Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When Rights Make Wrongs

By Ralph Peters
August 18, 2010

Well-meaning Westerners are quick to point out that jihad doesn't have to be violent. That's true. Jihad expands Islam's domain by any means available.

The 13-story mosque complex to be built a home-run's length from Ground Zero is jihad--not a gesture to promote inter-faith tolerance.

We are also told that we must be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims. This, too, is true. But isn't it equally true that Muslims should be sensitive to non-Muslims?

Would it not be wise and virtuous to respect the memory of our dead, the emotions of victims' families, and the sanctity with which so many Americans imbue Ground Zero?

Is the establishment media correct that the two-thirds of Americans opposed to a mega-mosque complex at that site are bigots? Or is willful insensitivity-even gloating-at play on the side of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the Cordoba Initiative's point-man on this project?

Finally, we are told-daily-that those behind the planned facility have the legal right to build. This, too, is irrefutably true.

But no one has questioned the legal right to construct this mosque complex. Far more than a First Amendment issue, this is a question of wise judgment, of good citizenship, of calculated insult and deep emotion.

Social peace requires reciprocity. Each day, each one of us chooses not to do many things that would be legal but offensive to those around us. Even in our permissive society, restraint keeps the peace.

Imam Rauf is not being a good citizen. He is not "building bridges," but exploiting the arrogance of our cultural elite toward their fellow citizens. He is an exuberantly divisive figure, not a healer.

The glaring failure of our media has been their unwillingness to question the Cordoba Initiative with the same rigor they apply to the mosque's opponents: Who will fund the mosque complex? Why should so grandiose a project be built so far from the center of mass of New York's Muslim communities? Why scorn out of hand Governor Patterson's remarkably generous offer of free state land elsewhere in New York City?

The key to unlocking the Cordoba Initiative's secrets may lie in the funding. Why should Imam Rauf-so vocal in other regards-play coy about who will pay the center's bills (estimated at a minimum of a $100 million)?

The money probably will come, directly or indirectly, from Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states. If that's the case, it suggests divisive purposes. From Africa through Asia, I've seen Wahhabi "charity" at work. Invariably, the Saudi purpose in funding religious schools and mosques abroad (including in the US) has been to prevent Muslims from integrating into majority non-Muslim societies.

What if the purpose of the Cordoba Center is to provoke, to alienate non-Muslim and Muslim Americans from one another? That certainly would explain Imam Rauf's intransigence when it comes to insisting that his chosen site is the only acceptable site.

Are the intended victims of this travesty our Muslim fellow citizens, so many of whom are integrating successfully? Is the Cordoba Initiative really about aggravating social divisions? How does it serve our society for our media to refuse to ask such questions?

Even the use of the name "Cordoba" is brilliantly cynical. To Atlantis-will-rise-again! Leftists, medieval Cordoba, in Spain, is a fairy-tale example of Muslims, Christians and Jews living together amicably in a social compact called the convivencia.

What's left out of the fable is that Christian and Jews were distinctly second-class members of society heavily taxed for their faiths and subject to the whims of Muslim rulers. After a brief cultural flowering, Cordoba's rulers for centuries were Islamist fanatics from North Africa.

One cannot help but suspect that Imam Rauf and his backers are mocking us, gleefully turning our Constitution against us, and exploiting a media terrified of being accused of bigotry.

Last, but not least, this Ground-Zero mosque complex would be a symbol-not of reconciliation and tolerance, but of the greatest triumph of violent jihad in three centuries: 9/11.

Islam's ghazis-religious warriors--have always understood symbols. That's why the hijackers struck the Twin Towers, not a housing project. This mega-mosque complex will be interpreted by hardline fanatics as a monument to their 9/11 "victory."

Imam Rauf and his backers have every legal right to build their extravagant Islamic center within the lethal radius of Ground Zero. But the rest of us have the right to question why they insist on doing so.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Endless War."

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