Homer Simpson once observed during a Springfield Oktoberfest gala: “Ah the Germans. Ya just can’t stay mad at ’em!” And certainly after the actions taken by Hamburg authorities yesterday, I must heartily concur.
In a move that flies in the face of the p.c. wave that seems to be engulfing some US politicians re: the ground Zero Mosque controversy, the Germans found the intestinal fortitude to commit a flagrant act of self-preservation and common sense by shutting down once and for all the Taiba mosque and affiliated community center which was a haven for the terror cell responsible for the 9/11 atrocity and other jihadist activities. Three of the 9/11 hijackers, including ring-leader Mohammed Atta, met there regularly before moving to America. Security officials reported that recently a group of ten men from the mosque travelled to Pakistan or Afghanistan last year, probably for purposes of military training.
Hamburg’s Interior Minister, Christoph Ahlhaus explained the move in refreshingly frank terms: “We closed the Taiba mosque today because young men were converted to religious fanatics there…We have put an end to the spectre behind the walls on Steindamm [Street].”
He goes on to offer a warning that all American religious freedom/free speech zealots currently siding with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who plans to build the Ground Zero mosque should pay attention to very closely. Ahlhaus pulls no punches and offers words that few of our own politicians have the courage to say:
“A purported cultural association shamelessly exploited the freedoms of our democratic state under the rule of law to recruit for holy war behind the scenes [emphasis added]…The association continuously promoted jihadist, aggressive and anti-democratic ideology and religious views in recent years. We do not tolerate organizations that are leveled against the constitutional order and the idea of understanding between cultures in an aggressive, militant way.” He said that the association had a programme specifically designed to whip up hatred of “non-believers.”
Finally he correctly points out: “I underline that these measures are not targeted against the majority of peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims in Hamburg.” [Courtesy: The Local]
And that last line accurately reflects the sentiments of many in the anti-Ground Zero mosque movement. Those of us who oppose its construction are not against Islam at all. We are against radical Islam. And if you think that Imam Rauf is the gentle ‘bridge-builder’ cleric that even as astute observers as Mayor Bloomberg seem to believe him to be, then I have a cathedral and synagogue in Mecca to sell you. Sure, his book’s English title: What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right With America sounds benign enough. But the original title when published in Malaysia was more revealing of his mosque’s true symbolism. To the non-English speaking world the book’s title is: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. Any U.S. politician care to explain that one? No? Then how about where he’s getting the $1oo million to finance the project? Still no takers huh? Do we have to get Herr Ahlhaus on the phone?
Look, beyond the shady characters and the murky funding, for the peaceful Muslim community at large please know that for many on this side of the issue, it is also a simple matter of politeness. As citizens of a diverse culture, we believe in showing common sense respect for hallowed places and their meanings to those affected. That goes for everyone though….not just majorities. And given the hair-trigger sensitivity of the Muslim “street” to even the slightest perceived affront, it is obvious that those who proposed this location knew full well that they would be giving offense and as such that was their intent. Truly peace loving-Muslims (of which there are millions) should understand why we have an issue not with another mosque being built in New York City–just one being built there.
Regardless of how that debate ends, there is something very disheartening to me that we must look all the way over to de-fanged Germany (a nation that opposed the 2003 Iraq War, has a large Muslim population, and is hyper-vigilant about not being perceived as intolerant given their Nazi past) to finally draw the much-needed line beyond which religious tolerance becomes being an unwitting accomplice to their own destruction and say Halt!
Maybe Homer was right. Personally, I’d rather clink a stein with Herr Ahlhaus than any U.S. politician who would support Rauf in his drive to build his shrine to jihad right next to graves that a twisted religious/political ideology preached by men like him helped to foment in the first place.