Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Insidious Ground Zero Mosque

I will begin with a comparison between two buildings, because a question of property rights entered recent debates and disputations about the propriety of the Ground Zero mosque, the rightness or wrongness of opposing its construction, and the nature of Islam itself. This mosque, to be called “Cordoba House,” is just a brief walk from Ground Zero in New York City. Its construction, to replace a private office building damaged on 9/11, has been approved by a city council. But, first allow me to discuss another building.

Years ago Korean Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church, bought a defunct, former first-class hotel in Manhattan, the New Yorker, and turned it into a center for the propagation of his religion, and also as a dorm and office space for his local followers. Doubtless many readers remember the Moonies, converts who had to be “de-programmed” by their parents of the brainwashing these young adults had experienced in Moon‘s “madrassas.”

There were countless numbers of them all over the country, knocking on doors and spreading literature about the Unification Church. They were as annoying as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, but as immune to reason as any Witness and Mormon traveling recruiter. And about as dangerous. They were squeaky clean, nicely dressed and well-behaved. One had the impression they were manufactured on an assembly line.

But, when Moon bought the hotel, no one objected. It was private property. I am guessing that Moon got tax and zoning exemptions and the like from the city government because his was a religious organization, just as I am sure Faisal Abdul Rauf and his cohorts will get them for the Cordoba mosque, as well.

It was inconceivable at the time that the Moonie elders were preaching anti-Americanism and Moonie jihad in the hotel. No one could imagine that they encouraged hate and called for conquest and replacing, with violence, if necessary, the Constitution of the United States with a Moonie Compact of Love and Peace. No one imagined that bombs and suicide vests were being assembled in the hotel basement, or that classes were being held on how to rig a vehicle to explode with the maximum number of casualties. Moonies who happened to live around town outside of the hotel were not regarded with suspicion by their neighbors or the authorities. No one contested Moon’s right to turn the property into a center for his creed (which is an amalgam of pacifist tenets borrowed from other creeds, but especially the Christian).

The idea that the Moonies were planning something awful and homicidal and destructive never occurred to anyone -- because no one had any reason to doubt the “benign” purposes of the hotel purchase. More often than not, Moon and his followers were the butt of jokes. (Try making a public joke about Islam, or Mohammad, or Allah today.) And, nothing happened. No car bombs exploded in Times Square, no massacres of commuters occurred in Grand Central Station. No planes were hijacked and flown into the Empire State Building.

The Moonies have faded from memory. The Islamists, however, do not want us to forget Islam.

Islam is not a Moonie religion. Moon’s religion did not attempt to incorporate or integrate a political agenda with its theological agenda. Islam does. Moon did not declare war on America from South Korea. Islam’s leading lights have, Shiite and Sunni, from all quarters where Islam reigns supreme. The religious and political elements of Islam are mutually supportive, complementary, and coextensive. They are based, in the Koran, on action -- by force or fraud or dissimulation -- with the sole object of conquest and anchoring Islam in the host, and soon-to-be vanquished country.

Someone remarked to me: We are not at war with Islam. War is tanks and machine guns and going over the top. We cannot be at war with an ideology.

Yes, we are at war with Islam. Just as we have been at war with Kant and his philosophical successors, and with John Dewey, and Marxism -- in short, with every anti-individual, anti-life, anti-rights, anti-mind philosophy. it is a war of ideas. “War” is not strictly a metaphor for the conflict that is raging right now under our noses. Islam is a body of ideas totalitarian in nature, designed to wipe out the individual and inculcate mindless obedience to irrational and arbitrary dictats spoken by an angel to a barbarian prophet. From a ghost. The “war” is a battle for men’s minds.

Reason seeks to enable men‘s minds. Islam seeks to cripple them. it is as simple as that.

In this culture, it is irrelevant that neither President Bush nor President Obama (nor their immediate predecessors in the White House) ever declared “war” against Islam, or against states that sponsor terrorism. If by chance we declared war on Iran -- with full, but belated justification -- that would be perceived on the Muslim or Arab Street as a declaration of war on Islam. Fine, I would answer. Have it your way. You are a tribe of manqués and we are about to take down one of your kingpins. Send Allah your Imprecations to slay us. But do not take it out on your moral superiors if nothing happens.

