How far away from you does a terrorist have to live before a terrorist is no longer a terrorist? This is a question opponents of the “Ground Zero mosque” have to ask themselves.
On This Week with Christiane Amanpour my friend Daisy Kahn, wife of Imam Faisal Rauf the man behind the mosque, was asked if she would consider moving the mosque to another location farther away from Ground Zero. She seemed to say that this is a possibility. As readers of this blog know, I am in favor of the mosque. The Islam taught by Imam Faisal is precisely the kind of Islam Muslims need if Islam is to become a meaningful part of postmodern life. This is the kind of imam all Americans should support. Instead he is being demonized.
According to his opponents Imam Faisal is a terrorist who seeks to impose Sharia on America and set up a terrorist training center next to Ground Zero. While false on all counts, if this were true it would be no less true and no less objectionable if the imam agreed to move the mosque a few blocks farther away. I don’t want a terrorist training camp of any stripe anywhere in Manhattan, or anywhere in the United States.
So what happens to the mosque’s opponents if the decision is made to move the mosque? Will Imam Faisal suddenly be the goodwill ambassador to Muslims worldwide that the Bush and Obama administrations say he is? Will his terrorist ties suddenly melt away?
If they do, then the hypocrisy of those making these false claims is clear: they will say anything, promote any lie, simply to manipulate the masses to their cause. Fair enough. That is what passes for politics in America today.
But I suspect matters won’t end with a move. The haters of Islam are well funded, and smell blood. They, like their forebears Father Coughlin and Joseph McCarthy are using fear of the other (for Coughlin it was Jews, for McCarthy it was Communists) to promote their own political agenda. They craved power, and would step on anyone they needed to in order to get it. The next location will be too close to a school, or a church, or a synagogue, or a strip club to fit in with the neighborhood. Those who seek power through fomenting hate will not allow a change in locale to rob them of their Golden Goose. As soon as people stop fearing Islam and hating Muslims, their game is over. So move or don’t move, the fear mongering will continue.