The news didn’t come as a surprise, but it is deeply wounding nonetheless. In fact, even after all these months it's hard to grasp the idea that this nightmare could become a reality.
If they actually were what they claim - i.e., “moderates”, they’d be sensitive enough to know that putting a mosque in that spot makes a mockery of the very notion of “moderation”. There is nothing moderate about building a triumphal edifice to Islam on the graveyard of three thousand people who were brutally slaughtered solely by Muslims.
These innocent souls were incinerated, or asphyxiated, or jumped to their deaths on September 11th, 2001. They all died horribly and Ground Zero is their cemetery. No amount of Kumbayah and toxic tolerance can make those ashes disappear or bring back all those mothers and fathers and sons and daughters.
How dare the blunted human beings pushing for their “initiative” be permitted to erect this sacrilege? They can proclaim their innocence all they want to the Western press (who will eat it up), but Muslims in other countries read their message loud and clear: the killers of 9/11 have triumphed.
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Their message isn’t credible:
- Why name a mosque Cordoba unless you’ve got an agenda, one every other Muslim will understand instantly?
- A mosque flying under the euphemistic colors of an “initiative”? They’re afraid to call it by its real name until it’s too late to do anything.
- A mega-mosque smack dab on Bin Laden’s prize black hole? No wonder he’s mad.
- As in all real estate, this horror is all about location, location, location.
Lots of people have chimed in on this desecration.
The Left has its usual talking points about peace love and understanding. Their self-righteous tolerance is utterly witless, but feel free to find their explanations. I’m certainly not going to link to any of them. However, there are some stories I want to share with you.
The first one is an anecdote I’d never heard before. Bless William McGurn for remembering it. His editorial today, “the Auschwitz Nuns”, in the Wall Street Journal relates a story about Pope John Paul II’s “grace and wisdom” in handling a similar situation with some Carmelite nuns. With the best of intentions but little discernment, this group of nuns moved into an abandoned building near Auschwitz in order to pray for those who had suffered and died there.
As you may know, the Carmelite order is contemplative. Their secluded routine is taken up with a round of prayers from well before the sun rises and on into the last hours of the day. They maintain silence except for the chanted psalms during the formal hours of prayer.
As you probably also remember, the record of anti-Semitism among Polish Catholics is a blot on that country’s history. Yes, there were many brave exceptions, but the betrayals and greed were widespreasd.
Back in the 1980s when this incident occurred, there were even more living survivors of Auschwitz than now. They were justifiably suspicious and insulted. “Why there?” If the nuns wanted to pray do it somewhere less conspicuous and painful than Auschwitz.
Eventually, when the nuns didn’t get it, and the situation became more complicated with Polish nationalists and outside Catholic groups, the Pope stepped in:
He acknowledged that his letter would probably be a trial to each of the sisters, but asked them to accept it while continuing to pursue their mission in that same city at another convent that had been built for them.
Mr. McGurn suggests this parallel:
Let’s remember what this means. By their own lights, the nuns believed they were doing only good. They may have had a legal title to be where they were. And it is likely that they never would have been forced to move by local authorities had they insisted on staying.
Ah, yes, those legal rights. A good example of a lethal law, had it been carried out. Unfortunately, in New York City, the law is going to be used as a scimitar:
not all big questions can-or should-be reduced to legal right. Living together as neighbors in a free and inescapably diverse society requires more skills than just knowing how to hire sharp lawyers. Sometimes it requires leaders willing to sound a grace note, even yielding to the feelings of others who may not see our plans the same way we do.
For their part, the two people at the heart of this center-Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan-defend the center as an antidote to 9/11. “Our religion has been hijacked by the extremists,” Ms. Khan told National Public Radio, “and this center is going to create that counter-momentum which will amplify the voices of the moderate Muslims.”
Perhaps. But it’s hard to argue with the Anti-Defamation League’s assessment that the controversy created by building the center at this location “is counterproductive to the healing process.”
As Mr. McGurn noted, John Paul knew the difference between having the right to do something and being able to discern whether your “right” is the best or wisest thing to be done. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg is no Pope John Paul II.
And New York City is awash in suicidal but influential leftist Jews. Not to mention the machinations of Abdul and Daisy, so utterly sure of their righteous presence even though the majority of New Yorkers, Americans, and survivors of September 11th want them to move their “initiative” somewhere else. Anywhere but Ground Zero.
