BY NOW JUST ABOUT EVERY AMERICAN VERTEBRATE is keenly aware that all hell broke loose shortly after Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan announced their intention of building a $100 million "Islamic Cultural Center", replete with a swimming pool, gym, 500-seat auditorium, restaurant, culinary school, library - and of course - an Islamic mosque just two New York City blocks from the hallowed 9/11 Ground Zero site where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center crashed to earth in a fiery cloud of steel and flesh. Politicians from both sides of the aisle - including a reluctant President Obama - passionately and quickly weighed in on the Imam's proclamation in the ensuing days. "They may seek to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. They may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice," President Obama said while defending the building of the Center. "As Americans we are not — and never will be — at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day — it was al-Qaida, a sorry band of men which perverts religion."
Pollsters and pundits, as well as the usual suspects on cable news and talk radio, also followed with a spate of debate concerning the constitutionality and the appropriateness of the proposed controversial Islamic Center. The American public didn't waste much time either in venting their strongly held, albeit polarizing, views which ticked the emotion-meter from compassionate to utterly outraged. In the end, despite the disputation of the propriety of the project, the consensus opinion from every political stripe was that the community center was constitutionally protected by the 1st Amendment right to free speech, and since Lower Manhattan's Community Board voted 29-1 in favor of the project, the way was seemingly paved for the Imam and his followers to build their center.
SO WHAT'S THE THE RUB?
In an August 19th TIME poll, A clear majority of Americans - 61% - opposed the construction of the so-called Park 51/Cordoba House project, with more than 70% responding that proceeding with such a plan would be a frontal assault to the victims and families of the WTC attacks. In short, most Americans felt that building an Islamic mosque so close to the site of the worst foreign-born attack on US soil since WW II was at the very least insensitive, and at the very most a direct slap in the face to those who suffered the devastating consequences of maniacal Islamic jihadists. Conversely, Imam Rauf and other Muslim leaders, as well as a still substantial minority of Americans, viewed the dissent to the proposed Community Center as "Islamophobic". The argument went that the project was a peaceful venture and meant no harm whatsoever to the 9/11 victims and their grieving families. In fact, the proposed Cordoba House was portrayed as a "healing center", where people of all faiths could come and reflect on that fateful day. However, that argument did not stop conspiracy theories from abounding, such as the assertion that the Cordoba House was nothing short of a "victory mosque" for the triumphant jihadists and its building was a brick and steel celebration of Islam's crushing defeat of the Western "infidels".
MY HUMBLE OPINION
This whole thing stinks to high heaven.
Imam Rauf's outrageous statements immediately following 9/11, suggesting that America was partly, if not wholly, to blame for the terror attacks, his and his wife's supercilious refusal to denounce Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and his recent "60 Minutes" revelation that moving the mosque now would almost certainly provoke more terror attacks, belie his cumbaya motives. Rauf is disingenuous to be kind. He's a bald-faced liar to be blunt. The pale argument that Americans are unfairly painting all Muslims with a broad brush when, in fact, it was just a teensy-weensy sect of irritants who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, just doesn't wash. Where was the deafening, overwhelming outcry from the vast Muslim world after those Twin Towers came crashing down? Crickets. I believe that's referred to as "silence as assent". In fact, I distinctly remember watching video upon video of Muslims around the world deliriously jumping up and down, firing AK-47's into the air and burning Old Glory in effigy. Not exactly a "we feel your pain" moment. But I digress. Muslims and their mostly Democratic front groups have repeatedly scolded the American public for their "intolerance" since this whole Ground Zero Mosque scandal slimed out from under a rock. What these people don't understand is that Americans aren't intolerant, they're just suspicious. Righteously suspicious. There's a big difference.
Despite open-wound memories of Muslims cheering America's tragedy, few today begrudge the Imam and his cohorts the freedom to build their mosque. This is America dammit, build away. But for God's sake, build the damn thing just a little further down the lane, wouldya? And then there's this... Why should we be tolerant anyway? And why must we be made to feel guilty and ashamed for not prostrating ourselves in front of the demanding Muslim world to prove our tolerance? Here's a novel idea... Instead of Americans being demanded of to prove their tolerance, how about demanding the Muslim world prove their trustworthiness? Let's suppose for a moment, shall we? Suppose instead of Muslims the WTC was attacked by, say, Southern Baptists (I used to be SB, so take a few deep breaths... it's just a metaphor). I continue... Certifiable, fire-breathing, hell, fire and brimstone nut-jobs from the Bible Belt. Got the picture? Following the attacks, we see videos on all the major news outlets (except for MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC) of Southern Baptists in churches all across this great land raising their hands in near-hysterical celebration at the devastating sight. Needless to say, Americans would be justified to view these folks with a healthy dose of jaundiced eye. One could easily imagine, especially if you're a liberal, the severe backlash against this religion - or any religion or ethnic group for that matter. And then, should an outspoken, controversial pastor from this religion announce he intends to build a Southern Baptist church at the site of the former Burlington Coat factory, I imagine there might be some pushback. Would this be intolerant?
Let's be honest, Americans should be suspicious of Muslims' intents. Especially ones as oily as Rauf. Anything less would be irresponsible. Similarly, those dopey Trojans would have been wise to question the authentic motives of the Greeks as they were hulking that giant wooden steed in through their welcoming gates to their ultimate demise. Yes, even though the Greek's assured those gullible Trojans it was just a "peaceful gift".
Now, I'm sure some will misguidedly liken the philosophy of "righteous suspicion" as an echo of the iconic Democrat FDR's Executive Order 9066 that unfairly and non-uniformly sent over 100,000 innocent Japanese-Americans to "War Relocation Camps" after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The thing is, nobody is suggesting nor demanding ICE round up and toss innocent Muslims (that would be the day) into internment camps. And even if we did, AG Eric Holder would make sure they enjoyed movie nights, bingo and plenty of fresh vegetables. Seriously, all we're asking for is a little sensitivity and empathy towards the 9/11 victims and America as a whole. Is that too much to ask? I think not. Those simple-but-yet-to-be-seen acts would go along way towards the healing process and the easing of America's righteous suspicion.
As the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."