COMMENTARY: In New York City last week, the planned Islamic cultural center near ground zero was given the go-ahead, when the Landmarks Commission denied landmark status to the existing building on the proposed construction site. Mayor Bloomberg gave an impassioned speech in support of the decision that is already referred to as one of the most stirring pieces of oratory of his mayoralty.
Personally, I am not at all concerned about the fate of the existing buildings on 45-47 Park Place. Though I do wonder if we should continue demolitions around ground zero, where so many buildings have already been lost. But let's not dwell on preservation issues. What I am really struck with is how Islamic doublespeak is once again co-opting the liberal consciousness and Islamic politicians are once again using religion to achieve their worldly goals.
What is it that's really planned to be built on Park Place? When it is convenient to the Muslim community, it's just a "cultural center"--13 floors of Islamic culture (whatever that may be). And at other times, it's a mosque, taking advantage of America's convictions about religious freedom.
But it really doesn't matter how you describe the building. Let's face it: New York's financial district is not exactly a center of Muslim population. It will be difficult to come to pray from homes in Queens or Brooklyn five times a day. So why build at such long distance from the most potential users?
Let's not fool ourselves: This monstrosity is designed as a demonstration of political Islam's ascendancy. And the ambiguity between secular and religious purpose mirrors precisely the strategic use of religion by Islamic politicians -- the way they use religion to keep their people quiet and make their imprint on the world. This arrogance and disrespect of people's feelings will hurt the Muslim community just as much as all the countless terrorist attacks that are being carried out by sons of Allah all over the world.
There is an old Islamic tradition to build at strategic points of conquest. Just to name two examples: Sancta Sophia, the Orthodox patriarchal basilica in Constantinople for over 1,000 years, was turned into a mosque when the Muslims conquered the city in 1453 and renamed it Istanbul. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Muslims' second holiest place after Mecca was erected over the ruins of the second Jewish temple when Muslims conquered the city in 637. Today, the vast campaign of constructing mosques around the world celebrates cultural conquest rather than military campaigns. But the principle remains the same.
And now let's remember the images of rejoicing Muslims all over the world. Men, women, children dancing in the streets, showing the sign of victory on September 11, 2001. And if you forgot, you can refresh your memory by googling "Muslims dancing on 9/11" and see the CNN footage for yourself.
And what does political Islam have to celebrate next to ground zero? Perhaps the only victory it has so far achieved on American soil -- the destruction of the World Trade Center?
Of course, there is much talk about this building as a symbol of peace. The Islamic center will be called Cordoba House. That's no coincidence. Cordoba is the city where the first mosque was built during the Muslim conquest of Spain.
The imam behind the project is Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative. The purpose of his organization, ostensibly, is to "build a bridge of peace between Americans and Islam." But by now, from the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed to the project and the demonstrations and the protests it has caused, it is clear that the "bridge of peace" has turned into another divide. It brings back all the worst memories of Muslim attacks on Western lives, properties, and values. It highlights Imam Feisal's advocacy for Sharia law on his website. It raises questions about the origin of the project's funding -- cost is estimated to be about $100 million. Because there is no doubt that this, like most Islamic colonization projects in the world, is financed by one of the rich Gulf countries who want to push their stature around the world. Just for comparison: The opponents of Proposition 8 in California, with all the effort and all the support of LGBT people across the U.S., scraped together about $40 million.
The consequences reach far beyond New York City. The New York Times
reported, "Heated confrontations have also broken out in communities across the country where mosques are proposed for far less hallowed locations. ... There is now widespread debate whether the best way to uphold America's democratic values is to allow Muslims the same religious freedoms enjoyed by other Americans."
If the Cordoba Initiative were about "peace and healing" as it claims, they'd have pulled the plug on this project a long time ago. The project causes precisely the turmoil that any group in its right mind would not want to bring upon itself. But that seems to be of no concern to Muslims. They are ready to hurt their image even further by projecting their ambitions of cultural superiority, a desire that's deeply rooted in their history. There is no other way to explain this vulgarity and tastelessness.
The signs are here for all to see -- the chosen location, the historical parallels, the radical imam, the shady financing. But again, on our side, political correctness prevails over common sense and prevents us from recognizing the obvious. Wafa Sultan, the noted Syrian-American writer and a hero of mine, a woman who was born Muslim, summed it up on the website Jihad Watch: "The building of a mosque at ground zero is viewed by Muslims as a decisive victory over the infidels in Islam's march to establish its ultimate goal: The submission of all others to Islam and Sharia law."
For any rational person, the picture is clear. Muslims murdered 3,000 people and are building a mosque on the site of a crime. But brainwashed liberals don't see it or don't want to see it this way. They are happy to buy a ridiculous notion that this is a "peace bridge." Once again, liberal tolerance hands a victory to the forces of intolerance. But dear liberals, let me remind you of what the great liberal German writer Thomas Mann said: "Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil."