"Tact" in my part of the South is defined as the gift of knowing when to close your mouth before somebody else does it for you. If the Muslims of New York can't come to their own conclusion that there may be more appropriate locations for a gigantic mosque than where they want it, sign me up as a volunteer to help them.
Is the mosque illegal? No. Is it improper? Outrageous? Insensitive? Offensive? You may choose according to your personal feeling, but back to the South again for the graceful verdict of "uncalled-for"! Am I hinting, accusing or alleging that the clergy and congregants of such a mosque are somehow complicit in the slaughter of 9/11? I suspect they may not all have been equally pained at 9/11, but, no. That's not why a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero is wrong. When the citizens of Dallas protested after the assassination of JFK that it could have happened anywhere, writer Jimmy Breslin put a quick end to the discussion by saying, "Yes. But it didn't!" That's why this piece should be written by a thoughtful Muslim; not an angry infidel.
President Obama unsurprisingly came out big for the mosque; then waffled, then waffled back around the waffle. Jewish scripture asks us, "What do you expect of an ox except beef?" I was more surprised by the president's brazen insult. Before I cite the insult, let me tell you what his insult reminded me of. In the late 1970s, the New York Post ran a series on illiteracy in the public schools – not of students; not teachers; principals! Legally blind people can see somewhat; and illiterate principals can write, somewhat! Reporters combed through the school garbage and retrieved actual samples of illiterate memos written by New York high-school principals.
A jaw-dropping expose on the six-month undercover operation that revealed the true terror-supporting nature of CAIR: "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America." It's also available in electronic form at reduced price through Scribd.
Once a father accompanied his son to the principal's office to complain about a question that caused the boy to get a lower grade than he thought he deserved. The question on the test was: "What is the opposite of frog?" The annoyed principal looked at the father and son and declared, "Everybody knows the opposite of 'frog' is 'tadpole'!"
The president gave us one of those: "Freedom of religion in America is unshakeable." That's political malpractice and intellectual fraud. There are hundreds of mosques in New York and room for hundreds more. Does the president consider us so mentally feeble as to confuse opposition to the desecration of hallowed ground with abridgement of freedom to worship?
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's comments on the mosque and its opponents are bedeviling. We're asked to be ashamed of ourselves if we question the location of Islam's latest spiritual endeavor. Mayor Bloomberg openly expresses disinterest in where the mosque's funding comes from. Nor does he seem rattled by mosque-master Imam Festal Abdul Ralf's comments along lines of "Muslims didn't do 9/11!" and "Osama bin Laden was made-in-America!" The Community Board voted unanimously in favor of the mosque. And the Landmark Commission unanimously denied the building landmark status; approval of which would have kiboshed the mosque. That plus Mayor Bloomberg's strange posture give birth to a truly awful suspicion. Could it be that "Islamic sources" have passed down the word, "If this project is denied, we may not be able to restrain our hotheads from major acts of terrorism against New York, including possibly nuclear!"
The incoherent statements of an otherwise coherent mayor plus his uncharacteristic belligerency when hit with questions on the mosque render that speculation journalism and not hysteria.
I'm not part of the "Islam equals bad!" crowd. Our rescue may be the hundreds of millions of Muslims from Bosnia to Indonesia who like us more than they like "them." It's the liberals who deflate me. All the liberals in New York, not restrained by a more responsible adult, are puffing out their tummies and saying, "Look how big-minded I am! I favor the mosque!" If you're sincere, you merely lack feeling for the families of 9/11. If you think that big-mindedness of yours is a recipe to win Muslim love, you're a dangerous fool.
While everybody else is parsing phrases, excavating precedents and pretzeling the Constitution to fit their passions, I have all the justification I need left over from the mid-1980s when President Reagan set off a firestorm by visiting the German military cemetery at Bitburg where, it turned out, Nazi SS-troops were buried along with ordinary conscripts of the Wehrmacht, the German regular army. And, very much like the current mosque-madness, commentators were arguing whether a president, by visiting a cemetery, was honoring all those buried there, or merely those he made clear he was honoring. At that point Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Voice of the Holocaust, uttered one line I wish our Islamic neighbors had understood before any of this came up.
Wiesel, addressing President Reagan, said simply, "Mr. President. This is not your place."