War on Terror

Cordoba: Not Just a Car With Fine Corinthian Leather


Newt Gingrich claims the name of the Cordoba Initiative, the group planning to build an Islamic community center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, signals its aggressive, anti-Western aims:

The true intentions of [Imam Feisal Abdul] Rauf are also revealed by the name initially proposed for the Ground Zero mosque—"Cordoba House"—which is named for a city in Spain where a conquering Muslim army replaced a church with a mosque. This name is a very direct historical indication that the Ground Zero mosque is all about conquest and thus an assertion of Islamist triumphalism which we should not tolerate.

Gingrich says the failure to grasp the significance of the project's name illustrates the "historic [sic] ignorance of American elites," who "don't understand that 'Cordoba House' is a deliberately insulting term." Not surprisingly,  Rauf has a different, rather more plausible explanation: As a new article in the online Jewish magazine Tablet notes, he says the name alludes to the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Christians, and Jews during the "Golden Age of Spain," when a caliphate based in Cordoba controlled most of the Iberian peninsula. According to Rauf, his group's name alludes to "the period between roughly 800 and 1200 CE, when the Cordoba Caliphate ruled much of today's Spain, and its name reminds us that Muslims created what was, in its era, the most enlightened, pluralistic, and tolerant society on earth." Although scholars continue to debate exactly how "enlightened, pluralistic, and tolerant" that regime was, its reputation makes it a natural symbol for moderate Muslims and does not in any way validate Gingrich's conflation of Rauf and his supporters with the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center.

The Tablet piece, which discusses how shifting perceptions of the Cordoba Caliphate have been shaped by ideology, is worth reading in full.

More on the mosque controversy here.


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  1. What? Newt is wrong? Say it isn’t so.

    1. You could see a reference to religious peace, or a reference to the conquest and subjugation of Western lands by Muslims — both have some relationship to the word, it just depends on what you want to see.

  2. Newt. Shut up, just shut up.

    1. I’ll second that motion.

      1. No, encourage Newt to keep talking. He’ll eventually self destruct and the minuscule chance he has of being a presidential candidate will disappear forever.

  3. This name is a very direct historical indication that the Ground Zero mosque is all about conquest and thus an assertion of Islamist triumphalism which we should not tolerate.

    “Dude- gimme the lottery numbers, quick!”

  4. the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Christians, and Jews during the “Golden Age of Spain,” when a caliphate based in Cordoba controlled most of the Iberian peninsula.

    And under which, of course, Christians and Jews were second-class subjects of the caliph.

    For a theocracy, the caliphate was pretty tolerant – it didn’t actively persecute infidels (much), as long as they bowed and scraped in the approved manner.

    1. It’s the Middle Ages, dude. Compared with the subsequent Christian kingdoms of Spain, who sort of tortured Jews and Muslims to death and instigated genocide on two continents, al-Andalus was a secular paradise.

      1. Bullshit. If there was a secular paradise in the middle ages it was Norman Sicily.

        1. That was until the Swabian period. Then came the massacres, mass deportations and forced conversions.

          1. But it was great under Roger. Basically all of the medieval world sucked. The Christians enslaved the Muslims, the Muslims did the same back. It was a brutal and awful time.

    2. It also had tens of thousands of Christian slaves. Muslims were highly effective slavers. The Ottomans were so good at it that parts of the Italian and Spanish coasts became uninhabited during the 16th Century out of fear of Muslim slave raids. Muslims were also vociferous buyers of slaves in the West African slave markets. The march across the desert back to the middle east was worse than the dreaded middle passage.

      I have never heard a single Arab or Muslim repudiate this history. Yet, westerners are supposed to genuflect of the evils of the crusades.

      1. That was not in Cordoba. What you reference is as Germane as bringing up the Spanish Inquisition in reference to Norman Sicily (until the Inquisition spread to Sicily, that is).

        You are aware that the Ottomans and the Calphate of Cordoba are two completely separate governments?

      2. The Calipahte in Spain was form an earlier period when Islam was generally more tolerant, certainly than most Christians. I am not saying that they were good, but for symbolic purposes, Cordoba is good as a representation of tolerant Islam. And they were certainly more tolerant than the Spanish rulers who followed.

