Prominent political personalities, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, have also publicized the matter — the former arguing that the mosque project is part of “an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization,” the latter calling it an “unnecessary provocation; it stabs hearts.” The National Republican Trust produced an ad saying the 9/11 mosque constitutes “an invitation for more” strikes like 9/11. Most recently, the Anti-Defamation League asserted that “the building of an Islamic Center at this location [near Ground Zero] is counterproductive to the healing process.”
The inevitable result of all this media attention is precisely what Islamists seek to avoid — unwanted attention — as Americans, once again, take notice, think, and talk about dormant issues.
And while the main issue at stake (whether or not the 9/11 mosque should be built) has little to do with exposing Muslim doctrines or Islamist ideologies per se, consider: the more the controversy is discussed in the media, the more those unfamiliar with the larger issues begin to wonder what all the ruckus is about. A stray word lingers in the mind — perhaps “jihad” or “sharia” or “political Islam.” People begin to investigate some more, and learn some more; some become better informed of the Islamist threat, which they go on to discuss with friends and family. A cycle begins.
In short, it took jihadist violence on 9/11 to alert Americans to the threat of radical Islam. Many Islamists learned their lesson and joined their less conspicuous brethren working beneath the radar, via subversive means. The lesson of the 9/11 mosque, however, is that, so long as Islamists rock the boat and bring attention to themselves — even through nonviolent means — so long will they risk exposing themselves.
And if the 9/11 mosque is actually built, based on the amount of controversy it has already generated, there is reason to believe that it will be a permanent source of attention, provocation, and scrutiny — that is, a permanent source of exposure for the Islamist movement.
Finally, it should be observed that, while the stir being caused by the 9/11 mosque is nowhere near as far-reaching or consequential as that caused by the 9/11 strikes, it is proportionate: for just as subversive Islamists work bit by bit, so too does every bit of unwanted attention work against them.