Opposition to the Cordoba House, a mosque being constructed as part of a Muslim community center two blocks from the former site of the World trade Center in New York, is driven primarily by fear and bigotry (two concepts as inseparable as Pepsi and disappointment). I made a video last week comparing the shit storm being kicked up over this mosque to resistance to a black family buying a house in a neighborhood where a group of completely different black people once committed a terrible crime. (Check the comments section on that one; Rick Rottman came up with a much better metaphor than mine, I think, though I still think the opposition to this mosque is totally illegitimate.)
Now, William Saletan calls out Republican/conservative opposition to the Cordoba House in a piece published today at Slate.com:
The stated mission of the organization behind the project, the Cordoba Initiative, is to build “interfaith tolerance and respect.” The center would include a library, gym, auditorium, and restaurant. Its purpose would be “promoting integration, tolerance of difference,” and “inter-community gatherings and cooperation.” The initiative’s chairman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, has denounced church burnings in Muslim countries, rejected Islamic triumphalism over Christians and Jews, and proposed to reclaim Islam from violent radicals such as Osama Bin Laden.
Despite these assurances, a stream of politicians and religious leaders has come out against the mosque. On May 14, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the project “particularly offensive” because “so many Muslim leaders have failed to speak out against radical Islam, against the attacks” of 9/11. Later, as paraphrased by the Associated Press, King said “ground zero may not be an appropriate spot for this or any proposed mosque.”
Over the next month, Republicans added new arguments. They said the mosque might end up being funded by radicals. They said Rauf hadn’t condemned Hamas. They said he had faulted U.S. policies for contributing to the 9/11 attacks. But their core position predated and superseded these arguments: Muslim worshippers, keep out.Read the entire article at Slate.com.