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In your latest for Forbes, Conor, you make a remarkable claim: Cordoba House — you think “the Ground Zero Mosque” inapt — should be analogized to New York Dolls, an establishment we are as little entitled to call the Ground Zero Strip Club for conducting business just two blocks away from the fallen Towers:
The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club. But it makes no less sense than naming an Islamic community center “The Ground Zero Mosque”–as much of the media have done–because it’s going to be located a couple blocks away.
Yes, yes, only — Cordoba House isn’t called the Ground Zero Mosque because it’s close to Ground Zero. It’s called the Ground Zero Mosque — I think — because it’s as close to Ground Zero as the Cordoba Initiative could possibly get, and because the Cordoba Initiative is building it as close to Ground Zero as it can get explicitly to advocate “for Islam” in a specifically “post-9/11 environment.” The idea is simple, if controversial: there ought to be a very large building, very near to Ground Zero, full of people dedicated to helping Americans understand that they should think well of Islam and of Muslims, precisely because Ground Zero is currently such a painful and potent source and symbol of American ill will toward Muslims who, as a matter of religious doctrine, wish harm on America and death on Americans.
As I said, this more and less than a mosque. A house of worship, plain and simple, is not at all the goal of this project. The location of Cordoba House, the size of Cordoba House, and the goings-on to be conducted at Cordoba House are all, quite deliberately, of a piece. Indeed, if you accept the stated goals of the Cordoba Initiative, posted prominently on its website, you will agree with this characterization, because you will think, as its officials think, that it is a good and needful thing.
The only strip club that would be like the Cordoba House would be possibly the most wondrous strip club in the history of Man: a thirteen-story, sex-themed community center, dedicated to the practice and promotion of erotic dancing, constructed as a soberminded matter of high-stakes public relations in direct response and in closest attainable proximity to the scarred footprint of a collapsed living landmark destroyed on national television by a murderous, fanatical band of fundamentalist strippers, naughty girls in the grip of a kamikaze certainty that the truth about erotic dance is that innocent Americans, as many as you can kill, need to die a fiery, hideous death.