A Brief Manifesto for “Cordoba House”

 

Here on Ricochet the other day, Conor Friedersdorf asked, in effect, What would it take? What would those behind the mosque at ground zero have to do to demonstrate good faith? An arresting question. If the organizers of “Cordoba House” would publish the following brief manifesto, I’ve decided, I would welcome them to lower Manhattan. Heck. I’d contribute a hundred bucks to their construction fund.

1. Over the centuries, we recognize, Islam has proven aggressive and expansionist, seeking to invade and subdue Christian Europe. (See, for example, the conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the early eighth century, the battle of Poitiers in 732, the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the battle of Lepanto in 1571, and the siege of Vienna in 1683.) Given this record, and given that the terrorists who killed thousands of innocent Americans just two blocks from the site on which we intend to build a mosque did so in the name of the jihad, we can understand why many Americans view our mosque not as an act of reconciliation but a provocation.

We therefore condemn, explicitly and categorically, any use of violence in the name of Islam whatsoever. We furthermore pledge ourselves, irrevocably, to the proposition that jihad must be understood only as an interior and spiritual struggle and never, ever as a political or military contest.

2. Given, again, Islam’s long record of what can only be termed imperialism, and given that the name we have chosen for our mosque, “Cordoba House,” hearkens back to the centuries when Muslims ruled much of Spain, subjecting a historically Christian territory to the rule of caliphs, and given that the express ambition of many Islamic radicals today includes the reconquest of “Al-Andalus,” the Arab name for Spain, we have decided to change the name of our mosque. We will now call it “Rumi House,” in honor of Jalaluddin Rumi, the medieval theologian and mystic, who truly understood Islam as a religion of peace.

3. We recognize that Americans have special grounds for looking with concern upon Saudi Arabian promotion of Wahabbism, the sect of Islam now dominant in Saudi Arabia—for years now, the Saudis have been using oil wealth to fund the construction of Wahabbi mosques and madrassas throughout the world, and the correlation between Saudi funding of Wahabbism and the rise of radical Islam simply cannot be denied. We therefore declare that we will accept no Saudi funding whatsoever.

4. When our mosque is complete, the United States will have become home to nearly 100 mosques. We wish formally to express our appreciation of the freedom of religion that has made this possible—and to call upon the countries Islam to adopt freedom of religion themselves. We note with special regret that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, home of the holiest sites in Islam, is home to not a single church or synagogue—and, indeed, that in Saudi Arabia the mere possession of a Christian Bible represents a crime. This year, and every year, we will submit a petition to His Majesty, the King of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, imploring him to lift these and all bans on genuine freedom of religion. As we build our mosque in New York, we wish our fellow Americans to know that we cannot be content until there is a church in Riyadh, and a synagogue in Jeddah.

There are 21 comments.

  1. Inactive
    r r

    So, here’s to you Mr. Robinson

    Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon,Going to the candidates’ debate,Laugh about it, Shout about it,When you’ve got to choose,Every way you look at it you lose.
    • #1
    • August 4, 2010 at 6:55 am
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  2. Member

    You are, as always, superbly articulate. That expresses all of the major concerns of those of us who oppose the Mosque. That they would never agree to it is proof that their intentions are exactly what we know them to be.

    • #2
    • August 4, 2010 at 7:01 am
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  3. Contributor

    Peter, magnificent. Count me in for a contribution when they agree to publish.

    • #3
    • August 4, 2010 at 7:04 am
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  4. Member

    Indeed, those are fine statements, and I would love it if the promoters of Cordoba House signed up to them, but I don’t see where in the Constitution or in any law it says they must sign such a document to build wherever they like.

    I think Alan Jacobs, a writer at The American Scene like Conor and myself, put it best there: http://theamericanscene.com/2010/08/04/on-some-of-the-first-things-

    • #4
    • August 4, 2010 at 7:04 am
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  5. Member
    Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: Indeed, those are fine statements, and I would love it if the promoters of Cordoba House signed up to them, but I don’t see where in the Constitution or in any law it says they must sign such a document to build wherever they like.

    You mistake the issue completely. No one is doubting their Constitutional of legal right to build there. We are doubting their desire to be good neighbors and wish of them a sign that they intend to be so.

    • #5
    • August 4, 2010 at 7:07 am
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  6. Inactive

    The Cordoba Initiative aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.

    I say “Mission Accomplished!”

