Monday, August 2, 2010

Muslims, Keep Out

by William Saletan

August 2, 2010

The latest plot against America, we're told, is smoldering in the ashes of 9/11. A Muslim organization wants to build a "community center," including a mosque, two blocks from the site of the fallen World Trade Center. Republicans and leaders of other faiths are rallying against the mosque, calling it a threat to American values. But the threat to our values isn't coming from the mosque. It's coming from those who want to stop it.

The stated mission of the organization behind the project, the Cordoba Initiative, is to build "interfaith tolerance and respect." The center would include a library, gym, auditorium, and restaurant. Its purpose would be "promoting integration, tolerance of difference," and "inter-community gatherings and cooperation." The initiative's chairman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, has denounced church burnings in Muslim countries, rejected Islamic triumphalism over Christians and Jews, and proposed to reclaim Islam from violent radicals such as Osama Bin Laden.

Despite these assurances, a stream of politicians and religious leaders has come out against the mosque. On May 14, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the project "particularly offensive" because "so many Muslim leaders have failed to speak out against radical Islam, against the attacks" of 9/11. Later, as paraphrased by the Associated Press, King said "ground zero may not be an appropriate spot for this or any proposed mosque."