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The recent and growing controversy over the plan to build a thirteen-storey mosque near Ground Zero has, once again, concentrated public attention on the fact and nature of Islam. Is it, as its adherents claim, a “religion of peace,” a bringer of benefits to mankind, a harbinger of a better world, a faith which, according to President Obama, accentuates “the dignity of all human beings”? Or, on the contrary, is it something entirely different, not so much a religion as a political ideology grounded in an incendiary and hortative arsenal of texts, primarily the Koran but also the hadith, the sirah and the theological ruminations of Islamic thinkers and jurists from earliest times to the present?
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the moving force behind the Park51 mosque, assures us that Islam is not something to be feared but to be welcomed. Moreover, it is not Islam or even al-Qaeda that is the major fomenter of violence and upheaval in the world but—you guessed it—the United States. The United States, according to Rauf, is responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children. America “has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.” As for the plague of suicide bombers indiscriminately spilling unoffending blood, this apparently has nothing to do with Islam as such, or the Koranic injunctions to “slay and be slain” (Surah 9:111) and to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (Surah 9:5), among innumerable other sanguinary commands. Rather, suicide bombers are justifiably motivated by “political reasons…and worldly objectives.”
The imam’s wife, Daisy Khan, is equally certain that the United States is an Islamophobic country. Indeed, she feels prompted to add, somewhat redundantly, that “It is not even Islamophobia, it’s beyond Islamophobia—it’s hate of Muslims.” TIME magazine has recently distinguished itself with a truly abject and defamatory article confirming Ms. Khan’s hypothesis, opining that “it is plain that many of Park51’s opponents are motivated by deep-seated Islamophobia.”
The unadulterated nonsense and shameless calumnies such people traffic in should be exposed for what they are: a furtive and determined campaign to introduce Islamic canons and “universals”, including shari’a law, into the very matrix of Western societies, with a view to eventually subverting them. (Islamic proponents know very well what they are doing; their Western apologists are, for the most, merely ignorant and self-deluded in providing a laissez-passer.) European countries, such as France, Holland, Sweden and especially Britain, are already stricken by galloping Islamicism—or, more accurately, are largely incapable of responding to the advancing menace. In fact, they are abetting it, both at home and abroad. One of the more piquant instances of compliance involves the $1 million the Dutch government has apparently earmarked as a donation to the Park51 project.
The Ground Zero mosque has become the focal point of the great debate that has galvanized the country for many years now. It is framed as a conflict between those who believe the site is hallowed ground that should be dedicated to the memory of the thousands who perished there, and those who stand behind the multicultural mantra of religious tolerance for all, including for those who are themselves intolerant or cleave to a patently supremacist ideology that has America’s demise at heart. The larger issue, then, has to do with the concept of “tolerance, “which is understood as embracing all forms of political ideologies without demanding reciprocity from the beneficiaries of such largesse—a dangerous inanity that author Howard Rotberg in a recent book has labelled “Tolerism”—is both preposterous and suicidal. The stretching of the First Amendment to serve as an umbrella for a religious faith that advocates the reduction and even in some cases the extinction of all its competitors, as well as the submission of all non-Muslims to an imperial Caliphate, and that furnishes its adherents with the doctrinal weapons to carry out the program, is a perversion of thought. We have been spoiled, it seems, by too many years of unlimited credit, not only fiscally but in the realm of untenable ideas.
The cerebral virus penetrates everywhere. Thus the argument floated by supporters of the Manhattan mosque that the controversy is a local issue, an exclusively New York concern, and that the rest of America should butt out—when it is obvious that the spread of Islamic propaganda under cover of a threadbare canopy of charity and compassion is a question of national import. We should be able to see through the “Mosquerade,” to quote Montreal writer Mark Lepage, but many of us are blinded by our own self-regard as the most enlightened of citizens. As polarizing and critical as the current affray may be, we fail to understand that Park51 is conceived as merely one more room in the House of Islam, though one of its most elegantly appointed.
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