    • #6
    • August 4, 2010 at 7:26 am
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  7. Member
    Jimmie Bise Jr
    Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: Indeed, those are fine statements, and I would love it if the promoters of Cordoba House signed up to them, but I don’t see where in the Constitution or in any law it says they must sign such a document to build wherever they like.
    You mistake the issue completely. No one is doubting their Constitutional of legal right to build there. We are doubting their desire to be good neighbors and wish of them a sign that they intend to be so. · Aug 4 at 7:07am

    While that may be the case for you, the people speaking the loudest on this issue are precisely denying their Constitutional and legal rights to build.

    • #7
    • August 4, 2010 at 8:18 am
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  8. Contributor

    Peter, as always, your ideas are exceptionally well thought out and exquisitely expressed. Count me in as a supporter if the people leading the Mosque ever agree to such a manifesto. I’ll even refrain from predicting that will never happen. It’s been a strange year, after all. If my Saints can win the Super Bowl, pretty much anything is possible. 

    • #8
    • August 4, 2010 at 8:54 am
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  9. Contributor
    Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: I think Alan Jacobs, a writer at The American Scene like Conor and myself, put it best there: http://theamericanscene.com/2010/08/04/on-some-of-the-first-things- · Aug 4 at 7:04am

    Peter: I agree wholeheartedly with your manifesto, and I’m all for lobbying Cordoba House to adopt it. But as a matter of public policy, I agree with the Alan Jacobs piece cited by Pascal. If Cordoba House has acquired the land, and there are no legal impediments to building a mosque, I don’t think conservatives should be arguing for government dictating who builds what where. If there were a security threat, the calculus would change, of course. What do you think?

    • #9
    • August 4, 2010 at 9:23 am
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  10. Inactive

    Peter, what a brilliant idea–renaming the mosque Rumi House!

    • #10
    • August 4, 2010 at 9:28 am
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  11. Member

    While we debate the niceties of freedom of religion and allowing our enemies to build a monument near to the scene of one of their greatest crimes they laugh at us. They are using those among us, conservatives as well as liberals, to undermine and build a foothold to expand. Had the NAZIs built a beer hall somewhere in Brooklyn prior to December 7th, 1941, there would certainly have been a number who would have defended their right to do it. Sun Tsu said that you must know your enemy. They know us, but many of us continue to project their own values onto our enemies. They would build a ramp onto the airplanes for our misunderstood Muslim brothers to use against us. They refuse to believe that “The Religion of Peace” is anything but.

    What is happening in Southern Manhattan is a deliberate choice by our enemies to demonstrate exactly how idiotic our system of government is in their eyes, how foolish we are, and, ultimately, how vulnerable. They are like children who will push and push and push until finally given a solid and irrefutable NO.

    • #11
    • August 4, 2010 at 9:47 am
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  12. Inactive

    Very well done. I will bet that you can hang on to that 100 bucks and apply it to you kitchen appliance replacement fund.

    I’d love to see moderate Muslims have the decency to lead a movement imploring the GZM backers to scrap this awful idea. But where are the moderates? The Turkish prime minister is reportedly a moderate. Here’s a tidbit on his past reported by Andy McCarthy in National Review:

    “Before Erdogan’s image was rehabilitated by many of the same people who insist that the GZM is a wonderful idea and that opposition to it is a form of racism, he did a four-month stretch in Turkish prison for inciting religious hatred. As the BBC reported, he had stoked his fellow Islamists by reading a poem that proclaimed:

    The mosques are our barracks,

    The domes our helmets,

    The minarets our bayonets,

    And the faithful our soldiers.”

    I certainly see this mosque as anything but a peaceful community center.

    • #12
    • August 4, 2010 at 10:28 am
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  13. Inactive
    RB

    EXACTLY.

    • #13
    • August 4, 2010 at 11:04 am
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  14. Inactive

    There is no Constitutional restriction to prevent them from building the mosque.

    But the Constitution does not compel them to do so.

    They have a choice what to do with that land.

    They can abide by their charter or they will not.

    • #14
    • August 4, 2010 at 11:06 am
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  15. Contributor
    Adam Freedman
    Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: I think Alan Jacobs, a writer at The American Scene like Conor and myself, put it best there: http://theamericanscene.com/2010/08/04/on-some-of-the-first-things- · Aug 4 at 7:04am
    Peter: I agree wholeheartedly with your manifesto, and I’m all for lobbying Cordoba House to adopt it. But as a matter of public policy, I agree with the Alan Jacobs piece cited by Pascal. If Cordoba House has acquired the land, and there are no legal impediments to building a mosque, I don’t think conservatives should be arguing for government dictating who builds what where. If there were a security threat, the calculus would change, of course. What do you think? · Aug 4 at 9:23am

    Cosign. The legal question isn’t a question. It’s a political one — politics understood in the proper sense as citizens engaged in argumentative persuasion about issues that can’t simply be settled by laws or regulations. And annoyance or even extreme vocal displeasure with legal behavior isn’t necessarily wrong and shouldn’t be illegal. Which is why it’s too bad the loudest voices — don’t agree with me!

