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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Proposed Ground Zero Mosque

At In The Agora I made the case that the proposed Cordoba Center is intensely obnoxious:

Imagine if in 1948 some Japanese investors planned to build a Japanese cultural center two blocks from Hickam Field. They give lip service to building bridges without giving any specifics, but the public has no record of the project leader’s views on Japanese-American relations, and doesn’t even know who’s investing in the project. That the investment group is named the Manchukuo Initiative leads many to believe that the leader is quite nostalgic for Japanese imperialism, as Manchuckuo was the name Imperial Japan have to occupied Manchuria. The leader is either a dishonest swine*, or a supremely incompetent diplomat.

(* Allusion to Islamic dietary laws purely accidental.)

Construction of the Manchukuo Center can’t be stopped legally, but after such a faux pas there’s no way it could ever serve as a cultural bridge builder.

Segue to 2010. A mysterious entity plans to build a mosque blocks from Ground Zero. We don’t know anything about this outfit’s philosophy or its source of funding. Imam Rauf plans on calling it the Cordoba Center. According to the New York Times, this name invokes “the city in Spain where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together centuries ago in the midst of religious foment.” Rauf is either a snake-oil salesman or an utter fool; Westerners (aside from the lefty anti-Western-Civ crowd) feel the opposite of nostalgia for a city where Jews and Christians lived under the Islamic thumb.

What is obnoxious is not necessarily illegal. However, there is a separate legal issue, which I cited at ITA and also at Vodkapundit:

There appears to be a legal means of stopping the mosque’s construction: Imam Rauf is a donor to the Free Gaza movement. Citizens may protest in foreign countries [without violating American laws, I should have added], but they’re not allowed to pay people to directly obstruct foreign nations’ law enforcement. That sort of thing is (rightly) what one government does to another. There’s a case to be made that Rauf illegally engaged in conducting foreign policy. I would think that municipalities are authorized to hold up construction permits for persons under felony investigation.

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