Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told ABC News over the weekend that he never would have proposed building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero if he had known it would provoke a bitter controversy — but it may be too late to move it without making matters worse. Relocating the Cordoba House cultural center now would send the message to the Muslim world that "Islam is under attack in America," strengthening Islamist radicals, helping them recruit, and inspiring terrorist attacks on Americans abroad. Is he right, or merely using scare tactics to discourage opposition to the so-called "Ground Zero mosque"? (Watch Imam Rauf's comments)
What transparent phoniness: Imam Rauf is a "liar," says Steve Gilbert at Sweetness and Light. He says the opposition to his mosque has been taken over by American "radicals" — by that he apparently means the two-thirds of the U.S. public who think it's a bad idea to put an Islamic cultural center so close to the spot where Islamist terrorists killed thousands of people. This disingenuous "man of peace" is "doing everything in his power to incite the Muslim world."
"Amanpour's interview with 'Imam' Rauf"
Rauf is only stating the obvious: This case is being watched closely all over the world, says Michael Streich at Suite101.com. It's a statement of fact that moving the mosque now, in the face of anti-Islam-tinged protests, would be perceived by many Muslims as "a form of retreat or capitulation." It's hardly a stretch to imagine this could focus hostility on Americans serving or living in Muslim nations.
"Ground Zero mosque raises questions of national security"
Move the mosque — but not to satisfy its opponents: It's actually a good idea to move the mosque, says Hendrick Hertzberg at The New Yorker. But it should be moved to Ground Zero, not farther away from it. There could be no "more powerful, pointed, passionate rebuke to al Qaeda's brand of twisted Islamism" than to build a place for "open-hearted," "tolerant, democratic Muslims" to gather within the "risen World Trade Center."
"Move the mosque!"