Many believe that opposing the Ground Zero mosque would be a violation of property rights. But where do property rights enter the picture? They do not, as least as far as mosque-building Muslims are concerned. Mosques are centers of indoctrination and propaganda, and of exhortations to wage war against the infidel -- us. Mosques are venues for spreading and entrenching Islam. They are field headquarters of conquest, and they have sprung up all over the country. The piety and good citizenship standing of the flocks of rank-and-file Muslims are irrelevant. They subscribe to the ideology, do not question it, and remain silent when their brethren blow up things and kill people. Their creed commands the silence, but it is still a matter of choice, of volition, and Muslims as a rule choose to remain silent. No man of reason should sympathize with them.

Some have cited the 14th Amendment as an intrinsic good to be brought to the defense of the builders of the Ground Zero mosque, forgetting that, first, that Amendment has been violated countless ways by our own government, and second, that we are indeed at war with Islam and its advocates. To iterate: Just as we were at war with Nazism, another body of inimical ideas (Hitler was its Mohammed, and he sought the help of Muslims to exterminate Jews in Palestine), we are at war with Islam. Islam respects neither individual rights, nor property rights, nor capitalism. It is a holistic vehicle for conquest and subjugation of all who do not subscribe to it. Period.

Faisal Rauf may look like a kindly, gentle cleric, but that is the soft, friendly face of Islam. The Koran permits falsehoods, deception, and lies -- taqiya -- in the name of Islam and Allah. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem looked harmless and well-meaning, too. Think again.

Rauf, the leading light of the Cordoba mosque, has said publicly that the Cordoba mosque is intended, among other things, to be a venue for “interfaith dialogue.”

However, Walid Shoebat, former terrorist but now a dedicated anti-Islamist, notes that, as a rule, public pronouncements by prominent Muslim spokesmen are consciously intended to say one thing for Western consumption, but these same spokesmen reveal their thoughts in Arabic. Rauf is a prime example:

For that we searched Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf’s own words – in the Arabic and not what he says in English to the western media. It should shock every American to find out that Faisal Abdul Rauf stated to the popular Islamic media Hadiyul-Islam on May 26th, 2010 in an article by Sa’da Abdul Maksoud.

In it he states that an Islamic state can be established regardless of the government being a kingdom or democracy. In another article titled “I do not believe in religious dialogue” should alarm the ardent skeptic on the mindset of the Islamic visionary who advocates establishing Islamic lobbies throughout the West.

The defenders of the mosque forget, or have never grasped as a first-hand understanding, that as we live in a mixed economy, we are also living in a culture of mixed epistemologies and metaphysics. The 14th Amendment is only as powerful as the culture that values and respects it, it is only as good as the government that upholds it. So, how can one reconcile the "rights" of the exponents of a religion that denies rights, in a deteriorating political culture, in which individual rights are usurped daily everywhere one looks?

An argument in defense of the Cordoba mosque, based on the 14th Amendment, is dependent on two conditions: that Islam is not an ideology inimical to freedom, bent on conquest and subjugation, and that we are not at war with it; and that our government, through the courts, is moved by an absolute fealty to reason, and so receptive to an argument based on the inviolability of property rights. Neither of these conditions exists today.

Respecting the alleged rights of the mosque builders is not going to stall or reverse the statist trends of our own government. On the other hand, “violating” them is not going to accelerate our own government’s “jihad” against reason and our freedoms. The Obama administration already has the pedal of power to the floor.

It could be about “property rights” were trends reversed and we were on our way to a recognition of individual rights and the sanctity of the Constitution. If we were, Islamists would not bother trying to infiltrate and conquer us by stealth. But, that is not the trend. We are hurtling faster and faster in the direction of fascism. Upholding the “rights” of the mosque builders is pointless when neither our government nor Islam recognizes individual rights. Look at today’s Supreme Court decision on guns and Citizens United. How do they jibe with its decision on Kelo and with its other decisions that nullify individual rights? The Supreme Court is an instance of our living in a culture of mixed moralities, mixed premises, mixed values. The irrational element in the culture is in the ascendant, despite the occasional semi-rational triumphs.

I do not know any more how better to argue the case against the Ground Zero mosque, other than to refer people to Dr. Leonard Peikoff's podcast on the issue.

