The most apt comparison between the debate surrounding the planned ground zero mosque is with the one which surrounded the planned Nazi marches in Skokie, a Chicago suburb inhabited by a large number of Jewish holocaust survivors. The US constitution guarantees the right of American Muslims to disregard the pain they will cause the victims of the Islamist terrorist attack on 9/11 just as the constitution guaranteed American Nazis the right to disregard the pain of the victims of the Nazi holocaust. Not surprisingly, the supreme court upheld that Nazi right just as it would uphold the Muslim right. In Skokie the issues related to freedom of speech and assembly. The court held:
But our task here is to decide whether the First Amendment protects the activity in which appellees wish to engage, not to render moral judgment on their views or tactics. No authorities need be cited to establish the proposition, which the Village does not dispute, that First Amendment rights are truly precious and fundamental to our national life. Nor is this truth without relevance to the saddening historical images this case inevitably arouses. It is, after all, in part the fact that our constitutional system protects minorities unpopular at a particular time or place from governmental harassment and intimidation, that distinguishes life in this country from life under the Third Reich….
Barack Hussein Obama similarly reaffirmed the freedom of religion when he declared in the midst of the pomp and circumstance of the White House Iftar celebration:
But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan.
Responding to the unfavorable reception of his legalistic words, he added that he has yet to express an opinion as to the wisdom of building the mosque in that particular location. Obama’s words clearly implied he did think the selection of the mosque unwise. Choosing another location would be much wiser. Let us remember that following their supreme court victory, the American Nazis compromised and agreed to march in Chicago, not Skokie. Muslim activists immediately understood the import of Obama’s words and expressed their disappointment. The White House spokesman issued a statement standing by the legalistic statement.
Nothing is less genuine than the protestations of innocence by the Imam and his activist wife or the comparison of the Cordoba mosque to the 92 street Jewish Y. Radical Jews have never bombed the West side of Manhattan nor killed 3000 Americans in the name of Judaism. Of course, Muslims specialize in not taking responsibility to anything done by their own and insist that no one demand it of them. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama seconded that demand and Americans, by and large, went along with it until now.
The provocative plan to build the Cordoba mosque is the result. Far from empowering moderates or deradicalizing Islamists, the appeasement policy pulled the rug from under the moderates and strengthened the hand of radicals. Why end terror and provocation when it merely adds to the official respect accorded to Muslims even in America? After all, Muslims are invited to Iftar celebration at the White House. Their Imams travel around the Middle East at State Department expense when they are not teaching American soldiers how to treat the enemy with respect.
I do not know if the mosque will be end up being built but my gut tells me that many Americans will never feel the same about their Muslim neighbors. The attention garnered in Skokie did not strengthen the American Nazi party. They won a Pyrrhic victory. Today there is a holocaust museum in Skokie. Still, the name of the village is forever entwined with that disgusting publicity stunt.
So, no. I do not think building the mosque two blocks from ground zero will be wise. Indeed, if he cares about moderate Muslim Americans, Barack Hussein Obama would be wise to find a way to make sure it will not be built. After all, the Nazi marches were temporary while the mosque is to be a permanent fixture with which Muslim Americans will be forcing not only the 9/11 families but all of America to live. Every tourist bus guide will point out the mosque and remind tourists, foreign and domestic, of the callousness exhibited by the American Muslim community and contrast it in their mind with the incredibly tolerance exhibited by their non-Muslim fellow Americans.
For the sake of good interfaith relations, it would be wise to build the Cordoba elsewhere. Americans tend to forgive and forget swiftly. It is time for Muslim Americans to demonstrate that they do not only demand their rights but respect and care for the sensibilities of their fellow Americans who shed their blood to uphold those rights. They should tell that self aggrandizing publicity seeking Imam to find another, less provocative location for his “community center.” Nothing would prove better than tolerance and good will are, indeed, the real motivators of the Imam and his backers.
Alas, “The developers of the so-called Ground Zero mosque rejected New York Gov. David Paterson’s offer to provide state property if the project is moved farther away from where the twin towers once stood.”