The Republican noise machine featuring Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and the entire right wing talk-ocracy have created a national controversy out of a proposal for Sufi Muslims to put a community center on the location of abandoned former Burlington Coat Factory because it is in the same neighborhood as the site of the former World Trade Center towers.
The lies that Faux News and their allies Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have repeated have people in Modesto convinced that there is a proposal to build a grand mosque on the actual site of the towers. Limbaugh has gone on record as saying that it is to be called “Victory Mosque” and it is a celebration of the 19 hijackers. No, it is not. Far be it for Limbaugh and his cronies to let the facts get in the way of spewing prejudice to convince people that an evil brown skinned “they” is out to destroy America.
FACT: The so called Ground Zero Mosque is NOT slated to be on Ground Zero.
The abandoned Burlington Coat Factory building that is going to be turned into a community center is four to five blocks away from the site of Ground Zero.
FACT: The so called Ground Zero Mosque, is not in fact a Mosque.
The definition of a Mosque is a building dedicated completely dedicated to prayer. This building will contain a prayer space, but it also will also contain a culinary school, and a basketball court. By the existence of other purposes, it can not therefore be called a Mosque.
FACT: This is not a statement of “victory.”
This is an out and out lie that has come out of the mouths of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin, but it is not true. The original name of the community center was Cordoba House. However, after learning that name offended the ignorant sensibilities of an ignorant demagogue in Gingrich, who claimed Cordoba was a statement of victory for Muslims. It wasn’t. Cordoba was a place where the different cultures lived in harmony. Rather than call out Gingrich for being the lying bigot he is, the developer changed the name to the “Park 51” community center. He wants it to be a place all New Yorkers could enjoy and felt that Park 51 was a New York name.
FACT: There is ZERO possibility of this being a front for a terrorist training ground.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who heads the Park 51 project has worked with administrations of George W Bush and Barack Obama to help the FBI understand Islam. He is from a branch of Islam called Sufism that is mystical in nature and rejects violence. Expecting a Sufi to radicalize into a suicide bomber is like expecting a Unitarian Universalist to bomb an abortion clinic.
FACT: The constitution of the United States of America specifically forbids the government from making any laws respecting the establishment of religion or the free practice thereof.
Those on the right consistently howl about the US having abandoned the constitution. However, they are among the first to scream when they are reminded that freedom of religion is an established pillar of a free society. In fact, I was in a taxicab yesterday and the driver had right wing talk radio on. I drown it out with my mp3 player, but as I was fishing that out of my laptop case, the wingnut on the radio said that the US had entered something he called a “soft tyranny” becuase the government wasn’t doing what he wanted. One of his examples was the Park 51 community center. Apparently affirming the rights of American citizens instead of caving into paranoid xenophobia was a sign of tyranny.
Shame on the members of the Republican Noise Machine that have created this false controversy. Also shame on the Democrats like Harry Reid who have been willing to jump on this xenophobic bigotry.