We are living in an unprecedented time, when this country is under attack by secular jihadists in the White House, and religious ones from Mecca and Medina, both sides demanding unquestioning obedience from Americans, and no one is doing much about it. This is the larger picture -- an aerial photograph of the battlefield, if you will -- that must be grasped. It is and it is not about “property rights.”

Abundant information exists on the means and ends of Islam, on Faisal Rauf’s double-think and purposes, on the record of Islam’s depredations. Read Robert Spencer’s article, or Alyssa Lappen’s, or go to Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project site. These articles were picked at random from a mountain of information open to anyone willing to think.

We are engaged in a literal war, both physical and ideological, a war that has exceeded the time such a war should have been waged. A paramount example of it is Afghanistan. We went into that country looking for the Taliban, Al-Quada, and bin Laden. Seven or eight years later, we are still there -- building roads and hospitals and community centers and handing out candy and good will, now and then taking out a group of killers with a drone. In the meantime we are dealing with an unreliable and reluctant ally, Pakistan, and propping up Karzi's corrupt and "open-to-a-deal" government. Is this war a hallmark of rationality?

There’s no reconciliation possible between reason and faith, between reason and Islam. So, even though it may seem futile, I am opposed to the Ground Zero mosque, because of its symbolic power, because it is evidence of an invasion of this country by an alien philosophy inimical to my life and limb, because its backers are necessarily linked to terrorism and the jihad being waged against this county, and because I refuse to grant Islam any semblance of respect or advantage.

We are not battling Moonies here, but killers and enslavers who wish to offer Americans the choice of becoming Muslim Moonies -- or dhimmitude or death.

Again, no one should be deceived by the kindly, grandfatherly demeanor of Faisal Rauf. He is just a front man -- one of many such front men -- of a larger phenomenon. As a friend remarked to me in the middle of the battle, “Toohey was impeccably dressed and drank Cointreau.” Rauf looks like he would not hurt a fly, either. But, think again. Think twice. Take his assurances for what they are worth -- nothing -- and use his image as the portrait of our enemy. That kindly face hides a mind that subscribes to a philosophy that attacked this country on 9/11 and continues to attack it.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Hsieh camp has an unspoken suspicion that Peikoff has just gone senile.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Is that the extent of your remarks? If so, why bother making them?


Michael Wharton said...

Smile with the face. Hate with the heart. Strike when the time is right. Rauf does a have a warm inviting smile doesn't he.

Bloggger said...

Thank You Ed. Most needed article at this days.

pomponazzi said...

To all those who still believe that this is just a property rights issue: What would you do if someone killed your loved ones and then erected his statue right next to their graves? Would you say: Go ahead and defile this sacred ground? I think even Kant couldn't have topped this.

Mitch Dusina said...

Your argument applies equally to every single mosque in the country. To be consistent, you would have to argue for their closure as well. Further, as I'm sure you're well aware, nearly every religion preaches similar insanities. All existing churches and synagogues would have to be shut down as well.

Is it despicable? Sure. But I disagree with the notion that people should be able to shut it down by force.

Their isn't some magic radius around areas attacked by terrorists that can be defined. If the particular individuals backing the mosque are terrorists/supported by terrorists/harbor terrorists/etc then of course your argument applies. But as far as I know that hasn't been shown.

pomponazzi said...

Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists etc have not declare war on America; the Islamists have. What about the other mosques, you ask? This mosque should not be allowed because it is a symbol for the jihadists. The muslims should be allowed to practice their religion, but so long as the lead sponsors of terror are not defeated, they should never be allowed to preach their doctrines openly.

Any muslim citizen, who has sworn an oath of allegiance, shouldn't have any problem with that. It's either/or: either you believe in the jihadist's credo or you are an Individualist. The muslims and their namby pamby, weak willed supporters should understand that. If they don't, then it's not incumbent on any rational person to be taken in by their charade. America is at war, not only against armed barbarians overseas, but with the creed which makes their atrocities possible.

