Friday, August 6, 2010

The Wrong-Headed Furor over the Planned Mosque at Ground Zero: Mistaking a War on Radical Islamicism for a War on All Muslims

by Marci A. Hamilton

August 5, 2010

Why are our soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan? Given the flap over the proposal that a mosque be built two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, I fear that the country has -- and in particular, the Republicans have -- lost sight of the highest values that justify our wars.

Here is the answer: Our men and women are fighting because there is a force in the world that despises our liberty to believe and think as we choose. That force is radical Islamicism. We all know what happened on 9/11, and we all know that those who perpetrated that act of terrorism want our culture to end -- to be demolished and left in the dust. Thus, what we are defending in this war against terrorism, wherever it occurs, is our very way of life -- our right to believe whatever we choose, our right to be free of government compulsion of belief, our women's rights to be equal citizens, and our deep faith in the capacity of peaceful means to negotiate the differences between faiths.

But now, in the controversy over the planned Lower Manhattan mosque, crude politics has polluted the American values that must be vindicated.