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The Caliph of Ground Zero

August 19, 2010 by  

The Caliph of Ground Zero

A thousand years ago, the Iberian Peninsula was under the thumb of the Muslim Caliphate of Cordoba, an offshoot of the Umayyad Caliphate. While responsible for cultural and economic developments, the Cordoba Caliphate was also particularly hard on what they called “infidels,” and everyone else called “Christians and Jews.”

The Caliphate’s method of dealing with Christians and Jews was to tax the living infidelity out of them. For those who couldn’t pay there were routinely fatal consequences. Religious sensitivity was decidedly NOT a part of the Cordoba Caliphate’s social programs.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan visited Germany for the G-7 Summit. His itinerary included a stop at the German World War II cemetery at Bitburg. One problem: the Bitburg Cemetery contained the remains of several Waffen SS storm troopers.

Reagan’s purpose was to commemorate V-E Day and to honor the memories of all those who fought and lost their lives in the 20th Century’s greatest conflict. Polling indicated Americans would rather Reagan blew past Bitburg on Die Autobahn. And that polling was right, in a sense.

Though Reagan certainly didn’t support the Reich, visiting Bitburg was a bad call. With millions of opponents—and victims—of Hitler’s hardest corps still alive, the visit was… insensitive.

In 2009, a group of investors fronted by Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf purchased the Burlington Coat Factory building just blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. Abdul-Rauf, a sharia-observant imam who has repeatedly made statements that the United States is to blame for the 9/11 attacks (including my fave: “…Osama bin Laden is made in America…”) named his part of the investment group “The Cordoba Initiative.”

A shadily-funded group (developers have repeatedly double-talked on the source of their nearly $100 million budget) want to put a mosque named for a brutal caliphate within rpg-range of the site where other Muslims murdered 2,700 people—for not being Muslim enough. Not exactly the textbook definition of sensitivity.

Of all the hot-button issues the Democrat Party is pushing this year, support for the Ground Zero mosque is one of the biggest head-scratchers. Abdul-Rauf is an imam who has repeatedly endeavored to blame 9/11 on America; he’s part of a religious movement which believes women should be neither seen nor heard (no Hillary Clinton jokes, please) and wants a mosque on top of the spot where the landing gear from one of the planes used on 9/11 by the terrorists landed. But Americans lack sensitivity? Compared to Feisel Abdul-Rauf, I’m Alan Alda, and the GOP is a sensitivity-training seminar.

But, in the spirit of multi-partisan accord, I’ve decided I CAN live with a mosque whose imam preaches hate, intolerance and the kind of respect for women that makes Joseph Smith look like Jane Fonda—IF—we infidels get something in return. Cordoba House construction can start tomorrow; and I will wield a shovel while standing next to some cat named Akbar bin Laden (or whatever).  But, construction on the new Basilica of the Blessed Crusaders has to start the same day in Riyadh. No? All right, but don’t say I didn’t offer.

Let’s take a clinical look at the chaos. According to CNN, 27 percent of Americans believe Obama was born somewhere other than these United States. Wingnuts routinely dismiss these 27 percent as crazier than Rosie O’Donnell in fat camp lockdown. Only 29 percent of Americans support the building of the Ground Zero mosque. Using liberal math… Obamacare had better cover psychiatric treatment.

The Constitution of the United States of America, written by what may well have been the greatest single gathering of intellect in human history, grants us religious freedom, from Muslim to Mormon. But I don’t see this as a matter of religious freedom. It IS a matter of sensitivity. I have sarcastically hypothesized the idea of a mosque-for-basilica tradeoff. But a church built in Riyadh under those circumstances might as well be named Our Lady of The Immaculate Thumb in Your Eye. It’s… insensitive.

Thousands met their end mere yards from the Cordoba House site. The perpetrators of that monstrosity (despite the statements by Imam Abdul-Rauf) were acting on behalf of their version of Islam. Supporters of the Ground Zero mosque are whining about religious sensitivity; although they’ll deny it to the folks who put up too gaudy a Nativity Scene at Christmas, or the 9-year-old who wants to bow his head in silent prayer before some National Education Association union wonk “teaches” him that 2+2=5.

Begging the question: You want sensitivity? How about showing a little?

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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