The Rage Beneath the Surface

The mosque at Ground Zero controversy rages on for the time being. When asked about Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar’s endorsement of the mosque, one commentator this morning referred to him as a holy man, “like a Muslim Jerry Falwell” is the exact term he used. Now I have never liked Jerry Falwell (see here). But equating the leader of a Christian church with a leader of an organization that murders civilians shows the amorality of the politically correct Left. Falwell doesn’t have blood on his hands; al-Zahar does.

There are variations in the practice of Islam, and there are moderate voices within it. But their voices are silenced by the well-oiled Wahhabi Machine run by the Saudis and fueled with your petro-dollars.

Muslims are not Methodists, and Islam is not the same as other faiths. Westerners who haven’t studied the faith seem to think it’s Lutheranism in the desert, Catholics with burkas, or Buddhism without statues of fat guys everywhere. Islam is different. It is unique among religions in experiencing a resurgence today as other faiths decline.

Islam is a political force and has been since its founding. When Muhammad returned to Mecca and defeated the tribes allied against him, he immediately built a mosque, the Masjid al-Haram, around the kaaba which had been worshiped for centuries before Islam. The Dome of the Rock mosque complex sits on the remains of the Jewish temple and continues to spark controversies as the foundation of the mosque lays in the sacred temple. In 1992 Hindu fundamentalists tore down the Babri mosque with their bare hands that had been built in Ayodhya on the remains of a temple devoted to Rama by Rajas of India.

Islam is intolerant of other faiths. Want to visit Mecca? You can’t unless you become a Muslim. Imagine being barred from seeing the Sistine Chapel simply because you aren’t Catholic. Immediately upon Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinians sacked, desecrated and later burned Jewish synagogues to the ground. When my brother-in-law married my sister, he converted to Catholicism without incident. But had he done so from Islam, he would have risked beheading for leaving the faith – something that unites both Sunnis and Shiites. How about attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve while visiting Saudi Arabia? You can’t; other faiths are banned and reading the Bible can result in your execution. Even Buddhists have suffered under Islamic intolerance, losing the statues of Buddha in Bamyan Afghanistan.

Why does the Left rage against Christianity and Judaism yet never fail to give Islam a pass? The Catholic Church bans gay marriage; the Taliban and Iranians execute gays. The Catholic Church bans divorce; the Saudis don’t allow women to drive and stones to death those who commit adultery.

In Christianity and Judaism there are sects that allow women pastors and rabbis. There are pastors who will marry homosexuals and sects that allow homosexuals to preach. Where are those sects in Islam?

There aren’t any. Of course, that may be due to the fact that there are no homosexuals in Muslim countries – at least in Iran.

One might say, “Sure, Islam is intolerant and militant today, but so was Christianity 300 years ago.” Which is true. Since the Reformation most of the European wars had at least some religious component, as did the Crusades. But it’s often forgotten that the Crusades started after Christian pilgrims were slaughtered in Muslim lands on their way to holy sites in Israel, and that nationalism became the predominant force behind wars starting in the sixteenth century. Religion has been on the decline ever since.

But so what? Should we subject ourselves to Islamic fundamentalists today simply because Roman Catholics burned heretics at the stake 500 years ago? How clever is it to ally yourself politically with a group that devalues you (in the case of feminists) or wants to kill you for who you are (in the case of gays)?

Maybe they do so out of plain ignorance. Having fallen for Marxist atheism in college they may have believed that Islam was just another opiate of the masses. Perhaps they do so out of hope, thinking that the alliance will change the minds of the Islamists. Or maybe it’s due to fear: You can drop a crucifix in a pot of piss or create a painting of the Virgin Mary with crap without worry – and even look edgy doing so. But draw a cartoon of Muhammed or make a 10 minute movie about women’s bodies covered with Quranic verses and you get banned in newspapers and a note pinned to your chest with a dagger. Leftists refuse to recognize that while it’s possible to talk your way out of a robbery or mugging, it’s impossible to talk your way out of being murdered.

This issue is one of the few times I’ve seen the Left support religious freedom which the ACLU has done everything in its power to curtail. It’s difficult to imagine their support of any other religion’s deliberate provocation, but given their moth-to-the-flame like alliance with Islam it’s no surprise.

