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.