Christianity has its lunatic fringe, too. But as a cultural force, it is still lying dormant. Yes, the Evangelicals etc are doing their best to turn this country into a theocracy but that won't happen any time soon. Islamists, however, present a clear and present danger. If they infiltrated America, they will use every means possible to destroy it. They might use suicide bombings, target killings etc. This might lead to chaos and anarchy. It... See More is in that context that Christianity *might* have a chance of acquiring many recruits so that they turn America into a theocracy. So, there is always a chance of Islamist's inadvertently catalyzing and expediting the process which the Evangelicals would approve. Sans widespread acceptance of a rational philosophy, a very slow process, people would need instantaneous ideological guidance. That default position is what might very well lead to the church-state barrier's breach. Thank you

pomponazzi said...

And those on whom the symbolic significance of THIS mosque is lost, I refer you to this latest artcle by Amy Peikoff:

Mitch Dusina said...

Let me put it this way. If a sizable group of foreign Christians began a systematic terrorist campaign against the US using their Christian faith and the US's "heathen nature" as justification, would it then be proper to shut down all churches?

I'd say the answer is no because although that group is sizable and using Christianity as justification, their actions do not somehow affect the moral or legal stature of domestic Christians that are not participating in the acts of terror.

Does Islam happen to have a much higher percent of people that take is seriously? Definitely. It's NOT "just a lunatic fringe" as is the popular saying. However it is not 100% or even very close to it. Assuming the people behind the mosque fit into the same category as the domestic Christians in my example, they should be left alone. There is nothing inherent in Islam that makes it impossible for people to only sort of hypocritically practice it like modern Christians do.

But as I said before, if it is shown to be financed by states that sponsor that sort of activity, then of course it should be stopped. That would be tantamount to letting Hitler erect a giant swastika next to the White House during WWII.

pomponazzi said...

First, there is a world of difference between your average christian and muslim. Muslims HAVE to accept everything written in the quran. There is no "give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; Give Unto god that which is god's". Islam is very explicit on that. Either you accept it fully or you don't. Christians have learnt to live with the realities of the modern world, whereas these islamists have not.

Also, there is nothing in Christianity to parallel the islamic concept of jihad.

If, as your imaginary situation posits, christian warriors were threatening America, then I am sure most American Christians would openly repudiate the warrior's code. In fact, this is precisely what happened. It's why Christianity is said to have been "reformed". And, if they don't do that, then there wouldn't be any point in fighting them because they would be in a majority. That would be a time to "go Galt".

But, imaginary scenarios aside, Americans are not in this situation. Islam is alien to the western value system, of which America is the radiant example. It won't settle for anything other than complete submission.

Further, the Christians at home could be asked to reject those tenets which ask them to kill others who don't share their beliefs. If they don't, then it would be extremely easy to prosecute them. Showing publicly that you intend to kill someone or inciting others to do the same is not an exercise of justified free speech; it's an ACT -- to murder. If you further ask: what happens if most christians don't renounce these tenets? Well, as I said before, then there won't be any point left in living in their society anymore. One could move elsewhere. Or, if that isn't possible, one could do what Galelio did.

Anonymous said...

"Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; give unto God that which is God's."

This Biblical injunction, spoken by Christ himself, is both an acknowledgment of separation between the spriritual and temporal (i.e., political, economic, social, etc.) spheres and an explicit rejection of temporal power as a suitable focus for the faithful. It is undeniable that the leaders of the Roman Catholic church ignored this injuction for well over 1,000 years (and with a litany of horrors to show for it) and that some Christian religionists today forget it when convenient. Nonetheless, for Christians, that injunction still exists and cannot so easily be written off. It is, primarily, that injunction that led to the demise of the Roman Church's dominating temporal power (militaristic, economic, political, etc.).

No such statement exsits anywhere in Islam: quite the opposite -- as Mr. Cline points out, Islam has always been and remains a total and totalizing socio-economic-political system conveniently welded together by "religion" as a justification. It is totalitarian in every respect, and every Muslim knows it even in non-Muslims don't.

Thomas Rowland said...

Ed, this is worthy of any speech you wrote for Sparrowhawk. I was on Leonard's side before but this is the passion that he didn't let himself express.

Anonymous said...

Thomas: Thanks. Unlike Leonard, I'm not at risk of a heart attack or a stroke.


Ashley King said...

Hi Ed Cline,

First, as a matter of decency to our dead, there should be no mosque at all near Ground Zero.

