The Positive Side of the Ground Zero Mosque
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.