Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ground Zero: Exaggerating the Jihadist Threat

It does seem as if this is a story that won't quit. It doesn't matter that much of the rhetoric is either misplaced or politically expedient. As Romesh Ratnesar writes in a Time Magazine online piece entitled Ground Zero: Exaggerating the Jihadist Threat, the "jihadist threat" that everyone is so worried about is actually fading away. Yes, the militants are still doing their thing -- largely in Muslim countries and rarely in the West --but their support in Muslim countries is dissipating fast.

What I find unfathomable is the idea that a mosque sponsored by a moderate group of Sufi Muslims would constitute a victory for radical Islam. I simply don't get it. What would constitute a victory in my mind would be the ongoing fear mongering that grips our nation. The goal of terrorism is to terrorize people -- make them afraid. I think, from all the rhetoric, that these militants have done just that. The American people have been cowed, which makes the susceptible to demagogues such as Newt Gingrich. As New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggests:

"We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else," Bloomberg said on Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty behind him in the distance.

In the long run this is an "debate" that will go nowhere.  The group seeking to build the center have the right, according to the Constitution, to build at the site.  No court in the land would disallow this and its not the government's business to decide between religions.  The Constitution's guarantees don't simply apply to Congregationalists in New England and Anglicans in Virginia, or Presbyterians in the middle states.  We've outgrown the question of which Protestant church will dominate. 

But perhaps even more importantly this "debate" maybe focusing on an threat that no longer really exists.  Remember it's 9 years since 9-11.  We've been in Afghanistan for much of this period, with no end in sight, largely because we put Afghanistan on the back burner to engage another phantom threat in Iraq (where we've been at war now for seven years). 

But, whether the threat is receding or not, I can't stop reiterating the fact that principles of American identity are at stake in this debate -- the principles of religious freedom.  And if Muslims and other minority religions are denied their Constitutional rights, then our nation will have betrayed its founding principles.  I know the President has taken a lot of heat for his position -- David Gergen, whom I normally regard highly, made a statement last night that stunned me -- that in this President Obama demonstrated a lack of understanding of the feelings on the part of the American people.  I'm sorry, but standing up for what is right when religious freedom is under threat for political reasons (even among Democrats) is astounding.


Brian said...

The story we choose to teach our children is that the pilgrims came to this land to escape religious persecution.

What are we going to teach our children if we do not stand up for religious liberty in this case.

In my opinion, the "debate" is mostly political posturing. I'm biased (liberal), but I see it from Newt and others of his ilk. The sad thing to me is that Newt is very intelligent. He knows better. This tells me he is doing nothing more than playing the game of politics in the most dishonorable way.

Gary said...

Since the Muslims are such peaceful, loving people, I think New York City should offer to trade some of the land where the World Trade Center once stood for the proposed site of the mosque, so that the peaceful, loving Muslims can build their mosque on the very soil where the buildings stood that the peaceful, loving Muslims flew the airplanes into on 9/11.

Also, I think the city of New York, perhaps with assistance from the state of New York, should offer to build the mosque with tax money.

What better way to show the peaceful, loving Muslims that we Americans are peaceful and loving too? Another gesture of good will to show the peaceful, loving Muslims all over the world that we are really nice people, and that the peaceful, loving Muslims really have no reason to want to kill us. oooooxxxx :)

David Mc said...

Thanks Gary.
I like the word facetious. It has all the vowels in order.

Glenn said...

At least Gary understands that the proposed site of the Mosque is privately owned and not part of the World Trade Center site. Most people like Gary think that the mosque is being built in the middle of the original towers. Gary must be sneaking in a little NPR with all that Fox news he watches.

Doug Sloan said...

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: There Is No 'Ground Zero Mosque'

An incredibly intelligent, righteous, and truly patriotic comment against hate and irrationality.

Doug Sloan said...

Constitutionally protect rights are more important than mob rule. Protecting Freedom of Religion is not bowing down - it is standing up for what is right, it is how we live in this country. That is why, during WWII, the Supreme Court exempted Seventh-Day Adventists students from saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school. That is why schools are integrated and states can't prosecute interracial marriages. There has been a mosque near the World Trade Center site since before the World Trade Center was built. Please listen to the entire video before responding.

David Mc said...

Well, Glen Belch had a response. The crybaby made fun of Olbermann for getting emotional about our constitution, and then made fun of his mom. Then claims he doesn't get what God wants. What a great rebuttal. Olbermann can go overboard, but not in this instance.

David Mc said...

Former Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson, whose wife Barbara was killed in the September 11 terror attacks, supports the Cordoba House project.

Oh, and he is an opponent of Prop 8.

I wish GWB would speak up...I can't believe I ever would have said that!

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I was holding out hope that George W. Bush would speak out in favor of freedom of religion and against the tide of bigotry. You know, like he used to? After all, his administration actually sent Imam Feisal Rauf overseas to promote America in Islamic countries, so Bush would have to back him now, right?

No dice.

“President Bush has no comment.”