Is 'Islamophobia' putting America at risk?

Liberal columnist Frank Rich says the strident opposition to the Park51 Islamic center is only helping al Qaeda

An opponent of the proposed mosque holds a sign during a demonstration on August 22, 2010.
(Image credit: Getty)

The "ginned-up rage" over the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" — it is neither a mosque, nor located at ground zero — is more than just misguided election-year "pandering" led by "the neocon and Fox News right," argues Frank Rich in The New York Times. This "orgy of Muslim-bashing" is also a useful recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, and it further endangers U.S. troops and the Afghanistan war. Counterterrorism experts really are warning that Islamic radicals are using the controversy as a propaganda tool, but is Rich on firm ground in declaring the fight against the Islamic community center is "a national security disaster"? (Watch The Week's Sunday Talk Show Briefing about the mosque and the midterm elections)

Rich "deliberately doesn't get it": You know what Osama bin Laden would love to use as a "recruiting tool"? asks Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. A mosque right near the "hallowed ground" — President Obama's words — of Ground Zero. And given all of Rich's doomsaying about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he "can spare me the lectures about what helps and what does not help General Petraeus."

"Frank Rich deliberately doesn't get it"

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These Right-wing crazies don't care about national security: The "Fox News right" is "perfectly comfortable" with raising "the level of global Muslim anger against America," says Steve M. in No More Mister Nice Blog. In fact, that would be just swell for them, because they don't care about winning in Afghanistan and the Mideast; they just like fighting a "swarthy enemy," preferably forever.

"We have always been at war with Middle-East Asia"

Right or wrong, expect to hear Rich's argument again: If this controversy over the Islamic community center continues, says Glynnis MacNicol in Mediaite, you'll probably see more of this "line of attack" from the "opponents of the opponents." It's an aspect of the controversy that's gotten relatively little coverage and is the one most "unwelcome" to conservatives.

"Frank Rich: Controversy over Park51 mosque a 'national security disaster'"

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