Rhetorical Mosque-erade

The Cordoba Center makes no more difference to me than a fundamentalist Christian Church near the Murrah Federal Building site. For those who see this as a symbolic victory for Jihadists, I say this. Extremist Islam already got their victory when they spent the money for plane tickets and box cutters, and in return got the worlds only superpower sucked into a decade long war [and counting] while bleeding it’s own economy white. Dubious symbolic victories are not only not worth the lives of Americans, but also not worth compromising our Constitutional principles. We’ve been playing into Al Qaeda’s hand since before 9/11, why continue?

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic pens a piece addressing the Imam heading the Cordoba Initiative:

This seems like such an obvious point, but it is apparently not obvious to the many people who oppose the Cordoba Initiative’s planned mosque in lower Manhattan, so let me state it as clearly as possible: The Cordoba Initiative, which is headed by an imam named Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an enemy of al Qaeda, no less than Rudolph Giuliani and the Anti-Defamation League are enemies of al Qaeda. Bin Laden would sooner dispatch a truck bomb to destroy the Cordoba Initiative’s proposed community center than he would attack the ADL, for the simple reason that Osama’s most dire enemies are Muslims. This is quantitatively true, of course — al Qaeda and its ideological affiliates have murdered thousands of Muslims — but it is ideologically true as well: al Qaeda’s goal is the purification of Islam (that is to say, its extreme understanding of Islam) and apostates pose more of a threat to Bin Laden’s understanding of Islam than do infidels.

I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I’ve spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country. Bin Laden wants a clash of civilizations; the opponents of the mosque project are giving him what he wants.

The loss of people during a terrorist attack, while tragic, is a solitary event. Denying civil rights to other Americans based upon conjecture and emotion has farther reaching ramifications, and will eventually [if not immediately] effect far more people. If the people behind the Cordoba Community Center can be treated differently due to our emotional reaction….so should Christian fundamentalists, due to advocating violence and legal disparity towards citizens that they don’t like.

When confronted with a situation such as this [where there is no discernible nor provable threat to US security], we can either uphold the American exceptionalism that is continually brayed about by ‘patriots’…or we can sink into the morass that defines cultures such as extremist Islam.

As Andrew Exum writes on his blog Abu Muqawama:

Where the Bill of Rights really has its value is as a check against the tyranny of the majority. It’s for times like these when the passions of Americans — stoked by the memory of September 11th — cause us to do and say things that spit in the face of the freedoms we claim to cherish.

Defending America starts with defending our values. “We” are America. And “we” are Christians and Jews and Muslims and Athiests. A movement to restrict the freedom of one of us to worship — and a corresponding move to demonize a minority religion — is an affront to us all.

As the Republican mayor of New York put it yesterday, “I believe this is as important a test of the separation of church and state as any we may see in our lifetime – and it is critically important that we get it right.”

Though there are several…..one of the stark incongruities applied to this debate is that with such an allegedly liberal media, the right wing has been able to frame the debate and whip up hysteria to the point where logic and reason are the minority. The use of hyperbolic phrasing is intentional and lapped up eagerly by the undereducated. The media can’t seem to call it a Community Center [which it is], they must refer to it as a Mosque, as if that is the sole role of the real estate. They repeatedly echo the meme that the site is ON or AT Ground Zero. This is but one more instance where the alleged Constitutionalists allow emotion to override the very tenets they claim to support.

Why no outrage over the Mosque in the Pentagon? Are the 9/11 victims of that location any less sympathized than NYC? Or does that not fit the script, as it would come perilously close to sounding like not ‘supporting the troops’?

And the question that nobody appears capable of answering – how far away from ground zero is ‘near’?

Clearer heads will prevail in the legal sense, as there is no recourse for denying the building of the community center. But that won’t be the script for a large number of people. Americans by and large cling to the belief that American actions in no way fed into the breeding of Islamic terrorism. Remember, talking heads and Presidents have told them that they ‘hate us for our freedoms’. This level of American exceptionalism has the inbred reflex of a disregard for inconvenient facts and undeniable truths.

As part of this meme, the community center becomes a Mosque; the Imam simply must be a radical Muslim; and the families of 9/11 victims [only in NYC apparently] will simply not be able to function with another Mosque [since there are already several] in the vicinity of ground zero. Thus, we get yet another chance to herald American innocence and legitimize our reckless foreign policy.

To use the logic of the opposition against them….as we are engaged in counter-insurgency operations on two fronts, and the support of the local [Muslim] population is essential for any form of success…..the vicious fear based opposition to Cordoba and other Mosques around the nation actually undermines that effort. Thus those allegedly pro-Constitution right wing patriots don’t support the troops.

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