The Former House Speaker Knows a 'Stealth Jihadi' When He Sees One

The debate over whether or not Muslims have a right to exercise their rights and freedoms near Ground Zero has exposed many collectivists for what they really are.  Why is this even being discussed?
Jacob-sullum

I do not often agree with President Barack Obama or New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But they have taken the right position in the controversy over plans for a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, defending religious freedom and property rights against government meddling driven by irrational prejudice.
      
In contrast, whatever residual respect I had for Newt Gingrich because of his libertarian impulses as a Republican opposition leader and speaker of the House has been wiped out by his shameful performance as a jingoistic rabble-rouser who insists that "we should not tolerate" what the Constitution requires us to tolerate. By conflating the avowedly moderate, pluralistic and ecumenical backers of Park 51 with the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center, he encourages the same sort of collectivist thinking that inspired those mass murderers.
      
Gingrich distinguishes between "well-meaning Muslims," who agree with him that the project should not be built so close to ground zero, and "radical Islamists," who are fundamentally hostile to the West. But he says the radicals include both "violent jihadis," who openly support terrorism, and "stealth jihadis," who advocate peaceful coexistence while using "political, cultural, societal, religious (and) intellectual tools" to achieve the same goal of Islamic domination.
      
Although Gingrich implies that the imam behind Park 51 — Feisal Abdul Rauf — is a stealth jihadi, there is not much evidence to support that view. Gingrich cites the project's original name, Cordoba House, as proof of Rauf's aggressive intentions, calling Cordoba "a symbol of Islamic conquest."

Yet Rauf, rather more plausibly, says the name was intended to evoke the golden age of Spain under the relatively tolerant Cordoba caliphate, a period when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in what, by the standards of the Middle Ages, qualified as harmony.
      
One of Rauf's most prominent critics, Stephen Schwartz of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, notes some radical-sounding associates, but even he concedes that Rauf has reached out to Muslims with a wide variety of viewpoints. Though Rauf might be faking it, he has a long record of condemning violence and engaging in interreligious dialogue — a record persuasive enough that the FBI looked to him for help in fighting terrorism.
      
To Gingrich, however, none of this really matters. In his view, anyone who supports Park 51 is a stealth jihadi by definition.
      
Gingrich does not object to the project because the wrong sort of Muslims are building it. He objects to any Muslim house of worship on that site. He declares that "there should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia." What an absurd non sequitur. Since when is a foreign state's intolerance an excuse for trampling Americans' constitutional rights?
      
Sarah Palin, the first national figure to make an issue of Park 51, says, "We all know that they have the right to do it." But Gingrich knows no such thing.
      
"The Ground Zero mosque is all about conquest," he says, "and thus an assertion of Islamist triumphalism which we should not tolerate." In response to those who note that interfering with the project because of its Muslim character would violate the First Amendment, he says, "Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington."
      
Put aside the fact that if Nazis owned a lot next to the Holocaust Museum, they would have a right to put up a sign, subject to content-neutral regulations. Gingrich's comparison between Muslims and Nazis reflects his more general equating of Muslims with terrorists, which is at the heart of his objections to Park 51.
      
Jews, Christians or Hindus are free to build whatever they want at 51 Park Place, but not Muslims. Why? Because the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Muslims. Once you strip away the Orwellian rhetoric equating peaceful religious activity with violence, Gingrich's position really is as simple and appalling as that.



Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine, and his work appears in the new Reason anthology Choice (BenBella Books). Sullum is a graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in economics and psychology. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

18 comments from readers  

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Small
The best, clearest exposition of sanity on this issue that I've read.
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There was no "golden age" at Cordoba that was a myth. See http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/ibrahim072710.html, for example.

There was no harmony, only dhimmitude.

While it is true that IN THEORY, private citizens should be able to build what they want in private land, this has not been the practice for decades. Liberals routinely deny building permits to churches, and, in fact, they blocked the **rebuilding** of a church that was destroyed in the 9/11 attack. The mosque is to be built in a commercial zone and is the about only nearby building that did not get historical status.

NYC, is about the most restrictive place there is to build -- yet this mosque seems to have gotten the fast-track.

