Editor’s note, April 2017: I’ve thought many times about deleting this post, which I fundamentally no longer agree with. But I’ve decided to let it stand, as a point-in-time reflection on how things appeared at the time.
Since that time, the Muslim world has certainly distanced itself from bin Laden and his followers, and from other Islamic hate groups, terrorist organizations, etc. In addition, I’ve done more reading on Islam, and have come to appreciate on my own, that even without said repudiation, it is clear that Islam suffers at the hands of its less-enlightened splinter groups and particularly vocal individuals, who use the banner of Islam to proclaim negative and hateful ideas as Islamic “truths,” in the same way that Christianity, for example, is brought down by the Westboro Baptist Churches of the Christian world.
I believe that any religion is troublesome when it attempts to serve as a basis for a government. In the modern age, it appears to be generally Islam where we see this. But those aspects of the U.S. government that seem to be driven by Christian fundamentalism are perhaps just as troublesome.
In short, we have to take what we read and hear with a grain of salt. We have to be a little more circumspect with regard to what constitutes “proof” of a hypothesis. And we have to be a little more forgiving when it comes to alternative viewpoints. In saying “we,” of course, I vigorously include myself.
I recently posted a comment on Huffington Post, in response to comments by a Mr. “Research.” He (I assume it’s a “he”) had asserted, “There is no doubt that Muslims should be able to purchase land and build a masque and community center “in the shadow of 9/11″, over 20 Muslims were victims of the 9/111 attacks…”
Yes, I agree that Muslims should be allowed to build a “masque” (sic) anywhere they want. I believe that the radical followers of Islam have proven themselves very capable of building and wearing “masques” of all types.
Building a mosque, however, is another matter entirely. If mosques as we have come to know them particularly in the time since 2001 were in fact houses of worship, it would not be an issue. But for them to be houses of discord, of distortion, of false education, of hatred, of violence, of fatwah – that is another issue entirely.
Since the Islamic world has not come out in universal and unequivocal repudiation of Osama bin Laden and his followers, it necessarily follows that they do not WISH to distance themseves from him. Therefore they are comfortable with him speaking for the world of Islam.
To the extent that that is true, we, the United States, are at war with Islam. We must not permit Islam to erect its “victory flag” on our hallowed ground at Ground Zero. We must fight our natural tendency toward laziness, and get off our butts and stake our claim. That land is ours. It will not be given away; if it is to go to anyone else, they will have to come here and take it. This time, let’s hope we are ready for them.
No major modern religion is without its tawdry history; mine (Christianity, and specifically the Anglican/Episcopal Church) included. But in ours, most of our worst “errors” are matters of conscience, convenience, duplicity. They are not matters of murder, terrorism and destruction. If not different in kind (though I think they are), they are certainly different in degree. So the things we have done in the name of our God, pale in response to the things they have done in the name of theirs.
The behavior of the entire Islamic world in the shadow of what was done in New York since September 11, 2001, has been reprehensible. You can’t eat your cake and still have it. If you’re not going to say that bin Laden was wrong, and be willing to die for that belief, you can’t have a fucking mosque at Ground Zero. It’s as simple as that.