SOMEONE BUY KRAUTHAMMER A STREET MAP…. Last week, Charles Krauthammer wrote a passionate column, condemning the idea of constructing a mosque at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. It would have been a far more persuasive piece, if anyone had actually proposed constructing a mosque at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
Krauthammer tries again today, initially blaming the “liberal intelligentsia” for, among other things, having “a singular difficulty dealing with analogies.”
The Atlantic’s Michael Kinsley was typical in arguing that the only possible grounds for opposing the Ground Zero mosque are bigotry or demagoguery. Well then, what about Pope John Paul II’s ordering the closing of the Carmelite convent just outside Auschwitz?
Perhaps us lefties are having “difficulty dealing with analogies” because the right keeps offering foolish ones — Auschwitz and a shut-down Burlington Coat Factory store have very little in common.
At least Richard Cohen of The Post tries to grapple with the issue of sanctity and sensitivity. The results, however, are not pretty. He concedes that putting up a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor would be offensive but then dismisses the analogy to Ground Zero because 9/11 was merely “a rogue act, committed by 20 or so crazed samurai.”
Obtuseness of this magnitude can only be deliberate. These weren’t crazies. They were methodical, focused, steel-nerved operatives.
Nor were they freelance rogues. They were the leading, and most successful, edge of a worldwide movement of radical Islamists with cells in every continent, with worldwide financial and theological support, with a massive media and propaganda arm, and with an archipelago of local sympathizers, as in northwestern Pakistan, who protect and guard them.
Yes, and just as soon as Krauthammer can get around to explaining why we should equate the 9/11 terrorists with Faisal Abdul Rauf — they are, after all, complete opposites — I’ll be sure to take the argument seriously.
Radical Islam is not, by any means, a majority of Islam. But with its financiers, clerics, propagandists, trainers, leaders, operatives and sympathizers — according to a conservative estimate, it commands the allegiance of 7 percent of Muslims, i.e., more than 80 million souls — it is a very powerful strain within Islam. It has changed the course of nations and affected the lives of millions. It is the reason every airport in the West is an armed camp and every land is on constant alert.
Putting aside whether every airport in the West should be an armed camp, I’m not at all sure about the reliability of the numbers Krauthammer cites. But if, for the sake of argument, we concede the accuracy of the dubious claim, it’s still not an argument. Krauthammer wants us to believe that 7% of world-wide Muslims are violent extremists. But is there any reason to believe those involved with the Park51 project are among that 7%? Is there anything in the American tradition that suggests we discriminate against our own, law-abiding citizens based on the beliefs and actions of radicals who claim to be part of their faith tradition?
Ground Zero is the site of the most lethal attack of that worldwide movement, which consists entirely of Muslims, acts in the name of Islam and is deeply embedded within the Islamic world. These are regrettable facts, but facts they are. And that is why putting up a monument to Islam in this place is not just insensitive but provocative.
That might make sense if Park51 was “a monument to Islam” (instead of a community center with a swimming pool and restaurant), and if the plan called for constructing the building “in this place,” as opposed to a couple of blocks away at a closed clothing store.
[R]epresentatives of contemporary Islam — the overwhelming majority of whose adherents are equally innocent of the infamy committed on 9/11 in their name — should exercise comparable respect for what even Obama calls hallowed ground and take up the governor’s offer.
The Burlington Coat Factory store is not hallowed ground, and the Gov. Paterson’s offer is pretty obviously unconstitutional.
Other than all of this, though, Krauthammer’s piece is a great column.