Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) has issued a lengthy statement condemning “neo-conservative” opposition to the Park51 project. “This is all about hate and Islamaphobia,” said Paul:
It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”
The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.
Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”
Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?
In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.
They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars.
Paul seems to flirt with the Imam Rauf line that American foreign policy in the Middle East invited the September 11 attacks:
If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.
There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?
If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) is breaking ranks with Harry Reid and supporting the Park51 project:
“The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has given his assent to this center and I support his decision,” Durbin said Sunday. “The politicians like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin who try to divide America with fear and hate over this issue betray the diversity which makes our nation great and the Constitution which they profess to honor.”