        1. Butbutbut!!! Jizya!!!

      3. I have never heard a single Arab or Muslim repudiate this history. Yet, westerners are supposed to genuflect of the evils of the crusades.

        Oh, come on. You want to complain about raiders? The norsemen made the European coastland functionally uninhabitable for a century with looting, burning and rape. The crusades were signficant less for their violence than for their degree of organization and explicit religious aims.

    3. The fundamentalist Islamic notion of “peace” and the modern enlightened western notion of “peace” are two vastly different things.

      This goes to the very heart of the core tenets of extreme fundamental Islam: any area in which Islam is not the predominant religion is considered to be in the “House of War”. “Peace” only exists once they have taken over, but not a moment before.

      1. That’s not just “extreme fundamental Islam,” that’s Islam. The “house of war” stuff is straight from the Koran, which is straight from Allah. The different origins of the Koran and the Bible means Islam does not have anywhere near the degree of interpretational flexibility that Christianity does.

        1. Yet there are several sects who interpret the Koran.

          1. Yes, but none of them deny that it’s the literal word of Allah, which is central to Muslim belief. All Muslims are “fundamentalists” by Christian standards.

            Imagine if the Bible was written by Jesus and said to be a perfect copy of the one in Heaven. Not much room for interpretation there, eh?

            1. You don’t know very many evangelicals.

              1. All but the most ignorant know the Bible was written in many languages, by many different people, over a long period of time. How many think the King James Version is a perfect copy of the one in Heaven?

            2. It’s still interpreted. I.E. different sects think Allah was talking about things slightly differently. What’s the damn difference?

              Also, what MWG said.

              1. This is really not clear?

                Text A is considered the perfect, literal word of God, untranslated (it’s in the language God speaks), written by one person over 23 years, and an official Earthly copy is a precise transcription of the one that exists in Heaven. Translation is theologically problematic.

                Text B is the inspired word of God: written by about 40 different people over a period of 1600 years, in different societies, and in three different languages. Translations are encouraged and not theologically problematic.

                Do you really think A or B have the same range of interpretations? If not, which one has the wider range?

        2. There’s some pretty bad stuff in the Bible, too such as the Hebrews being told to kill every living thing in a given area except the virgins of which they were to use for themselves.

          1. I won’t deny that, but see above.

    4. I think it’s a little silly to talk about the name relative to what it meant to Spaniards in the 10th century.

      There are two legitimate questions here. One question is what the term means to the people of today who gave the $100 million. The other question is whether the name Cordoba is further evidence that the people behind this thing are hopelessly tone deaf in terms of what a huge chunk of the American people find offensive.

      There isn’t anything here that makes the government discriminating against these people okay, but…

      I remember reading about Islamists using Cordoba as symbol for reestablishing Islam in the West more than five years ago. Anybody else remember when we used to make fun of people showing up around here warning that the Islamists were coming to America to put every Jennifer in a burka?

      That’s just as ridiculous now as it ever was, but the fact remains that the reestablishment of the caliphate is still a focus of a lot of longing by various terrorist groups from the Muslim Brotherhood to Al Qaeda itself…


      None of these reasons justify the government in discriminating against Muslims–and I will never call for that…

      My grandfather was born in Osaka Japan; my grandparents were in transit on their way to build churches in Shangai at the time. They wanted to make China a Christian nation. The idea that everyone in the world should know about Jesus is pretty much mainstream Christianity.

      I’m a libertarian, and I’m pretty much convinced that everyone should know about libertarianism, that they should all become libertarians too…

      Muslims aren’t so different from us that way. And there’s no reason to pretend they are. I suspect the money for this mosque is coming from people in the Muslim world who finance all sorts of Wahhabi proselytism…

      None of that changes the fact that the government shouldn’t discriminate against these people, but just because Pat Buchanan says something doesn’t make it stupid. Just because I’m against the government discriminating against Muslims, doesn’t mean I have to pretend to be stupid.

