By now there can be few people in this country who have not heard about what has come to be known as the Ground Zero Mosque, the name given metonymically to that planned skyscraper that one Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife plan to build just around the corner from the site of what was once the World Trade Center for a Muslim center, complete with mosque. Feisal Abdul Rauf says the whole thing will cost $100 million, but not to worry – somehow the money, he is sure, will be raised.
Do you know of anyone putting up a church or community complex costing an estimated $100 million who is quite so certain that the funding will be found? But since we know where that money is coming from – and it is not coming from taxi drivers and ice cream truck salesmen in Brooklyn and the Bronx – we understand Feisal Abdul Rauf’s confidence.
And even now he is apparently off in Saudi Arabia, on a trip paid for by the American State Department, where no doubt he will be speaking to interested parties about this mosque-and-meeting-room complex. He will be telling them their “support” would be a good way to demonstrate to the world’s Muslims that even in the heart of the most powerful Infidel state, even a stone’s throw, or a metal shard’s throw, from the greatest attack by foreigners on American soil, a mosque can rise. And those foreigners were Muslims from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
But if they had been devout Muslims from the United States, would they be any less foreign to everything that the United States is about? Would their attaining of citizenship mean that they had been transformed, that they had ceased to do their duty, to participate, in any way they knew how and found effective, in the Jihad to undo the legal and political institutions and social arrangements of this country, because they are flatly contradicted by the letter and spirit of the Shari’a, the Holy Law of Islam?
And don’t we also know that while churches sometimes have to close, as Catholic churches have been doing in even well-off suburbs of Boston, because the Church, and the parishioners, cannot afford the expense, the most extraordinarily expensive mosques keep opening all over the Western world. Why, in Billerica itself, a modest town outside of Boston, a fifteen million dollar mosque opened a few years ago, and no one appeared to wonder about this, given that about 100 families at most attend the mosque, and they were locals, hardly well-off. Where did the fifteen million come from? And where does all the money come from that pays for that huge mosque in Rome, and others all over Italy, including one that Muslims have been trying to build in the Val Col d’Elsa, the most Tuscan spot in the Siennese countryside that can exist, a place especially dear to the late Oriana Fallaci? She would go into paroxysm of deep fury when she thought of that mosque, with those minarets, rising in the middle of the most beautiful Tuscan spot. If you need to think of a similar aesthetic and moral offense, think of a giant mosque with four minarets being built right beside the Bridge in Concord, say, right near to the house where Emerson lived, and Hawthorne too, for awhile. Think of that mosque, and those minarets overlooking that bridge. And since we are talking about the area around Boston, think of the giant mosque that has been put up, on land bought at way-below-market prices, from the City of Boston, in a deal engineered by a Muslim working at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, a man who, having arranged the deal, for some reason suddenly disappeared and went off to Saudi Arabia to….well, you know what he went to do.
And the money for the land, and for the building went for a mosque built right smack in the middle of Roxbury, the better to be a place from which to lead campaigns of Da’wa targeted at the black population centered in that city, as a horrified friend, a Christian Yoruba, now living in Roxbury, told me about in wide-eyed horror the other day. For he knew exactly what the Muslims had in store for the people of Roxbury.
And we also know that the same funds, mainly from the Saudi rich (though other Gulf Arabs have also contributed funds), have been used to build in London, and Paris, and Rotterdam, and Amsterdam, and Brussels, and Antwerp, and Strasbourg, and Marseille and Lyons and Toulouse, and in Berlin and Frankfurt and Hamburg, and in Copenhagen, and Oslo, and Stockholm, and many hundreds of other cities. And so often a special deal is made. Special consideration is given to the Muslims. In Boston, that below-market deal may have been proposed by a Muslim working in the city government, but he could not have done it alone – it had to have been approved by others higher up, some of them no doubt congratulating themselves on their hypertrophied sense – a sense beyond all common sense – of what should be done to show Muslims that we in the United States had absolutely no qualms about Muslims, or mosques, or Islam, and by gad, we were going to prove our Tolerance and our Respect For Diversity, every step of the way. And a little thing such as information and warnings from the well-informed were not going to stop us.
