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Attack of the Mosque People

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This weekend was Attack of the Mosque People in downtown New Yawk City. It was so bad that the Chinese guy at the corner of Church and Vesey ran out of copies of “Never Forget!,” the standard twenty-buck souvenir photo book

that purports to be reverent memorial to 9/11 but is actually the most grisly collection of Al Qaeda destruction since the burning deck of the USS Cole. (Plunging suicidal bodies anyone? He’s got em all.)

The big issue that brought in so many heavy hitters from out of town, of course, was whether to tear down the Burlington Coat Factory at 45 Park Place and put up an Islamic Cultural Center, thereby depriving the winos who hang out on the sidewalk in front of Bangal Curry Halal of their divine right to buy five-dollar Chinese-made horse blankets disguised as winter coats.

And by the way, before I get into this, let’s do a simple geography lesson. If you stand at 45 Park Place, you cannot see Ground Zero. What you can see is the back wall of the post office. But if you walk down to the corner, and make a right onto Church Street, which is called Church Street because THAT’S WHERE ALL THE GOLDURN CHURCHES ARE, you can walk three blocks, past St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, past St. Paul’s Chapel where George Washington used to have a pew but they took it out to make room for more 9/11 macrame home-room projects, and you’ll be at the Century 21 factory outlet, which has slightly worse prices than Burlington Coat Factory but is directly across the street from Ground Zero, having taken substantial shrapnel on the fateful day. (Did you know that Dolce & Gabbana makes men’s shoes? They don’t mention that at the 9/11 Memorial Museum on Vesey Street.) All right, so does anybody know how far away three blocks is in New York City terms? There are places where you can walk three blocks and hear 17 different languages. Everything is on top of everything else in New York. That’s the way it is and the way it’s always been.

Anyway, the loudmouths that showed up this weekend basically fell into two camps:

•    Muslims suck.

•    Muslims are people, too.

All you turkeys are giving me a headache, but let’s summarize the two arguments.

•    Argument Numero Uno: The Mooslims are rammin’ this mosque up our collective tight tushies. They’re trying to stick a trophy on the site of their greatest atrocity. They have total disregard for the feelings of the 9/11 survivors. They’re not like us. They’re bent on world domination. They would force us to follow shariah law if they could. You can’t call them a religion because they don’t recognize any divison between religious stuff and political stuff. They’re secretly happy that the World Trade Center got blown to smithereens. They secretly love Bin Laden.

•    Argument Numero Two-o: The Muslims have a right to put up churches and other facilities any place they want. The Constitution guarantees it. Besides, mainstream Muslims have nothing to do with 9/11. It’s wrong to equate terrorism with religion. Osama bin Laden is a terrorist who happens to be Muslim, just like Ted Bundy was a serial killer who happened to be Christian. They have the right to worship in peace wherever they want to build their mosques.

Okay. First of all, everybody shut up about the following topics:

•    The Constitution. Everybody knows what’s in the Constitution. This is not about the Constitution. Stop using the First Amendment to hit people over the head. We all agree on freedom of religion. That’s why the opponents of the mosque are using political pressure, not legal measures, to run the mullahs out.

•    The “feelings” of the 9/11 survivors. Morris Albert wrote and recorded the song “Feelings” in 1975 and anybody who uses this as a reason should be forced to listen to the original Morris Albert single for 24 straight hours. Nobody’s trying to punish widows and orphans. Nobody believes that grieving great-aunt over there should be slammed upside the head with a Bin Laden plush toy. Stop saying that. The imams may have some funky reasons for putting up that building, but hocking loogies on the survivors is not one of them.

Okay, next issue: Making this a public spectacle that’s on the front page of the New York Post every day is not helping. You had about a two-week window when somebody could have gone to the Muslims and said, privately, “Let’s do it another way,” but then New York Mayor Mikey the Mouth Bloomberg made this huge speech on Governor’s Island about the First Amendment and blah blah blah and how the world was watching and history was watching and BY GOD WE’RE GONNA SUPPORT THAT MOSQUE, which, of course, riled up all the Pentecostal carpet-lickers in East Tennessee and led directly to the present impasse, because he didn’t just throw down a gauntlet, he spit on the gauntlet, left his sweatband on it, and stuffed it in Bill O’Reilly’s mouth. Once the pitchfork-bearing hordes showed up, the Muslim clerics couldn’t back down without looking like wimpy weasels.

But since we can’t keep sending 20,000 uniformed police officers down to Ground Zero every time Westboro Baptist Church wants to castrate a homosexual voodoo doll, we need to get a grip on who we are as a nation.



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