Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Cordoba Conundrum

The plans to build a mosque two blocks from the site where the World Trade Center towers were destroyed, along with the lives of nearly 3,000 American citizens, received the go ahead from New York city's Landmarks Preservation Commission. Their 9 to 0 vote against granting historic protection to the building at 45-47 Park Place in Lower Manhattan confirmed that the $100 million center would be built. The vote set off another round of national debate, with the usual suspects on the left chiding the right for lacking the broadmindedness to look past wrongs and for failing to move forward to a bright new future. Against this bilge and caterwauling a number of conservatives have responded, including Andrew McCarthy's excellent summation at National review:
Dar al-Hijra was established in 1991. Not so coincidentally, that is the same year American leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood wrote an internal memorandum to their global headquarters in Egypt, explaining that they saw their work in the United States as a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

And David Warren has an enlightening piece:
The chief promoter of the scheme, Faisel Abdul Rauf, is himself an imam who, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, suggested that the U.S. was itself largely responsible for being hit. He will not say where the money is coming from (despite some journalistic hounding). Till otherwise proven, the assumption must be that most comes from the usual source: Saudi Arabia, a country whose religious affairs department has generously endowed Sunni Muslim infrastructure all over the world, from an immense oil revenue.

It is also, if my reader needs reminding, a country in which the practice of any religion but Islam is absolutely banned, and grievously punished. All Saudi proposals for "interfaith dialogue" should be considered in that sharp light.

My favorite is, of course, George Jonas, whose excellent post put the notion of outreach into perspective:
"Although human naïvete 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."
True enough.


  1. David Warren makes another point that I think is critical to observe if we're going to try to understand the sentiment behind the mosque project.

    It is called the Cordoba Initiative, in memory of the grand mosque in Andalusia, erected in the ninth and 10th centuries on the foundations of the demolished grand Visigothic church in that city. In Islamist, and indeed general Islamic legend, that mosque symbolized the conquest of Christian Spain by Muslim armed forces (later reversed in the "Reconquista" by armed Christian forces).

    The choice of name, as well as the choice of scale, is worthy of attention.

    The choice of name for this edifice is a clear signal to everyone who understands the reference that this is a site of victory over the enemy. It's as good as a broadcast in Arabic, "Here we defeated the infidels," with a smugly grinning interpreter claiming "It means 'We like you plenty.'"

    There's no doubt in my mind that desecration is exactly what they intend.

  2. I'm with you Cathy, and I am glad you pursued the full text of Mr. Warren's piece.

    Yes, the less we heed the naive or simply wrong-headed sanctimony of the Bloomberg's among us, and the more we actually look into the dark, hidden workings behind the Islamists, the more we understand their intentions. The sad truth is they do not intend to live at peace here among us.

  3. A couple of observations. We don't have to tip-toe around "The Ground Zero" designation because the Burlington Coat Factory Building was damaged in the WTC attacks (the landing gears of one of the planes went through the roof, for Pete's sake) and condemned as a direct result. Forget the "couple of blocks" weasel words. That's for the people trying to shove this down our throats.
    Secondly, we don't have to speculate how it will be viewed in the Arab "world." It is already being touted as a victory on numerous websites and on those infamous "streets." I'm sure someone will be able to sum up the total number of recruits to the movement that this "victory" has generated in the end. Maybe "The End" will be a good choice of words, then.

    There are already at least thirty mosques in NYC, so freedom of religion is not an issue here.
    Nor is the right to make it 31. We are just talking about appropriate siting. May I suggest "Fresh Kills" on Staten Island as an outreach gesture? NYC has been trying to develop that site for a long time now. And a lot of the debris from 9/11 wound up there when the city reopened the site to accommodate it. A hundred million dollars or so added to the project to construct an appropriate memorial to the human remains contained within might be viewed as outreach gesture knowing that this sum could never be budgeted by the city.

  4. "the Burlington Coat Factory Building was damaged in the WTC attacks (the landing gears of one of the planes went through the roof, for Pete's sake) and condemned as a direct result."

    So the building location is correctly called the site of the 9/11 attacks. That makes New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and all his multi-faith background singers all the more a bunch of fools. Did you catch that photo? And of all those faiths represented, each and everyone of them is to go under the blade of the jihadis. They are confusing religious freedom with a death wish. There is a reality that they refuse to see.

    Thanks for your comment, Darrell.