Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Refudiating reality

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 8:24 AM

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Yes, Ramadan does begin today, but don't be trying to pray anywhere near the former site of the World Trade Center.

On Monday, the transparently named Stop Islamization of America celebrated the fact that New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority will allow the group's bus ad showing a burning Twin Towers, complete with plane, next to what anti-Islamists are calling the Mosque At Ground Zero.

"On Friday I filed a lawsuit against the MTA," writes the administrator of the SIOA website. "Today the MTA caved and the original ad will run."

The group — which describes itself as a "human rights organization dedicated to freedom of speech, religious liberty, and individual rights; no special rights for special classes" — obviously cares more about its own freedom of speech than it does the religious liberty of others.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the proposed Islamic cultural center would be located more than two city blocks from the former World Trade Center site. In addition to a prayer space, it would include a basketball court, swimming pool, classrooms, a 9/11 memorial and a community meeting space.

Not exactly what you'd think of as a training ground for terrorists.

Unless, of course, you happen to be Sarah Palin, who's called upon "peace-seeking Muslims" to "refudiate" the construction. Or Newt Gingrich, who argues that we shouldn't allow a mosque near Ground Zero until Saudi Arabia allows churches and synagogues.

The Palin-drone is, of course, too pointless to debate, but Gingrich's logic is interesting. After all, most Americans wouldn't think of the repressive Saudi Arabian government as the standard to which America should hold itself.

Then again, why not? After all, former President Bush often held hands — quite literally — with the Saudi royal family. And the fact that 15 of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens didn't exactly make us eager to go to war with our oil-rich cronies. Blood is thicker than water, but oil is thicker than either.

And in case you're thinking the memory of 9/11 victims has anything to do with this controversy, consider all the reports of rabid resistance to proposed mosques in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Geography has never been most bigots' strong suit.

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