What’s more, Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah wrote in the Ottawa Citizen this weekend, no one can really deny the motivations of its sponsors. New York City already has 30 mosques, so it hardly requires one at the place where Muslim extremists murdered almost 3,000 people — including a number of Muslims. Raza and Fatah wonder how the organizers would react to a Serbian Orthodox church on the ground where 8,000 Muslims got slaughtered in Srebrenica, and whether they would be defending property rights and the freedom of religious expression in that case.
But mostly, the two authors wonder where the mosque’s sponsors got their money:
There are many questions that we would like to ask. Questions about where the funding is coming from? If this mosque is being funded by Saudi sources, then it is an even bigger slap in the face of Americans, as nine of the jihadis in the Twin Tower calamity were Saudis.
If Rauf is serious about building bridges, then he could have dedicated space in this so-called community centre to a church and synagogue, but he did not. We passed on this message to him through a mutual Saudi friend, but received no answer. He could have proposed a memorial to the 9/11 dead with a denouncement of the doctrine of armed jihad, but he chose not to.
It’s a repugnant thought that $100 million would be brought into the United States rather than be directed at dying and needy Muslims in Darfur or Pakistan.
On motivation, the authors insist that it’s purely spite and triumphalism:
The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel. The proposal has been made in bad faith and in Islamic parlance, such an act is referred to as “Fitna,” meaning “mischief-making” that is clearly forbidden in the Koran.
The Koran commands Muslims to, “Be considerate when you debate with the People of the Book” — i.e., Jews and Christians. Building an exclusive place of worship for Muslims at the place where Muslims killed thousands of New Yorkers is not being considerate or sensitive, it is undoubtedly an act of “fitna[.]”
The owners of the property have the right to determine the use made of it, assuming zoning issues and building codes are not violated in doing so. The government doesn’t have the right to interfere on the basis of religious practice or belief. The First Amendment keeps that kind of interference off the table — and we should be glad of it. Otherwise, no religious practice would be entirely safe in the United States.
However, that doesn’t mean that private efforts can’t be made to dissuade the owners from constructing a provocation to the entire country at Ground Zero within the parameters of the law. Those could take the forms of protests at the site, boycotts of the construction (perhaps convincing unions in the city to refuse to cooperate with the project), economic protests of those who own the property, and an investigation into the money trail as well. Government doesn’t have to do everything for us, after all, nor should it.