In light of the decision by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to allow for the construction of a mosque and Islamic center just 500 feet from Ground Zero, it can be successfully argued that political correctness has replaced history as a basis for knowledge in the United States of America. If it holds true that history does repeat itself – and I have no reason to believe it won’t – then the culture of ignorant arrogance, so prevalent in the nation today, will prove to be a contributing factor to the subjugation of the great American experiment.
To summarize, radical American Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder, CEO and Executive Director of Cordoba Initiative, has won approval – and support from the self-deprecating Progressives elected and appointed to office in New York City – to construct a $100 million, 13-story Islamic center, including a mosque that would accommodate up to 2,000, just 500 feet from Ground Zero. Abdul Rauf – who after the slaughter of innocents on September 11, 2001, said, ““I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened,” and who has refused to recognize Hamas or Hezbollah as terrorist organizations – is refusing to divulge the revenue sources for the project. Abdul Rauf’s wife, “Daisy” Kahn, is quoted as saying of the construction of a mosque in the shadow of 2,976 souls, “No big deal.”
Aside from the fact that the Abdul Rauf’s insistence in building a mosque 500 feet from hallowed ground, consecrated by the massacre of almost 3,000 innocents by 19 Muslim barbarians, is, simply put, insensitive to every other demographic but fundamentalist Islamists, self-deprecating Progressives and the evil, it is callous, rude and ignorant. But most importantly, it is antagonistic.
In order to understand just how deliberately abrasive the construction of Park51 – or, as originally intended, The Cordoba House – in the shadow of Ground Zero actually is, we must come to understand its inferred meaning and to do that we must understand a period of violent Muslim aggression, circa 711AD, that established the Emirate and Caliphate of Cordoba. Remember, the mosque project at Ground Zero was originally meant to be called “The Cordoba House.”
In 711AD, during the first attempt at global conquest by Muslim leaders, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, under the orders of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I, brought most of the Iberian Peninsula (what is now Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar) under Muslim occupation in a campaign that lasted approximately seven years. The Iberian Peninsula, for the most part, became part of the expanding Umayyad Empire, under the name of al-Andalus.
The turning-point battle that brought the Muslims to power in Cordoba, the Battle of Guadalete, was not a singular Muslim attack, rather, it was the culminating event in a series of raids across the straits from North Africa. During the initial raids, several southern Iberian towns, predominantly Christian in nature, were pillaged by the Islamist forces, which had been harassing the peninsula by sea since approximately 705AD. But during the Battle of Guadalete, whole cities were razed and a grotesque number of people were slaughtered in a general destruction that sent non-Muslim civilians fleeing to the hill countries.
At first, al-Andalus was ruled by appointees of the Caliph, most holding power for periods of approximately three years. But after a series of civil wars between Muslim factions, exiled Umayyad prince Abd-ar-Rahman I established himself as the Emir of Córdoba. He refused to submit to the authority of the Abbasid Caliph, who now held power, as forces under his control had butchered many members of his family. Over a thirty year reign, he established a tenuous rule over much of al-Andalus.
For the next century and a half, his descendants continued as emirs of Córdoba, with nominal control over the rest of al-Andalus. Abd-al-Rahman III, who came to power in 912AD, not only tightened his authoritative grip on al-Andalus but extended it into western North Africa as well. In 929AD he proclaimed himself Caliph, elevating the emirate to a prestigious position competing with the Abbasid Caliph and the Shi’ite Caliph in Tunis—with whom he was competing for control of North Africa.
Under the Caliphate of Cordoba, non-Muslims were given the status of ahl al-dhimma (or dhimmi, a non-Muslim subject of a sharia law state) and adults paid a jizya (or tax). Then, as today, there were only three choices afforded to dhimmis under sharia law: accept dhimmitude, pay the jizya and exist as second-class citizens to all Muslims; convert to Islam; or die.
And while apologists throughout history have tried to diminish the cruelty of the Islamic culture toward non-Muslims in the many Caliphates, many scholars have argued that it would have been both a “theological as well as a logical absurdity” that Islam would have offered equality or even pretended that it did. [Lewis, Bernard W (1984). The Jews of Islam, p.4.]
Taking into consideration the history surrounding Cordoba where it relates to Islam, the significance of the initial intention to name the Park51 project “The Cordoba House” cannot be ignored. Cordoba infers conquest. In Abdul Rauf’s quest to erect an Islamic center and mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero we can only be led to the conclusion that its existence would signify conquest as well.
Rauf & Co.
In light of the history behind the name of Abdul Rauf’s organization – the Cordoba Initiative – it is legitimate, and, in fact, necessary, to scrutinize not only the intent behind his quest to build a monument to Islamic conquest in the shadow of Ground Zero, but a moral obligation for the non-Islamic world to inquire as to who and/or what organizations are funding the construction of said monument.