Finally, if you have no historical knowledge of Islamic practices, it is enough to compare the *stated* aims versus the facts on the ground. The mosque backers claim that this is about outreach and dialog. Yet, they ignore the clear views of 60 to 70% of the nation, and they reportedly refuse interviews with all manner of reporters -- or even Governor Paterson.
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I agree with the criticism of Newt but your claim of a "relatively tolerant Cordoba caliphate" fails to add that this relative peace was the result of Charles " the Hammer " Martel, Charlemagne's grandfather, defeat of the brutal Islamic expansion into Western Europe. Also The economy of the Caliphate was very diverse and successful, primarily consisting of trade and plundering. State-sponsored raids into neighboring Christian kingdoms were very lucrative throughout the history of the Caliphate.

The Cordoba caliphate is just a bad example for this article.
Small
Mr. Sullum: I am not certain you are 100% correct. There is a sense of ironic "spit in your face" contempt in the Muslim idea to built a mosque there. I am sure there were moderate, peace-loving Germans in the 1930's, but they didn't matter in the end, Hitler pulled them all into the fold. So it is with Islam. So called moderate Muslims see bin Laden as some kind of a joke, and tend to downplay his influence. Islam wants the whole world, make no mistake about it. Check out Europe today! Twain said it a hundred years ago, "love and compassion are turning our planet into a graveyard!" They are slowly devouring Europe, Obama is dismantling the founding father's America. Why, is his ideology better than what made America the greatest nation ever in all of human history? The President of the USA is an enemy of the USA. Make no mistake about it. Read Sowell. If Obama wants a mosque there, it is because he wants their votes in2012.
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Mr. Sullum is wrong on so many levels, and displays an appalling ignorance of Islam which is a totalitarian ideology far more than it is a religion. First, Islam has declared war on the west, the single salient fact that so many dismiss outright, or pretend is not true. There is ample evidence to support the fact that Rauf is a stealth jihadi. The Koran mandates war against infidels, you and me. Raud supports sharia law which seeks to supplant the US constitution and government. "Peaceful" Islam is taqquiya, part of the dualistic nature of Islam in which "A" can be "A" and "Not A" All of the peaceful passages in the earlier part of the Koran are superceded by the later passages urging total war against infidels. No mosque should be granted tax-exempt status because a mosque is a house of war, and political to the core. This is just a tiny fragment of the argument against Mr. Sullum's position which I respectfully submit, is largely nonsense.
Small
"Jews, Christians or Hindus are free to build whatever they want at 51 Park Place..."

FALSE. Not Christians. At least, not the Greek Orthodox church that has been trying all decade long to rebuild their damaged church a couple of blocks away.

I've had a lot of respect for the editors of & contributors to Reason magazine over the years, but I'm getting rather annoyed by their increasingly Leftward drift. Sullum is not only ignoring the facts of the Christian church cited above, but is also conveniently ignoring Rauf's ties to Hamas et. al.

I'm no fan of Gingrich -- he was way too cozy with the environmentalist extremists when he was in office -- but Sullum should be able to make his point without pandering to the Left.
Small
Mr. Sullum, your article shows that you have no clue what you are talking about. You take rights out of context and forget that rights can only exist within a context. If Muslims take over we won't have any rights left whatsoever. There will be no America, no Constitution, no Objectivism, no freedom.

I suggest that you listen to Dr. Peikoff's podcast on this issue. Islam is not a religion in the sense that Christianity or Buddhism or other religions are. Islam is a political/religious ideology, and in this sense Islam is no different from Nazism or Communism.

There is no separation of church and state in Islam. Islam is Shari'a law. Islam is oppression. Islam is violence. Muslims won't stop until they convert everybody to Islam - at first, while they are a minority, stealthily, through taqiyya; later, when they become a majority, violently. In Muslim communities in America they are openly discussing their intent to replace the US Constitution with Shari'a law. It's a fact. You'd better learn about Islam, about Muslim way of thinking, about Islamic values fast or it will be too late.

Karl Popper said â??Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society â?¦ then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. â?¦ We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.â?

We are dealing with a very intolerant ideology. We'd better learn to defend ourselves and our values of freedom and individual rights unless we want to live under Shari'a in the not so distant future.
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I see a difference between having the right to do something and the wisdom of doing something. Having said that, isn't it ironic that many of those who complain about "profiling" have no problems painting all Muslims with the same "terrorist" brush? The idiocy just keeps on coming!
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Now that's a real Libertarian defense of the Bill of Rights!
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Perhaps you should read more about Islam, Sharia law, Taqiyya., etc. or listen to Leonard Peikoff's podcast on the subject. You obviously haven't the background knowledge on the history and stated intentions of Islam to be granting them unquestioned rights under our Constitution.
Small
This, of course, is completely wrong. The Islamic world has declared war on the US. It did so with an act of murder, destruction and deliberation so clear, one thinks of Pearl Harbor, when looking for a parallel. The "cast" of representatives included both Shi'ites and Sunis. Its mastermind, Osama bin Laden gloated, on video, of the success and the fact that his actors-in-place may not have known their deaths would be part of the result (as unimaginable as that may be).