      What these people are doing is insensitive. …especially if they do it over the objections of so many Americans. There’s no reason to pretend otherwise.

      1. “Osama bin Laden’s very first words directed to the West, as the Taliban were being overthrown, evoked lost Islamic Spain. But the glories of Spain’s Umayyads were destroyed not by European Inquisitors; they were ruined by armies of North African proto-Islamists who were as angry and as destructive and as crazy as you are. Cordoba and Toledo and Granada achieved their golden ages not through the efforts of people like you, but despite them. In the course of the struggle between an Islam of achievement and grace, and an Islam engulfed by righteous futility, have you never noticed that even Muslims prefer to forget people like you and to remember the other side? Even you and Osama, it seems, attempt to co-opt precisely the Islamic history you are attempting to negate.”

        —-Charles Paul Freund, Reason, December 24, 2003


        I was not a fan of Freund, but that piece–from right here at Reason–gives a pretty good indication, I think, of how Islamists view Cordoba and what it symbolizes.

        I think Freund is trying to blow up what Cordoba symbolizes to Islamists as something not based on reality–but you get the drift of how they see Cordoba from this piece…

        I wonder what Freund thinks about the mosque?

        1. “I remember reading about Islamists using Cordoba as symbol for reestablishing Islam in the West more than five years ago.”

          My memory…

          It’s a blessing and a curse.

          1. The Mall of the Emirates in Dubai has a section named after Andalusia. In that huge edifice to Western capitalism in the desert is mention of Moorish Spain. So what does that mean?

            1. I have no idea.

              But when Buchanan speculates about Cordoba as a symbol of reconquest to Islamists, that doesn’t mean he’s stupid.

              1. Nor does it mean that those who contend that Cordoba symbolizes (relatively) peaceful coexistence of the major monotheistic religions are stupid or dhimmis or some other such smear.

                1. “Nor does it mean that those who contend that Cordoba symbolizes (relatively) peaceful coexistence of the major monotheistic religions are stupid or dhimmis or some other such smear.”

                  I don’t see a smear.

                  I see a couple of questions…

                  The fact is that Islamists and terrorist organizations have used Cordoba as symbol for reconquest. In fact, Osama bin Laden, as Freund alluded to here, invoked the loss of Cordoba… That just happens to be the guy most Americans blame for the World Trade Center.

                  Question two is about where the funding for this mosque is coming from. The fact is that aristocrats in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere finance mosques and madrasa all over the world…

                  There are King Fahd mosques, for instance, in Buenos Aires, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, and other places… Why not New York?

                  I don’t see a smear here…

                  Somebody in the Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday about how Pope John Paul II made an order of nuns, I believe, move out from the Auschwitz site out of respect for Jewish groups who considered that site especially sacred (for want of a better term) to them.

                  I’m not saying the government should step in–I don’t think the government should have stepped in and kicked the nuns out of the former Auschwitz site, but I do think the people who are planning this Cordoba house could stand to show a little sensitivity.

                  Average Americans are sizing them up, and it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone if these people go ahead with their plans–call it Cordoba House, put it where they want, keep the funding sources a secret…

                  …it shouldn’t surprising to anyone if a big chunk of the American people react to them like a bunch of Klansmen burning a cross.

                  I’d buy the argument that they didn’t realize it would offend so many people initially, but if they go ahead with everything as planned–despite the opposition?

                  …then it’s really hard to say they weren’t being insensitive to the opposition–isn’t it.

                  1. So because people are too stupid AND STUBBORN to understand this guy’s aims means they should drop everything immediately and move elsewhere?

                  2. Lots of place names in the American Southwest are explicitly Mexican Spanish. Is this symbolic of a reconquista?

                    Should we tell the owners of (for example) El Charro to move their restaurant or at least rename it?

              2. Pat Buchanan is stupid in everything except foreign policy.

              3. I keep saying Buchanan but meaning Newt.

                …you know what I mean.

                That’s more of curse than a blessing.

            2. It isn’t the Mall of the Emirates, but the Ibn Battuta mall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Battuta_Mall), and the various courts are named for the places Battuta visited and wrote about.

