Written by Mark Tapson - NewsRealBlog.com
Yesterday was a day that will live in infamy. New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously cleared the way for the construction of the innocuously-renamed Park 51 Islamic cultural center, formerly the symbolically-named Cordoba House, commonly known as the Ground Zero mega-mosque. Whatever you call it, it will be an offensive monument to Islamist supremacism, which will announce to the world that America has embraced its own defeat. It is scheduled for a grand opening on - another twist of the knife - the 10th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks of 9/11.
Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly discussed it with Nihad Awad, executive director and co-founder of the ubiquitous public relations bullhorn and Muslim Brotherhood offshoot CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. O'Reilly pressed Awad about the lack of sensitivity being shown to the 9/11 victims' families by the planned mega-mosque, which will loom over the ruins of the World Trade Center.
(In fact, this is not just a matter of sensitivity; it is a key battle on the cultural front of our clash of civilization versus barbarism. And it is an issue not just of the feelings of the 9/11 victims' families, but of the dignity and honor of all Americans, a point O'Reilly should have stressed.)
Awad replied that the Muslim-American community has repeatedly denounced terrorism and the 9/11 hijackers. And then he let loose with this eyebrow-raising, irritable and defensive remark:
We are sick and tired of condemning these people every day, in and out.
Yes, it must be exhausting, constantly having to distance yourself from your violent co-religionists. Year in, year out, having to separate the "Islamic" from "Islamic terrorism," a task made Sisyphean thanks to the relentless worldwide onslaught of jihadists who inconveniently insist on committing their mayhem in the name of Islam. Nonetheless, Awad soldiered on, insisting that
there is no linkage between our community, our faith, and 9/11.
I see. Well, the terrorists themselves beg to differ - as do Americans who have educated themselves about Islam since 9/11, and who are sick and tired of being reassured that it means peace, and that global jihad and the imposition of sharia have nothing to do with religion.
Claiming that the charge of "insensitivity is a smokescreen for bigotry," Awad sidestepped O'Reilly's questions to get to his main talking point: an attack on Pamela Geller, the organizer of the mosque's opposition. In a McCarthyesque gesture, he held up a printout of what he said was a defamatory illustration of his prophet Muhammed taken from Geller's website - as if this somehow invalidates all the legitimate complaints and questions about the mosque's inappropriateness, true purpose, and funding. O'Reilly rightfully shut Awad down before he could smear Geller any further.
Awad then backtracked to show a list of 9/11 families who support the mosque, but by then O'Reilly had given up on him.
Mega-mosque apologists claim that its erection is an interfaith gesture that will not only heal the wounds inflicted on 9/11, but will prove America's capacity for tolerance and religious freedom. Why is the burden on us? Americans are constantly being asked to demonstrate our tolerance, to prove we aren't bigoted, racist or Islamophobic. We have nothing to prove. We already have the most fair-minded, religiously tolerant, inclusive society in the history of the world. We were the ones attacked on 9/11. We continue to be attacked. By fundamentalist Muslims.
No more. From now on the burden must be on the other side. If Nihad Awad and the Park 51 mosque developers truly want to begin the healing, they can start by abandoning the project rather than by reopening the painful wounds of Ground Zero.