Obedience to the Koran, the holy writings of the Islamic world, requires that deception be used in this war, as Mohammed called it, against unbelievers. To think that the Imam of the Ground Zero mosque (which Sullums chooses to re-name in order to misdirect the attention of the reader) could not, would not engage in a public career of such deception in order to promote Western tolerance of Islam, sneering in American faces by putting a mosque not two blocks from the site of the Islamic declaration of war is to underestimate the devotion a Moslem can have toward his obedience to the non-exitent Moon God Al'Lah.

Sullums's insistence that we distinguish between some Moslems and others is a failure to acknowledge that 30 years of killing American soldiers and civilians and, finally, businesspeople in the World Trade Towers do constitute a convincing and conclusive demonstration of the stated motives by the public leadership voices of Islam, which is to conquer the West and impose worship of the non-exitent Moon God on every breathing soul on Earth forever.

To those who take ideas and history seriously, the entire history of Islamic expansion, from the slaughter of Arabs, Christians and Jews by Mohammed himself, up to the present moment, when Islamic leaders are engaged in mass murder and enslavement of African populations is testimony to the anti-libertarian principle of non-aggression as the chosen way of the Prophet to impose his hallucinations on the peoples who did not accept him as God's last and only true prophet, while he was alive. War, mass murder, forcible education of the children of the conquered, the mutilation of women, the imposition of Shar'iah law to replace the US Constitution. . .these are Islam. Call that religion, if you must be deceived.

To suppose that judging the Imam of the Ground Zero mosque is collectivism (a term borrowed from Ayn Rand's idenfitication of the opposite of individualism), as though he, an adherent of this political totalitarian movement, masquerading as a religion, needs separate judgment, when the issue is the building of a monument to the 19 suicide-murders of 9-11 is to reduce Libertarian thought to the level of the silly. If that man were on trial for crimes of which he was being accused, then the rule of law must be applied to him, individually. What is at stake, instead, is whether the self-declared enemy is to be allowed to offer a building in honor of mass murderering suicides, and encouragement and indoctrination of more suicide bombers on American soil.

The evidence is in and it matches the public pronouncements of the leaders of Islam. We are at war. The fact that a libertarian spokesman allows himself to be blinded by the fact that the US government, ignoring its Constitutional responsibilities, has not declared war on the nations that sponsor this terrorism (Saudi Arabia and Iran, in particular) does not mean that the world of Islamic expansion is not, once again, on the march. Their interpretation of the negilgence of the US government to protect its people and culture is that Al'lah is almighty, on their side and has chosen this moment to finish off the conquest of planet Earth.

Morality requires that each man be engaged in a self-interested supply of the requirements nature has of him, in order to keep his life. Delegating the broader application of that moral requirement to government does include that government act to protect persons and property of that country from its enemies who have both spoken and taken action to demonstrate their warlike aims. It does not include letting the enemy to use the moral concept of property rights, by building monuments in order to defy the very existence of the nation of property rights.

The issue is not freedom of religion. It is the protection of America by its government. No mosques in America!
Small
For nearly a decade, we've been told that all terrorists are Muslims and all Muslims are terrorists; that the "War on Terror" is just a euphemism for our "War on Islam". That's what many vocal politicians, media stars, and military men have been telling us, or strongly implying, at every opportunity.

The fact is that Islam is just as bad as any other Abrahmic religion, taken at face value from the words of the old testament, demanding the murder of innocents, even children, for the glory of their God; insisting that the proper penalty for homosexuality or irreverence is death. There is nothing unique in Islam to distinguish it from most Christian religions.

Are there extremists and radicals who depend on those religious dictates as an excuse for terrorism? Of course: Timothy McVeigh and Bruce Ivins were faithful Catholics who committed terrorist acts against hundreds of innocent Americans for political ends. Yet, we don't equate the "War on Terror" with a "War on Catholicism."

