There shouldn’t be much doubt left that what motivates Imam Rauf and those behind the planned Cordoba Center near Ground Zero is something other than wanting a mosque to serve the Muslim population of lower Manhattan. If that were the case, offers by state officials of an alternative site -- a one-step solution to the problem -- wouldn’t have been rejected by Rauf without discussion. Nor is Rauf a moderate, no matter how many useful idiots say that he is.
Along with the growing list of unmoderate things Rauf has been found to have said, there are two facts that preclude him from the class, “moderate”: he refuses to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization, and, as Alyssa A. Lappen at Pajamas Media writes, Rauf was born into a Muslim Brotherhood family, a “provenance, radical by definition, . . . as authentic as it gets.” (“The Ground Zero Mosque Developer: Muslim Brotherhood Roots, Radical Dreams”).
Andrew McCarthy writes how:
it turns out, the top priority of Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative is the Sharia Index Project, which is designed to plant and expand Islamic law in every country. Wonder of wonders, that just happens to be the Muslim Brotherhood’s top priority — the installation of sharia being the necessary precondition to the Islamicizing of a society.The Ground Zero site isn’t just the resting place of thousands who died at the hands of Islamic fanatics. It represents a unique historical moment when almost all Americans came together, united, crystal clear as to the growing danger of Islamic jhadism, and with a common will to do something about it. That moment lasted only a short few months, and that’s a whole other sad story. But in that moment America’s will to strike back was at its peak. For a time, scornful Islamic leaders saw a new American face: the face of America the Dangerous. President Bush promised that those who did that to us were going to be hearing from us, and many of them did. And it was the last thing they heard. For a time, the Muslim world had to stop laughing at us.
For much of America, those days of strength and national purpose are all but forgotten. But there’s something about Ground Zero that preserves it in perpetuity – perhaps because it’s the last remaining symbol of unified American response to Islam, where the anger over what happened there alcan still be refreshed. September 11, 2001 was the day the Taliban lost its iron grip on Afghanistan, and when Osama bin Ladin’s life narrowed down to one long cave-dwelling, sky-watching flight from justice. It’s the day Saddam Hussein’s neck was fitted for the noose.
Rauf’s Cordoba Center is precisely intended to prove to the Ummah that Islam in America has grown strong enough to push up against that very symbol of a strong, united America, and make it budge.
Even knowing this, many feel they must side with Imam Rauf and his “right” to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero. Because Islam is a religion (it’s much, much more than that, as well), and the Constitution prohibits government from “abridging the free exercise thereof,” they think there’s nothing the rest of us are allowed to do, either.
This has never been about the freedom of religion of Muslims in New York City. The most outspoken and highest-profile opponents of the mosque have been monolithic in agreeing that the right of a religious organization to construct buildings is not in question. Muslim liberty to worship is not the issue.
Andrew McCarthy provides a good reminder when he writes, “When it comes to liberty, no one in this society has been given a wider berth than the Islamists, the purveyors of this authoritarian Islam, which is the mainstream Islam of the Middle East.”
We’ve seen ritual footbaths provided for Muslims in public universities, and seen public schools change around schedules to make room for Ramadan. A parallel “civil rights” movement has sprouted up since 2001, counting in its ranks politicians, generals, lawmen, and media big shots, committed to protecting Muslim feelings from getting hurt or making sure Muslims don’t see or hear anything that might make them angry (one helluva long list). No other religion in America is indulged this way. And if you’re Jewish, Catholic, or evangelical, you feel the double standard every time your religion is ridiculed with impunity, while Islam is constantly being credited with the loftiest spiritual aspirations under heaven.
Putting a stop to the Cordoba Initiative doesn’t mean Rauf and his brother Muslims will be denied the freedom to practice their religion. Park51 isn’t the only place in New York to worship Allah. The Islam Rauf practies and preaches has always been, and will always be, an intolerant, triumphalist religion which, where proselytism fails, is completely comfortable with imposing on unbelievers the will of Allah by force. Even the Arab Middle East recognizes that Rauf’s trying to force this on New York is “an affront to American sensibilities.”
As that movie soldier asked, what kind of liberty is it that takes way the liberty of others? And do we owe the protection of that liberty to radical jihadists? Is that really what we stand for?