Ground Zero mosque debate with David Lane, liberal lawyer
“Islam is a religion of peace.” That is what every Western leader says every time a Muslim sets something off.
They never tell us which ones they think are the violent religions. But for Islam it’s a win-win. Knock down a tower and everyone in government says how terrific Islam is. Build a tower and everyone in government says how terrific Islam is. Either way it’s a gain for Islam.
My country, Britain, has led the way in this. But it is fascinating watching Mayor Bloomberg and Co. following the British curve.
Subway bombs? “Peace.” Airline plots? “Peace.” Car bombs? “Peace.” It must be hard these days being a violent jihadi. No one in power believes what you say. It’s just impossible to get your message across.
The U.S. authorities are making the same mistakes, and in exactly the same order, as those that the British government has made. Violent Islam is the problem and therefore some other form of yet to be decided upon peaceful Islam is the solution. Either way, win for Islam. Whatever the question, the answer is “Islam.”
In my experience this is a terrible mistake. The answer to violent Islam is not Islam. And contra every liberal pundit practicing their religion of peace and acceptance speech, building a mosque by ground zero is not a counter-argument to violent Islam. It is an apology, and an offering, to it.
. But even if the imam of that mosque didn’t have questionable affiliations. Even if he’d never addressed an event organized by the revolutionary empire-building far-right bigots of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Even if the imam behind the ground zero mosque was the nicest, most peaceable, most out-on-a-limb progressive Muslim anyone had ever heard of, the building would still be wrong and it should still be possible to oppose it without being branded—nonsense-term of the hour—an “Islamophobe.”
When the pope comes to London next month, he is going to be greeted by substantial numbers of protests organized by people calling for his arrest and accusing him of the wildest hatreds. Yet we do not hear that critics of the pope are bigoted, “Christianophobic.” Nor even if they were should it cause any alarm. But Islam is different.
Why? It goes back to the “phobia” business. Arachnophobia is an irrational fear of spiders and claustrophobia is an irrational fear of small places. They are irrational because most small spiders and most small spaces do not kill you. There are, however, very sensible reasons to be fearful of many forms of Islam. Commuters in London and Madrid know why. As do Dutch filmmakers. And so do the numerous Muslim-born writers, artists, and musicians who spend their lives in hiding for fear of murder from their erstwhile co-religionists for “crimes” like “apostasy” and literary criticism.
But the cowardice in identifying this and cringing stupidity of what passes for intellectuals and commentators in America, like the U.K., today is staggering.
I regard myself as pretty much color blind and religion blind. And I expect the favor to be returned. When I go into a mosque, I take my shoes off. When I go to Muslim countries, I behave in the manner they expect. But religious toleration is a two-way street. America is not a Muslim country.
Islam however has never been historically very good at understanding this. For all leading Islamic scholars the whole world belongs to Islam. Non-Muslims don’t have a say in it.
Except we do.