What a good way to demonstrate to the world’s Muslims the certainty of their coming inevitable triumph: to give them a great symbolic victory which, given the opposition that has had to be overcome, will be even more important to the world’s Muslims than those victories achieved when a mosque was built in Rome, on land donated by the Italian state, not a mile from the Vatican, or when a mosque was allowed by the Spanish government to be built in Grenada, on the highest spot in that city, right next to the Alhambra, overlooking, or rather overshadowing in every sense, the nunnery just below the cliff on which the mosque is built.
All kinds of people are opposed to this mosque. They are opposed to it because they grasp the essence of Islam, because they have read, and re-read, and re-read, the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira. And they have read others, too, including the great Western scholars of Islam, and those who in the West came into contact with Muslims, and were students of history. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson wrote about what the Moroccan envoy had explained to them about the right of Muslims to make war on non-Muslims; it was not only their right, it was their duty to do so. And later, our most learned President, John Quincy Adams, wrote a devastating longer work on Islam that deserves to be read by all those in American public life who presume to comment on Islam. And Alexis De Tocqueville, too, had his say, after he had encountered Muslims in Algeria, and studied what their texts said, what their tenets were, what their deeply held, unshakable attitudes were, and why this all so disturbed him. And Winston Churchill, a lifelong student of history, but also of the men and events of his time, famously wrote, based on what he had experienced in the Sudan – he took part in the Last Charge at Omdurman – about Islam in a way quite similar to, or at least understandable to, Jefferson and John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and to Alexis de Tocqueville and to Winston Churchill, and also to such figures as Bertrand Russell and Andre Malraux.
And you know something? Neither Jefferson nor Adams nor Quincy Adams, nor Tocqueville nor Churchill, nor Bertrand Russell nor Andre Malraux, nor for that matter the French Protestant theologian Jacques Ellul, nor the Italian Catholic writer Marcello Pera, nor the celebrated atheist and famous anti-Fascist Oriana Fallaci — not one of them is, was, could ever be, described as a holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist tea-party no-tax Obama-is-a-Muslim figure of fun. Not one of them. Nor could any of the great scholars of Islam – Joseph Schacht, C. Snouck Hurgronje, Arthur Jeffrey, William St. Clair Tisdall, Henri Lammens (who spent his life in Lebanon, and wrote and read Arabic perfectly, as – come to think of it, did quite a few of the great Orientalists, including Schacht, who lectured in Arabic in Cairo).
And we have, now, as we never had before, a great many articulate people who live in the West, who are able to take advantage of the mental freedom that the West offers, and the (relative) physical security that the West offers as well from Muslims who might wish to harm them. These people were born and raised as Muslims. They breathed the air of families and societies and states suffused with Islam. They understand how, as a Total Belief-System, it maintains its extraordinary hold on the minds of its adherents, and all the ways that it prevents them from learning to exercise their own moral judgment, because they are required to accept the Rules of Islam, the Complete Regulation of Life and Total Explanation of the Universe that Islam does not merely offer but insists upon. They must accept, and not question, using any independently acquired moral sense, What Is Prohibited and What is Commanded. These people who are Defectors from the Army of Islam are now among us, and their testimony – and the testimony of many others who have left Islam but do not wish to be publicly identified, for the obvious reasons – have written and spoken. We are free to read Why I Am Not A Muslim by Ibn Warraq, and Infidel and Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and A God Who Hates by Wafa Sultan, and Now They Call Me Infidel by Nonie Darwish. And there are many other books too, by Magdi Allam, who for years tried in Italy to hold onto his identity as a Muslim, who kept trying to convince himself that it was not Islam that was wrong but only some bad people. For Magdi Allam was deeply attached to his humble and loving parents, both Muslims, and the tug of filial piety made it hard for him to realize that Ibn Warraq’s lapidary formula is true: “There are moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate.”