              1. Huh. I always thought it was the MoE for some reason. Totally forgot about Ibn Battuta. Too many malls there to keep ’em straight. I’ve been to the MoE exactly once, so confusion can be expected.

                Doesn’t change the point, though.

                1. Definitely too many malls in Dubai. During the three years I lived in the UAE, I definitely got the vibe from some when they invoked “Al Andulus”, it was meant in a “things were great when we were in charge and we will be again”.

                  1. To be perfectly honest, Emiritis just came out of the desert 50 years ago, completely ignorant of the outside world except what guys like T.E. Lawrence or Wilfred Thesiger told them.

                    A huge amount of the current young adult population (18-35) still has little concept of the outside unless they’re wealthy enough to travel extensively, and as they have almost zero written history further back than, say, 1900, they missed out on some really big events in the last century.

                    It’s really a culture shock when you discuss WWII and there are blank stares and basic, probing questions. Lots of the old Bedouin cultures simply have no real frame of reference outside the peninsula, even with all the modernity.

  5. How does someone named Newt claim insight into hidden messages in other group’s or people’s names?

  6. I wonder how many churches’ names there are that reference and celebrate atrocities Christian have inflicted on the world.

    1. But, then again, those would be the atrocities that helped spread Newt’s religion, so he wouldn’t have a problem with them.

    2. “I wonder how many churches’ names there are that reference and celebrate atrocities Christian have inflicted on the world.”

      Can you name even one?

      1. “St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Blessed Women’s Health Clinic Pipe-bomb” lol.

        Nah, I really can’t. I’m really too lazy to look it up. But I’m pretty certain there’s one or two that are named after saints that helped slaughter a few people in the name of Christianity.

      2. Sure, any church named after St. Cyril of Alexandria. And yes, there’s one in Houston, on Richmond just outside Beltway 8. Pisses me off every time I drive by it.

        1. Pisses me off every time I drive by it.

          Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376 – 444) was the Pope of Alexandria from 412 to 444.

          Damn, you can hold a grudge a long time.

        2. Didn’t he kill Hypatia. That chick Carl Sagan was fond of in Cosmos?

        3. That is a good one. But it is in Houston. I am thinking building it next to the Jewish quarter of Alexandria would be in bad taste. Oh that is right, Muslims are so damned tolerant there isn’t a Jewish quarter there anymore.

      3. Just for the record, my parish (St. Torquemada the Persuasive) was named after a different Torquemada who was famous for founding the first modern debate team in Freeport, IL.

        1. He was on my grandfathers football team I think.

        2. You still couldn’t Torquemada anything.

          1. The Inquisition (Let’s begin)
            The Inquisition (Look out sin)
            We have a mission to convert the Jews (Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew)
            We’re gonna teach them wrong from right.
            We’re gonna help them see the light
            and make an offer that they can’t refuse. (That those Jews just can’t refuse)
            Confess, don’t be boring.Spanish Inquisition
            Say yes, don’t be dull.
            A fact you’re ignoring:
            It’s better to lose your skull cap than your skull (or your govalt!)
            The Inquisition (what a show)
            The Inquistion (here we go)
            We know you’re wishin’ that we’d go away.
            But the Inquisition’s here and it’s here to stay!

            “I was sitting in a temple. I was minding my own business.
            I was listening to a lovely Hebrew mass.
            Then these Papus persons plungered and they throw me in a dungeon and they shove a red hot poker up my ass.
            Is that considerate? Is that polite?
            And not a tube of Preperation H in sight!”

            “I’m sittin’ flickin’ chickens and I’m lookin’ throught the pickins’ and suddenly thes goyim pull down valls.
            I didn’t even know them and they grabbed my by the stoghum and started playing ping pong with my balls!
            Ooh, the agony! Ooh, the shame!
            To make my privates public for a game?”

