challenges this WaPo
editorial chastising the petty, narrow-minded, bigoted Americans who dare to voice opposition to the building of a hundred million dollar shrine to the glory of Islam a stone's throw (so to speak) from Ground Zero. The Post believes it has identified "three strands" (that many?) of argument, one or more of which, it claims, suffice to neatly explain the only possible bases for this folly. I'll summarize:
- The 9-11 terrorists really did represent Islam
and "to pretend otherwise is a dangerous delusion"
- Al-Qaeda does not speak for Islam, but people naturally associate
the two, so it would be "insensitive to locate anything
Islamic so close to the scene of the crime"
- (This one is for politicians only) Since most Americans oppose construction of the
mosque, it's "useful" for Republicans and "safe" for (wimpy) Democrats to join the chorus.
The Post, unsurprisingly, deems all three of these straw so-called arguments "objectionable."
Let's just ignore that last cheap "politicians" shot. At best, it describes the motives of a dozen or so members (or would-be members) of Congress (hey, who knew there was pandering in Washington?). The other 67.9999% of Americans who oppose the mosque, we are to assume, rely on either "strand" #1 or "strand" #2.
There are, of course, a number of Ground Zero Mosque opponents who subscribe to some version of strand #1. They have a point
and it's a well considered, well documented point with which one can certainly disagree, and many do (see, e.g., strand #2). What's chiefly "objectionable" about the Post's strand #1 is the simplistic and dismissive way it's phrased ... by the Post. The implied message there is the one GZM opponents are constantly accused of and have repeatedly disavowed, i.e., that Islam is bad and Muslims should therefore be denied the right to build places of worship. No one is saying that. Hence, the straw.
Strand #2 contains the word "insensitive," and therefore might at first glance be credited with accurately representing an argument made by GZM opponents. That word is surely the one most widely associated with objections to the project. But it's the connector, the "people naturally associate the two, so ..." premise that misrepresents the argument and straws this strand all up.
The fact is that there are any number of articulate and rational reasons given for opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque. The Post simply chooses to ignore them all and knock down its own straw men. Shoddy.
Here are just a few:
The 9-11 terrorists did attack America in the name of Islam and their associates continue in their attempts to do so today.
Islam has a long and undeniable record of proliferation by force, of which the historic conquest of Cordoba is a particularly prominent example
There is a growing (?) body of evidence that Imam Rauf is not the model of tolerance and moderation
he is made out to be by GZM defenders. To the contrary
Whatever good intentions the proponents of this mosque may have, the message
that building it will send to those who seek to destroy us is a potentially dangerous one
The developers refuse to rule out
funding of the project from Iran and Saudi Arabia, which should raise serious questions as to the true message the mosque is intended to convey.These and like-minded families
(yes, of course others differ, so what?).
This mosque could well have the effect of eroding interfaith dialogue, tolerance and understanding
rather than facilitating it.
There are more, but those should suffice to crack open the tidy little box into which the WaPo editorial board has tried to stuff all of the mosque's detractors.
To be continued...