Mosques Within 3,000 Miles of Ground Zero
Polls indicate that Americans are generally against the building of a mosque at Ground Zero, but support the right of those to build it. This is typical of American generosity. But is it rational?
Honest Americans see the connection between Islam and the terrorist acts of September 11. It wasn’t a collection of atheists, Christians, and Jews raising their voices on soapboxes, it was Muslims flying airplanes into buildings. In the context of a war against an enemy who is 100%, not 99%, Islamic, and an enemy who explicitly identifies its cause as an Islamic one, it is laughable to conceive of “religious rights” as relevant to Ground Zero land use. And it is no more a private property issue than was the bombing of Dresden an impolite intrusion of German airspace. There is a category called “shit you need to do during war”, and these both get filed under it.
To me, the real question raised by the potential construction of this Muslim JCC is not: do Muslims have the right to build mosques within two blocks of Ground Zero, but rather: do Muslims have the right to build mosques within 3,000 miles of Ground Zero? Contrary to the anti-mosque philosophobes who refuse to let their minds go beyond their argument that “It just ain’t right!”, what I have become intensely focused on is: if my honest belief is that a mosque built on the site of an act of war by an Islamic enemy is the equivalent of waving a flag of surrender, then what is my view about that same mosque being relocated two blocks away? Or two-thousand miles away? Is Islam the enemy?
Shockingly, in the nine years since I watched the second tower collapse with my own eyes, not once did I seriously consider the possibility that it is not “Islamism” that is the enemy, but “Islam”. And what is “Islamism”, precisely? Muslims who take the Koran seriously?
While considering this, the question occurred to me whether the United States government would have allowed an American Nazi party to exist during World War II, even a party that claimed no affiliation with Nazi Germany. It turns out that the answer is, and was: no.
The German American Bund, a group of German-American Nazi sympathizers, existed since the 1930s. However, “After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the U.S. government outlawed the German American Bund.” This was a curious decision. And the decision was made even with all that Constitutional baggage about assembly and free speech and stuff that we have now. Didn’t American Nazis possess these rights? Actually, the federal government decided that no Nazi during World War II, regardless of country of citizenship, had such rights.
There was a second curiosity about World War II. There were German Americans who opposed Nazis.
Dorothy Thompson, “the first American journalist to be kicked out of Nazi Germany… was of German descent and in the autumn of 1942, she contacted the World Jewish Congress with the idea of mobilizing German-Americans to speak out against the Nazi persecution of the Jews.”
Thompson organized the signing and publishing of an anti-Nazi statement in the New York Times and other newspapers called the “Christmas Declaration by men and women of German ancestry”. She and 49 other German Americans signed this declaration in December, 1942, including a guy named George Herman, also known as Babe Ruth:
“[W]e Americans of German descent raise our voices in denunciation of the Hitler policy of cold-blooded extermination of the Jews of Europe and against the barbarities committed by the Nazis against all other innocent peoples under their sway. These horrors … are, in particular, a challenge to those who, like ourselves are descendants of the Germany that once stood in the foremost ranks of civilization. … [We] utterly repudiate every thought and deed of Hitler and his Nazis … [and urge Germany] to overthrow a regime which is in the infamy of German history.” (link)
Where, now, are the anti-Islamist declarations by American Muslims? Is there a distinction to be made amongst Muslims? Is Islam the enemy?
I was leaning closer and closer to where you think I was leaning. And then I discovered AIFD.
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, from everything I’ve read and seen from them so far, is, amazingly, pro-American, pr0-freedom, pro-Constitution, and most surprisingly of all, truly Muslim. Their oft-repeated mantra, “separation of mosque and state”, is a refreshingly welcome one. Founder (and former Lieutenant Commander in the Navy) Dr. Zuhdi Jasser also points out that it is political Islam that is the enemy, violent or nonviolent political Islam. I recommend reading everything you can by them and, most of all, watching Dr. Jasser’s presentation at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Evidently, Dr. Jasser has appeared on television and radio for years, but somehow I missed him.
Silent Muslims everywhere can thank Dr. Jasser. Because of him, you will get slack, at least from me. But don’t expect your silence to keep you deserving of it. Practice Islam silently at your own risk. Dr. Jasser is such a rare, isolated example of what all American Muslims should be, and I am not yet convinced that he is symbolic of a greater movement. But I do believe that the burden is on you to prove that you are on Dr. Jasser’s side. I make my own case loud, clear, and in public, and I expect you to do the same. Especially when you’re located within 3,000 miles of Ground Zero.