I don’t know about you, but I’m having trouble following Imam Feisal Rauf’s logic on the relationship between the Ground Zero mosqe (GZM) and jihadist terror.
As those of us who oppose the GZM have pointed out, even if we assume for argument’s sake that Rauf is not an Islamist but a good faith Muslim moderate who is making an ill-conceived but sincere gesture of ecumenical outreach, the GZM is a terrible idea: Its placement at Ground Zero will be perceived by Islamist terrorists as a monument of their victory on 9/11. That would only encourage them in their terror campaign. The imam rejects this contention because, he says, his project will be a reflection of the “true Islam” not the allegedly “false Islam” of the “extremists,” and therefore it is immaterial what the “extremists” think.
Yet, in his CNN interview last night, in an implied threat of violence, Rauf indicated that the movement of the GZM away from Ground Zero must be rejected: Even if done out of a sense of propriety and sensitivity, he said, it would be perceived by “extremists” as an attack on Islam and therefore result in a spate of violence worse than the rioting over the Danish cartoons, threatening “our national security.” (I guess there must be an awful lot of “extremists” out there.)
So why do the perceptions of violent Islamists suddenly matter when it comes to the movement of the mosque but not to the original placement of the mosque?
And if perceptions of violent Islamists do matter, shouldn’t we act in a way that denies them any victory rather than in a way that tells them their extortions work?
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