“America has disgraced itself”

I agree with this strongly worded assessment of the Cordoba controversy by Peter Beinart. Key point:

Once upon a time, the “war on terror” was supposed to bring American values to Saudi Arabia. Now Newt Gingrich says we shouldn’t build a mosque in Lower Manhattan until the Saudis build churches and synagogues in Mecca—which is to say, we’re bringing Saudi values to the United States.

Also don’t miss Michael Kinsley’s dead-on rebuttal of Charles Krauthammer:

Even if this mosque has no connection with terrorism today, Charles writes, “Who is to say that the mosque won’t one day hire an Anwar al-Aulaqi–spiritual mentor to the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber”? Right, and who is to say that the Fifth Avenue Synagogue won’t hire Bernie Madoff as its next cantor? Or that the Pope won’t appoint some child molester as Archbishop of Boston? Obviously, freedom of religion can’t be contingent on such what-ifs.

Not incidentally, there is a horrific story of death by stoning out of Afghanistan today. “Taliban stone Afghan couple to death for adultery,” reports the Guardian. Here is how we should rewrite that headline in light of the Cordoba debate: “Taliban stone Muslim couple to death for adultery.”

You get the picture. These doomed young lovers were Muslims. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are essentially spitting on their graves.

Let us also recall the Muslim victims of recent Taliban attacks on Sufi sites, as helpfully catalogued by William Dalrymple in this brilliant NYT op-ed: the July 2 bombing of the Data Darbar in Lahore (42 dead, 175 injured); the May bombing of Peeru’s Cafe, a cultural center (sound familiar?) in Lahore; the rocketing and destruction of the mausoleum of Bahadar Baba and the shrine of Abu Saeed Baba near Peshawar; the March 2009 dynamiting of the Rahman Baba shrine near the Khyber Pass (thankfully killing no one). All carried out by Islamist terrorists, against Muslims and their holy places.

We must also add the heinous May 28 massacre carried out against Ahmadi Muslims in Lahore (98 dead, 110 wounded). And the ongoing attacks against Shia Muslims, like this one at a funeral, or this completely diabolical example:

In the first blast, a motorbike laden with explosives hit a bus carrying Shia Muslims to a religious procession and exploded, killing 12 people.

An hour later, another bomb exploded outside the entrance to the emergency ward of the hospital where the victims of the first attack were being treated.

As Dalrymple notes, Al Qaeda and the Taliban view Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative as “an infidel-loving, grave-worshiping apostate; they no doubt regard him as a legitimate target for assassination.” If Rauf lived in Pakistan, he would have every reason to fear for his life. How disgraceful that he should be subjected to smears by self-seeking U.S. politicians.

Again, according to Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and the other ringleaders of this phony Cordoba controversy, there is no distinction to be drawn between Islamist terrorists and the victims of the bombings I’ve mentioned above. They’re all the same.

And this from people who talk piously of not slapping the victims of terrorism in the face.

[Update: Please see this NYT editorial on the flood disaster in Pakistan. Help UNICEF help the victims.]

2 Responses to ““America has disgraced itself””

  1. Randy Sandke says:

    What all these incidents show is how volatile Islam is at the current time. It’s undergoing a reformation akin to what happened in the West in the 16th Century, resulting in hundreds of years of bloodshed and conflict.

    The question regarding the proposed Islamic Center is: do we want to invite this conflict to a location that has already suffered three attacks? In addition to the two attempts to destroy the World Trade Center, there was the 1994 slaying of 16-year-old Ari Halberstam. This occurred when a militant islamist opened fire on van full of Yeshiva students at the Manhattan-side on-ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge, roughly two blocks to the east of the proposed Islamic Center.

    Understand that there is a difference between bias and hatred as opposed to legitimate concerns rooted in current reality. Perhaps you want to invite all the problems of the Middle-East into your neighborhood, but at least don’t be blind to the inherent dangers. As the NYT op-Ed suggests, much violence against Muslims is perpetrated by Muslims. Who’s to say that one Muslim faction wouldn’t take it upon themselves to blow up an Islamic Center, particularly one endeavoring to promote peaceful rapprochement between East and West? Obviously, Mosques enjoy no special dispensation from sectarian violence in the Middle East.

  2. admin says:

    Randy, by that logic, we’d have to ban the building of Jewish synagogues in New York, for they too are routinely threatened by Islamist extremists.

    It is the job of federal and local law enforcement to thwart violent plots, and they’ve had considerable success doing so. The rest of us — and Muslims as much as anyone else — must be free to go on with our lives.

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