And then there is a last class of people, not the celebrated Western scholars of Islam, and not the Defectors either, but rather, people who – Muslims and non-Muslims – grew up in the Muslim Middle East, in a Muslim environment, and have written forthrightly about the doctrine of Jihad and about the condition of non-Muslims in lands where Islam dominates. These people include the Lebanese writer Antoine Fattal, who wrote the single best study of the legal status of non-Muslims under the Shari’a, Le status legal des non-musulmanes en pays d’Islam, a work that can still be ordered from Beirut. But despite the trillions spent in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, the American government has not seen the need to pay for a translation of Fattal’s text into English. Priorities, priorities. And they include Bassam Tibi, from Syria, who has lived and taught for many years in Germany, and who understands Islam, and fears that the Western world, or much of it, is finding out just a little late, or rather re-discovering what it once knew and then started to take for granted, and then started to forget, and then just at the moment when immigration from Muslim lands started up, completely forgot: that Islam is a belief-system quite unlike that of any Western, or indeed any Eastern, religion, and is based on the opposition of Muslim to Infidel, Dar al-Islam to Dar al-Harb, and on the inculcation of hostility toward Infidels, who are the “ungrateful ones” and who have no right, anywhere in the world, to erect barriers to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam.
And finally, there is Majid Khadduri, from Iraq, who wrote on the legal theory of war and peace in classical Islam, and explained exactly what the duty of Jihad, that “struggle” to remove all those obstacles to the spread and then the dominance, of Islam, means to Muslims who take their beliefs to heart. He also explained why there can be no reliance on peace treaties between non-Muslims and Muslims, on the model of Muhammad’s dealings with the Meccans in 628 A.D. at Hudabiyya, for Muslims a splendid act of deception. “War is deception” said Muhammad, and the doctrines of Taqiyya, and Kitman, which are two closely-related forms of religiously-sanctioned dissimulation about Islam and about what the Believers truly believe, may be seen as elaborations upon that celebrated remark by the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil. That deceptive treaty serves as a model for all subsequent treaty-making with non-Muslims. In other words, the Muslim side is not only justified, but has a positive duty to mimic the model of Muhammad and break such treaties – which to Muslims are not genuine peace treaties, their provisions to be scrupulously adhered to (“Pacta Sunt Servanda” is a notion in Western public international law, and has nothing to do with the law of war and peace in Islam), but rather, “hudnas” or “truce treaties,” to last no longer than ten years (for that was the approximate length of Muhammad’s treaty with the Meccans at Hudaibiyya, and Muhammad is the model for all things). However, if conditions required, they could be renewed for the same length of time. These treaties were to be violated, by the Muslim side, whenever they felt strong enough to do so, felt they could get away with doing so.
And now we come to Mayor Bloomberg. He’s the man who, upon first hearing about the would-be mass-murderer in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad, and without knowing a thing about the case, was quick to say that it “could be someone with a political agenda,” “someone who didn’t like the health care bill,” in fact, “it could be anything.”
No, I don’t think those phrases on the page do Mayor Bloomberg justice. I think you have to see his irresponsible, lightheaded, casually deflecting nonsense, so I’m going to give you the link right here, making this a multi-media presentation.
And then there was, there is, the Ground-Zero Mosque controversy.
Mayor Bloomberg got together a group of people – some Muslim clerics, some holier-than-thou Interfaith Healing rabbis and ministers and possibly a priest or two — and he had them all stand beside or just behind him as he delivered, his hair windswept and the Hudson hovering somewhere in the back, what he no doubt fondly believes was a noble reaffirmation of The American Way. He was practically Fiorello La Guardia and the year was 1941, and this was an “I Am An American Day.” Well, in fact, those Muslims who follow the faith fully are not terribly interested in “being Americans,” though they have a great interest in being in this land, and in building more and more institutions, and increasing their numbers and influence, in order to remake this country so that it conforms to, and no longer contradicts in every important way, the Shari’a. Anyone who wants to–the exercise is not hard – can simply set what the First Amendment (let’s just stick to that for the moment) says beside what the Shari’a says about freedom of speech and freedom of conscience (which is the overarching theme linking the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses), and see how very different they are. Or one could take the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (and, through later decisions that have found the same “equal protection” guarantees in the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, as against the power of the Federal government) and ask if Muslims still believe that the ideal society, that is, one that adheres as closely as possible to the dictates and requirements of the Shari’a, is one in which non-Muslims (or, in the strict sense, only Christians and Jews as Ahl al-Kitab, “People of the Book”) can continue to live, and even to practice – very quietly, and subject to all manner of restrictions — their faiths, but must live as dhimmis (from Ahl al-Dhimma, People of the Pact, that “Pact” being the so-called Pact of Omar) in conditions of humiliation (including the humiliating circumstances in which the Jizyah, or tax on non-Muslims, is to be paid to the Muslim state), degradation, and permanent physical insecurity – all conditions that the great scholar S. D. Goitein discovered were far harsher, far more onerous, than he had realized. And this was after a lifetime of believing sentimental stuff about a special understanding or even sympathy between “Jews” and “Arabs” that turned out to be a figment of his imagination. At the very end of his scholarly life, in his introduction to his masterpiece, based on a study of the papers in the Cairo Geniza, he had the integrity to admit this.
