"And as I watch not only the battle in New York but also the reaction to the Rev. Terry Jones's threat to burn the Koran in Florida on the Sept. 11 anniversary, I feel optimistic."
--Tariq Ramadan, Washington Post, 9/12/1010
The best takeaway we seem to be left with on "the battle in New York" over the GZ mosque is that the mosque should be moved, and that Imam Rauf is a bad hombre. (Tariq Ramadan agrees on moving the mosque, which, believe me, is no victory.) We are no closer, however, to any understanding, as Turkey's PM Erdogan might (and has) put it, that "the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." Indeed, megamosque construction -- and along with it, the construction of sharia-based communities -- continues barely noted across the country.
Maybe worse, though, is that microburst of sharia-inspired hellfire that rained down last week on the Florida man who wanted to demonstrate against the jihad of 9/11 by burning Korans at his church -- a frankly rational act of symbolism (and hardly an unnatural reaction to the craven silence of our leaders on the continuing threat to liberty posed by Islam) even if he soley believed it to be divinely inspired. And so doing is a right that is his as a citizen of this constitutional republic. At best, this fact was grudgingly acknowledged, as though the man's right to express his opposition to Islamic beliefs, which, for example, lead to the persecution and even murder of his fellow Christians in sharia-run societies, was the unfortunate hangover of a tedious, inconvenient and quite antiquated technicality. But there was something else. There was also something too close to dehumanizing in the weirdly lockstep effort to delegitimize the man to curry favor with the Islamic world.
And the sanctimoniousness....