05 August 2010

A Monument to Folly

Yesterday, an ignorant and therefore dangerous editorial about the proposed “Ground-Zero Mosque” was published in The New York Times.  Below, I’ve reproduced the first part of the editorial, with comments inserted.
August 4, 2010
A Monument to Tolerance

It has been disturbing to hear and read the vitriol and outright bigotry surrounding the building of a mosque two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  So it was inspiring when New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9 to 0 on Tuesday to reaffirm one of the basic tenets of democracy: religious tolerance.
What a horrible paragraph!  First, it’s flat-out wrong to claim that the Commission’s vote dealt with “religious tolerance”; in reality, it voted on the only measure that it could, i.e., the proposal to identify the current building as a “landmark site”.  Thereby, claiming that such a vote was for “religious tolerance” is a red herring.  And as for describing opposition to the Mosque as “vitriol and outright bigotry”, such as statement is, itself, nothing but “vitriol and outright bigotry”.
Instead of caving in to the angry voices – many but not all of them self-promoting Republican politicians – commissioners paved the way for construction of the mosque and Islamic center.  It was not just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do.
What astoundingly biased writing!  Instead of writing “Instead of caving in to the angry voices”, how about writing:  “Instead of being responsive to the majority of New Yorkers”?  As for “self-promoting Republican politicians”, are we to expect that they would promote Democrats?  Don’t politicians generally promote themselves and their party?  And as for “it was the only thing to do”, No!  Just as the original American patriots did, the commissioners could have violated the law to defend our freedoms.  That would have been “inspiring”.
The attacks of Sept. 11 were not a religious event.  They were mass murder.  The American response, as President Obama and President George W. Bush before him have said many times, was not a war against Islam.
For a change, the editorial's writer got something correct – but what’s stated is correct for multiple, incorrect reasons!  First, it’s correct to say that “the attacks of Sept. 11 were not a religious event”, but not because Islamists didn’t consider the attacks a religious event.  Instead, “the attacks… were not a religious event”, because Islam is not a religion:  Islam uses the trappings of religion to promote the political goal of world domination – just as the Nazis did (recall, “Gott mit uns”).  Second, yes, it’s correct to say that the attacks were “mass murder”, but by associating the second sentence with the first, the writer misleads the reader:  if the writer were knowledgeable and honest, the two sentences would have led the reader to conclude, correctly, that just as the Nazis did, Islamists engage in “mass murder” in pursuit of their supremacist goal.  And yes, the third sentence in the above paragraph does describe “the American response”, but the writer fails to mention how seriously in error the American response has been:  Americans have failed to recognize that the threat of Islam is essentially the same as were the threats from Nazism and Communism.
It was not surprising that Republican ideologues like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin came out against the mosque. A Congressional candidate in North Carolina has found it to be a good way to get attention and, yes, stoke prejudice against Muslims. We expect this sort of behavior from these kinds of Republicans. They have been shamelessly playing the politics of fear since 9/11.
Talk about shameless!  I’m not a Republican, but I don’t consider attempts to alert the public to the dangers of Islam to be “playing the politics of fear”; instead, I consider ignoring the dangers of Islam to be playing the politics of burying one’s head in the sand while wearing rose-colored glasses.  Has the writer read the Koran?  If not, here’s a brief summary:  similar to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the Koran describes Muhammad’s plan for how his henchmen can rule the world.
Some of the families of the victims of the attacks, who deserve our respect and sympathy, are uneasy about the mosque. But it would be a greater disservice to the memories of their loved ones to give into the very fear that the terrorists wanted to create and, thus, to abandon the principles of freedom and tolerance.
But it would be not nearly so great a “disservice” (to both the victims and their families) as for the ignorant journalist who wrote the editorial to suggest that opposing another Islamic mosque abandons “the principles of freedom”!  Instead, banning all Mosques in America (just as meeting places for Nazis and Communists were banned) would be a beachhead in defense of freedom, because if Muslims succeed in their plans, then American freedoms will vanish as fast as the Islamists can scream “Allah Akbar”.

The rest of the editorial is just twaddle, suggesting that neither the authors of a statement by the Anti-Defamation League (a statement criticized in the editorial) nor Mayor Bloomberg (with his statement that the proposed mosque is “as important a test of separation of church and state as any we may see in our lifetime”) understand Islam.  When are such ignorant people going to learn something about what they’re apparently so eager to talk about and defend?  For example, in Islam there’s no such thing as separation of religion and state.  Again, Islam is not a religion:  it’s a political ideology that uses the trappings of religion to further its political agenda – and fool the ignorant.

In summary, the proposed mosque wouldn’t be (as stated in the editorial’s heading) “a monument to [American] tolerance”.  Instead, it would be a monument to American folly and to Islamic deceit (i.e., taqiyya).