There have been a lot of knee jerk reactions to the Ground Zero Mosque/Cultural Center. I've had my own, which was troubling as I generally don't care about others' religion except in the general sense of wanting everyone to go to Heaven. Why we've had such visceral reactions is not easy to put into words and most will fail at putting it into words, though I'll give it a try.
Our understanding of Islam is that it is not "just a religion" but a whole system of government and economics as well as religion. This runs counter to the main argument being used by both sides. To date, the framers of the debate on the Ground Zero Mosque, have designated freedom of religion as the hill to die on. The problem with this approach is that it allows those debating to avoid the big issues lurking underneath.
Just as we Christians have different doctrinal flavors (Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, and so on) so does Islam. The particular "flavor" of Islam that is being promoted with the construction of the Ground Zero Mosque is that of Wahhabism and Sharia Law.
The would-be builders are seeking money from Saudi Arabia and Iran among other nations that practice the above described religion, which isn't just a religion. In addition, those builders/backers refuse to give any assurances that this new "cultural center" won't be a repeat of this one (emphasis mine).
All signs point to a repeat of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center debacle, in which Mayor Thomas Menino practically gave away city-owned land worth $2 million to the Islamic Society of Boston, whose founder Abdurrahman Alamoudi currently sweats out a 23-year prison term for terrorist crimes. Mayor Menino donated the public's land for the construction of the ISB mosque -- excuse me, "Cultural Center" -- with the standard pleas for diversity, healing, peace, and frolicking unicorns. Of course, he didn't bother to investigate the peaceful healing record of the Middle Eastern men he was donating to: ISB Trustee Yusuf Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who's been banned from the U.S. and dubbed "the theologian of terror" by the ADL; ISB Trust President Osama Kandil, director of an Islamic charity designated as terrorist by the U.S. government; and ISB Trustee Jamal Badawi, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. But the mayor's speeches sure sounded pretty, and that's what counts.
When the Boston Herald and local Fox Network affiliate began exposing the ISB's nasty connections, the ISB responded with the typical relish of democracy's free speech hurly-burly we've come to expect from these types: They sued every single one of their public critics, including a refugee Muslim scholar who had translated some of their anti-Semitic, anti-American literature to enlighten the citizenry. Their brass-knuckles intimidation worked beautifully: the media went silent on reporting anything negative about the ISB, while the private citizens they sued were ordered by lawyers to keep daintily quiet. The ISB bigwigs sashayed to their opening ceremony in June 2009, where they were fulsomely feted by top politicians, Harvard scholars, and Christian and Jewish clergy.
At what point does the doctrine of tolerance become the doctrine of oppression? The short answer is when tolerance demands something that runs counter to our culture, our values, and, most especially, Our Laws.
The biggest of these is our constitutional form of government, the very thing being used to beat about the heads of those opposing the mosque, with that very clause that is being debated on both sides of the issue. Again, this is not just a religion, it's a whole system of government. Plainly and simply, Sharia is incompatible with our Constitution and with that clause used as a weapon of intolerance by the left because of the inextricable intertwining as also an economic and legal system.
To wholesale adopt the position of the Cultural Center builders/backers is to create and sanction a government within a government; a government that runs counter to our own. The builders/backers are not being open about their intentions and have refused to be open about their intentions. In fact, they are now "whitewashing" their websites to hide their intentions (emphasis mine).
After two years of work, the Sharia Index Project’s working team of Sunni and Shi’a legal scholars from Morocco to Indonesia achieved consensus on a final structure on philosophy, methodology, and approach to providing the general public, opinion leaders, and state officials in both the Muslim and Western worlds with an Islamic legal benchmark for measuring “Islamicity” of a state.
Tolerance is a two way street. Those exhorting tolerance return none. At some point when it flows only one way, it stops. We do not need a repeat of the Boston Cultural Center debacle or any other similar setup. Does tolerance demand that we allow terrorist and terrorist organizations to set up shop within our own country?
In the U.K. the Archbishop said Sharia was unavoidable and the U.K. allowed that government within a government, the effects of which are just becoming apparent. In France, the burqua has been banned. Here in the states, there have been instances of honor killings.
Until these builders/backers are open and forthright about their full intentions, I cannot support the building of this "Cultural Center." If those who want this thing want to yell intolerance, I really don't care. They offer no tolerance of our laws or culture while demanding tolerance of theirs. If they find our laws and culture too open for their liking, I really don't care. They have the freedom to leave any time they wish. Otherwise, they just need to deal with it. No exceptions.