Mayor Bloomberg is cushioned by his own billions. He spent doing nothing for years but getting those billions, rising ever higher and ever richer, devoting his every waking minute to business, so that he would be ever farther away from the modest means of his childhood in Medford, Massachusetts. Is it one, or two, or three, or five, or six, or just how many billions is it that Mayor Bloomberg now possesses? That is the main reason he is used to being treated with such absurd deference, and which has allowed him to misunderstand his own intrinsic merit. The only kind of authority that should count is based on intelligence and education. But Bloomberg has devoted, and perhaps in the devoting even deformed, his own intelligence to the getting of money and then to the acquisition of power, so that he, Michael Bloomberg, might make a name for himself, might be thought well of. But even in the plutocratic gilded age that we live in, there are still many people unwilling to play along with that, unwilling to defer to the authority of Bloomberg, or Soros, or Gates, or any number of other people whose claim on our attention is intimately related to the size of their bank account.
Michael Bloomberg does not have to make his own bed or wash his own dishes. He’s got time, even as the busy busy Mayor of New York, to have done some studying over the past nine years since the 9/11/2001 attacks caused sensible people to start learning about the texts, tenets, attitudes and atmospherics of Islam. But he hasn’t done that. He shows no signs of having done that. I doubt if he can define the words “dhimmi” and “Jizyah.” I doubt if he understands the meaning Muslims give to 2.256, “there is no compulsion in religion,” as opposed to what they want us to think they take it to mean. I doubt if he has read, or even heard about, the “Jihad” verses of the Qur’an, as they are listed, for example, in the Calcutta Qur’an Petition. I don’t think he knows why quoting (as both Bush and Blair liked to do) Qur’an 5.32 without 5.33 makes no sense. I don’t think he knows much, if anything, about the contents of the Qur’an, and what, for example, 9.29 and 9.5 – indeed, all of Sura 9 – are about, or how the Suras are arranged, or what the interpretative doctrine of “naskh” or “abrogation” means. I don’t think he knows what the word “Sunnah” means. I don’t think he’s read a single Hadith of the many thousands that exist, or knows who studied and winnowed them, and how that study was conducted, and how these Hadith were declared “inauthentic” or, if considered to be “authentic,” how differing ranks of likely authenticity were assigned to them. I don’t think he knows any of this.
And I know he knows nothing, has read nothing, has learned nothing, about the 1350-year conquest of non-Muslim lands by Muslims, and the ways in which those non-Muslims were subsequently subjugated, with many Islamized and then, though not in all cases (see Iran) arabized. I don’t think he knows why the late Anwar Shaikh, the apostate writing in his Welsh redoubt, titled his most famous book “Islam: The Arab National Religion.” I don’t think Michael Bloomberg, bland, literal-minded Michael Bloomberg, has any idea of the symbolic importance of this Mosque, and of how it relates to what is called – what the Muslim lady writing in the Washington Post the other day called – Muslim Triumphalism. For Islam depends on a narrative, much like Fascism and Communism, of inevitable future triumph. It is not only Al Qaeda, and Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Hamas, and Hezbollah (its green-headscarved bezonians raising their arms in unison as they turn every rally into a scene from Nuremberg), and Sunna al-Islam, and all the other groups, the dozens upon dozens of them. All take their prompt – their prompt-book, as it were – from the same texts, Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, that is, from the Uncreated and Literal and Immutable Word of God in the Qur’an, and from the life and times of that Model of Conduct and Perfect Man, Muhammad.
