Ditto! re: the mosque near ground zero

For the second time in a week, I refer you to a piece in The Economist.  This time, is last week’s Lexington column, titled, “Build that Mosque.” I’ve thought for some time about posting in the proposed community center near ground zero, but this column reminds me that sometimes people who write for a living have earned such a position because they do it well.

Here are a couple of bits from the article:

This is hardly rocket science. America is plainly safer if its Muslims feel part of “us” and not, like Mohammad Sidique Khan, part of “them”. And that means reminding Americans of the difference—a real one, by the way, not one fabricated for the purposes of political correctness—between Islam, a religion with a billion adherents, and al-Qaeda, a terrorist outfit that claims to speak in Islam’s name but has absolutely no right or mandate to do so.

No such plea of mitigation can be entered on behalf of Mr Gingrich. The former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives may or may not have presidential pretensions, but he certainly has intellectual ones. That makes it impossible to excuse the mean spirit and scrambled logic of his assertion that “there should be no mosque near ground zero so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia”. Come again? Why hold the rights of Americans who happen to be Muslim hostage to the policy of a foreign country that happens also to be Muslim? To Mr Gingrich, it seems, an American Muslim is a Muslim first and an American second. Al-Qaeda would doubtless concur.


2 thoughts on “Ditto! re: the mosque near ground zero

  1. “To Mr Gingrich, it seems, an American Muslim is a Muslim first and an American second. Al-Qaeda would doubtless concur.”

    I’ve never met Mr. Ginrich, and as far as I know, I’ve never met a member of Al Qaeda. But the idea that a Muslim is a “Muslim first and an American second” doesn’t sound far off what I know from general Muslim perspectives. Before they are anything else, even Sunni or Shia, they are part of the Umma (in theory).

    It is the modern Western (and Lockean) view that “religion” is a private matter, citizenship a public matter, that encourages us to think of our national attachment as primary. Do we teach our people to be “an American first and a Christian second?”

    If you’ve read Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, now an atheist, you’ve seen her argument for an Enlightenment outreach (based on modern Western liberalism) to change Islam. She’d argue FOR the “American first, Muslim second” point accordingly.

    Obviously Islam has a different view on what we call “church & state” than does Christianity. But different in what relevant way on this issue?

  2. There is no separation of church and state in Islam. In fact, you aren’t both an American and a Muslim in any order. You are just a Muslim. There is no room nor teaching for a civil authourit along side a religious authourity, such as Paul teaches in Romans, and is both Christian in many respects and Western Enlightenment as well.
    Islam follows one law. Sharia. There is no other law that has authourity. This is why the matter is so profoundly different than merely religious tolerance, or separation of church and state.
    Also, the matter to me is far more simple (ironic). The matter is one of modesty and respect. People are opposed to the building of a mosque at this site. There is no religious reason why is needs to be at this site, so move it. Likewise, I would state the same about a church wanting to build a building so close to a sensitive site. Move the church. That is respect of a basic nature, and truly builds bridges.

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