The insistence on creating such a building on such a place sends a dishonest, disturbing message: that Islam itself bears no special connection to the attacks of 9/11, and that the Mosque’s planners feel no shame over their co-religionists who planned and executed those crimes.
There’s only one other possible interpretation of the stubborn refusal to relocate the project, and it’s even more alarming: that in some way, the mosque builders aren’t ashamed at what occurred at Ground Zero, they are actually proud of it.
This relates to the understandably complex reaction of even some sane, decent Muslims to the revolting misdeeds of the radicals who share essential elements of their faith. Yes, they’re all horrified by the bloody deeds of Osama and his henchmen but those crimes brought Islam back to the center stage of world events, ending the sense of irrelevance and impotence. In a similar way, the Cordoba House project is an effort to bring new prominence and attention to a religious faith that claims 1% of the U.S. population (according to the best available figures) – an effort that is successfully using the public controversy and sense of outrage to achieve its over-arching goal of seizing the spotlight.
Muslims of every orientation should feel shame and regret at Ground Zero – even those Muslims who never endorsed or sanctioned jihadist terror. All Christians feel ashamed at sites where their clergy and crusaders twisted the faith and perpetrated horrors – even if those atrocities occurred hundreds of years ago. No contemporary Christian would propose a gleaming, soaring new religious structure adjacent to the site of some bloody pogrom or massacre visited upon innocent victims in the name of Christ.
Scenes of horrific carnage should never become the focus for pride and glorification of the creed that inspired the mass murderers. Those sites must honor the dead, not their killers.
The determination to go forward with the controversial mosque, and the president’s dismissive tone in defending those plans, both try to deny or erase the connection between Islamic teachings and the terrorists who murdered in their name.
In his speech on the subject, Mr. Obama stoutly declared, “This is America” – as if only one side of the argument represented true American values.
Actually, one of our most important national traditions involves the emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability. Any effort to ignore (or, even worse, to glorify) the connection between Islam and the crimes of September 11th is an insult – and an assault – on that proud American principle.