The debate over the mosque near Ground Zero has been marred by emotional rhetoric and ad hominem attacks, and along the way has revealed the true nature of the political left — which has become the collective spokesperson for the Cordoba Initiative and its main advocate, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
Seven out of ten Americans oppose the building of the mosque so close to Ground Zero. The majority opposes the building plans not because they deny Muslims the right to build a house of prayer or a community center, but because building the mosque in such close vicinity to Ground Zero is seen as unethical and highly inconsiderate.
The accusations of bigotry have been leveled against this opposition of the overwhelming majority. According to Michael Kinsley of the Atlantic, opposition to the mosque is “bigoted and demagogic.” Allison Kilkenny of the Huffington Post claims that “xenophobia is really a convenient cover for a deeper bigotry.”
According to the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait:
It is precisely because radicalism is so pervasive and powerful within the Muslim world that it is so vital to cultivate people like Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf. Cultivating dissidents within Islam against murderous sectarianism is a primary task in our fight against al-Qaeda. … We are fighting a war for the hearts and minds of non-radical Muslims, and the Park 51 uproar is helping drive potential allies into the arms of the enemy. It is madness.
According to Chait, we should lower our standards in order to see what happens if we accept those who don’t actively participate in violent activities, but condone terrorism in the name of Islam (Rauf refuses to condemn Hamas). By doing this, Chait and others are putting universal values in harm’s way, in the name of pragmatic considerations — which are based on an idealistic notion of the future.
However, the future of liberalized Muslim radicals knows no precedent. What Jonathan Chait cannot answer: why should American society be a laboratory for untested ideas?
The pundits who cry bigotry at every instance are doing no favors to those Muslims who have embraced American-style liberalism. Their hypersensitive reactions to those who oppose the Cordoba Initiative have led to a new and dangerous shift in paradigm — Muslims are by and large being exempted from responsibility or any need for self-evaluation.
Has the notion of what is good and desirable become so diluted amongst the mainstream progressives that it has become impossible to distinguish between those worthy of defending in the name of liberty and those who are self-proclaimed enemies of American-style liberty?
Perhaps the most vivid expression of such loathing of Western tradition is the doctrine of multiculturalism. Multicultural society differs from the traditional notion of liberal democracy. Multicultural society does not have a moral compass which can provide it with wisdom at a time of great confusion. It cannot pass a value judgment on others, as it perceives its own history as barbaric. A segment of society which sees its founding fathers as slave-owners and its value system as rooted in chauvinistic and misogynist tradition cannot find wisdom in its midst.
In the words of Thomas Sowell: “What multiculturalism boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture — and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.”