Because this will show Muslims, you see, that they don’t have to start burning things and killing people when something bothers them. Why Kathleen Parker thinks they will follow the example of the despised and weak kuffar is unclear. Whenever Islamic supremacists have been confronted with the fact that Jews and Christians don’t riot and murder over insults to their religion, they respond that that indicates that they don’t care about their religion and aren’t willing to defend it. Islamic supremacists have universally regarded Western tolerance as a sign of weakness, but Kathleen Parker knows it will be different if we tolerate the radically intolerant yet again.
“The Ground Zero mosque must be built,” by Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post, August 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):
[…] The mosque should be built precisely because we don’t like the idea very much. We don’t need constitutional protections to be agreeable, after all. […]
Reason tells us something else: The Muslims who want to build this mosque didn’t fly airplanes into skyscrapers. They don’t support terrorism. By what understanding do we assign guilt to all for the actions of a relative few?
“They don’t support terrorism,” but the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf refused to denounce Hamas and is part of an organization involved in sending the jihad flotilla against Israel. But he says he doesn’t support terrorism, and that’s good enough for Kathleen Parker.
Even so, as others have noted, civilized people and nations are careful to avoid trespassing on the sorrow, suffering and sacrifice we associate with hallowed grounds. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out, Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns to abandon a convent they had established at Auschwitz, among other examples.
We would like to think that others would be as respectful of our own horrors. And yet, we should beware what we demand lest others demand the same of us. Count the number of times we’ve heard “sensitivity” invoked the past several days. Muslims should be more sensitive to the families of those who perished, we’ve heard repeatedly. Even the Anti-Defamation League, defender of religious freedom, urged the mosque’s leaders to situate the building farther from Ground Zero — out of sensitivity.
Many couldn’t agree more, and yet it goes without saying — even if President Obama felt it necessary to state — that American Muslims have the same right as any other citizens to practice their religion and to build on private property.
Some might wish that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is behind the proposal, were more sensitive, though opinions are mixed. Others have argued that a moderate Muslim such as Rauf is just the sort of person we hope will help influence a more-moderate Islam. Might an Islamic center near the spot where the religion’s worst adherents slaughtered thousands, fellow Muslims among them, be useful to that end?
These are all reasonable arguments. But the more compelling point is that mosque opponents may lose by winning. Radical Muslims have set cities afire because their feelings were hurt. When a Muslim murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, it was because his feelings were hurt. Ditto the Muslims who rioted about cartoons depicting the image of Muhammad and sent frightened doodlers into hiding.
This is getting very close to saying that the mosque should be built at Ground Zero, otherwise Muslims might go beserk and start killing people, but it seems more likely that Kathleen Parker means that we will show the poor dears how they should act in such situations. Such naivete is breathtaking, but of course widespread.
The idea that one should never have one’s feelings hurt — and the violent means to which some will resort in the protection of their own self-regard — has done harm rivaling evil. It isn’t a stretch to say that the greatest threat to free speech is, in fact, “sensitivity.”
This is why plans for the mosque near Ground Zero should be allowed to proceed, if that’s what these Muslims want. We teach tolerance by being tolerant. We can’t insist that our freedom of speech allows us to draw cartoons or produce plays that Muslims find offensive and then demand that they be more sensitive to our feelings.
More to the point, the tolerance we urge the Muslim world to embrace as we exercise our right to free expression, and revel in the glory and the gift of irreverence, is the same we must embrace when Muslims seek to express themselves peacefully….