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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Brothers, fight fire with compromise

The Ground Zero mosque proposal got Page One treatment in today's New York Times, adding fuel to a burgeoning political firestorm.

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

The Muslim congregation is within its rights both with respect to freedom of religion and with respect to freedom to purchase and use property for legal purposes.

And I don't doubt that much of the opposition to the mosque proposal stems from religious bias carried over into the political realm. Some of the opposition is emotional and irrational.

However, we must face the fact that this is a highly emotion-charged locale, laden with political symbolism. And though it is true that, like Christianity and Judaism, Islam contains various doctrines and interpretations, it is also true that a few violent zealots can be found quoting Muslim, Jewish or Christian scriptures to justify atrocities.

Further, although al Qaeda is happy to accept responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, it is clear that these fellows were nothing more than useful idiots who played minor roles in an extraordinary and bloody confidence game pulled off by traitors in our government.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that, rightly or wrongly, many Americans will suspect that Islamists are building the mosque to serve as a sign of victory in the destruction of a hated symbol of American power, the World Trade Center.

So may I offer a suggestion? Religious leaders, perhaps working quietly with New York City and even White House intermediaries, might agree to construct a multi-religion center on the site proposed for the mosque. One floor might be a mosque, another a church and another a synagog. And another  might serve various religious groups. Or, some such compromise.

Of course, the Muslims -- though in the right legally -- would need to give ground. Also, in order to conserve religious sensibilities, separate entrances might be necessary. Anyway, I'm sure this peace, with sufficient initiative, can be made.

The liberal group FAIR analyzes the mainstream press coverage of the Pentagon cables unveiled by Wikileaks:

BTW, FAIR is one of those outfits that thinks the world of Noam Chomsky, someone who says pressuring for 9/11 truth is a waste of time. I strongly disagree with Chomsky, but that doesn't mean I think that FAIR isn't often correct in its analyses (though I have seen very little from FAIR about press  double-dealing on 9/11 issues).

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