JISHOU, HUNAN — I am going off-script here because I am fed up with hearing about the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in Lower Manhattan.
Let’s get some facts straight first.
I am a native New Yorker. I visited the World Trade Center at least twice before it became a pile of rubble and a tomb for 3,000 people. I was one of the millions of Americans who watched in horror as a part of my hometown – my hometown! — was destroyed live on TV.
The people, the terrorists who committed this horrible act are dead. They were extremists, crazy people. They happened to be crazy Muslim people.
Now, a group of Muslims in NYC want to convert a old, nearby building that was also damaged in the attack into a community center with mosque. Local community officials have approved the plan. The neighbors have no problem with it.
And I don’t either. Read the third and fourth paragraphs again. Then read my lips. I don’t care if they build a mosque near the former WTC site. (I refuse to call it Ground Zero. Sorry if I offend anyone. It’s not fucking Hiroshima.)
Now that we got that straight, it’s time for me to cut loose.
Would all the know-nothing, paranoid, conspiracy-theorist, bigoted, knuckle-dragging idiots just shut the fuck up? Get outta town.Take a long walk off a short pier. Stuff a sock in it. Dry up. Shut yer piehole. Find somebody to fit you with cement boots for a dip in the East River. Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, the Tea Party, Glenn Beck — I mean you! STFU!
I have never heard such a load of pure bullshit as these people have been dishing out for several weeks now. If you believe their tripe, the community center and mosque planned for a rundown building two blocks from the WTC site will do one or more of the following:
(1) desecrate sacred ground (by which they mean the WTC site, which is two blocks away and you can’t see it anyway);
(2) denigrate the memories of all the people who died or were injured on Sept. 11, 2001;
(3) serve as the headquarters of an extremist Islamic group bent on overthrowing our way of life, starting with Lower Manhattan (a great strategy — start with a densely populated metropolis);
(4) be yet another footstep toward the imposition of sharia law on Americans;
(5) celebrate the attackers as Muslim heroes;
(6) (as yet unspoken publicly, but implied) represent yet another chance for brown-skinned people to act uppity.
Here’s some background. Two blocks from the Twin Towers, at 45 Park Place, there used to be a Burlington Coat Factory outlet in an unimpressive-looking 130-year-old building. It sustained some damage when the landing gear from one of the WTC jetliners hit it. (Photo from Google Maps.)
The outlet closed, and the owners of the building put it up for sale. In 2009 a Muslim-owned development firm bought it for $4.8 million. (I’m no expert in NYC real estate, but that sounds pretty damn cheap for a 13-story building in Lower Manhattan.)
The Cordoba Initiative, a Muslim organization, intends to convert the building into a public community center that would also have a mosque and an education center for visitors to learn about Islam. It went through the regular municipal approval process for real estate development, got approval from the local community board and even has support from the neighbors, Jews, Christians, and the mayor of New York City.
Then the rightwing, anti-Islam noise machine, led by Geller and Spencer, got into the act, leveling such delusional and bigoted accusations against the Cordoba Initiative and the owners of the building that perhaps even Sen. Joe McCarthy would blush. Geller and Spencer are co-authors of a book about President Obama, The Post American Presidency, and co-founders of the quintessential paranoid’s delight, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA).
[SIOA is the same organization that interfered with the Rifqa Bary runaway case that I blogged about last year.]
Geller (whom Little Green Football’s Charles Johnson has aptly nicknamed “Shrieking Harpy”) has a blog called Atlas Shrugs, referring to the book inflicted on the reading public by polemicist Ayn Rand. Geller particularly hates Muslims, Palestinians, Arabs and anyone who she feels threatens the existence of Israel, or the USA. And I mean hate. She’s not too keen on President Obama either, since he’s got a Muslim middle name and a Muslim father. Guilt by association, dontcha know?
She refers to the building as the “Ground Zero Mega Mosque,” making it sound like the New York version of the Masjid al-Harām in Mecca. She of course adulates Sarah Palin, who wants New Yorkers to “refute” the project. She’s also nuts. Here’s a milder sample of Geller at work:
The Islamic supremacist mega mosque is a stab in the eye of every American. The question is, why there? Why did the terror-tied Imam Rauf spend five million dollars to build a triumphal mosque 600 feet from the site of the largest attack, Islamic attack in American history? There have been 15,644 Islamic attacks since 911 across the world. Each one had the imprimatur of an Islamic cleric. What is being done to expunge the koran of the violent texts that inspire jihad?
Rauf is the head of the Cordoba Initiative. Geller believes he has ties to Islamic terrorists.
Spencer hates Muslims, too, because he believes Islam teaches all infidels should die. His blog is Jihad Watch, and it features every possible news story showing how awful Muslims can be to one another, and to non-Muslims. Oh, and he’s nuts, too.
Here’s Spencer at work:
[New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, like so many, is confused. He assumes a priori that Islam is simply a religion like Judaism and Christianity, and thus that it can fit easily into the American civic framework the way Judaism and Christianity do. He seems to have no idea whatsoever of the political and supremacist aspects of Islamic teaching, and no awareness of the fact that the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative is an open proponent of bringing Sharia — a political system that would deny the freedom of speech and freedom of conscience, and restrict the rights of women and non-Muslims — to the United States.
Geller, who really is a New Yorker but should go someplace else, and Spencer, who isn’t, have managed to whip up such anti-Muslim hatred that hearings about the project have devolved into yelling matches about emotions and bigotry, not about, well, the actual usefulness of the project itself. (You know, turn an abandoned relic into something usable and maybe halfway attractive?)
Meanwhile, in case the project gets approved by the landmarks commission, televangelist Bill Keller has announced plans to build a Christian worship center near the WTC site, too.
Keller, who’s from Ohio and Florida, has said Islam is a “1,400-year-old lie from the pits of hell” and called the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) a “murdering pedophile.” Yet on his website he says of his project, “How do you battle the darkness? With the light!” Charming fellow.
Extremists took out the World Trade Center, but Geller, Spencer and Keller are proving that Al Qaeda operatives aren’t the only fanatical, foaming-at-the-mouth extremists. We got plenty right here in the USA.