For his part, Abdul Rauf says he wants to build the Islamic center and mosque to promote interfaith understanding and tolerance, yet he has shown little tolerance, understanding or sympathy for those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001; for Americans who watched their fellow citizens jump and fall from the soon to collapse Twin Towers only to smash into the concrete below; for the families of first responders who raced to their deaths if only to save one life from the evils that radical Islamists perpetrated on our country.
Truth be told, I suspect that Abdul Rauf, deep down inside, sees his Cordoba House as a mark of conquest over America; a monument to the Islamist quest for a global Caliphate. I suspect that Abdul Rauf, and all those who are helping to fund his “initiative,” would dance with glee at the prospect of the United States Constitution falling prey to sharia law. Of course, this is my opinion, but I am familiar with the Abdul Rauf’s of the world and there is nothing understanding, tolerant or inclusive about them. They are arrogant elitists hell-bent on domination, and in this particular case, the domination of a hallowed site by a monument to radical Islamist aggression surrendered by the ignorant, the uninformed and those possessing a less than noble agenda.
In 2008, at an event in Dallas, Texas, which, in-part, constituted the original symposium series on the root causes of radical Islamist aggression, co-produced by our organization, BasicsProject.org, a young Islamist confronted one of our speakers, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch. I listened as he questioned Mr. Spencer and then again as Mr. Spencer picked-apart his logic with facts, completely dismantling the young Islamist’s argument. In the end, vanquished on the field of factual and ideological battle, the young Islamist declared, “You will all live under sharia before the end of your days.” This is exactly the mentality of Abdul Rauf…that we will all live under sharia before the end of our days. That is why it is obvious, at least to this observer, that his declaration of interfaith understanding rings hollow and that his core intention in constructing The Cordoba House within line-of-sight to Ground Zero is intended to mark the location of a modern day Islamist conquest of “the infidel.”
A Line in the Sand for So-Called Moderate Muslims
To his credit, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a tirelessly campaigner for the eradication of political Islam and the divorce of violence from the religion, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a gentleman who has always been cordial to me during our few encounters, strongly opposed the construction of The Cordoba House at Ground Zero, saying:
“For us, a mosque was always a place to pray, to be together on holidays—not a way to make an ostentatious architectural statement. Ground zero shouldn’t be about promoting Islam. It’s the place where war was declared on us as Americans.”
And Hossein Kamaly, Fanny Brett de Bary Term Assistant Professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, Columbia University, said:
“After all, it was 19 Egyptian and Saudi Arabian thugs calling themselves Muslims who perpetrated this heinous crime on September 11th. They want to send a message of friendship, but building a mosque where there wasn’t one before, is not the most nuanced way of doing that.”
Sadly, these voices of reason are but muted whispers in a wind that howls with the disingenuous voices of the politically correct who ignorantly call for “tolerance” and “understanding” in the face of naked and violent Islamist aggression. Certainly it cannot be denied that the overwhelming majority – and, in fact, almost all – of violent aggression in the name of religion today comes at the hands of Islamists executing their crimes against humanity in the name of “Allah” and “Muhammad.”
And yet, so-called moderate Muslims across the United States and throughout the world respond to outrages such as the construction of a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero with a deafening silence. So-called moderate Muslims from around the world react to the horrors of terrorism perpetrated in the name of their religion and through the hands of barbarians with grotesque indifference. And, instead of taking the lead in expunging radical elements from within their own religious community, instead of calling for a reformation of the Islamic religion to exclude all violent, anti-Semitic and dominant language in an effort to embrace the peaceful tenets of the Islamic dogma, so-called moderate Muslims do nothing but hide behind the disingenuous spin of organizations run by closeted fundamentalists like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
It is well past time that the so-called “moderate Muslims” step up to do what they know deep down is correct. It’s time for them to choose sides and live with their choices. Moderate Muslims either condemn the violence and deceit, the subjugation of women and the crusade against all other religions or they side with the aggressor jihadists in their quest for the establishment of a global Caliphate; a quest to rule the world under sharia law. From this day forward their silence must be interpreted as siding with the aggressor Islamists.
There can be no turning back, no further delay. The grace period that began on September 12, 2001, for non-Muslims to exercise understanding and tolerance of the Islamic religion, to explore the meaning behind the aggression, is over. The non-Muslim population of the world has been intensely exposed to Islam for almost a decade now and that is long enough for us to understand that in its current form – especially its current fundamentalist form – Islam is not symbiotic with freedom or liberty, not compatible with the 21st Century, and antithetical to the United States Constitution.
We in the free world, who understand that liberty and freedom come to us as inalienable rights from the Creator, will not acquiesce to an ideology that oppresses its own women, that celebrates the conquest of other cultures, and which is so indignant of other philosophies and ideologies that it would allow for the use and rationalization of “violent jihad” in pursuit of global subjugation.
There is no retreat from this moment in time, this “line in the sand,” as it were. So-called moderate Muslims must choose: peaceful symbiotic co-existence or a confrontation of cultures.
For those truly moderate Muslims who choose to demonstrate a desire to co-exist in peace, standing against the “trophy mosque of conquest” – The Cordoba House – would be an excellent opening gesture.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal.