...The opponents argue that a Muslim place of worship within 600 feet of the site of such unprecedented violence in the name of the honour of Islam is an affront to the families of those who perished and an implicitly cynical way of vindicating terrorism. Some also suspect that much of the $100 million needed to erect the 13-storey structure may come from the same sources that bankrolled the perpetrators of the atrocity.
Yet many of the victims’ families are in favour. They see it as a way of asserting that all Muslims shouldn’t be tainted with the crimes of a violent minority that cynically distorts Islam. Together with President Barack Obama, the mayor of New York and spokespersons for many local and national organizations, they believe the new centre will promote peace and reconciliation across religious and ethnic divides.
In the passionate expressions of fear and hope, facts tend to be of secondary importance. Judging by editorials and opinion pieces in America and elsewhere, arguments are often replaced by the writers’ views about Islam and their level of tolerance of its adherents.
The way the prime mover of the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is depicted is a case in point. Detractors speak of his reluctance to outright condemn Islamist terrorism and his equivocal statements after 9/11. Defenders describe him — in the words of Rabbi David Rosen of Israel, arguably the most prominent exponent of interfaith dialogue in contemporary Judaism — as “a very fair man, and the kind of Muslim voice we need to empower and encourage.”
Without wishing to minimize the pain of survivors or ignore the arguments of those who express misgivings about the funding of the project, I’d follow Rabbi Rosen...See, here's where Dow and I differ. I'm not willing to "follow" anyone, least of all anyone who for years has traveled the samosas-and-falafels-circuit and made the "interfaith" shtick his life's work (and who is therefore not exactly an unbiased observer). I prefer to do my own research and come to my own conclusions. And in doing so I've concluded that a mosque at that locale would A) be a posthumous spit in the eye of all the dead; B) be pulling a fast one over on us gullible kafirs via the oft-employed tactic of sacrilized duplicity, a.k.a. taqiyyah; and C) be really bad optics, both for Americans, for whom it would underscore (to borrow Dow's word) that 9/11 was a huge defeat, and for those Muslims inclined to view that day as a seminal victory for jihad and the unstoppable march of Islamic law.