No, but Mayor Bloomberg knows – just the way George Bush knew – that Islam is a “religion.” He never stops to ask himself if it is a “religion” just like, or very unlike, other faiths, or other ideologies, we call “religions.” He never asks if a Total Belief-system that punishes those who wish to leave it with death – the kind of thing we associate with a Koresh or Jonestown cult leader, not with a venerable religion – might be just one among many aspects of this faith that might make an intelligent man hesitate, and begin to ask himself questions (the ones that never occur to the likes of Michael Bloomberg). Those questions include, what exactly would be good definition of a “religion” and how shall we distinguish it, for First Amendment purposes, from a cult? And while we are defining “religion” for First Amendment purposes, shouldn’t we also examine all those parts of Islam that amount to a politics and even a geopolitics? If Islam uncompromisingly divides the world between Muslim and Infidel, and requires Muslims to participate, directly or indirectly, in a “struggle” to push back the Infidel, to shrink the borders of Dar al-Harb and steadily increase the size of Dar al-Islam until it covers the whole globe, how does that worldly ambition differ from what the Nazis or the Soviet Communists had in mind? And doesn’t it differ substantially from what all the other faiths we call “religions” contain? Are we not to exercise that important function – some say the most important function – of the intellect, that is, the ability to make distinctions, and with it, the complementary ability to make connections, too?
Mayor Bloomberg has spent most of his life making money, and now has spent the last decade or so, with the selfsame single-mindedness, acquiring political power. And he’s quite happy with that. He’s content with his life, and his understanding of things. And he’s also content to think that he has no responsibility to others – the others whom he claims to be able to instruct in what constitutes the American Way. His banal adoration turns rather toward what are really two recent Idols of the Age, Diversity and Tolerance, both of them in a diseased modern form. Upon their twin altars he would readily sacrifice the real United States, a country with real people and not abstractions, people who will stand with Justice Jackson in declaring that the Constitution is not a suicide pact–surely one of the most memorable formulations in American Constitutional history – and who are not sentimentalists, as Michael Bloomberg so self-evidently is, and who will not put up with this powerful but ignorant man who gives no sign of having studied, even in the most rudimentary fashion, Islam. He gives no sign of understanding the aims of Islam, or rather of Jihad. He does not know the province and function of the Mosque, which is hardly limited to that of being, as Bloomberg so naively puts it, just one more “House of Worship.” In many countries in Western Europe, in these houses of worship plots have been laid. In these houses of worship fiery sermons hurling abuse at the Infidels, especially Jews, and the local Infidels, whoever they might be, have been known to be delivered as the khutba during Friday prayers. In these mosques the police forces of many nations have found weapons, explosives, false papers in false ceilings. In these mosques the texts of Islam that call for killing the Unbeliever, striking terror in the heart of the Unbeliever, are not ignored, for they cannot be ignored. It is practically impossible to deliver a sermon that will not be instinct with hatred for the Infidel.
Now the phrase “instinct with hatred of the Infidel” and of those who “have aligned themselves with the Infidels,” does describe a great many of those khutbas that accompany Friday prayers. And Muslims can be so whipped up that they do as some did in Bangladesh, emerging from Friday prayers so full of hatred that they immediately grabbed a poor Hindu who happened to be passing by at that moment when the mosque emptied, and beat him to death. Hysteria is so often a feature of those mass rallies – the rallies in Cairo to express delight, in May 1967, that the Jews would soon be destroyed, or the hysteria in Baghdad when Saddam Hussein put on quite a show for a million Iraqis, who were invited to watch and enjoy seeing thirteen “Zionist spies” – most Jews, with a few Christians thrown in – hanged. Or there are the terrifying rallies, or rallies intended to terrify, of Hamas in Gaza, or Hezbollah in Lebanon. Islam is a collectivist faith; it is uninterested in saving an individual soul or in saving souls at all. Da’wa, the Call to Islam, is really akin to Recruiting for the Army of Islam. You are promised instant companionship, and what’s more, you can stop thinking, for all decisions, all questions of what you do and what you don’t do, have already been decided for you. What a relief, to be relieved of the need to think for yourself.
