance. In fact, the attack on the World Trade Center demonstrated so effectively the reality of Islam, that Islamophilic media types and dhimmis all quickly agreed to stop showing the images of the attacks on TV.
Here’s an idea: instead of mishandling our hard-earned reputation for religious tolerance so that our enemies, as Finley describes it, can use it “to chump us,” why not demonstrate that value by showing some national unity against those who hate us for it? Oh, wait, a huge precentage of Americans are already doing that!
Finley’s vision of clustering the world’s religions into southern Manhattan is a bit odd. Dearborn actually has something like that “holy mall,” in a slightly more suburban setting. You’ll find it on Altar Road just north of Ford near Evergreen. There is a line of religious structures stretching from the Warrendale Community Church at the west end to Mother of the Savior Lutheran Church on the east, sharing the one access road. Since 2005 the beautiful St. Clement Orthodox Church has had its sunrise blocked by the Islamic Center of North America, whose minarets now tower above every structure on the horizon, religious or secular.
Funny how that turned out.
Finley trots out the going straw man that, if Muslims own the land and qualify under the zoning ordinances they have a right to build their mosque, as if any serious person has argued otherwise. But he goes beyond that.
“Tossing aside the Constitution to block it would expose us as being as ignorant and hateful as the repressive Islamic regimes that spawned the 9/11 terrorists. And it would also set a dangerous precedent; deny a mosque today, and tomorrow it could be a temple or church.”
This is ridiculous. And I don’t just mean the bit about tossing aside the Constitution. I mean the fable that, were we Americans to block the Cordoba Center from being built, whether by legal means or popular pressure -- even if we risked doing it in an unconstitutional way -- that simple act would expose us being as ignorant and hateful as the jihadi murderers behind 9/11.
No, No, NO! We aren’t like them, and we aren’t close to being like them: and it’s not only the First Amendment that keeps us from being like them. There’s more to American goodness (yes, goodness) than the Bill of Rights, and there’s so much more to the evil and savagery of jihadism than a simple lack of the Founders’ ideal of free exercise of religion. There are whole other levels, and sub-levels, and hell caverns of darkness we’d have to sink down to before we would feel at home with beheadings and cutting off hands and feet and fathers killing their own daughters as commendable ways to bring pleasure to a splenetic deity.
I LOVE the Constitution. But even without the Constitution, well before we had it -- long before then -- when we were subjects of George III, or Dutch settlers, or French or Spanish explorers, or even Indians or African slaves, or peasants under Henry IV and even Charlemagne and Constantine, and even Caesar, we were never the kind of people that Mohammed Atta or Ayman al-Zawahiri were, or that Major Hasan and Hassan Nasrallah and Khalid Sheikh Muhammed are now.
But, writes Finley, aside from the issue of our values, we’ve got to be careful of that slippery slope: “deny a mosque today, and tomorrow it could be a temple or church.” Well, there are slopes and there are slopes, and I’d say our historical devotion to religious freedom still has plenty of sticky left in it. On the other hand, everywhere Islam has been allowed free reign “to chump” or otherwise impose itself on people, tomorrow there will be a temple or a church denied, the same they’re denied, forbidden, and persecuted all throughout the lands where mosques are in the majority.
Finley reminds us yet again that religious tolerance was an important reason why “so many flocked to our shores in the first place.” Okay, but that misses the point. Muslim immigration to the USA is not being driven by a quest for religious tolerance. If anything, immigrants from Muslim countries who come to America for religious freedom are nonMuslims fleeing persecution from Muslim majorities. Hezbollah supporting imams have not come here from Iran and Lebanon because they’re not allowed to practice Islam in the old country. They’re here on a mission to insure that eventually no one else, including you, is allowed to practice anything but Islam in America.
As jihad-savvy writers like Andrew McCarthy have clarified, the grand jihad in America is aimed at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
And, as Omar Ahmad, Chairman of CAIR said in that quote we’ve got anchored on our main page, “Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”
No one is denying Muslims in New York City the right to practice their intolerant religion, or to construct as many mosques as they need to do it in -- except for this unique situation so near the site of the 9/11 attack. Regardless of Finley’s idea that we’re only one construction-permit denial away from equality with the Taliban, we have remained true to our values, and that includes during this grass-roots opposition to the mosque.
From my perspective, even if the New York Landmark Commission, or the IRS, or any other government entity were to use legal means to block the Cordoba Center, that would still not rise to a denial of free exercise of religion. Nor would it mean, slippery-slopewise, that we’re sliding downward only inches behind the world’s most intolerant religionists. It can’t be emphasized too much that, even in our worst moments, we’re nothing like the Islamists, and we’re not on the verge of becoming like them. There are slippery slopes, yes, and tipping points. But when it comes to religious tolerance, we’re still almost dead level, while Islam’s tipping point was reached in the seventh century, and it’s been downhill ever since.
The proof of how different we are is that, regardless of how this mosque business turns out, it will have been the end process of months and months of national hand-wringing, and more significant, no violence. When Talibanis see something they don’t like, they shoot first and brag about it later.
Finley’s suggestion to surround The Cordoba Center mosque with ashrams and temples and cathedrals is pure fantasy, as if religious edifices can be planted and arranged like hydrangeas -- and in Manhattan’s financial district, no less. Finley already knows that the Cordoba Center, “if it's allowed to stand alone,” will “stand as a trophy for those who would change America, and believe they got a pretty good start on 9/11.”
And letting that happen is a triumph for the First Amendment, how?