So a Muslim group in New York City wants to build a mosque where a Burlington Coat Factory once stood. Big deal, right? Except that the site is close to Ground Zero. Which means we now have the makings of an idiotic "controversy" controlled by morons and abetted by people who should know better.
|Who knew a mosque could actually spit? I'm impressed.|
The mosque, of course, isn't glorifying anything, other than the right of Muslims to observe their freedom of religion in a footprint that just happens to be baby-steps away from a toppled national landmark. But that hasn't stopped right-wing pundits and the Anti-Defamation League -- a.k.a. those who should know better -- from giving safe harbor to the wacky beliefs of people like Rivera.
And just how wacky are those beliefs? Well wouldn't you know it, the people fighting the mosque are ideologically aligned with the guy they'd probably purport to hate most in this world, says Jeffrey Goldberg:
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.Pallin' around with terrorists, indeed.
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 this mosque project are giving him what he wants.