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Not Your Father's Cordoba

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

Predicting the future with any degree of accuracy is both speculative and risky, but it now seems likely that in about 13 months (September 11, 2011)—while the nation marks the 10th anniversary of the horror of the Sept. 11th attacks—appropriate expressions of retrospection and introspection will be overshadowed by something monumentally grotesteque. That decennial moment in the aftermath of the greatest act of terror inflicted on the American homeland will be mocked by ceremonies initiating the building of an Islamic mosque just yards away from where nearly 3,000 people were murdered.


Murdered in the name of Islam.

The stage was set this week for the upcoming obscene juxtaposition with a ruling by the New York City Planning Commission denying landmark status to the 152-year old building now standing on the site. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of NYC, gave an impassioned, if tortured speech the other day with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, calling the decision and the building of the proposed multi-story facility a victory for religious liberty.

And we all know that Islam is all about religious liberty.

The project has long been referred to (by its promoters) as The Cordoba Initiative. Many Americans, who find history boring, have hardly noticed the designation. Possibly it makes them think of dad’s old car, that Chrysler with the “rich Corinthian leather” touted by the late Ricardo Monteban. But really, there is something else going on.

And it’s hiding in plain sight.

You see, Cordoba is an important name to Islamist supremacists because it refers to the caliphate established more than 1,200 years ago in Spain. The Muslims triumphed there over the “infidel” Christians and built a great mosque on the foundation of a Christian cathedral. They were all about symbolism even back then. The proximity of the proposed mosque to Ground Zero has nothing to do with co-existence or bridge building.


Cordoba is code for conquest.

Many analogies have been offered by opponents of the Mosque—all very fitting and compelling in my opinion—but one further one comes to mind. Most Americans old enough to remember have a certain four days in November of 1963 etched in memory. A youthful president was murdered, his young widow (she was just 34-years old at that moment) and small children led a nation of mourners in grief-stricken observance.

But what some forget is that the man who was charged with killing President Kennedy was buried in Texas, minus fanfare and with so few in attendance that reporters covering the event had to serve as pallbearers, just an hour or so after JFK’s body was lowered into sacred soil.

Now, suppose that as the next five-year anniversary of Kennedy’s death is marked, there is a concerted effort by some—who believe JFK’s killing was justified because of his foreign policy—to erect a structure or other symbolic manifestation at Arlington Cemetery where the 35th president is buried. Absurd? Insensitive? Certainly!

Of course, some might say, “Well, there is no proof that Islam itself is at fault in what happened in 2001, just a few extremists.” To which I would counter that not everyone is convinced Oswald acted alone—and, at any rate, when you do the math even by conservative standards of estimation, those extremists, people we’d consider to be Islamists, are far from few.


As I have written before, the number of Islamists in the world today (read: Muslims who hate America, and believe that the Sept.11 attacks were a good thing and that we all deserve to die if we don’t convert or submit to a Sharia-driven caliphate) is more than the entire populations of Japan, Germany, and Italy combined in 1939, on the eve of World War II.

This is based on widely held and cited estimates (e.g., Newsweek) that 10-15 percent of Muslims worldwide are radicalized. And here in the U.S., there are likely nearly a million Islamists walking our streets and living in our neighborhoods possessed of supremacist ideas.

So, following this pattern, if 2,000 or so people will eventually pray regularly at the proposed Ground Zero mosque (a figure suggested by the backers of this initiative), then it is likely that 200-300 of them will embrace Islamist ideas. But it’s no big deal, right?

Another thing that interests me about this developing story is the part I’d call “A Tale of Two Mayors.” First, you have Michael Bloomberg, one of the 10 wealthiest people in America (he has spent $250-300 million of his own money to get elected three times). His clear position is that this is all about religious freedom and that, “this building is private property and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right.”


Really Mike?

Here’s a news flash for Hizzoner—cities, towns, counties, and states routinely deny churches building permits and plans for expansion. In fact, it is a rare case when a Christian church tries to build or buy without it becoming an arduous, expensive, frustrating, and often ineffectually prolonged process. I can hardly wait to quote Mr. Bloomberg’s “expert” opinion on this the next time I go before my county wanting to build something. It’ll be cool to watch the members of the approval board sweat and submit to “the Bloomberg proviso.”

Yeah right.

Lost in the big story on that Sept. 11 nearly nine years ago is the fact that it was actually Election Day in New York City. Mr. Bloomberg, who had recently switched from being a Democrat to a Republican (now he is nothing), was running to replace

Rudolph Guiliani. The night before, Rudy had been reading a biography about Winston Churchill—the very part about the “blitz” in London in 1940—and he seemed to take a page from that book in the way he conducted himself over the next few days.

I am well aware that on many issues, Rudolph Guiliani would not be my politician of choice—but in a crisis of terror and national security, I’d sure rather have him in charge than Mike Bloomberg. Of the proposed mosque Rudy has said: “It not only is exactly the wrong place, at Ground Zero, but it is a mosque supported by an imam who has a record of support for causes that were sympathetic with terrorism.”


In many ways, Michael Bloomberg is playing Neville Chamberlain in this story of ill-advised appeasement— but then again, he’s not the only one, sadly and ominously.

Of course, this is not to say that Mr. Bloomberg would be okay with just anything at or near Ground Zero. Nope. Those who follow him closely just know that he’d work hard to oppose a pro-life crisis pregnancy clinic or a restaurant that used a lot of trans fats.


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