What does the hoo-ha about the proposed Cordoba Mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan say to you?
Several things, specifically three: 1) That American principle shouldn't be held hostage to provocation; 2) That in America, toleration is one thing and naivete something else; and 3) That leftism under siege -- liberalism, progressivism, call it what you like -- isn't pretty.
That's really not the answer I was expecting.
Just as, perhaps, imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has said he never expected the public reaction -- better than 2-1 against -- to his mosque where he insists it be built.
And you view building it there as a provocation?
Absolutely. In the Islamist view, a deliberate finger in the eye of the Western/Christian infidel. Islam builds mosques on the sites of its greatest triumphs. In 711, Muslims conquered Spain for Islam's first major victory in Western Europe. They planted their first European mosque in Cordoba, which became the seat of the Caliphate of Iberia and North Africa.
Now they want to put up a mosque near the site of their evisceration of more than 3,000 lives on 9/11 -- their first North American triumph. And they want it done by next year, the tenth anniversary of their 9/11 victory and (not coincidentally) the 1,300th anniversary of their conquest of Spain. The Cordoba name for their Ground Zero mosque was not just yanked out of a hat.
But imam Rauf isn't a jihadist. He's a moderate.
Maybe, and maybe he's a poseur -- a jihadist fellow traveler posing as a moderate. Certainly he deploys the moderate's vocabulary. Building the Cordoba mosque near Ground Zero, he says, would promote -- let's see: peace, collaboration, engagement, pluralism, healing, outreach, interdependence, toleration, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, and respect for the Constitution.
You don't agree with that?
Those are feel-good pieties right out of the liberal lexicon. I do not agree that the two-thirds of Americans who see through them to a different Islamic purpose for this mosque on this site are yahoos, lunatics, or extremists. I do not agree that it makes any more sense to blame poll-respondents for their sentiments about the mosque's location than it does for supercilious Obamists to blame the voters for turning against the presidential brand of force-fed progressivism.
But the Constitution --
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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