Westernized Muslims, on the other hand, have learned that they can get away with almost anything — so long as they slap the words “tolerance,” “pluralism,” “dialogue,” or “bridge-building” to their endeavors, as the 9/11 mosque supporters do regularly.  In short, a correlation exists between how well or how little a Muslim knows the West, and how aggressive or passive their Islamism becomes.

Moreover, religious buildings are symbols of supremacy to many Muslims; hence the reason mosques are ubiquitous to the Muslim world whereas churches are all but — and in some Muslim nations totally — banned. It is precisely because of this ingrained view towards the significance of religious buildings that Al Azhar Muslims are convinced that no sane Muslim would adamantly pursue the construction of a 9/11 mosque, which must instead be “a new conspiracy against Islam and Muslims.”

Incidentally, how does one interpret President Barack Hussein Obama’s recent support for the 9/11 mosque? He certainly spent enough time growing up in the Muslim world to have a better understanding of the Muslim mindset — including its take on religious buildings as symbols of supremacy — than the average American. Far from approving it, then, he of all presidents should appreciate the triumphalist overtones a mega-mosque so near to Ground Zero conveys to Islamists.

Either way, especially now that Obama has gotten himself into the mix — even if he did try to backpedal — the potential for the 9/11 mosque project to backfire on Islam continues to grow. At a time when nearly 70 percent of Americans already oppose the mosque plan, continued media attention and 9/11 rallies may well help realize Al Azhar’s worst fears: that the 9/11 mosque will serve as a permanent and “clear connection between the strikes of September [11] and Islam.” (That Muslims will be seen celebrating this coming September 11 as part of Eid al-Fatr probably won’t help either.)

In closing, should the mosque be built, it will be an Islamist triumph. However, at the rate things are going — the 9/11 mosque is set to be a hot topic for upcoming elections — time may well reveal that the victory of erecting a mega-mosque near Ground Zero was as much symbolic as it was pyrrhic, not just for Islamists, but their political supporters as well.