Is stealth jihad behind ground zero mosque?
The virality of information in this galloping technological age was brought home to me the other day, when I received an e-mail about an article by Bill Kelly in the Washington Times Communities that contained some photographs I shot back in June.
I thought it might be a good idea to elaborate on that story and share more of what I saw and heard on that day.
Consider an interesting historical antecedent. In 1993, a controversy similar to the current one unfolded when residents of a Washington, D.C., suburb sought to use zoning laws to shut down the local mosque, ostensibly on grounds that it was a traffic nuisance.
“Worshipers of many faiths said closing the popular mosque . . . would amount to discrimination against one of the area’s fastest growing religions,” the Washington Times reported at the time.
The mosque in question? None other than the Dar al-Hijra, later to be known as the “9/11 mosque.” So, were the petitioners who sought to shut it down bigots? Or is it that they got a whiff of its extremism, and didn’t like the smell?
Here, of course, the argument will be made that Rauf really is a moderate. And that might well be so — by the standards of his native Kuwait.
But a man who claims to condemn all forms of terrorism yet refuses to call Hamas a terrorist group is not a moderate by American standards, which happen to be the relevant standards when trying to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero.
Abdul Rauf’s supporters will have to choose between defending him on grounds of his alleged moderation (in which case his views are relevant) or on the principle of religious liberty (in which case they’re not). They can’t have it both ways.
Meanwhile, politicians of every stripe are staking out turf or digging foxholes to hide in. One politician who in my opinion rises above the rest, former NYC mayor Rudy Gulliani, strikes at the heart of the issue with these words directed as a challenge to Rauf and his gang:
“This project is divisive. This project is creating tremendous pain for people who’ve already made the ultimate sacrifice. All you’re doing is creating more division, more anger, more hatred…The question here is of sensitivity, of people’s feelings, and are you really what you pretend to be. If you want to claim to be the healer, then you’re not on the side of the person who’s pushing those divisive issues.
“I was the first person on Sept. 11 to step forward in the heat of battle and say, ‘No group blame, do not blame Arabs, it’s a small group’. But the reality is that, right now, if you are a healer you do not go through with this project. If you’re a warrior, you do.”
At 3 p.m. Sept. 11, Geller will lead a second rally in New York against the mosque proposal.
Above: The Freedom Tower slowly rises in New York City.