Right-Wing Freakout – Conservatives Go Crazy Over Muslim Center Near Ground Zero

Talking Points Memo

We told you earlier this month about Mark Williams, the top Tea Party leader who was so enraged by plans to build a Muslim community center near Ground Zero that he referred to the Islamic deity as a “monkey-god” and to Muslims as “the animals of Allah.”

But it turns out that Williams isn’t the only conservative driven to apoplexy by this local development project. Lately, we’ve seen a massive right-wing freakout over the plan for the community center. That freakout has been couched as concern about dishonoring the memory of 9/11 victims. But it’s been so widespread and so vitriolic as to suggest it might just have some uglier roots.

At issue is the proposed Cordoba House, a Muslim community center which would stand 15 stories tall and would be built not directly at Ground Zero, but rather at Park Place, two blocks north of where the Twin Towers stood in lower Manhattan. The center would include a prayer space, a performing arts center, a swimming pool, and other amenities. The effort is being spearheaded by a longtime local imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has said the center would “bridge and heal a divide” and has said it’s his mission to fight radicalism. A local community board voted this week by 29-1 to support the project.

But in the nightmares of right-wingers, the project has been transformed into something more like a shrine to the 9/11 terrorists stuck on top of the site where victims of the attack lay buried, and pushed by a radical Islamic cleric…

• Back in December, when word about the proposal first surfaced, WorldNetDaily posted comments from outraged right-wingers, including: “If this is true, our beloved country is already gone. We no longer have the America I know and love.”

The Washington Times editorialized today that the proposal is “at best inappropriate, and at worst an attempt to hijack the memory of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” The piece was approvingly tweeted this morning by Keep America Safe, Liz Cheney’s group.

Investor’s Business Daily judged that the plan is “a monumental sign of weakness. Right now, our enemy is laughing at us.”

• Right-wing radio host Michael Berry exclaimed: “If you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up… I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up, and I mean that.”

• Pamela Geller, whose blog is devoted to raising the alarm about radical Islam, said on CNN the other day that instead of the community center, a monument should be built to “victims of hundreds of millions of years of jihadi wars, land enslavements, cultural annihilations and mass slaughter.”

• Robert Spencer, who with Geller runs “Jihad Watch”, wrote on Human Events: “The Twin Towers, after all, were the symbol of America’s economic power. Placing a mosque by the site of their destruction (at the hands of Islamic jihadists) symbolizes the taming of that power.”

• Andrew McCarthy of the Weekly Standard noted on Fox, in opposition to the plan, that while there are 2,300 mosques in the United States, there are no churches or synagogues in Mecca or Medina.

Of course, these people are only trying to honor the victims of 9/11, and protect Americans from future attacks. Why would anyone think differently?