Op-Ed Columnist - Our Mosque Madness - NYTimes.com: "Some critics have said the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers would be to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero. Actually, the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers is the moral timidity that would ban a mosque from that neighborhood. Our enemies struck at our heart, but did they also warp our identity?"
Maureen Dowd says that the terrorists make us change our identity. But is this really true? I believe that if a certain distinction is not made, ie that we deal with moderate Muslims elsewhere and with the fundamentalist Muslims at Ground Zero, we are trying to discuss two things at the same time. Different responses are warranted for these different sites.
In Europe hysteria recently erupted over building minarets for mosques. The burka/niqab debate is on. I live in the second largest city of Sweden where Muslims have had problems for years of building a mosque--in the middle of nowhere. This is wrong but it stems from the giddiness that comes from things like persecution of Chaldeans in Iraq and the fact that the Pope got a no thanks from the Saudis for building a church in Saudi Arabia. People ask themselves why cultural exchange should be unidirectional?
It is probably hard to fathom how much of a hero status the martyrs of 9/11 got from for example the Taliban. Allowing a mosque to be built at Ground Zero is a booster event for these sentiments and is going to cost European and American lives in Afghanistan. Moderate Muslims ought to understand this.
Problems do appear if one assumes a judgment of leaving Afghanistan immediately. A sentiment that is prevalent in the left-leaning press the last few years. Then military symbolics does not matter. It is, however, evident from polls indicating some 70% aversion for building the mosque, that the American people are sensitive to the symbol in question.