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Tags: Ground Zero Mosque

Hey, What Doesn’t Motivate These Guys?



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In a very short while, I’ll be on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America program. Even by the standards of getting up early to write the Jolt, this is early.

Speaking of the Jolt . . .

I Don’t Want to Get Into the Jihadis’ Heads; I Want Bullets In There Instead.

A few folks didn’t like the brusque tone of yesterday’s discussion of the mosque, in which I invited those who had declared Imam Rauf a moderate to shut the hell up. So if any of you were offended . . . %^&$^ off — no, no, just kidding! I should not be abrasive like that. I hope the stuff I write that you like makes putting up with my occasional off-color or excessively pugnacious moments worthwhile.

Anyway, the latest argument in the mosque-saga, a.k.a., the Ultimate August News-Hole-Filling Story, is that those of us who oppose the mosque’s construction at that site are . . . helping al-Qaeda. Yes, a short while ago I wrote that if we didn’t give Hamas what they wanted by building the mosque, then the terrorists would win.

What I intended as satire, NPR contended with a straight face: “Experts worry the controversy surrounding an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing right into the hands of radical extremists. The supercharged debate over the proposed center has attracted the attention of a quiet, underground audience — young Muslims who drift in and out of jihadi chat rooms and frequent radical Islamic sites on the Web. It has become the No. 1 topic of discussion in recent days and proof positive, according to some of the posted messages, that America is indeed at war with Islam.”

Their headline? “Rancor Over Mosque Could Fuel Islamic Extremists.” You know what else fuels Islamic extremists? Everything, it seems. We’ve been told extremists are motivated by the secular nature of our society; our notions of the rights of women; our belief in democracy and the idea that laws are written by elected representatives with the consent of the governed, not handed down on high from a religious authority; our foreign policy; our libertine pop culture; our 1980s support and assistance in Afghanistan; our late-80s abandonment of Afghanistan; our embrace of the Saudi rulers; our disrespect for Saudi customs; the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia; the departure of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia via Iraq; poverty; globalization; anti-Semitism; conspiracy theories; envy; sexual frustration; and Faisal Shahzad’s inability to make his mortgage payments. Apparently al-Qaeda is motivated by everything except the Koran’s more incendiary passages.

Hey, you know what? Maybe they’re just [bad word of your choice here]s. Abu Zarqawi always seemed like a guy who was just into it for the killing; having somebody tell him he was doing God’s work was just a nice bonus.

Tags: Ground Zero Mosque

‘The United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.’



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In light of this . . .

. . . everyone who lectured us about how moderate and sensible Imam Rauf is is invited to eat their words with the sauce of their choice.

If someone wants to argue that the sanctions regime on Iraq was counterproductive, because Saddam’s regime simply seized the resources they needed and let the Iraqi people suffer and starve, that’s a fair point. Madeline Albright’s comment that containing Saddam was “worth it” — i.e., the death of Iraqi children — was idiotic. But to suggest that the indirect effects of a U.S. sanctions regime is remotely morally comparable to al-Qaeda’s deliberate mass murder — much less to suggest that they are morally worse — is to eviscerate one’s claim to be moderate, pro-American, or sensible. He says it is a “difficult subject to discuss with Western audiences.” Does he ever wonder why?

From this audio, we can conclude that Rauf has a gentle tone of voice. But that does not mean that his words are gentle.

Tags: Ground Zero Mosque

Gallup: 20 Percent Approve of Obama’s Comments on the Mosque



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Gallup: “More Americans disapprove than approve of President Barack Obama’s recent comments concerning the planned construction of a mosque near where the Sept. 11 terror attacks occurred in New York City, but 4 in 10 do not have an opinion on the matter.” The poll found 16 percent approve strongly, 4 percent approve not strongly, 5 percent disapprove not strongly, 32 percent disapprove strongly.

