I was thinking about opening up a Japanese cultural center across the water from the sunken USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Just as soon as I lay the cornerstone of a new German Brauhaus on the grounds of Auschwitz. What’s the problem? After all, not all Japanese attacked us on Dec. 7. And I reckon most Germans are genuinely ashamed and horrified by the crimes of the Holocaust committed in their name. Insensitive nonetheless? Even insulting, despite the passage of time and goodness of these two nations far removed from their WW2 past? Of course it is. Which is why no one in their right mind would propose such hypothetical projects.
I guess the key phrase here is “in their right mind” because wouldn’t you know it, a plan to build what would, at 15 stories, be the largest community center/mosque in New York City is being hotly debated at the moment. Why the debate? Because its location will be only two blocks from the World Trade Center Ground Zero site. Yes. You read that correctly. And just like in my hypothetical examples I set forth above, the obvious question arises: why there?
First, a little background on the mosque’s sponsors helps frame the discussion. The imam leading the project is Faisal Abdul Rauf. Like many imams, Rauf seems to be a split personality. If one were to pull up CNN’s website or open up the NY Times, one would be dutifully fed the story of a soft-spoken introspective man. A respected religious and community leader who is dedicated to reaching across the chasm of religious animus to achieve peaceful co-existence with his Western hosts. A man with a sonorous voice and hypnotic charm who, according to his book What’s Right With Islam wants the mosque to be a place where inter-faith understanding is fostered. Aww shucks!
Of course, as is the case with many so-called moderate leaders of his faith, one must do a deep dive to find the inevitable darker side. You certainly will not read about his hostility towards the West in the mainstream media whose fear of portraying anything Islamic in a bad light is only conversely matched by its visceral objections to Christianity. (See MSNBC and Comedy Central). But Rauf’s own words tell us much of what we need to know of this practitioner of the “religion of peace.” In an interview with CNN shortly after 9/11, Rauf said:
“U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. We [the U.S.] have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.”
Elsewhere, Rauf has stated that terrorism will end only when the West acknowledges the harm it has done to Muslims. (Do not expect his gratitude on behalf of the millions of Muslims saved from genocide in the Balkans thanks to Western actions while the Muslim world did nothing.) It is also his historically amnesiatic contention that it was Christians who started mass attacks on civilians. I guess the gruesome slaughters of civilians in the wake of centuries of steady Islamic conquests – see Constantinople 1453 – was our doing too. But radicalism and ignorance tend to go hand in hand. And even granting him a reference to Allied bombing raids of cities in WW2, I do not recall those USAAF and RAF pilots dropping bombs in the name of Jesus Christ…rather in the hopes of accelerating the conclusion of a world war and an end to the killing they did not start.
To understand the origin of Rauf’s one-sided history one need go back just one branch on his family tree. Again, do not expect help from the mainstream media. After all it’s not like he’s a Catholic. His father, Mohammed, came out of the Muslim Brotherhood along with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second man of al Qaeda. The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest Islamic terrorist organization in the world. Mohammed left Kuwait where Faisal was born and then came to the United States in 1965 and built an Islamic center in Manhattan funded by 49 Muslim countries. Perhaps this is guilt by association. But becoming an imam who blames the West as much as terrorists for planes flying into buildings is hardly evidence of an apple falling far from the Jihadist tree.
And the story behind the source of Rauf’s capital is murky at best. Rauf reportedly bought the property for $4.5 million in cash. Where did that money come from? Some say unidentified sources in Saudi Arabia and Muslim-ruled Malaysia but no one as of this writing knows for sure. And he plans to invest as much as $150 million into the facility. Source of funds? Crickets.
Concerns over what will be taught in the new center, and financed by whom aside, the core issue of this story remains: WHY THERE? Why a stone’s throw from the place where Muslim fanatics screaming “Allahu Akhbar” killed 2700 innocent civilians who bore them no ill in one fell swoop? It is ultimately about the symbolism, which is an all important aspect of Middle Eastern culture. And the symbolism of the location of this mosque is not lost on those who view Europe as conquered infidel lands to be re-colonized by the righteous followers of Allah and who see the USA as the great impediment to their global caliphate. This as a test of our will. Subtle perhaps. And maybe not even a conscious attempt on the part of some who support it. There are surely even those who may be legitimate in their concerns and see the structure as an offering to bridge the divide. But for the jihadists of the world, and their millions of silent apologists, if not outright accomplices, if such a structure, near such a hallowed place, after so short a time faces no opposition than it is yet more proof that the West is weak and even the USA is becoming a defanged cobra. New flash: they’re right.
And don’t ask the city of New York, in financial straights and desperate for investment, to press the issue of either its unclear funding or adherence to local ordinances during its construction. Records for the Department of Buildings have shown numerous complaints for illegal construction and no access, yet the issues were officially listed as “resolved.” How exactly?
Consider. What if a bunch of Christian zealots (by no means representative of all the faithful) herded a few thousand mostly Muslim men, women and children into a building and incinerated it, killing them all in the name of Jesus Christ? What would be the level of “rage” from the Muslim street if less than a decade later a Christian group planned to build a cathedral on the spot? I’m thinking red-line here. Open season on Christians even.
The brazenness with which ever more radicalized elements of the Islamic world strive to impose their intolerant, misogynistic, and medieval belief system upon their Western host organisms is so obvious as to be a blasé fact of life. Even more unforgivable is our continual acquiescence to this trend, especially by far-left liberal activists who believe that tolerance is tantamount to being deaf, dumb and blind–and many of whose feminism, sexual preference and atheism would put them in the cross-hairs of conservative believers in Shariah law or Wahabiist doctrine well before lil’ ole me. And I for one am tired of the West being treated like fools by having our own cultural mores and adherence to the rule of secular law used against us. They are purposefully exploiting our tolerance, openness, and respect for other cultures in the way water seeks the weakest entry points to sink a ship. Why must the sense of outrage, of hyper-sensitivity to perceived affronts to a faith and heritage, only go one way? Enough of this self-inflicted double-standard. I watched 9/11 in person and lost several friends that day. Yet I have absolutely no problem with Muslims as a whole–or anyone for that matter–so long as they have no problem with me and my beliefs. Just as I have no issue with Japanese or Germans sited in my opening as examples. Nor do I hold 1.5 billion people responsible for the actions of a few. But that does not mean I do not know when a line is crossed beyond which cultural outreach becomes insult–intentional or not. If you go to the Smithsonian you can see the B-29 Enola Gay on proud display. But you will not, nor should you ever, find it in Hiroshima. That is just common sense and decency.
Western culture is under siege and, whether or not we wish to accept it, there is more to the choice of this particular location for this particular mosque by this particular imam at this particular time than it being a convenient slab of real estate. If we cannot see that to resist this obvious insult to those who died on 9/11 is no more racist or xenophobic than it would be anti-German to resist a monument to that nation erected in Malmedy then we are hopelessly adrift in a sea of political correctness that will drown us in the end. This is not prejudice. This is a matter of respect for those who died in the twin towers, and the nation as a whole. And it is about making a strong statement that, though Europe has effectively surrendered its cultural identity, we Americans are drawing a line in the concrete. That all from foreign lands are welcome to come here so long as they accept their American identity above all else. And that the many Muslims who claim to be respectful of other cultures must step up to the plate and in this case walk the walk…and in the process stop demanding we tip-toe on eggshells around their tiresome hot-button sensibilities, while our concerns are mere footnotes when juxtaposed with their aims. Until they accept this, we have absolutely no obligation to be tolerant of the intolerant. And certainly no obligation to support an affront that would cause murderous riots in the streets of any Muslim city were the roles reversed.