Your Lying Eyes

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25 August 2010

Is It a Mosque? Is It a Cultural Center?

The Ground Zero Mosque controversy has already devolved into the phase where semantics and fine distinctions in carefully worded arguments are now huge bones of contention on the talk shows. This I think means that the opponents of the mosque have probably lost.

It didn't have to end this way. The controversy began with the opponents occupying the high ground, as evidenced by the mosque's supporters being incapable of framing an argument that did not highlight vitriolic attacks against their opponents*. You know you're winning an argument when your opponent is left spewing invective your way.

But the constant harangues of "intolerant" and "anti-American" had their effect. Soon you started to hear the "Nobody's saying that..., but..." When you've got to qualify your argument that way, you've already lost. Now the opponents have been reduced to digging through old speeches of the mosque's Imam to prove that he's not really one of those nice muslims, he's really one of those bad muslims.

When what the argument really is about is Islam's place at our table, so to speak. Is this religion, fundamentally, compatible with the American nation? Does the construction of this mosque raise alarms about our future, or can we blithely reject such concerns as being of a class of similar false alarms that have been raised over the years in hysterical over-reactions to the emergence of various odd sects or some new immigrant group?

But that's a discussion we're not even allowed to have, it appears.

* A notable exception being the President, who was rather patronizing in dismissing the opponents' arguments, but not vitriolic.


Anonymous Polichinello said...

Is this religion, fundamentally, compatible with the American nation?


August 25, 2010 3:23 PM  

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