Second, I think Rauf can be legally shut down now based on his financial support for the flotilla attacks on Israel. I think the FBI has got to be investigating his links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. That man should not be allowed to build any Mosque, nor should anyone in the US who aids Hamas or any terrorist group.

I'm going to dispute a few points though:

"Moon did not declare war on America from South Korea. Islam’s leading lights have, Shiite and Sunni, from all quarters where Islam reigns supreme."

Yes, Islam is not like the Moonies. Yes, Muslims are bound to submit to the will of Allah and the Koran is his holy word. Yet, the text is open to interpretation and there are differing schools. The exact nature of jihad as duty is disputed. You can argue that it means war literally against the infidel. I don't know how many Muslims believe that and it may be a lot from some of the surveys I've seen. Nevertheless, reformed or not (as Christianity has), there are millions of Muslims in the US, thousands of Mosques. As long as they obey the laws and live peacefully among us, we would have no reason to stop them from worshiping. Some have declared war on us and are carrying that out. Some of Islam's leading lights too. Perhaps the majority of Muslims sympathize with this. I don't know. But until they provide actual support for it, I don't think we can shut them down. Even in time of WWII, there was no moral justification for imprisoning the Japanese. You monitor people, check out their temples. You can shut down the temples if they are aiding an enemy or conspiring with him. But you need evidence to use retaliatory force against an enemy.

"They subscribe to the ideology, do not question it, and remain silent when their brethren blow up things and kill people. Their creed commands the silence, but it is still a matter of choice, of volition, and Muslims as a rule choose to remain silent. No man of reason should sympathize with them."

Too many have remained silent either out of fear, cowardice, or sympathy. A few lonely brave ones have spoken out. We should support them. People grow up with religion and do not often question the religion of their parents. But if they grow up in a free country, then they should have some respect for that freedom here. I think some Muslims do. Rauf in not one of them.

Ashey said...

imprison Japanese Americans, I meant.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Ed.

I can only add to this the question: When we will we Americans declare Islam not to be merely a religion, but a criminal organization?
Isn't that the appropriate legal status of any organized group wanting to kill us?

The error that most Westerners make is that they loo at Muslims as Westerner, so with the 'separation of church and state concept' in mind. The truth is that Muslims do not consider themselves that way. They have no such separation. Civil and religious matters are one in their world.

We should start thinking about them the same way, since they chose so. That means we should not treat them merely as a religion, but as a mix of religion and terrorist, so criminal, organization.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the sources already given, I would like to suggest the following: “To Our Great Detriment”: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad (with appendices) by Major Stephen Coughlin. This 300+ page Master’s thesis is available at the following URL:

Anonymous said...

There are a number of interesting articles arguing against the GZ mosque on Capitalism Magazine by Amy Peikoff, Bosch Fawstin, and Robert Spencer, besides my own. Go here:


Anonymous said...

Anonymous: The URL you provided for the Coughlin Masters Thesis can't be found. I don't think it's complete.


Anonymous said...

Sorry about that, yes, the link that came through was incomplete, being cut off. Let me see if the following comes through. If it does one might have to copy and paste:

If that doesn't come through, using the HTML link notation:

This is the Coughlin link

djr said...

I heard Beck's roll-over monologue; Pamela Geller (aka atlasshrugs) on the local radio arguing against the mega-masque - largely b/c it's "sacred grounds" - sort of a mystical argument; then, I read Amy Peikoff's position on the matter - "by any means", sort of an [apparent] pragmatic angle.

I got around to Dr Peikoff's podcast after these others. It really was not an ideal sequencing of things.
It is a nightmare, that it has come to this; our exported welfare programs supporting our [undeclared] enemies Afghanistan / Iraq, and postmodernism has ushered in the multiculturalism that makes it unthinkable to ridicule any group (except a proponent of individual rights). The battle-line has so easily been breached and drawn back on to our shores (they must be thinking: "I can't believe how easy it was to get this far").

Man, there's a lot of arrows coming at us! When everything goes bad, everything goes bad.

mapeters said...

A mosque built on American soil is like a burning cross built on an American front yard.

Both are clear cut threats to violate somebody's rights, and hence unprotected by the principle of rights.