Suppose the Catholic Church proposed to build a 13-story, 50,000 square-foot showpiece at Ground Zero? Or the 92nd St. Young Men’s Hebrew Association proposed to relocate its facility to the site of the attack on the Twin Towers? Or the Billy Graham Evangelical Association offered to construct a megachurch on the property? They wouldn’t, of course, because it is entirely inappropriate to assign a disproportionately prominent role for any religious denomination at the location of the most heinous foreign attack on American soil. The issue with the planned Muslim center at Ground Zero is not religious freedom, but favoritism towards Islam.
Liberals believe that if the West bends over backwards to be respectful towards Muslims, Muslims will cease to hate the West and stop killing Westerners. That is why New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and liberals everywhere support this grotesque accommodation to Muslim triumphalism.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has ignited a firestorm of attacks for its refusal to play along with this charade. Peter Beinart, the critic-du-jour of the Jewish establishment, complains that what the ADL really has demonstrated is indifference to the plight of Palestinians! Beinart complains today in the Daily Beast :
What if white victims of African-American crime protested the building of a black church in their neighborhood? Or gentile victims of Bernie Madoff protested the building of a synagogue? Would the ADL for one second suggest that sensitivity toward people victimized by members of a certain religion or race justifies discriminating against other, completely innocent, members of that religion or race? Of course not. But when it comes to Muslims, the standards are different. They are different in Israel, and now, it is clear, they are different in the United States, too.
Indifference to the rights and dignity of Palestinians is a cancer eating away at the moral pretensions of the American Jewish establishment. Last Friday, in the case of the ADL, we learned just how far that cancer has spread.
Beinart’s argument is revealing: because Muslims (he claims) are mistreated elsewhere in the world, New York must make special accommodation to Muslim sensibilities in the form of an elephantine structure on New York’s holiest civic site. The freedom-of-religion issue is spurious on the face of it: if Muslims wanted to build a mosque of reasonable size at Ground Zero, next to churches and a synagogue of reasonable size, no-one would object to including Islam. Muslims face no obstacles to building mosques in New York. An enormous Islamic center stands at 96th Street and Third Avenue, whose construction and operation provoked not a whisper of complaint from Christians or Jews. To use Ground Zero to make a dubious diplomatic gesture to Muslim sensibilities is a massive overreach. It should not be built. If built, a sensible future city administration should demolish it.