On what principles can we oppose the Islamic Center at Ground Zero?

August 25, 2010

Perhaps readers of the CFI Free Thinking Blog can help me out. At the time of the South Park Affair, and even earlier going right back to The Rushdie Affair, I was a staunch supporter of Salman Rushdie and the cartoonists and their First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech, and scoffed at the tender sensibilities of the Muslims. Now, with Imam Rauf's intention to build an Islamic Center just 600 feet from Ground Zero in Manhattan, I began by arguing that the feelings of the families and colleagues of those who lost their lives on 11 September, 2001 should be respected, and that the Islamic Center should be opposed, and then I realised that perhaps I was being inconsistent. Are the two cases similar? Am I being inconsistent? I have, since that realisation, concentrated on gathering material against Imam Rauf, and have enough evidence- I had to wade through two of his books, one with 210 pages and the other with 314 page to gather it- to show that he is not a moderate at all. And still, moderate or not, Imam Rauf has the right to build his Islamic Center. For me far from being a symbol of tolerance, the Islamic center is a symbol of Islamic triumphalism. If Rauf truly wanted to build bridges, as he claimed, then he has failed in a spectacular way. If the Center is ever built, then I do not ever want to hear anyone talking about the hurt sensibilities of Muslims again.