By now every American not on Haldol has an opinion about the Ground Zero mosque. My opinion is that we should be grateful to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf for his mosque project: Now we know who will defend the indefensible, and that is a good thing to know.
Time magazine asks in its cover story, “Is America Islamophobic?” Most of the magazine’s dwindling readership is asking instead, is Time now published in Karachi?
Americans have had much experience lately with tone-deaf leaders. Presidents often misread the public on this issue or that and pay a political price. For example, George W. Bush came up with a plan for amnesty for 15 million illegal aliens, and Barack Obama gave us his World Apology Tour. But it is nevertheless breathtaking to watch our entire political establishment commit hara-kari to defend the rights of jihadists to celebrate the mass murder of 3,000 Americans at Ground Zero.
There is no need here to recap the history of this debate and the arguments for and against the construction of a $150 million Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. The most significant thing about the debate is that we are having a debate. In any normal time or place, in any city not dominated by the New York Times or CNN, the proposal would never have made it past the “what if” stage of daydreaming. But in the Age of Obama, all things are possible.
Would we have a national debate if the American Nazi Party purchased land and petitioned for a permit to build a 200-foot statute of Adolf Hitler next door to the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, which is about 500 yards from the Washington Monument? Yet, somehow, when an imam in Manhattan sees a desperate need for a mosque at Ground Zero, our political class goes bananas in defense of the imam and his proposal.
When it as revealed that the imam behind the proposal has connections to Hamas and other radical organizations, it did not end the debate. Nor was Nancy Pelosi dissuaded by revelations of the imam’s statements in defense of al-Qaida. To the American apologists of radical Islam, any imam not caught with explosives on his person is necessarily a “moderate Muslim,” and the only dangerous Islamists are those who carry AK-47s and live in the mountain villages west of Islamabad.
What all this tells us is that our governing class is incapable of recognizing the enemy at our gate – or the enemy within. This whole debate, as more than one commentator has observed in the past week, is beginning to resemble the political debates over communism in the 1950s and 1960s. The American left was loath to acknowledge that America had an enemy dedicated to our destruction and that the enemy had sympathizers and active supporters within American society. It took Ronald Reagan to put an end to the silliness and state the obvious: The Evil Empire must not merely be “contained,” it must be vanquished.
Who will rally Americans today to stand up to radical Islam? Who will tell Americans that we now have thousands of homegrown terrorists in our midst and design a plan for addressing this new kind of threat? Who will challenge so-called “moderate Muslims” to separate themselves from the radicals by denouncing both jihad and Shariah law?
What the debate over the Ground Zero mosque reveals is that the citizens of America do understand what is at stake, but our leaders do not. The gap between our political elite and ordinary citizens has never been more glaring – and never more alarming. It is certainly a hopeful sign that the vast majority of citizens see the Ground Zero mosque proposal for what it is, a calculated insult to the 9/11 survivors and the American nation. But it is more than a little frightening how many see no harm in the thing.
Still, as Americans, we know that blessings often spring from adversity, and we can be grateful that millions now have their eyes wide open to the scope and magnitude of the Islamist threat. In truth, it is not fundamentally a threat from outside America. It is the threat from inside that ought to be most alarming. The mosque debate has drawn those lines more clearly, and for that we should be grateful.