This week's syndicated column:
The second attack on the World Trade Center is coming. It will stand 13 stories high, cost $100 million dollars and include a mosque. Known as Cordoba House -- the name echoing an early caliphate that, of course, subjugated non-Muslims -- it will be located two blocks away from where our magnificent towers crashed and burned, easy wafting distance for the Islamic call to prayer.
How demoralizing is that? Let's step back for some historical perspective. With the U.S. military preparing its assault on the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, there's a not-too-wild comparison to be made between the mind-blowing reality of New York City approving a mosque at Ground Zero and the unthinkable notion of Honolulu authorities, with GIs massing for the ultimately unnecessary invasion of Japan, approving Shinto shrine construction adjacent to Pearl Harbor.
Both are equally outrageous. But there is a key difference. During World War II, the militaristic cult of Shintoism, the state religion of Imperial Japan, was always understood to be enemy ideology. In our irresponsibly long war, we have never, ever acknowledged that Islam, with its supremacist cult of jihad, is the enemy threat doctrine. And that's not because I say so. It's because the enemy says so, 24-7, and so do his mainstream, unimpeachable Islamic legal and religious sources.
But we plug our ears, drowning out our better judgment with counsel from apologists for Islam, flimflam men who, like carnival hawkers, are adept at misdirecting attention away from the Islamic doctrinal motivations behind what is a global jihad, waged both openly (violently) and more subtly, to advance the influence of Sharia in the world. Indeed, we become apologists and flimflam men, too. Or maybe we just don't care. "If it's legal, the building owners have a right to do what they want," said a spokesman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
If it's "legal"? What if it mocks the dead?
Maybe we deserve such a mosque at Ground Zero. It will serve as the perfect monument to post-9/11 America, a shining reproach to a nation that long ago capitulated through loss, or worse, absence of will. Not that it will be widely seen that way. Aside from the torment and seething of survivors, both family and professional family of the 9/11 dead, aside from blog noise and tabloid venting, the phony narrative of Cordoba House as a kind of healing outreach center -- pure deception -- appears ready for chiseling into stone. And that's not because Cordoba's flimflamming Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf obfuscates everything negative about Islam (jihad, for instance), and promotes everything antithetical to Western liberty (Sharia), often with jarring Western references. ("To Muslim ears," he writes, "Sharia law means ... the conditions necessary for what Americans call the pursuit of happiness.") That is, it's not only the efforts of Imam Rauf that are the problem. It's because nearly nine years after 9/11, we are still stupid enough to buy them.
Why? Why do we take it, with Rauf, for example, at his Cordoba Initiative website, still pushing the propaganda that jihad only and merely "boils down to the need for peaceful struggle for self-betterment -- the war we wage against the vices within ourselves." Please. Surely, nine years after 9/11, we know there exists "greater" jihad, the personal struggle against Islamic vice, which means nothing to non-Muslims. But we're also onto (or should be) the other jihad, the one that took down the towers. Sometimes known as "lesser" jihad, it's the first definition of jihad in the authoritative Sharia book, "Reliance of the Traveler": "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims," it says, adding that jihad is also a "communal obligation" in one form (fighting) or another (support). Defining jihad as a clean-living effort is an insult to everyone's intelligence.
Or is it? The land is bought -- with $4.85 million in unaccounted for cash -- and the project is a go. Short of colossal public outcry leading to an administrative miracle, Cordoba House will join the Manhattan skyline, a multiculti vision of togetherness.
Of course, that's the flimflam story. But if Ground Zero, a focal point of Dar al-Harb (House of War) since 9/11, is reconstructed with a "world class" Islamic center, the transformation to Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) becomes symbolically clear.
And that's no way to treat our 9/11 dead.