Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Wrong Idea

In a 60 second spot rejected by CBS, the Republican Trust attempts to make its case against Cordoba House, a 13-story Islamic centre that will also feature a mosque.

Arguments against Cordoba House insist that it will become a lightning rod for militant Islamists, will promote militant Islam, and that it will be a celebration of 9/11 -- a symbol of Islam's triumph.

This is precisely the argument presented in this ad.

The problem for the GOP Trust is that this argument relies on an overweening ignorance of the individuals behind Cordoba House, and the beliefs of the organization leading the project.

Even the evidence offered for the alleged radicalism of Cordoba Initiative -- such as its Shari'ah index project -- are not in reality what they are said to be. In fact, the Shari'ah law promoted by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf doesn't appear to be any Shari'ah law that would be recognized by those familiar with the extreme variant of it practiced in so many states today.

“What are the principles that make a state Islamic?" Rauf rhetorically asks. "We can say among them is justice, protection of religion and minorities and elimination of poverty, and so on.”

Protection of minorities isn't a concept one would associate with Shari'ah law-practising countries such as Iran or Saudi Arabia.

The opponents of Cordoba House are close to being right about one thing: the construction of the centre would represent a triumph for Islam: a triumph of moderate Islam over the evil and militant political ideology individuals like Osama Bin Laden have transformed it into.

Opposing Cordoba House doesn't aid the fight against this insidious political ideology -- it actually hampers it. By denying organizations such as the Cordoba Initiative public space, they deny them the opportunity to counter the vile message of militant Muslim demagogues who send their poorest and most disenfranchised to wage war for their benefit.

Opponents of Cordoba House may not appreciate the symbolic value of Muslims worshipping peacefully at the feet of the towers their hateful counterparts destroyed. But a great many moderate Muslims will.

To deny them that opportunity out of a xenophobic, intolerant and paranoid mania would be a historical tragedy with little comparison, and that is what would really embolden militant Islam.

On the fifth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings that tore through downtown London, there are few better days than today to realize that obscuring the difference between peaceful, moderate Islam and the aforementioned Islamist political ideology is unacceptably counter-productive.

It's the wrong idea, through and through.


  1. Patrick, you know I like you, but ARE YOU HIGH? This is conquest, pure and simple. And if "moderate" Muslims wanted to make friends and feel triumph over evil, they'd have a bit of a clue that this is NOT the way to do it.


  2. How is worshipping peacefully at the feet of the towers destroyed by militant Islamists not the way to triumph over the latter?

    It's a potent message.

    The fact is that the opponents of Cordoba House have yet to make a logical case against it. They scream "Islamofascism" and never bother to take into account that these are not Islamofascists we're dealing with here.

  3. How can we get past painting people with the broad brush of Islam, when too much of what we have been taught about the religion is negative. In school, every World History class deals with the religious wars, depicting savage Muslim marauders and ruthless Christians. Most Americans have met a number of decent Christians, and give them a pass for their crimes. If you don't know any Muslims, then you just go off of your history lessons, and the stigma sticks.

    How can we teach Americans about the intended nature of Islam, when they think they've got it figured out?

  4. I'll tell you how you DON'T do it: you don't do it by giving up.

  5. Patrick - I have noticed that when you are wrong you are 100% wrong and this is one of those cases. What makes you think that you know what goes on in a muslim's mind and what makes you think you know better than anybody else what their intentions happen to be? How many muslims do you happen to know in your own personal life? And which countries do they hail from? Have you ever travelled to a muslim country?


  6. Maria -- What makes you think you know what goes on in a Muslim's mind and what makes you think you know better than anybody else what their attentions happen to be? How many Muslims do you know in your own personal life?

    I know several. So if knowing a few Muslims, and counting them amongst not only your friends, but your brothers, is what is required to be able to offer commentary on this issue, Maria, I'm willing to bet that I qualify, and you don't.

    Have you ever travelled to a Muslim country? How much do you think you know about Islam, or the Koran? Really?

    Have you ever so much as spoken to a Muslim? I've spoken with Palestinian militants and Muslim moderates. For Christ's sake, I have hosted Afghanistan's Ambassador to Canada on my University campus.

    I will bet dollars to dimes that I'm much better informed about Islam than you are, Maria.

    So if anything here is an epic fail, it's your comment. Now if I'm not mistaken, I think you need to go back to dredging the National Enquirer for some more yellow journalism.

  7. For your information dumbo, I have lived in muslim countries for half my life and have both friends and enemies from the muslim faith.
    I know what I am talking about and you know a big fat ZERO.

  8. I'm going to be very honest with you, Maria: I don't really believe you when you say that.

    Someone who has had friends of the Muslim faith would be able to distinguish between radical Islam and moderate Islam far more readily than you do -- which by my estimation seems to be never.

    Your level of expertise seems to be derived from the foolish Robert Spencer/Mark Steyn takes on Islam, where only radical Islamism is acknowledged, and moderate Islamic denunciations of radical Islamists are entirely ignored -- and intentionally so.

    I know precisely why Steyn and Spencer do it -- sensationalizing the issue sells a lot of books, and puts a lot of money in their pockets.

    You, on the other hand, I still haven't figured out.

    But as it pertains to this topic, I actually have little interest in debating it with you at this point.

    So, so long, au revoir, sayonara, fuck off, take a hike.

    You clearly have nothing of substance to add to discussion of this issue, so I've given you abotu as much time as I'm prepared to give you.


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