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They Have the Right to Build the Mosque

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

You may have heard about the raging controversy regarding the proposed construction of a mosque merely 600 feet from where the Twin Towers once stood. The dispute has now risen to the Presidential level as Mr. Obama weighed in on it last week, then did not, and then did. His most uncompromising point is that this mosque has every right to be built.

Last month, a young lady was walking her dog down our street, a cul-de-sac that many people in the neighborhood use for exercise. For some unknown reason, she decided to use this moment to painstakingly investigate the flowers in my neighbor’s yard. My three dogs, which only saw a rival canine occupying their territory, reacted in the usual fashion – barking up a storm creating a racket that could be heard down the block. When I nicely asked the woman to move on because of the disruption, she got snotty, protesting that she had a right to be on this public street. I replied that yes, she had the right, but if she did not leave I was going to move her and her dog to another street on which she had the same equal right.

This incident is a small example of something we see too often nowadays: people gratuitously and thoughtlessly asserting “rights” that they think exist. Some people think that this behavior is an outgrowth of the mentality of the 1960. Regardless of its origin, I think many of us can agree that far too often, people claiming these perceived “rights” fail to ask the simplest of questions: Is this the proper and considerate thing to do?

Using this reasonable and practical standard, few Americans would conclude that the mosque should be built in its proposed location. In fact, Americans have figured it out – by a 2-to-1 margin, they think that the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque; but by a 3-to-1 margin, they think it’s the wrong thing to do. The American people are not confused; it is the societal elites like Barack Obama and Michael Bloomberg who are clueless on the issue.

Having now read approximately one hundred articles on the Cordoba House – a name that is no longer being used because it was just too in-your-face (as if the entire idea is not) – I believe that I have some clarity on this matter. To put it bluntly, there are flat-out just a lot of useful idiots in this country.

Just ask yourself three questions: 1) What would have been the reaction in 1955 if the Japanese wanted to build a Shinto temple next to the Arizona in Pearl Harbor? 2) Where is the money coming from and why do they want to build in one of the most expensive parts of Manhattan? 3) Where are the Muslims coming from to worship at this Mosque? This is the financial district. Usually you build a church or temple near the homes of your parishioners.

Michael Bloomberg is a fool to believe that this is about religious freedom, and the other Americans who support this project have, regrettably, become tools for radical Islam. They think that they are displaying religious tolerance while the people in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran are laughing at what weak fools we have become.

We should stop trying to reach out to the Muslim community. They should be reaching out to us. They attacked us. In the last 20 years, we have twice sent our military to save their carcasses (Bosnia and Kuwait), not to mention freeing them from totalitarian thugs in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should stop going to Muslims hat in hand. They should be coming to us.

The fact that a group of Muslims are audacious enough to even propose this project shows not only how weak they think we are, but also how naïve many of our leaders are about the natural conflict between “rights” and common sense. Here’s another question: If there were a church proposed for this site, would it have gone through the local approval board? If you have read anything about the issue of eminent domain, you would have an idea how many churches have been forced out of prime downtown spots to create tax-producing projects. All of this was disregarded when religious tolerance reared its ugly head in downtown Manhattan.

This episode in our current culture has provided the most blatant example of moral twisting by the left. When interest groups like send out emails trying to raise money because of the efforts of “right-wing” interests to restrict religious freedom, we know the world has turned upside down. People who generally focus on policies to encourage religious freedom should not contemptibly charge others of attacking the freedom of religion.

There is clearly a right to build this mosque, but nobody with a working brain should ever allow it to happen. In fact, we should demand that the Imam behind this project disclose the identity of his financial backers. And while you’re at it Mr. Imam, what gives you the unmitigated gall to propose this project in the first place? Americans cannot and shall not allow this issue to die until construction is stopped and the mosque is moved to a more palatable and appropriate location.

(Note: On 9/11, the author was standing in the center of the Capitol Rotunda when the plane hit the Pentagon. If it were not for brave Americans such as Todd Beamer, he might not be here today.)

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