“So, in the ruins of a building reduced to rubble in the name of Islam,” writes Mark Steyn, “a temple to Islam will arise.” Indeed. And yet, as repulsive as this is, so ingeniously does it exploit liberal pieties about multiculturalism that I almost want to congratulate the people behind it for their canniness. You know exactly how this debate’s going to go. If we don’t let them build it, we’re blaming all Muslims for the actions of the tiny minority who espouse etc etc, so let’s strike a blow for tolerance instead and greenlight a mega-mosque at the site of the world’s most famous pit of Koranically inspired human misery. Think of it as a way for peaceful Muslims to contribute to rebuilding lower Manhattan, not as … a triumphalist icon that’s going to give every jihadist fanatic in the universe an orgasm when he hears about it.

Scheduled opening date: 9/11/11. To show solidarity with America, you see.

Plans to bring what one critic calls a “monster mosque” to the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory building, at a cost expected to top $100 million, moved along for months without a peep. All of a sudden, even members of the community board that stupidly green-lighted the mosque this month are tearing their hair out.

Paul Sipos, member of Community Board 1, said a mosque is a fine idea — someplace else.

“If the Japanese decided to open a cultural center across from Pearl Harbor, that would be insensitive,” Sipos told me. “If the Germans opened a Bach choral society across from Auschwitz, even after all these years, that would be an insensitive setting. I have absolutely nothing against Islam. I just think: Why there?“…

Called Cordoba House, the mosque and center is the brainchild of the American Society for Muslim Advancement. Executive director Daisy Khan insists it’s staying put.

“For us, it’s a symbol, a platform that will give voice to the silent majority of Muslims who suffer at the hands of extremists. A center will show that Muslims will be part of rebuilding lower Manhattan,” said Khan, adding that Cordoba will be open to everyone.

Says Ace, “Someone who cared for what the dhimmi thought at all would recognize this as singularly, incandescently inappropriate.” My hunch is that we’re going to end up playing a game with the left about this, as even though most of them won’t admit it, the obvious provocation here will bug many of them too. (Especially lefty New Yorkers.) They’ll tut-tut about wingnut overreaction and tolerance and so forth because that’s just how they roll, but secretly plenty of them will be perfectly fine with conservatives kicking up a media fuss until the mosque is forced to relocate. Further to that end, here’s a fun tidbit from Pajamas Media about Faisal Abdul Rauf, the mosque’s developer:

Rauf has often directly contradicted his seemingly tolerant and peace-loving pronouncements with harsh, antagonistic assessments of the U.S. In his May 7 Khutbah (Muslim sabbath sermon), delivered at 1:00 p.m. at 45 Park Place in Manhattan, Rauf implied that Muslims did not perpetrate 9/11 at all, according to writer Madeline Brooks, who attended (26): “Some people say it was Muslims who attacked on 9/11 … ” he stated, before trailing off into another topic.

He also expressed this view in an interview with 60 Minutes aired on Sept. 30, 2001 as well (27):

The attacks were “a reaction against the U.S. government politically, where we espouse principles of democracy and human rights, [yet] … ally ourselves with oppressive regimes in many of these countries. … [U.S.] policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.

If he doesn’t think Muslims were responsible, why’s he so keen to build at Ground Zero? Add that query to the media fuss, please. Exit question: Every major politician in New York State, from Schumer and Gillibrand on down, objects to holding the KSM trial here because it’s a security risk. Any worries that a giant new mosque at Ground Zero might also, perhaps, pose a security risk given what a powerful symbolic draw it’ll be for triumphalist radicals?

Update: The media fuss cometh. One footnote: Apparently it’s not a mosque but rather a cultural center which includes prayer space, among other functions. Which changes nothing.

“I think that it is incredibly insensitive and audacious really for them to build a mosque, not only on that site, but to do it specifically so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened,” said Burlingame, who is co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America…

Rauf insists the effort is meant to help heal the wounds of 9/11, “We’ve approached the community because we want this to be an example of how we are cooperating with the members of the community, not only to provide services but also to build a new discourse on how Muslims and non-Muslims can cooperate together to push back against the voices of extremism.”

But Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, says there are more productive ways to fight Islamic extremism.

“Even when they have the resources, they are using it for a place of worship, a cultural center for organizations,” he said. They are not using it for a counterterrorism research center.

If this is all about “healing the wounds,” then presumably there’ll be no objection to moving the center if the public makes clear that it doesn’t want to be “healed” in this particular way, right?