In the video below, Sam Nunberg, Deputy Political Director of the ACLJ, is interviewed by “Andy Bluecollar” immediately after the Commission ruling. In a previous meeting he reminded the Landmark group they have set aside some 22,000 buildings in New York City, including six percent which have been done solely for historical reasons. How about the house where Bill Ayers and his Weather Underground were building bombs when one detonated? That’s a spot worthy of preserving??
If the commission felt it appropriate to landmark that building, the location under debate now surely deserves landmark status due to the fact that a wheel from 9-11 ringleader Mohammed Atta’s hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 - imbedded in the building itself.
At the hearing, Sam put the issue clearly into perspective:
“The Landmark of 45-47 Park Place is important not only to maintain the character of the neighborhood and also to preserve the unique architectural design that would otherwise be lost, but even more importantly because of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It is important to grant the landmark status in order to freeze construction of buildings that do not belong at the location near Ground Zero and would irreparably change the look of the neighborhood. Not only has the building stood there for over 150 years, but it has also felt the impact of the 9/11 attack unlike any other building in the area.”
“It would be a travesty to permit this building to be removed. It would be like removing the sunken ships from Pearl Harbor in order to erect a memorial for the Japanese Kamikazes killed in the surprise attack of US Troops.”
If Pearl Harbor had happened in the last decade we might be doing just what Mr. Nunberg describes. Our culture has become so degraded that we celebrate our murderers and toss our real victims on the ash heap.
Speaking of leftists, Juan Williams was surprisingly contrarian in his summation of the details in this debacle. Jennifer Rubin on Commentary gave him full credit:
Williams…didn’t parrot the left’s “tolerance” line. Instead…he criticized the lack of “transparency” in funding. But he did not stop there. He called building the mosque a “thumb in the eye” of those who lost their lives and suffered trauma. He concluded that, contrary to the imam’s claimed intention, the construction is “not promoting dialogue or understanding; in fact it is polarizing.”
Ms. Rubin adds:
This is the proper and entirely compelling rebuttal to liberals’ fixation with “tolerance.” Liberals assume that we must respect the Muslim group’s sensibilities and refrain from denying them their monument to Islam. (And we certainly can’t question their motives or associations.) But Williams quite rightly doesn’t take the imam’s argument at face value. What about the mosque builders’ tolerance and respect for others? Quite obviously, it is entirely absent.
I will be addressing this total absence of Islam’s respect for others in a future post, but meanwhile, Ms. Rubin sees clearly the consequences of patronizing indulgence so prevalent on the left - prevalent, that is, as long as you fit under their Victimology rubric:
And there’s the rub. In the left’s vision, “tolerance” and indulgence of aberrant conduct is our burden and obligation, and ours alone. That not only leads to cultural surrender; it also infantilizes Muslims.
…what’s intriguing, and to a degree horrifying, is what it tells us about the left’s cockeyed view of “tolerance” and its inability to engage and refute the arguments of those who wish to destroy our society and murder our fellow citizens.
Finally, Andrew Bostom reaches back to 1685, only two years after the first September 11th, to bring us John Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration. Here’s a snip from Locke’s epistle (read more at his link):
It is ridiculous for any one to profess himself to be a mahometan only in religion, but in every thing else a faithful subject to a christian magistrate, whilst at the same time he acknowledges himself bound to yield blind obedience to the mufti of Constantinople…
Yes, indeed. It is ridiculous, so ridiculous that none of us who have read the Koran and understand the doctrine of abrogation believes for a New York minute that this is an honest operation.
The smoke and mirrors used by the Khans fool only the Left, and it is only too willing to be deceived if in the process of bringing dishonor on itself, it can also bring its enemies down, too. Those useful idiots have a lot more in common with homicidal jihadists than would be apparent at first blush.
This is a very sad day. It was obvious the Landmark Commission was going to rule in favor of Cordoba, but the decision was nonetheless painful for that.
Three months after 9/11/01, the Baron and I were in New York City for a few days. He was there on business, but our evenings and Saturday were free. So of course we watched the skaters at Rockefeller Center, and then made our way slowly to Ground Zero. I will never forget the smell of those still-smoking ruins.
As we passed the wrought iron fence of the nearby Wall Street churchyard, I used a pill bottle to gather dust from the top of the fence. Even though it was unseasonably warm for December, the white dust covering the graves looked eerily like snow.
In addition to all the detritus from the destroyed skyscrapers, contained in that dust are at least a few molecules of the almost three thousand human beings who were sacrificed to this primitive political theology. They didn’t deserve their fate.
The Khans - and whoever is funding them - don’t deserve their Cordoba Mosque at Ground Zero, either.