            The Inquisition (what a show)
            The Inquisition (here we go)
            We know you’re wishin’ that we’d go away.
            But the Inquisition’s here and it’s here to-
            “Hey Toquemada, walk this way.”
            “I just got back from the Auto-de-fe.”
            “Auto-de-fe? What’s an Auto-de-fe?”
            “It’s what you oughtn’t to do but you do anyway.”
            Will you convert? “No, no, no, no.”
            Will you confess? “No, no, no, no.”
            Will you revert? “No, no, no, no.”
            Will you say yes? “No, no, no, no!”
            Now I asked in a nice way, I said, “Pretty please.”
            I bent their ears, now I’ll work on their knees!
            “Hey Toquemada, walk this way. We got a little game that you might wanna play, so pull that handle, try you’re luck.”
            “Who knows, Toq, you might win a buck!”

            “How we doin’, any converts today?”
            “Not a one, nay, nay, nay.”
            “We flattened their fingers, we branded their buns!
            Nothing is working! Send in the nuns!”

            The Inquisition, what a show.
            The Inquisition, here we go.
            We know you’re wishin’ that we’d go away!
            So all you Muslims and you Jews
            We got big news for all of yous:
            You’d better change your point of views TODAY!
            ‘Cause the Inquisition’s here and it’s here to stay!

            1. That’s the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, thankyouverymuch. They haven’t been the Inquisition since 1904.

              1. Torquemada makes me think of that song.

            2. ProL, what are those lyrics from?

              1. Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I, you heathen.

      4. Any church named after Saint Dominic de Guzman (or, if you prefer, Santo Domingo), who founded the entire damned Dominican order which in turn provided the majority of inquisitors to the Church during the early period of medieval inquisition. So much so that a nickname of the order was a pun on the Latin, ‘Domini Canes’, or ‘the Hounds of the Lord’.

        Now, of course, any one who supports the Dominicans will point out that not all of them were inquisitors who tormented, tortured, and terrorized others, and so, of course, not all Dominicans, nor supporters of the order, nor worshippers at churches named for the founder of the order, are bad and terrible people. And they would say that they named their church for the Saintly man because, you know, he was a saintly man, a patron of astronomers and learning.

        But how can we believe them? After all the wrongs committed in the name of Saint Dominic, how can we believe them? I’d love to ask this of Professor Newt ‘now a Catholic’ Gingrich.

        Yeah, I so would.

        1. This discussion is all well and good, but what pisses me of is Gov. Patterson’s offer of state land further away from GZ. Why should the government even be involved and why should this group be given STATE-OWNED land?

          1. The government should not be involved in this, and particularly should not give away state-owned land.

            Regardless of how far away they locate this facility from GZ, we’ll still get whining that it’s “too close,” or if it’s comfortably far away (say, over ten miles) still have people ginning up excuses why this is the wrong facility at the wrong location.

            I posed an innocent, straightforward question on another thread about how far from GZ the mosque exclusion zone should extend, and nobody was able to give me a straight answer. This says much about those who oppose this.

            1. You repeatedly ignored the answer you got, Tonio– it was something like ‘non-imposing building 8 blocks away’. But that, being not hideously unreasonable, got ignored.

              1. No, Azathoth, it was never that simple. PapayaSF kept throwing in all these bizarre qualifiers, ie: simple nondescript building two blocks away, OR imposing building sixteen blocks away. This was not a straight answer, as it requires someone other than the person giving the answer to decide what is a plain versus imposing building.

                1. Thank you, Azathoth.

                  Tonio, I was giving you as “straight-forward” an answer as I think is possible. Like lots of things in human social interaction, it’s not possible to give hard, precise answers to questions of discretion, manners, taste, distance, visual appearance, other people’s feelings, etc. The best one can usually do is describe some general rules and point out examples of what’s probably acceptable and what’s probably not, but one must always be aware what reactions are provoked by your actions.

      5. Can you name even one?

        San Diego Matamoros = St James, Slayer of Moors

        1. There’s also a basilica in Buffalo named after Our Lady of Victory, the title which celebrated a military defeat of the Turks in the 1400s.

          In truly greasy ecumenical fashion, the Catholic Church renamed the feast day Our Lady of the Rosary a few years ago.

          1. Isn’t Our Lady of Victory named for the Battle of Lepanto?

          2. I’m not sure driving out the conquering armies of Islam counts as an ‘atrocity’. Do you think it does?

        2. Actually, it’s Santiago Matamoros…but the same translation.

        3. “Whale’s Vagina, Slayer of Moors”?