Meanwhile a Greek Orthodox church of St. Nicholas was damaged by the 9-11 attack. The Port Authority of New York has refused to allow it to rebuild because it would rise higher than the proposed 9-11 memorial – a restriction not placed on the mosque at Ground Zero, which is planned to rise 13 stories above the memorial. Come on Leftists! Show that freedom of religion you so recently discovered.

UPDATE 11/10/2010
Michael Totten weighs in with a survey that half of American Muslims are against building the mosque. He also makes some important comments regarding Islam as a whole in the comments section. Given the respect I have for Totten, I take his comment seriously.

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  1. soccer dad:

    Talk about irony, in Islamic lands buildings are not allowed to be higher than the local mosques.

  2. Goins:

    That and the fact that St. Nicholas has only raised about $4 million dollars toward the construction of the church and expects the Port Authority to kick in $55 million of the $75 million construction cost. This whole issue is a non-issue! Too many people on all sides of the ground zero construction projects have gotten far too greedy.

    St. Nicholas’ is right on top of the ground zero site, the proposed mosque site is several blocks away and that building really wasn’t damaged by the towers collapsing, being so close to ground zero is really the root of the delay for St. Nicholas. The Port Authority keeps changing projects and moving things while construction is under way so that really doesn’t help either.

    In other news, St. Paul’s Chapel and St. Peter’s Catholic Church are several blocks closer to the ground zero site, and just over next to the Staples is the John Street United Methodist Church. Granted those structures did not have to be rebuilt like St. Nicholas’ will, but have you been by ground zero lately? Nothing is being built quickly to say the least.

  3. Scott Kirwin:

    The problem with Ground Zero is that it’s the heart of Manhattan. The ground is worth more than gold, yet at the same time it’s hallowed ground. Americans have a tough time balancing their hearts and wallets. That’s why it’s taking so long.

  4. Goins:

    Just the parking lot that used to surround St. Nicholas’ building, about 1/2 an acre, sold after 9-11 for $59 million. Part of there problem is the size of the new building they want to build is 6 times the size of the old one and therefore takes up close to that much more land then the old building. That is probably much more then the construction cost of the building.

  5. Rob Miller:

    Good piece Scott. islam is indeed a political system hidden inside a religion. it has been from Day One.

    Goins, the money isn’t the issue.

    The Islamist nature of Imam Rauf, his Muslim Brotherhood ties and the financing – essentially from the same people that funded 9-11 – is the issue:


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  7. Goins:

    Money is the key issue. The mosque has funding. And the proposed location is far enough away from ground zero to negate most/some of the red tape that is holding up St. Nicholas’ re-construction.

  8. Joseph:

    The Left picks sides based on group identity, not core values. That is why the Left is so hypocritical towards Muslims. The Left is also infactuated with the prospect of being the ones to others around. So, they completely neglect groups like Mulsims Against Sharia ( and the Sollidarity Committee for the Advancement of Democracy in Iran ( Last Thrusday, I was handing out fliers at a SCADI event. A racist Liberal ranted at me for 5 minutes. She was outraged that I wanted Iranians to have religious freedom, the right to assemble, and votes that counted.

  9. Joseph:

    Many people say that Islam just never went through a reformation like Christianity did. This is untrue. The Baha’i movement was founded by Muslims in the 19th Century. Baha’is believe in a separation of church and state, the equality of all religions, the unity of humanity, and the importance of tolerance. Baha’is are persecuted in most Muslim majority countries. While the USA state department bends over backwards to appease “moderate” Muslims who don’t come anywhere near Western levels of tolerance, it turns its back on Baha’is.

  10. Hube:

    Excellent post.

    I’ve been in online debates for days now about this issue, and I’ve asked what Joseph has in his 4:10—do [lefties] consider Pat Robertson a “moderate?” I’ve not once gotten an answer—b/c they know they consider him a far-right extremist … but Robertson is nowhere near as “extreme” as the beliefs of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Thus, progressives are faced with “defining deviancy down” (again), in this case the term “moderate” has a much lower standard when applied to Muslims.

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