(Back after a week of unreliable internet access hampering posting. Hope I didn’t jinx myself by saying anything about it.)
There are a couple of very good commentaries from the left opposing the Ground Zero mosque for reasons that seem obvious to most on the right. First, from Sam Harris at Daily Beast: What Obama Got Wrong About the Mosque. Though he can’t get through the article without knee-jerk criticism of Palin and other left wing bogeys on the right, he makes a compelling argument and is not afraid to address inherent problems of Islam.
“The first thing that all honest students of Islam must admit is that it is not absolutely clear where members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, al-Shabab, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hamas, and other Muslim terrorist groups have misconstrued their religious obligations. If they are “extremists” who have deformed an ancient faith into a death cult, they haven’t deformed it by much. When one reads the Koran and the hadith, and consults the opinions of Muslim jurists over the centuries, one discovers that killing apostates, treating women like livestock, and waging jihad—not merely as an inner, spiritual struggle but as holy war against infidels—are practices that are central to the faith. Granted, one path out of this madness might be for mainstream Muslims to simply pretend that this isn’t so—and by this pretense persuade the next generation that the “true” Islam is peaceful, tolerant of difference, egalitarian, and fully compatible with a global civil society. But the holy books remain forever to be consulted, and no one will dare to edit them. Consequently, the most barbarous and divisive passages in these texts will remain forever open to being given their most plausible interpretations.”
For a more emotional but no less compelling argument against the “cultural center,” Mike Lupica has written a good column arguing that 9/11 victims should be given primary consideration when it comes to what to put at the site.
“…this debate isn’t about correctness. Or freedom of religion. Or even the idea that if this mosque doesn’t get built, it will mean we are now deciding about religious freedom in this country one neighborhood at a time. It is about common sense.
More than that, it is about the constituency of Sept. 11.
“Nobody disputes the principle of freedom of religion,” Bonnie McEneaney was saying yesterday. “Of course Muslims should have the same spiritual rights the rest of us have. The question isn’t about that. The question is about sensitivity. To me, this is solely about sensitivity, the feelings of the friends and relatives who lost loved ones on 9/11.” “