Is the Pope Catholic? Of course they do. If you think they don’t, what part of the First Amendment don’t you understand? The free exercise clause? The free speech clause? The assembly clause? They all apply.
The fact that the mosque is intended to be a finger in America’s eye and a way of celebrating the successful attack on the World Trade Center by Islamists — the original plan was to name the place “Cordoba House” (after the capital city of the Caliphate that ruled Spain after the Moslems conquered it) — is beside the point.
The question of whether they have a right to build their mosque isn’t even interesting.
Nor is the question of whether, rights aside, they should build it. Of course they shouldn’t. Cordoba House is not a monument to interfaith understanding and brotherhood (never mind sisterhood), as its perpetrators allege. It is an exercise in sly Islamist triumphalism.
If built, Cordoba House would be an obscene intrusion into America’s grief, and an intrusion by apologists for those who caused it, at that.
The interesting question is not how to stop the mosque, but how to get even without violating the Islamists’ rights.
I have a modest proposal in that regard.
Across the street from the mosque — or any place within plain sight of it — build a 26-story building.
Crusader House. Crusader House will have a snowwhite fašade facing Cordoba House with a 20-story-tall cross of blood-red LEDs inlaid into it — along with the words “Deus Vult, Baby” (God’s Will, Baby), an updated Crusader slogan.
On either side of the entrance would be jumbotrons that would replay videos of the jets flying into the World Trade Center and people jumping from the upper floors to escape the flames.
They would also show Islamic snuff videos of beheadings, hangings, stonings and amputations. Prominently featured would be pictures of the latest suicide bombers — before and after pictures, that is.
The picture of Aisha — the 18-year-old Afghan woman whose ears and nose were cut off in accordance with Sharia law for the crime of fleeing her husband’s abusive relatives — which appeared on the cover of Time magazine a couple weeks ago will be on permanent display over the door.
Whenever troops in Afghanistan or Iraq succeed in dispatching another Taliban or al-Qaida leader, Crusader House employees will offer celebratory cakes and sweet tea to passersby on the street.
Unlike earlier Crusader institutions — this is the 21st century after all — Crusader House will be open to the members of all religions who have lost land or suffered forced conversions at the hands of Islamists over the last 1,400 years. Its ground floor would house chapels where Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is’, Zoroastrians and assorted animists could pray for the day when their lands and brethren will be liberated from Islamic oppression (and compensated, in petrodollars, for past wrongs). Naturally, a major part of Crusader House’s work would be to send missionaries from the aggrieved faiths (along with some Blackwater alumni as chaplain’s assistants) to occupied Moslem lands to begin their spiritual liberation.
Crusader House would also have a library where scholars could research and revive old grievances against Islam and create fresh ones, the better to sustain the Crusade. An unending supply of fresh grievances is as essential to a Crusade as an unending supply of hellfire missiles, just as an unending supply of fresh grievances and human bombs is essential to a jihad.
But how could the U.S. government ever tolerate such an institution on U.S. soil?
There are three answers to that question:
Answer 1: Much the same way the governments of Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Sudan (among other places) allow jihad to take place from their soil — with a wink and a nod. The U.S. could add a short statement to the effect that henceforth it feels free to play by the enemy’s rules.
Answer 2: What part of the First Amendment don’t you understand? Short of sedition and inciting a riot, the Constitution protects incendiary and hateful speech, no matter how odious, abhorrent and bigoted it might be.
It also protects the right of reply. Ditto for religious practices. In other words, Islamist religious triumphalism can be answered in kind.
Answer 3: The war on terror is defined by asymmetrical warfare, and the greatest asymmetry is that Islam demands from the world, and for the most part receives, a degree of deference for its religious beliefs and practices that is accorded to no other faith — and which Islam violently denies to all non-Moslems. And judging by the reaction to Cordoba House, the American people have just about had their fill of it.