Well, Mayor Bloomberg’s comments on the Mosque demonstrate that he can’t think for himself. For he accepts all the easy pieties, the things that if you do not question, and simply accept, allow you to avoid difficult questions, troublesome worries. He is sure that Islam is just like any other religion, and Muslims are just like non-Muslims, and they are going to integrate into our societies “just like” all other immigrants have done, and they are, “just like” those immigrants, going to exhibit a deep gratitude and loyalty to this country, and to be delighted to have been accepted by it, and deeply impressed with our freedoms, our art, our science, our literature, our music, and our laws and our customs and above all, perhaps, with the Constitution that is — oh hell, that constitutes — our civil religion. Yes, “just like,” “just like,” “just like.” Mayor Bloomberg may not stare across the ocean very much, and for all of his billions he remains a complete and hopeless provincial, but he really ought to take the trouble to see what has been happening in the countries of Western Europe during the last few decades. He ought to ask himself two questions about Western Europe. The first is this: why do Muslim immigrants alone appear to be incapable of integrating into the countries which have so generously allowed them not only to settle there, but have allowed Muslim immigrants free education, free health care, free or heavily subsidized housing, and every other benefit that generous welfare states can offer, while Chinese, Hindus, Indians from Bolivia, non-Muslim blacks from sub-Saharan Africa, all manage ultimately to do so? And why, too, does this situation exist not in one country, or two, or several, but in every single country in Western Europe? Are they all countries where right-holy-rolling-troglodytic-Palin-worshipping-Fox-watching primitives live, or are they places where the most advanced people, the best educated people, are the ones who are now most alarmed, and unwilling any longer to accept the nonsense and lies that they have permitted up till now? Travel may not broaden the likes of Michael Bloomberg, but he really ought to find out what is going on. He ought to find out why so few Europeans, whatever differing views they will now express on what is or can be done, will not disagree with the assertion that “the large-scale presence of Muslims in the countries of Western Europe has led to a situation, both for the indigenous non-Muslims and for other, but non-Muslim, immigrants, that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would be the case without that large-scale Muslim presence.”
I doubt if Mayor Bloomberg can even stand to read that sentence; I doubt that he could even begin to allow himself to consider if part, or all of it, might contain some truth, a great deal of truth, or even be perfectly, almost at this point, self-evidently, true. No, he can’t allow himself the greatest luxury of all: the leisure, and pleasure, and supreme luxury of uninhibited thought. He can’t ever allow himself that.
But he is the Mayor. And for all I know he has even higher ambitions. It wouldn’t surprise me. Should it surprise me? And if he wishes to be powerful, then he has certain responsibilities a little more taxing, of a different kind, than making the subway trains run on time or draining the Queens marshes. Above I used a famous phrase – “instinct with obligation” – that Benjamin Cardozo, back in 1917, and not yet on the Supreme Court, used in his opinion in Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. It’s a phrase that every lawyer who took Contracts class is likely to have heard, and a great many, if they hear it now, will remember it. And it’s useful here, and I used it above to talk of Muslim sermons that were “instinct with hatred for the Infidel.” But now I’d like to use that word “instinct” in another way, and apply it to Mayor Bloomberg himself.
He holds an office, that of Mayor of New York, which is at the present moment in the history of the world, “instinct with the obligation” to learn about Islam. He has an obligation to consider the facts that are known by those who are alarmed by what they have found out, in many hours of self-study, about Islam, those who are alarmed by the triumphalist symbolism of the proposed mosque just around the corner from the site of the largest mass-murder in American history. That mosque is to be built by those who embrace the same faith, and read the same texts, the very same Qur’an, the very same Hadith, the very same Sira – nothing left out, nothing extraneous needed to be added – that were read by Mohammed Atta at the Hamburg mosque that has at long last been closed, and by the others in their mosques, in Saudi Arabia, or elsewhere in the Muslim Arab lands. And the Qur’an in Arabic is much more virulent and violent, so the scholars tell us, than it is in any other language.
