The biggest story in New York these days has to be the announcement that a large Islamic Cultural Centre is going to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Centre which was destroyed by Islamic terrorists in 2001.
Naturally there is tremendous outrage. Some of it is fed by misinformation. For weeks it was widely reported that the Centre would actually be part of the new buildings at Ground Zero. This is, however, not true. It was also reported that this building would be a mosque. Again, this is not true. There will be a mosque in the building but its primary function will be to serve as a centre for Muslims in the downtown area.
One must also note that the true test of a mature person is the ability to accord the same rights to one's enemies as one would like to have oneself. If I want to exercise freedom of speech, I cannot muzzle my opponents. I must grant them the same opportunity and courtesy I would expect from them. As a result, it is difficult to oppose the building of the Centre at its current location. After all, if local sensitivity would lead to a veto over building houses of worship, who's to say that a shul wouldn't be targetted next by the aggreived group?
However, despite this one does not have to be happy and smile that all is right with the world. As George Jonas notes in his recent column in The National Post:
Described in news reports as a non-profit organization whose stated goal is to promote cross-cultural understanding between Islam and the West, Cordoba Initiative spent US$4-million to purchase property two blocks from the one-time World Trade Centre in order to pull down an old building at the site and erect an US$100 million 13-storey Islamic cultural centre, including a mosque, in its place.
The question to ask is: Can any group genuinely believe that building a mosque two blocks from where jihadists pulverized 3,000 New Yorkers nine years ago will promote cross-cultural understanding between Islam and the West?
If the answer is yes (God knows, some people believe anything) the next question is: Having observed their New York neighbours’ actual reaction to their plan, do they believe it still?
The answer to this question can no longer be yes for anyone non-delusional with a measurable IQ. This leaves Cordoba Initiative with two choices. It can withdraw voluntarily, thereby demonstrating good faith, or continue building, thereby demonstrating that whatever it’s doing it for, it isn’t to promote understanding.
What is it for? Search me. Mischief? Subversion? Pushing the envelope? To rub salt into wounds, assert dominance, boost militant spirits?
Although human naïveté is boundless, the likelihood of an organization hoping to promote understanding through what others view as desecration is remote. Cordoba Initiative’s organizers may not themselves think of building an Islamic centre and mosque near Ground Zero as desecration, but it can’t escape their notice that many Americans do. This being so, the builders cannot be motivated by what they claim to be. On the contrary, their Cordoba Initiative must be a $100-million exercise in exacerbating tensions.Who would want to spend $100-million to increase tensions between the Islamic world and the West? Those who intend to do so, presumably. It’s logical to assume that people intend the natural consequences of their acts. The law certainly makes this assumption.
So the question isn’t whether Ground Zero’s mosque-builders have a right to what they do, but is what they do right? The first is an obvious yes. The second, if you ask me, is a no.
Some of this is due to a wilfull language barrier. We are repeatedly told that the Muslim leaders involved with the centre are "moderates". The adjective suggests people who are open-minded, willing to respect the views of others, and so on. However, real world experience suggests otherwise. In Canada, radical sovereigntists in Quebec demand that the province completely separate from Canada and become an independent country. Moderate ones demand that Quebec completely separate from Canada but that Canada continues to pay all its bills. In Israel, radical Arabs demand the immediate destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its Jewish inhabitants. The moderates demand its destruction over a few stages with the opportunity for the population to move away first.
We have to break it down simply: only an idiot would not have forseen the firestorm of criticism that the decision to build a mosque near Ground Zero would have caused. The people who planned the centre and chose its location aren't idiots. At some point they held a meeting and choose the site and someone probably said "But wouldn't that upset people considered that our co-religionists creataed Ground Zero in the first place?" And the reply likely was: "We don't care! We are going to do what we want where we want to and we don't care if the infidels will get offended!"
The litmus test, by the way, will come in the response the ICC organizers give to New York governor David Patterson and his proposal to move the Centre to a different location, further away from Ground Zero. Having seen the storm of criticism the location has created, will the organizers compromise? Or will they insist that the site has already become part of dar al-Islami and that it must be the only possible site they can build on?
Who's worse? Conservatives who are concerned that this ICC was intended, amongst other things, to offend the local infidels? Or liberals who don't think the builders were that bright?
They were that bright. And it's that attitude that should offend you every time one of their spokesmen talks about cooperation and mutual understanding.