American Elephants

The ‘Enlightened’ Class vs. Ordinary Americans. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has announced, at a Ramadan dinner at the White House,  that he supports the building of a 15-story $100 million mosque and ‘cultural center’  a stone’s throw from Ground Zero.  President Obama likes to say what he thinks his audience wants to hear, but this is going a little far. The President confuses “freedom of religion” with the right to have this particular piece of property in this particular place, which is something quite different.

The First Amendment to the Constitution says quite specifically that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

The government has made, over the years, great effort to respect all religions while favoring none. The intent of the amendment is clearly to prevent any establishment of a state religion, or any effort to interfere in the religious choices of its citizens. The claims made in the name of “freedom of religion” have gotten a long way from the free exercise of religion, and usually involve the right of atheists not to be forced to see any trace of the religious.

Ground Zero is a sensitive spot.  The events of 9/11 are still strong in the public mind. 2,700 people died there, killed by suicide attacks by representatives of Islam.  What many  people do not know, is that we are still discovering, and burying, our dead.  We are still identifying new victims killed by Islamist terrorists at the World Trade Center on 9/11.  A stepped-up effort was started in October 2006, and in late June, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg was told that 1,845 potential human remains had been found because of the intensified search.

Initially, it was said that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, in the name of harmony and bridge building between America and Islam, owned the property and had the funds to build the mosque and cultural center, but they only own half of the property, and the funds are yet to be raised.

That it is called the “Cordoba Initiative”  in memory of the grand mosque in Andalusia, erected in the 9th and 10th centuries, raised some eyebrows.  In general Islamic legend, that mosque symbolized the conquest of Christian Spain by Muslim armed forces, (later recaptured in the “Reconquista” by Christian forces).

The President said that we must not interfere with freedom of religion, and the right of Muslims to practice their religion.  But that is not what is involved here.  There are mosques all over New York City and its suburbs.  Governments may not interfere with the practice of religion, but they are perfectly free to exercise their zoning laws,  Ask any denomination of other religions, and they will tell you of the problems they have finding sites for their churches or synagogues.  New York City has approved the zoning.  But more than half of Americans object that it is inappropriate.

New York’s politically correct mayor Michael Bloomberg has made speeches in every venue he can find to proclaim his enlightenment and welcome the mosque as an expression of multiculturalism. He takes the promoters’ claims at face value, that it will be dedicated to “peace.”  He notes that denying a right to build a house of worship”may happen in other countries” but shouldn’t here.  Well, yes. There are no Christian churches in Saudi Arabia.  Minorities like Coptic Christians in Egypt are being driven out, as are minorities in most other Middle Eastern Islamic countries.

To most Americans, the site of the World Trade Center is sacred.  To build a mosque so close to the site is insensitive. Most churches would respect those feelings. Imam Rauf does not.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf  is scheduled to spend the rest of the summer on a swing through the oil rich palaces of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar, hosted by the U.S. State Department.  State has not disclosed who is paying for what, or if the trip is a fund-raising expedition, which it likely is.

Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal notes that “Dr Zuhdi Jasser — devout Muslim, physician, former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy— says there is every reason to investigate the center’s funding under the circumstances.  Of the mosque so near the site of the 9/11 attacks, he notes “It will certainly be seen as a victory for political Islam.”

Our enlightened political elites may have dreams of multiculturalism and bridge-building, and hands across the sea, but out in the real world we are engaged in two wars against Islamic fundamentalism.  The enlightened bunch never understand how weak they appear, or that weakness is an invitation to those who do not have our best interests in mind.  And when we awaken, and it is too late, they never understand how it could have happened— or what went wrong.

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