The story of the proposed mosque at the site of the World Trade Center has been thoroughly misrepresented, as have the parties behind the project. They present themselves as ambassadors of moderate Islam. Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, says the project aims to put the Muslim community “at the front and center to start the healing.”
Ms. Khan knows better, because she is also Mrs. Feisal Abdul Rauf, the wife of the main Islamic cleric behind the project. Rauf is no moderate. He presents himself as a peacemaking Islamic Gandhi, but he is in fact an apologist for the terrorist outfit Hamas, which he refuses even to identify as a terrorist organization. Nor is Rauf exactly full-throated in his rejection of terrorism, offering only this: “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.” While he cannot quite bring himself to blame the terrorists for being terrorists, he finds it easy to blame the United States for being a victim of terrorism: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
As National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy has documented, Rauf’s book, published in the West as What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America, had a significantly different title abroad: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. “Dawa” means Islamic proselytizing, a process that ends in the imposition of sharia. The book was published abroad with the assistance of the Islamic Society of North America and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which are two appendages of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization behind much of the world’s murderous Islamic terrorism. The Islamic Society of North America was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case. The co-founder and president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Awani, was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami al-Arian terrorism case.
This dispute has been presented as a question of whether an Islamic center and mosque should be built in proximity to the scene of the worst act of Islamic terrorism — and the worst act of political violence — ever committed on U.S. soil. But at least as germane to the dispute is the question of whether these particular parties ought to be doing so. The fact that an apologist for terrorists and an associate of terrorist-allied organizations is proceeding with this provocation is indecent. We have thousands of mosques in the United States, and who knows how many Islamic cultural centers in New York City. We do not need this one, in this place, built by these people. We’re all stocked up on Hamas apologists, thanks very much.
The libertarians among us are wrong to take a blasé attitude toward this, asking, “If their permit applications are in order, why not?” Here is why not: because this is not just a zoning dispute. The World Trade Center is, in effect, the gravesite of 3,000 Americans who died at the hands of Islamist radicals, and to build a mosque on this site — particularly a mosque with Muslim Brotherhood connections — would be extraordinarily unseemly. We will not appeal to the official powers to use the machinery of government to stop this project. We appeal, instead, to the sense of decency of the American Muslim community, and to its patriotism.
Beyond that, Americans should make their displeasure with this project felt economically and socially: No contractor, construction company, or building-trades union that accepts a dime of the Cordoba Initiative’s money should be given a free pass–nobody who sells them so much as a nail, or a hammer to drive it in with. This is an occasion for boycotts and vigorous protests — and, above all, for bringing down a well-deserved shower of shame upon those involved with this project, and on those politicians who have meekly gone along with it. It is an indecent proposal and an intentional provocation.