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.