One can only conclude that those who hysterically demand a "War Against Islam" is simply zenophobes: the hate anyone who is different. The prevailing sentiment is: "My people are always right, those people are always wrong." It's a mental illness that seems to have infested American politics.
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It is not a matter of rights - everyone agrees with the rights of the owners to use the land as they see fit - it is a matter of good taste and sensitivity. I seem to recall that an order of Christian nuns was forced to move their convent from a spot near Auschwitz, not on legal grounds, but to accommodate Jewish sensitivities.

Obama and Bloomberg should ask the Muslims planning the mosque to be considerate of the sensitivities of the WTC victims and choose a more appropriate site, as a sign of good will.
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While I concede that everyone should have a right to use their property as they see fit-- even to an extent rarely allowed in practice today-- it really gives me a frisson to have a Muslim Megaplex going up next to the tower site, given that so many Muslims worldwide celebrated the holocaust on 9/11.

In my perfect world there would always be a quid pro quo: for them to build their Hamasque (as Rush calls it) in Manhattan, we should be allowed to build an Atheist Museum in Mecca. But this is not my perfect world.

Monotheism is truly the Devil's proudest invention.

Don't expect peace in the world so long as multiple monotheism exists. However, it exists in three degrees: the Jewish (no proselitizing, no killing of infidels; excellent self-examination skills and superlative sense of humor about themselves); the Christian (evangelistic, given to crusades and inquisitions, just starting to discover a sense of humor); and the Muslim (jihadist, absolutist, approving of deceit as the means to an end, anti-feminist, and deadly serious about itself.)

I agree they must be allowed to build-- but would you concede that we the secular public have an equally legal right to spill lard on their megaplex, moon them with our breasts, and to make fun of them?
Roger B
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You're getting a lot of flak on this one, and deservedly so. To even imply that Obama is doing this out of Constitutional freedoms or because it is the right thing to do is absurd on the face of it. Furthermore, the notion that all religions are created or should be treated equally is another lie and is not based in objective reality.

When Germany makes it illegal to display a swastika or to even purchase vintage Nazi "memorabilia" and artifacts, they do so because they understand that the Nazi regime was inherently evil and that anyone wanting a piece of it or has sympathies with should not be able to practice such.

Here on the Atlasphere that fine balance between objectivist viewpoints and Constitutional protections meets that fine distinction. The Constitution was designed to protect citizens from tyranny - both governmental and religious.

Islam is a religion of tyranny - pure and simple. From slavery, torture and to the second class status and mutilation of women and girls, the religion is an affront to every rational, objectivist mind and should not be afforded the protections of freedom of religion afforded other less barbaric religions, because it conflicts substantially with the other constitutional freedoms citizens in the United States possess - namely the right to liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Leftists constantly use the Constitution to equalize all things, despite the objectivist reality that points out the complete asininity of such equalization. Equality has become a holy word for these leftists and collectivists and it is their tool of choice to rob the masses, subject them to worsening living conditions and grab power for themselves. Equality is the noble sounding chisel leftists use to try and destroy the diamond of western civilization.

Your article, unfortunately, is par for the course in this forced equalization. With such a worldview child molesters would be able to become teachers of elementary school children or live next door to schools, arsonists would be eligible to be firemen and robbers would be eligible as bank tellers. All this can be made to sound noble and so enlightened - when in objective reality it flies in the face of logic and reason.

A Mosque at ground zero is not about freedom of religion, it is about the collectivist desire to equalize all religions and slam the Christian faith which they associate with the conservative right. I'm not religious, because I see the objective nonsense inherent in all religions, but I also objectively realize how much more harm Islam is doing in the world right now than many of the other religions.

A Mosque at ground zero is a symbol of victory not just for Islamists, but for the collectivists as a slam against Christians and the religious right.
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Quite frankly I find it rather hypocritical for Christians to come after Muslims in this way. There are multiple churches around ground zero including st Thomas across the street. Should these be closed because non believers, Jews, muslims, scientists and others have historical grievances from the rather violent christian past which included inquisitions, witch burning, the crusades, apeasement of the axis powers by the pope, etc. Didn't Christians shoot dr tiller and some people at the holocaust museum just last year?