    • #15
    • August 4, 2010 at 11:15 am
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  16. Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author

    Pascal and Adam raise much the same point: namely, as Adam puts it:

    If Cordoba House has acquired the land, and there are no legal impediments to building a mosque, I don’t think conservatives should be arguing for government dictating who builds what where.

    Me neither. But I can’t see a reason in the world–just not a single one–why Americans shouldn’t be permitted to protest the building of the mosque, not to the government, but to the people behind the effort. To whom, of course, I directed my little manifesto. To whom, for that matter, Bill McGurn directed his column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, and to whom Dorothy Rabinowitz directs her column in the Wall Street Journal today.

    • #16
    • August 4, 2010 at 11:17 am
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  17. Contributor
    Peter Robinson: But I can’t see a reason in the world–just not a single one–why Americans shouldn’t be permitted to protest the building of the mosque, not to the government, but to the people behind the effort.

    Absolutely — count me in. Just wanted to distinguish our private efforts from those who are calling for government intervention — I’m thinking of NY gubernatorial candidate (and self-described Tea Party conservative) Carl Paladino who says he would use the power of eminent domain to block the mosque.

    • #17
    • August 5, 2010 at 1:30 am
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  18. Inactive

    Eminent domain has certainly been exercised for much more frivolous reasons. It’s also on more solid footing than the attempt to grant a landmark distinction to an ugly, quite nondescript building.

    I don’t think there’s confusion over private efforts and governmental intervention. There’s disagreement in some circles whether the GZM is a potential tinderbox that warrants some form of intervention.

    We’ll never get the straight story from Bloomberg types. Remember a few months back, when Police Commissioner Kelly admitted the burden of a lower Manhatan trial for Kahled Mohammad would be a nightmare? All along, Bloomberg, Nadler and Co. were following the Holder/Obama party line. The police weren’t even consulted before Holder made the announcement. Certainly the GZM has safety & security implications much greater than opening the old coat store as a department store or apartment building. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during those discussions.

    • #18
    • August 5, 2010 at 2:35 am
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  19. Inactive

    I’m a little tired of this “Benefit of the Doubt” mentality that keeps permiating when the facts don’t bear it out.

    First Fact, The Name. Okay, that was an oops moment according to the apoligists.

    But riddle me this Batman, why start construction on 9/11/2011?

    Isn’t that a little odd date to be starting construction?

    • #19
    • August 5, 2010 at 10:51 am
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  20. Inactive
    r r
    Peter Robinson: But I can’t see a reason in the world–just not a single one–why Americans shouldn’t be permitted to protest the building of the mosque, not to the government, but to the people behind the effort. To whom, of course, I directed my little manifesto.

    In the age prior to the age of political correctness, isn’t this how offenses against common sense and against modesty were corrected. Persons went to persons directly to correct infractions. It’s how we still handle things in our small town for the most part. It’s just easier than going to get the county sheriff. No lawyers, no government, people simply handle it face to face, man to man (or a woman if you are one). The fact that we cannot deal with this issue in the same way may be part of the builder’s mockery alluded to in previous comments. “Your limitations of political correctness prevent you from dealing with this like logical adults who are proactive agents. So there.”

    • #20
    • August 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm
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  21. Inactive

    Jonathan Riley-Smith has written a very short book, “What Were the Crusades?” now in its 3rd edition. The Christian leadership were consistent: infidels had rights to natural law and that a war of conversion was illegitimate; BUT they also argued that the Holy Land was rightfully Christian property, consecrated by the presence of Christ and conquered by the Roman, later to be the Christian, Empire.

    Further, a Dominican Humbert of Romans (in early 1270s) asserted AGAINST those who said that Christians should never take the initiative, and are justified only to defend themselves from attack. Muslims were dangerous, he said; they had seized lands once Christians, and sought whenever they could to harm Christianity. Humbert argued that preemptive attacks would weaken their power. But he stressed that the crusade was not a war of aggression, because its aim was RECOVERY what had been Christian territory.

    Interesting, eh? Crusade versus Jihad.

    • #21
    • August 6, 2010 at 5:14 am
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