War on Terror

Mosque Move: A Victory for Jingoistic Rabble-Rousers

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Ha'aretz reports that backers of the Corboda Initiative's mosque and Muslim community center plan to relocate the project in the face of widespread complaints that its proximity to the site of the World Trade Center is insensitive to the families of 9/11 victims (because the project's backers are Muslims, and so were the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center):

The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.

Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days….

Several people familiar with the debate among New York's Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.

They also hope the move will be seen as a show of sensitivity to families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and to the  American public generally.

Another factor in the apparent climbdown is a lack of funds to pay for construction of the center, estimated to cost a hundred million dollars. Backers hope moving it will lead to a wave of support, accompanied by cash donations.

If true, the reversal represents a victory for jingoistic rabble-rousers like Newt Gingrich, who last month insisted that "there should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia" and recently has been deploying these carefully considered analogies against the project:

Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor.

Update: The project's organizers say the Ha'aretz report is "completely false," adding, "We are committed to plans of building Park 51 [the Muslim cultural center's new name] to serve the community of Lower Manhattan."