No religion has clean hands, that isn't how religions (especially conversion based religions like christianity and Islam) work. Christians calling Islam evil is like Hitler talking about how Stalin is a bad guy. It is a charge they have no moral standing to make.
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Gingrich isn't just making a nonsequitur, he's essentially suggesting a governmental boycott of mosques, thus he's confusing government policy with private choices. To him, it's a religious war. He believes this is a Christian country and he resents any competition.

Yes the Muslims have the right to build their mosque - if they can find construction crews willing to do it, and if any union regulations and other laws do not get waived for them which haven't also been waived for everyone else.

And WE have the right and the obligation to put that mosque in context: Islam isn't like other modern-day religions because proactive Muslims still intend a worldwide caliphate; Rauf intended to name his new mosque after a caliphate in Europe even as Europe struggles against its own Muslim populations attempting to erect new caliphates there; Muslims are widely known in Europe and Canada to use the resources and laws of their host country to sow the seeds of its takeover; Muslims still intend to build their mosque - at last word, anyway - even though they know it is confrontational, in bad taste, and widely opposed; AND they intend to build it near Ground Zero before we have rebuilt ON Ground Zero. Proactive Muslims do not believe in freedom of religion, but they are using the fact that we do.

All this context is not lost on them. And Given all that context, it's fair to suspect that any supporters of that mosque are indeed stealth jihadi. As well as they understand their right to build that mosque, they should understand why it causes us pain and concern. And yet they don't seem to.

The mosque is a trial-balloon: either opposition forces them to relocate, or they are able to begin settling the territory they have conquered.

And just as we have every right and obligation to put their actions in context, our government has every right and obligation to immediately investigate the funding and individuals behind that mosque - nevermind statements from the quisling Nancy Pelosi about investigating the funding of OPPOSITION to the mosque.

And should it be built, our government has every right and obligation to infiltrate it from top to bottom.

Do you think this is religious persecution? It is not. It is sound and proper tactics in a time of war when known enemy agents sworn to establish that religion over us by any means necessary are operating on our own soil, and when mosques have historically been their headquarters.

Rauf, who is questionable in his own right, is immaterial. We cannot drop context on his behalf.

PR1ME
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"The mosque is a trial-balloon: either opposition forces them to relocate, or they are able to begin settling the territory they have conquered." - I agree with this, to some extent. (I don't really know how many practitioners of Islam will see this "community center" in this regard. I don't have a feel for it.) That said, Islam is clearly a mindless force, the opposite of liberty.

But, so long as Islam confines itself to the championing of mindless force, and not the force itself, our government must tolerate its mindlessness.

...But we must not. We should all strongly protest the building of this Islamic community center, with whatever personal voice we have, to the extent we do not wish to be blown to pieces by suicide bombers. We should do the same against any "church" that encourages violence in its fundamental teachings.

A few years ago, I attended church with a then girlfriend of mine. (Only a girl could get me into such a pointless waste of time. LOL) The church was at Yale, and the subject of the sermon was "Reason is not enough" (ie: we need to live by our emotions in order to be compassionate.) It was a repugnant call to servility and the abnegation of logic, and contained numerous errors and fallacies that the congregation all silently acquiesced to.

The Christian church, though repugnant, is now very weak, and not taken very seriously. Luckily, Bill Burr, Louis CK, George Carlin, Ricky Gervais, and other comedians have taken up Ayn Rand's fight against religion. And this is good. Religion should be laughed at.

If Islam wants to build a community center in NYC, let us mine it for videotaped commentary from Islamists, and show the world exactly what they believe. We need the comic relief. The same should be true of every church: they are all equally asinine, if not all equally deadly.

Religion deserves to be mocked as the one dumb kid with none of the answers who claims to have ALL of the answers. And not only does religion not have any answers, it has the opposite of good answers: it has destructive answers.

That said, the best argument in favor of "the mosque" appears to be that it will not be a mosque at all, but a community center that contains a prayer room. As such, it will be a precursor to an Islam that is as safely eviscerated as the average US Christian church. The best that can be said of this community center is that it appears that it is leading the charge for Islam to take itself less seriously.

Although Christianity is every bit as bad as Islam, fewer of its mindless followers take it as seriously as Islam's followers take Islam. This is because the brutal heyday of Christianity is over: we have moved on, and --in the USA-- science has won the battle.

That said, yes, erect the prayer center. And send objectivists (and Hitchens!) there to mock their inane and vile beliefs, as well as their imaginary skygod, Moo-Homme-Mad.

Religion is the worst enemy freedom has ever known.
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