Tags: Barack Obama , Ground Zero Mosque

Two Mosques/Islamic Centers Currently Within 1.5 Miles of Ground Zero



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I notice, via Google Maps, that there are two currently existing, and seemingly uncontroversial, Islamic centers in lower Manhattan.

One is Masjid Manhattan, about four blocks from the World Trade Center site:

Since 1970, Masjid Manhattan has been a peaceful, not-for-profit organization located in the area of downtown Manhattan. Our members are City, State and Federal employees, as well as professional employees of the Financial area who come to our Masjid to perform their daily prayers.

Masjid Manhattan and its members condemn any type of terrorist acts. In particular, the attacks of 9/11 where non-Muslims as well as Muslims lost their lives. Islam always invites for peace; therefore Islam is not responsible for the actions of some ill individuals who, independently from what Islam advocates, have hatred against humanity. As Muslims and as Americans, we will never forget the beloved ones who perished that terrible day of September 11, 2001.

They recently had to move, but remain in lower Manhattan:

On May 25th 2008 our Masjid was evicted and forced to vacate the building which it occupied for 28 years. By the mercy of Allah, we found a small temporary location just two doors down the street from the old location and Alhamdullillah we did not have to close the Masjid. This new rental space is extremely small and it only has room for 20% of our members during Jummah. The rest of the members have to pray on the sidewalk outside the Masjid and are not able to listen to the Khutbah. We, the members of the Board and the Committee, are working very hard to find a proper location to relocate the Masjid to.

(The poor guys have to put up a big disclaimer on their site: “Please be advised that we are by no means affiliated with any other organization trying to build anything new in the area of downtown Manhattan.”)

The other is Assafa Islamic Center, about 1.4 miles from Ground Zero:

Assafa Islamic Center is a non-profit, non political and a religious organization. It was established in 1996 as a Masjid with Islamic Educational opportunities. Although we have not been able to establish an academic Islamic School but our Islamic after school and weekend school programs have been active. One student has completed Hafiz Quran this year. To the best of our knowledge this will be the first permanent Masjid in downtown of Manhattan below Houston Street. The current rented Masjid location with its adjacent side-walk has become too small for its Muslim worshippers. Currently we have the Jumuah and five time prayers, Weekend Islamic School for Children, Weekdays after School Program,Summer Islamic School Program, D’awa Service,All Religious Events, and Community Services.

I notice we haven’t heard any objections to these two preexisting institutions. Some would argue it’s because these existing institutions aren’t well known; I suspect it’s because Americans have no gripe or grievance with Muslims praying in lower Manhattan, even if it’s just a few blocks from Ground Zero, particularly if it predates 9/11. They just don’t want a self-proclaimed “Ground Zero Mosque” so close to what they consider sacred ground.

There’s quite a bit of sophistry from the defenders of the current project, arguing that “Ground Zero Mosque” is a misnomer, because it is not actually on the World Trade Center site. Of course, it is as close as the project organizers could get; the landing gear from one of the planes and human remains were found on that site. It is also worth noting, as the guys at Red State lay out, that the organizers specifically chose the site because of its proximity to Ground Zero and used the phrase pretty regularly until it became a point of controversy:

A December 8th, 2009, New York Times article stated, “The location [next to Ground Zero] was precisely a key selling point for the group of Muslims,” and quoted Rauf as noting that they got a property “where a piece of the [9/11] wreckage fell.” ASMA then touted the piece in its 2009 Year End Report.

A simple Google search of the Cordoba Initiative’s website reveals the phrase “Ground Zero” to be seeded throughout as a rather inept 1999-era SEO tactic to bring people looking for information about Ground Zero to the mosque promoters’ website.

On May 5th and 6th, ASMA’s Daisy Khan was on her Twitter account, boasting first that the “new muslim center near ground zero gets unaminous vote of approval from community board one in downtown nyc,” and then that she had a “Media blitz day for ASMA / Cordoba [on the] muslim commuity center near ground zero.”

On June 15th, Daisy Khan told the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn that “a divine hand” led to the Ground Zero proximity.

