Today, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, there is only one relevant question to ask about this sudden outburst of anti-Muslim rhetoric: why now?
Why indeed, after nine years? She is somewhat stunned by the level of discussion and “anger” displayed by Americans, an emotion directed specifically at Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his Cordoba Initiative (now “Park51”) to replace a building damaged on 9/11 with a 13- or 15-story “community center” which only incidentally will contain a “prayer room.” That innocuous and ostensively non-controversial space means the building will indeed be a mosque.
But, on a broader scale, many Americans are finally grasping the fact that wherever Islam is concerned, “tolerance,” “religious freedom,” “sensitivity,” and “freedom of speech” constitute a one-way street for Islam. They are becoming wise to the sweet talk of so-called “moderates” like Imam Rauf, and disgusted with the conciliatory “gestures” of former president George W. Bush and the blatantly improper “outreach” efforts of President Barack Obama, and with practically every politician who has publicly frowned on the electorate’s “anger.”
After recapping the shenanigans of Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who may or may not burn a barrel full of Korans to protest the mosque, and of Bill Keller, another “pastor” who wants to build a “Christian community center” near Ground Zero to “balance” the new Islamic Center (there is another one on the upper East Side of Manhattan; Imam Rauf’s father oversaw its creation), Applebaum cynically concludes:
Still, anger is a popular emotion at the moment, and those who cultivate it can receive a lot of attention, as well as material rewards which follow. Attention brings book contracts, book contracts bring lectures, lectures bring money.
Why has the American "negative" response to the Ground Zero mosque been so intense?
Angry public response to the Ground Zero mosque has been largely characterized as "emotionalism." But, what is an emotion? Ayn Rand, the novelist-philosopher, noted that "There can be no causeless love or any sort of causeless emotion. An emotion is a response to a fact of reality, an estimate dictated by your standards," and also that, "An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man's value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man's reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship."
Why has the "negative" response to the Ground Zero mosque -- aside from its murky funding and the dubious character of its movers, such as Imam Feisal Rauf, Gamal, and another Muslim with direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Holy Land Foundation, among others -- been so intense? It is because Ground Zero is the grave of the Twin Towers, because Americans still remember the attack on this country that has not really seen any meaningful retaliation or the elimination of the enemy. Islam declared war on the West, but Western leaders and the Left refuse to acknowledge that war. Love of this country is a proper emotion; a value was attacked and destroyed, and so the overall American "intense" emotionalism is a response. The "emotionalism" is founded on facts and observations.
Muslims, obeying the commands of the Koran (particularly the later suras, allegedly written by Mohammad after he saw that his “peaceful” ones weren’t winning him converts) committed the act; so all Muslims must live with the crime. The "moderates" among them have come up with rationalistic excuses (the alleged "peaceful" verses of the Koran) in order to hang on to an irrational and barbaric moral system. It matters not that these “moderates” are sincere, or are practicing taqiya, the Koran-sanctioned art of dissimulation or lying to the infidel. Their only other option is to repudiate Islam altogether, as the more intellectually honest among them have (Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, et al.). Muslims can't have it both ways. All Muslims, if they are serious about Islam, are potential "Islamists" or “radicals.” Islam is a heinous ideology of conquest.
Islam is a creed for zombies, for manqués, for men human in form but essentially soulless, regardless of the professions Muslims may follow (it seems many of them go into engineering or medicine, but rarely follow any specific career path), for they all surrender their minds and lives to Allah and Mohammad, one a ghost and the other a “prophet” who was basically a barbarian (as was Moses in the Old Testament, who was equally and indiscriminately blood-thirsty and ready to slay “unbelievers”). Islam was not “hijacked,” no more than Nazism, Communism, and Shintoism were “hijacked” to commit mass murders. Islam, like Nazism, Communism, and Shintoism, is an ideology that seeks to eradicate individual rights, property rights, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. “Islam” means “submission. “Islam” is not “radical.” It is a totalitarian system of theocracy through and through. Islam declared war on the West, and in particular on the U.S. Americans are just now grasping that for nine years they’ve been short-changed by Presidents Bush and Obama. Their “emotionalism” and growing repugnance for Islam are entirely justified. They will not “submit” to the politically correct mantra that Islam is just another “religion.”
There is no "religious tension" that is the "burning issue," as Anne Applebaum, contends, nor is the tension merely "angry and unfocused." Rather, it is tension between a dawning knowledge of the theocratic and totalitarian nature of Islam and the freedoms and liberties that Americans have watched dwindle under the secular authoritarianism of the Obama administration. They see their values and freedoms being attacked, denigrated, ignored, and destroyed.
They are saying: Enough is enough. It is a tardy response, to be sure, but it is focused and proper.
(This article also appears in a shorter version on Capitalism Magazine, and is an edited version of a lengthy comment I left on the Daily Telegraph article.)