          You caught me. Actually, no one knows what it really means.

    3. What does it matter what atrocities Christians commited? This isn’t about Christianity. On 9/11 19 Muslims didn’t fly planes into churches.

      So why do you all focus on Christians?

      They flew planes into the World Trade Center–a secular symbol of commerce if there ever was one. They weren’t striking at Christendom–they were striking at America, at the fountain of liberty.

      But all you supposed libertarians seem to think that’s okay.

      Why bother to claim you’ve got some kind of ideology or philosophy if you won’t even defend yourselves from the people who want to take the ‘libert’ out of your ‘-arianism’.

      1. If you cannot see the difference between defending liberty and denying liberty to others, you are too fucking dumb to understand anything.

        1. Perhaps it can be said equally well that if you are too dumb to understand when liberty needs defending, you are too fucking dumb to understand anything.

  7. I really really wish people would get over the not-at-Ground-Zero-non-mosque.

    1. In a few weeks we’ll find out there weren’t really any muslims involved either.

  8. Gee willikers, the name is a reference to a short time centuries ago when Muslims tolerated Christians and Jews! Doesn’t make this atheist feel any better about the prospects for Muslims tolerating atheists . . .

  9. How stucking fupid is Newt Gingrich? Cordoba was the greatest center of learning in Europe during the Caliphate.

    While they did build a mosque on the site of the church, the Christians returned the complement after the “reconquista”, razing mosques and replacing them with Cathedrals throughout Spain.

    La Mezquita in Cordoba is a World Heritage Site due to the fact that, instead of razing the Mosque, the Christians turned it into a church, doing it in such an ugly fashion that even the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V said that they should have left it the way it was.

    1. They also enslaved Christians and Jews and ran a Muslim theocracy. It was hardly paradise. The Muslims spent the middle ages conquering, subjecgating and forcibly converting the populations of the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean Sea. They were assholes. The Europeans were just as big of assholes that is true. But don’t pretend they were anything other than what they were.

      1. That wasn’t the Caliphate of Cordoba dude.

        1. No they just insisted on a state religion and treated everyone who wasn’t of that religion as second class citizens and held thousands of slaves of those religions. Nothing theocratic about that.

          Get it through your thick fucking skull Mo. The PC bullshit about how everyone but Western Europe were these noble groovy people is just that bullshit. Lose your ignorance and open your eyes. History is much more interesting and complex that that. The Umayyads were not enlightened rulers and no better and in some way worse than their European counterparts. Life is too short to go through life thinking dumb things.

          1. Oh the irony.

          2. They also enjoyed having plenty Jews and Christians to tax. From what I understand Muslims are not allowed to tax other Muslims, which caused the greediest Muslim rulers to also be the most religiously tolerant.

            1. Muslims didn’t tax other Muslims, but that’s mostly because zakat is a major obligation of Islam. It’s arguably more central to Islam than tithing is to Christianity, especially in modern times.

          3. John, come on. No one here ever says “everyone but Western Europe were these noble groovy people”. The Caliphate in Spain was, for its time, compared to the rest of Europe and Islamic civilization, a relatively tolerant and enlightened place. That is in no way to say that they were great and treated everyone fairly and never did anything that would be considered an atrocity today. No one is making that claim. The only point is that Cordoba is appropriate symbolically to represent a more tolerant form of Islam, as far as that is possible. The whole point is that the people who think it is symbolic of conquest are idiots.

            1. You know, If they wanted to name it something that reflects their respect and tolerence, they’d name it the 9/11 Memorial Islamic Center.

              1. Keep hanging on to this one for dear life. It doesn’t make you seem like a wild-eyed nutter or anything, what with you posting it everywhere you can.

                1. I’m just educating people, you fucking douchenozzle. Most of the people posting here know nothing about Islam and the culture and are merely projecting their western values onto it, so I’m pointing them towards people who really know what they’re talking about and aren’t afraid to speak out.