Second, you hear arguments that the term “mosque” is simplistic, because the site includes so much more. Well, St. Peter’s Basilica has a gift shop, but that doesn’t make it a commercial center.

Tags: Ground Zero Mosque

Democrats Finally Find the Puppet Masters on the Ground Zero Mosque Issue



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We’ll have to offer some sort of medal awards for least-convincing spin during this election cycle. Because this one, in an article about how each party is responding to the Ground Zero mosque controversy, seems golden:

Republicans have good reason to push the issue, said Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos. “Who gets moved by these comments? The answer is independents.” Paleologos said. “Independents are driven by issues like this.”

But can Republicans get traction if the Democrats are careful not to engage? A Democratic leadership aide revealed that the Dems do, in fact, have a counter strategy; they just haven’t deployed it yet. Republicans, the aide said, are trying to manufacture a national issue at the expense of focusing on local issues — like jobs. “It provides more evidence that they [Republican candidates] are not independent,” the aide said. “That they are beholden to D.C. puppet masters.”

In this case, the GOP’s puppet master appears to be . . . a wide majority of the American people.

Those folks are apparently pulling the strings of Harry Reid, too.

Tags: 2010 , Ground Zero Mosque

I Doubt He’ll Listen to Me



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Dear Mark Halperin,

Your moment is now.

This weekend, President Obama “Strongly Back[ed the] Islam Center Near 9/11 Site,” as the New York Times informed us Saturday morning, shortly before he clarified that he hadn’t meant to actually endorse the center, merely the right of the project organizers to practice their religion freely.

Yes, Mark Halperin, you can take advantage of this heated circumstance, backed by the administration and most of the loudest voices in the mainstream media, by denouncing any mention of this on the campaign trail as political opportunism, Islamophobia, and somehow a victory for al-Qaeda. (If mosques in Manhattan were sufficient to deter the motivation for Islamist terror, 9/11 never would have occurred. As we’re constantly reminded, the 9/11 attacks killed Muslims. Al-Qaeda has never been particularly choosy or focused about who they kill.)

But please don’t do it. There are a handful of good reasons to support allowing the Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero, particularly if you take the organizers’ claims of noble motives at face value.

But what is happening now — the misinformation about the center and those who oppose it; the open accusations of mosque opponents’ “war on Islam” in magazines and on television, the Internet and other forums; the painful divisions propelled by all the overheated rhetoric — is not worth whatever political gain or sense of self-satisfaction you and those who agree with you might achieve.

Democrats have a strong chance to lose the midterm elections without attempting to paint those who disagree with the president as bigots, or a full-throated defense of President Obama’s oh-so-measured and then remeasured and then adjusted and readjusted words. There’s no need for media commentators or Democrats to insist the majority of Americans are driven by hatred on this issue; they’re already doing so on Arizona’s immigration law, California’s gay-marriage law, the investigations of Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters, the desire to see voter intimidation in Philadelphia prosecuted, and opposition to most Obama policies.

A national political fight conducted on the terms we have seen in the past few days — i.e., a knee-jerk denunciation of the majority of the American people as hateful and bigoted against Muslims — will lead to a chain reaction at home and abroad that will have one winner — the very extreme and violent jihadists we all can claim as our true enemy.

As I said, Mark Halperin, this is your moment. As a famous New Yorker once urged in a very different context: Do the right thing.

Tags: Barack Obama , Ground Zero Mosque

‘If you won’t consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog.’



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The official Twitter account of the Park51 Lower Manhattan community-center project — colloquially known as the Ground Zero Mosque — has told Fox News’s Greg Gutfeld, in response to his proposal to open a bar catering to gay Muslims near the site:

You’re free to open whatever you like. If you won’t consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog.

Say, fellows . . . if you won’t consider the sensibilities of non-Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog, either.

We now have the mosque organizers explicitly demanding a standard of behavior from Gutfeld that they themselves refuse to meet for others.

Tags: Ground Zero Mosque

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