When Cardozo wrote his opinion in Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, he used the phrase “instinct with obligation” to describe the promise of a certain Mr. Wood to promote and distribute in the United States the products produced in England by Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, a promise of “good faith” and “best efforts” which to non-lawyers might seem to be no promise at all, or at least not a promise sufficient to serve as “consideration” that would allow Mr. Wood to go to court and keep Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, from breaking her promise to give him the exclusive rights, in a particular territory, to distribute and promote her goods.
Why this little excursus that only a first-year law student could find fascinating? Well, because Michael Bloomberg, as Mayor of New York, and Schumer and Gilibrand, as its Senators, and all of the Senators, and all of the Representatives, and all of the members of the Executive Branch of our government, and all of our Supreme Court Justices, including those recently appointed, wield powers that are “instinct with obligation” – the obligation of Good Faith and Fair Dealing with all of us, the citizens, who do not wield but in one way or another, directly or indirectly, entrust these others with executive, legislative, and judicial power, to do right by us, to protect us, to preserve this country and not to allow it to be rendered unnecessarily vulnerable to rising threats coming from within as they once came, and could come again, from without.
In this article I described the kinds of things Mayor Bloomberg has not done. He has not read the Qur’an, Hadith, or Sira. He has not read the commentators, Muslim and non-Muslim, on those texts. He has not read any of the many books now available to guide him through these texts. He has given no evidence of having become a sudden scholar, now versed in the history of Islamic conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims. He shows no awareness of what has been happening to Hindus and Christians in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, or what has happened to Buddhists, those in southern Thailand, and those who remain in the Chittagong Hills area of Bangladesh. He shows no understanding – does he even know about – the 2.5 million victims of Arab Muslim aggression in the southern Sudan and Darfur, and the millions more who were not killed, but who fled. He does not understand the steady pressure on Christians in Nigeria (even now the last Muslim ruler, Bibangida, is planning his comeback). He has no idea, I’m sure, why Colonel Ojukwu in 1969 denounced the “Jihad” against the Christians of Nigeria. He has not read the Western scholars of Islam, nor read or heard any of the apostates from Islam. Yet he can find Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan right on Youtube, and could spend an hour or two in their intelligent company. He has not met his obligations. He has not engaged in Fair Dealing with us. He has not made Best Efforts. And so many others are just like them.
These scholars are the ones who could explain to Bloomberg his failure to grasp the symbolic value, the triumphalist value, of this mosque. If built, it will not be seen by Muslims as Mayor Bloomberg thinks, as a self-assured monument to American values and goodness and so on and so forth. Instead, it will be seen as the mosque in Rome was seen by the Arab Ambassadors who according to Italian witnesses turned its dedication into something more fitting for the establishment of a beachhead, during the invasion of an enemy’s territory, rather than merely as the dedication of an innocuous “house of worship.” And if the Rome mosque was bad, the one that the Spanish allowed to be built next to the Alhambra, on the highest point in Grenada, was even worse. It was the occasion for triumphalist talk by various heads of Muslim communities that came from the outside, and insisted that Muslims boycott the use of Western currency, and use only gold, in order to “bring down” the West, and to replace it with…Islam. But of these triumphalist displays, Mayor Bloomberg apparently knows nothing.
Michael Bloomberg, and all of these big and little shots, in all branches of our government, not only took an oath of loyalty and swore to uphold the Constitution. That oath was “instinct with the obligation” of fair dealing, of good faith, of best efforts.
He, and they, are not dealing fairly with us.
He, and they, are not exhibiting good faith.
He, and they, are not making, when it comes to finding out about the texts, tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics of Islam, their Best Efforts.
He, and they, have not shown us consideration. And we, in turn, are thinking of ignoring that Social Contract which we once thought we had with them, but they are letting us down. And few have let us down with such a disappointing thud as Michael Bloomberg, formerly of Medford and now of Gracie Mansion, has done over the last few weeks.