                  1. Of course you are, sweetie.

    2. It’s not ‘returning the compliment’ when you’re wiping out the traces of the invaders who you’ve finally gotten driven out.

  10. Also let’s not forget the fact that literally every empire in history, Western, Eastern, Christian, Muslim, has been established through forcible conquest. There was no medieval UN to peaceably arbitrate borders. If you’re going to shit on the name “Cordoba” for that reason you might as well say the same about any reference to any historical nation-state.

    1. There was no medieval UN to peaceably arbitrate borders.

      Who says everything is better now ?

  11. Who gives a fuck about the history of Cordoba? Gingrich sure as shit doesn’t. This is all about creating a wedge issue, plain and simple. End of story.

    1. Pretty much. And they stuck it to Obama good on it. This is one of those issues that Clinton would have grandstanded on. He was great at taking the conservative position on little issues like school uniforms that he had no power to really affect. It made him look more conservative than he was. Obama is so stupid he jumped in the middle of an issue he has no power to affect and took the unpopular side.

      1. Unpopular? Something like 20% of American admit to even following the story, let alone having a strong opinion one way or the other. In Manhattan where people do pay attention (since it is a local issue) support runs at around 70%.

          1. “Manhattan” not NYC.

            1. I have seen polls with support in Manhattan ranging from around 46% to closer to 70%. Of course, it depends upon the question. The higher numbers have questions that an accurate description of the project including its aims. More opposition found in polls that describe it as “mosque at ground-zero”

            2. I don’t know where you’re getting that 70% number from. Last I heard only a slight plurality in Manhattan approved of the mosque. Haven’t seen any polling numbers yet on Gutfeld’s gay Muslim bar idea 🙂

              I any event, the point is that Barry O took the unpopular side on this issue. It’s not like he’s going to be re-elected by the voters in Manhattan.

              1. The main point I was trying to make…perhaps poorly, is that with less than 25% even paying attention most people are not invested in the story in the least making it a non-issue politically.

                1. Time will tell.

                2. But you’re forgetting that the people who ARE paying attention are the very Fox News-watching country rubes that the GOP needs to fire up.

        1. Go lie elsewhere, fuckstick.

    1. In other news, Pamela Anderson has lost her virginity.

  12. The Catholic church has a longer history of…appropriating roman/greek temples, Muslim mosques, really anything they could get their hands on. So don’t felate me with arguments that the “name represents aggressive, anti-western ideology”.

    1. How does the Catholic Church being bastards have anything to do with whether or not the name is aggressive and anti-western?

  13. Cordoba: Not Just a Car With Fine Soft Corinthian Leather


    1. but doesn’t fine sound better? it may be revisionist advertisement history but it suits me just fine, like fine corinthian leather.

    2. That ad was filmed at the residence of the President of Whittier College. Truly one of our finest moments.

  14. This story gets stupider every fucking week it drags on. It’s so stupid that I can’t even enjoy assholes like Gingrich and President Autofellate make idiots of themselves over it. Make it stop, make it stop.

  15. Though I am sure the Moors replaced some churches with mosques in Cordoba when they took over, one of the most notable structures in Cordoba (which I am guessing is what Newt is thinking of) is the mosque which was converted into a cathedral after the Christians took over again.

    1. It was a cathedral, then a mosque, then a cathedral. After the conquest, it was shared between the christian and muslim communities for a while, then the muslims bought the christians out. (Which was, as Rauf would point out, much nicer than what the christians did after the reconquest.)

      1. When you finally manage to drive out the invaders who conquered you and turned your cathedral into a mosque, why would anyone sane expect ‘niceness’?

        What is wrong with you people?

  16. Uh. The “reply to this” button isn’t working.

    Dare I hope that threading is dead?

  17. Hee! I have no objection to the Cordoba mosque, but the dialogue is hilarious.

    Newt: The Cordoba initiative is named for the city that muslim governors used as the capital of conquered Spain.

    Imam Rauf: Yes, but during that period, the conquerers were relatively nice to their subjects!

    Bien-passants: See! Rauf is totally a moderate! If *he* conquered us, he would be relatively nice!!

