To conservative pundits and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:
Put down your scripts and get off the stage. And to the playhouse – the media: you’re the most despicable of all for giving this so much press. In putting this story at center stage, the media creates an environment which perpetuates national anti-Islamic sentiment. Thanks to the recent media blitz, we’ve got Newt Gingrich on TV committing hasty generalizations to the chagrin of Muslims, logicians and sane people alike.
The former Speaker of the House and possible 2012 GOP candidate justified his antipathy toward the proposed mosque saying, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington [where a guard was shot by a Nazi trying to gain access to the holocaust museum there].”
Gingrich ignores that anti-Semitism is a facet of Nazism and the holocaust a result, but anti-Americanism is not a facet of Islam and neither are terror attacks. Imam Abdul Rauf needs to know when he’s fighting a losing battle. He and the Cordoba Initiative he created aim to improve Muslim-West relations, but this whole fiasco is undermining his cause. As debate rages in the face of more pressing news, the anti-Muslim rhetoric machine seethes and grows. The best thing Imam Abdul Rauf could do now is to bow out and pursue more navigable avenues for his cause.
In all of this, Muslim-Americans suffer the most. They have to live in an increasingly hostile national climate. Erecting the mosque would certainly salt the wounds of the victim’s families, but at this time, it is important to also remember the 2 million to 6 million (depending on who you talk to) American Muslims who must, during their holy month of Ramadan, endure even more unfounded criticism than they normally do.