NEW YORK — A proposed Islamic center near ground zero is slowly being embraced by some Muslims who initially were indifferent about the plan, partly in response to a sense that their faith is under attack.
A summit of U.S. Muslim organizations is scheduled to begin Sunday in New York City to address both the project and a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and rhetoric that has accompanied the nationwide debate over the project.
It has yet to be seen whether the groups will emerge with a firm stand on the proposed community center, dubbed Park51. The primary purpose of the meeting is to talk about ways to combat religious bigotry.
But Shaik Ubaid of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, one of the groups organizing the gathering, said he has a growing sense that some American Muslims who initially had trepidation are now throwing their support behind the plan.
“Once it became a rallying cry for extremists, we had no choice but to stand with Feisal (Abdul) Rauf,” he said, referring to the New York City imam who has been leading the drive for the center.
Shaik Ubaid, you have earned one of my coveted FresnoZionism F’s in logic.
If Stalin opposes Hitler, should I be pro-Nazi? Speaking of Hitler, if he had been a vegetarian (actually he wasn’t), should I therefore become a meat-eater? If Terry Jones burns Qurans in Florida, do we need to have a mosque near Ground Zero?
It’s telling that Muslims say that “their faith is under attack.” Especially since the large immigration of Eastern European Jews in the beginning of the 20th Century, US Jews have dealt with antisemitic bias and sometimes violence — to a far greater extent than Muslims — but I can’t think of a case in which they have expressed themselves by saying ‘Judaism is under attack’.
Keep in mind also that there are 1.4 billion Muslims in the world (22% of the population), and the number is rapidly growing. Islam is projected to overtake Christianity as the majority religion on earth later in this century. One would think that Jews (0.2%) would be more likely to feel that their faith was besieged, especially in light of the massive campaign of defamation being waged against the world’s only Jewish state.
I think the reason they don’t is because the Jews have acclimated to being a minority everywhere in the Diaspora. They find this an acceptable condition, insofar as they are not persecuted. Post-Biblical Jewish writings, starting with the Talmud, are all about living as a minority in foreign lands. They see Judaism as part of Jews, something that can’t be taken away from them (as the kol nidre prayer on the eve of Yom Kippur makes clear) even under duress.
Islam, on the other hand, is a religion which seeks political power and is unsatisfied unless lands where Muslims live are ruled by a Muslim ruler (and for Islamists, a regime compliant with sharia). This explains the worldwide Muslim obsession with removing the ‘Jewish cancer’ from the heart of dar al Islam, which (as I mentioned yesterday) is quite irrational from a Western point of view.
Islam is a religious faith, but it is also in essence a political ideology — something entirely foreign to Diaspora Jewry, which finds safety in accepting the prevailing regimes and ideologies.
So anything which works against Muslim political power or the symbols thereof — such as a mosque built in the heart of America’s power, America’s Jerusalem, New York City — is viewed as an attack on Islam itself.
This also makes clear why any criticism of Islam or Muslim behavior engenders such a hostile response: Muslims expect that Muslims should rule, not be ruled, and criticism represents chutzpah — how dare those whose place it is to be subjects speak thus to those who should be rulers?
Another corollary is that Muslims must never compromise. Who ever heard of a ruler giving in to the ruled? And whoever heard of democracy, especially when some citizens can be infidels!
I said that this is essential to Islam, and it is certainly inherent in Islam today, as it developed in the autocratic cultures of the Middle East. Could there be an Islam without it?
I don’t know, but today’s Islamic politics are directly opposed to the ideals of the American democratic republic as constituted by the Founding Fathers and accepted by almost all Americans today — and if American Muslims don’t get this, the relationship is going to get worse, not better.