    Seriously, I know that Rauf doesn’t want to conquer anybody, and that medival history was one big story of conquests and counter-conquests. (I’ve read my Ibn Kaldun, after all!)

    Still, naming your group for one of the nicer conquering regimes doesn’t exactly prove your bona fides.

    1. Still, naming your group for one of the nicer conquering regimes doesn’t exactly prove your bona fides.

      Best one-line summary of the negative position. Bravo.

  18. You know, I really wish Reason would give this whole mosque near Ground Zero in NYC thing a little attention. I mean, I’m barely hearing anything about it anywhere. It would be great if Reason covered it for a change.

    1. There’s a Ground Zero near a mosque?

  19. Have a hard time getting past the whole thing as an act of taqqiya. Thanks for the history lesson back and forth upthread, but I think the basics of that entire discussion really boil down to “the middle ages pretty much sucked for everyone”. Leaping ahead to the modern day, I have to consider who is still pushing an ideology based on a 6th Century playbook? Hmmm. The 1st and 14th Amendments certainly are relevant, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Constitution was never intended to be a suicide pact, if I may take a step that is certain to be decried as overly melodramatic.

    My take is that if they want to build the damned thing, let them. Right next door to the Westboro Baptist Church. To foster dialog. And understanding. First topic on the agenda, Gay Marriage. And Gutfeld can still build his bar, across the street, and after the calm, rational discussion on homosexuality in the modern age, everyone can scoot on over for a few cold ones.

    Problem solved. Peace on earth. You’re welcome.

  20. Everyone is sort of missing a rather obvious point. The Caliphate of Cordoba was a lot more tolerant of different faiths than most of the manifestations of Islamic states in the 21st century, and I am not aware of any nation (other than the Vatican City) which qualifies as a Christian theocracy in the 21st century. Christianity has accepted secular government, while Islam (at least in the Arab world) has refused to even consider the concept of secular rule.

  21. I think Newt is nothing but a demagogue who’s trying to stir up hatred against the Muslim people because he thinks it will help him get the GOP nomination.

    1. Wow, there sure is a lot of Newt-bashing around here today. You do know he was the most libertarian-friendly of any House Speaker of the last 50 years (if not longer)?

      1. “Wow, there sure is a lot of Newt-bashing around here today. You do know he was the most libertarian-friendly of any House Speaker of the last 50 years (if not longer)?”

        That just goes to show what statists Speakers of the House are.

      2. Yep, and he’s thrown a lot of it away by either being a genuine bigot, Constitution be damned, or by cravenly playing to the base like a cowardly politician.

        1. What exactly does “bigotry” have to do with the Constitution- or even Newt’s potential “libertarianism”?

          I have yet to see Gingrich propose any Gov’t action in this case. (which should satisfy any “libertarian” objections…)

          Please make a specific case about how his “supposed” bigotry is to be considered a Constitutional violation!
          (You specifically added the addendum, “Constitution be damned”, directly after accusing him of bigotry…)

          Can you state an Article and Section to back your claim that he violated the Constitution with his bigotry?

          I also see nothing in the fucking Constitution that denies him any right to speak about something simply because your whiny ass considers it “bigoted” or even “base playing”…

      3. He was certainly one of the horniest.

        1. You discount the feral hunger and abominable appetites of the wild Pelosi.

          1. Stop trying to summon the SugarFree!

        2. Not counting Pelosi, that is.

  22. The Cordoba Initiative is an organization dedicated to leaving your cancer-riddled wife on her death bed, Newt.

  23. Gingrich should also rant about Cinco de Mayo, then. Now beloved in the US as the “Mexican Saint Patrick’s Day” (or Columbus Day, if you prefer), but not nearly so big a holiday in its native Mexico, Cinco de Mayo commemorates a battle, in which the militia of Puebla kicked the collective derriere of the French army. That is to say, the locals successfully defended their ancestral homeland, chasing away white european types who were determined to rule there.

    1. Like St. Patrick’s day, and Catholic church festivals, Cinco de Mayo involves drinking. If I were in charge of the Zionist conspiracy, I would explain Purim to the gentiles — it should be an easy sell.

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