Last Friday, President Obama at a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, again demonstrated his incredible inability to connect with sentiments of most Americans by speaking in support of building a mosque at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. In fact, part of one plane’s fuselage crashed into exactly the building that now is supposed to be torn down to make way for a mosque.
Obama said “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”
He entirely misses, or pretends to miss, the point.
This is not an argument about the right of a particular religion to build a place of worship. It is rather an argument that the unique and horrible history of 9/11 where 3,000 people died makes it inappropriate to use the site of the Twin Towers and the surrounding ground for certain purposes. One such inappropriate purpose is to build a place to worship the religion that was used as motivation for the attack by the terrorists.
This is not a unique situation in the United States or in the world. We have a long history of restricting development of Wal-Marts and other structures near the historic battlefields of the Civil War were so many Americans lost their lives.
Preserving historic sites and their surroundings and preventing the building of structures that would distract or offend those commemorating the history that occured at the historic site happens all the time. I doubt, for example, a Shinto Japanese shrine would be welcome in Pearl Harbor no matter how peaceful the Japanese people are today.
One international example of a situation where the history of a site had made a new use unacceptable occurred in Poland. Carmelite Nuns tried to establish a convent at the site of the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz were millions of Jews and other people persecuted by Hitler were brutally murdered. When Jewish groups protested the location of the convent, Pope John Paul II ordered the nuns to leave.
If the Muslim leaders behind this effort really want to build understanding between Mulims, Christians and Jews, moving their project to some other location in another part of New York City would be a much better way for them to proceed.
Even with the best intentions, it is inevitable that a mosque at this site would be used by radical jihadists across the world as a huge propaganda victory. And the efforts by radical Muslims to take control of the mosque would never cease.
Thoughtful Muslims have spoken against locating a mosque at this site. They understand the propaganda value of the location for radical Islam and also fear that building the mosque will build associations between average Muslims and the 9/11 jihadists in people’s minds that could create a backlash against all Muslims.
Why is it that President Obama and his leftist elitists are not able to understand such basic reasoning? Why do Obama leftists always want to extend special favors to anyone that claims the be a victim – as long as the alleged perpetrator is the United States. Would they support a project to build a church or synagogue in Mecca or anywhere else in Saudi Arabia? Highly unlikely.
In Obama’s world view it is always America that has done wrong and the party opposing America needs to be supported. He said something like “America cannot afford another generation of Muslims hating America.” Why not say, “Muslims cannot afford another generation of jihadists and their destruction of not only the West, but also of Islamic societies”? No, such a statement would actually make sense, but it would be inadequate to Obama and his ideologues because America is not portrayed as the historic villain that Obama, “the Enlightened One”, has come to change.
It is hard to see how this president can ever regain the trust of many of the people that voted for him less than two years ago. His statements on this topic have been catastrophically destructive of his presidency.