What if you opened up your e-mail and saw the following headline: “Join us in
our opposition to a planned synagogue near Wall Street.” Then, after reading
further, the statement blamed the entire Jewish community for the depraved
actions of a few.
Imagine if the letter spoke at length about Bernie
Madoff, Andrew Fastow, Jack Abramov, Ivan Boesky and even Meyer Lansky and David
Berkowitz to create a picture of Jews far removed from reality. Needless to say,
the first words out of your mouth might be “anti” and “Semitism.”
imaginary world, however, most Americans are now open to this train of thought.
Pundits on radio and television now echo the sentiment that the financial
collapse we all experience is the work of Jewish elites who’ve lauded risky
Then, just as they reject the notion that a
synagogue of all things could be built near the site where so many people had
lost their American dream, these pundits don’t forget to mention from the corner
of their mouths (as quietly as possible) that most Jews are good people and that
a synagogue built farther away from Wall Street might make more sense. “It is
insensitive to build a synagogue near Wall Street,” is a phrase heard countless
number of times.
In addition, educated people of all backgrounds
pontificate the potential dangers of allowing this synagogue to be built: “What
if more Bernie Madoffs have their bar mitzva at this synagogue?” Reason and
logic are as much anti- Semitism’s kryptonite as falsely legitimized fear and
justified bigotry are its spinach. We indict all Muslim Americans for the
actions of 19 insane men by saying a mosque near Ground Zero should be
MORE THAN 60 years ago, a man once made the following
observation of human nature: “...the best speaker is...the speaker who
knows how to win the hearts of the masses.”
Undoubtedly, this person knew
very well that a wise person might at times dissect an argument and quickly
disassemble the hollow building blocks of a bigoted vantage point. Therefore,
this world leader preferred to pull on the heartstrings of the average person’s
fears and tribal allegiances.
That man was Adolf Hitler. The quote above,
from Mein Kampf, highlights exactly what is at the heart of the debate over this
mosque. There is no logical argument why peaceful and law abiding American
citizens of the Muslim faith can’t have a mosque near Ground Zero. After all,
we’re not talking about a Taliban memorial. The actions of a small number of
radicals can’t be the rationale for denying the vast majority of good citizens
the right to pray.
Furthermore, our opinion regarding the tastefulness of
building the mosque near Ground Zero does not overshadow the Bill of Rights that
protects all Americans. Muslims can pray where they please, just like Jews and
anyone else in this country. We are at a war with al-Qaida, not law abiding
American citizens. We are also fighting a counterinsurgency war in two Muslim
countries where recruiters of al- Qaida and insurgent groups feed off the
intolerance displayed by the opposition to this mosque.
are fighting in this war as well.
On August 6, 2007 Specialist Kareem
Rashad Sultan Khan of the United States Army was killed along with three other
American soldiers when a bomb detonated as they were checking abandoned houses
for explosives in Baquba, Iraq.
If you have the chutzpah, try telling
this American patriot’s family that they don’t have the right to pray at a
mosque near Ground Zero.
The author is a Los Angeles-based writer.