The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy

THERE ARE GOOD reasons to stop the proposed Ground Zero mosque. But what's the message people have gotten from the mainstream media? "Muslims killed people on 9/11, so Muslims should not be allowed to build a mosque so near to Ground Zero."

That's pretty lame. Part of the reason for this weak argument against the Ground Zero mosque is that the really good reasons for opposing it require some background knowledge about Islam — information too extensive to be packed into a sound bite. When the full argument gets squeezed into a sound bite, it is reduced to something embarrassingly pathetic.

For the sound bite to make any sense at all, you have to know quite a bit about Islam. But for someone who thinks Islam is simply another religion, similar to Christianity or Buddhism or Judaism, and that a small fringe of crazy extremists have hijacked the religion and committed atrocities in its name — atrocities that go
against the foundational teachings of Islam, sullying the peaceful reputation of Islam — for someone with that understanding of Islam, the arguments against the Ground Zero mosque sound not just lame, but seem like an obviously weak excuse to be a hater, a bigoted Islamophobe, a redneck, an ignorant Bible-thumper, or just an intolerant jerk.

I don't believe people who think that way should be ignored. I think they should be debriefed. And I don't mean removing their underwear. I mean they should be brought up to speed about Islam. They know almost nothing about Islam, and what they
think they know is getting in the way of them learning any more about it.

If we started from scratch to fill in the details represented by the sound bite, the full argument would go something like this:

Muslims killed people on 9/11 because mainstream Islam (represented by hundreds of millions of Muslims in the Middle East, Indonesia, and elsewhere) is intent on Islamizing the non-Muslim world, and has been since the year 622. That's quite an indictment. Some would call it an "allegation." But it is nothing more than an historical and doctrinal fact. Well-educated orthodox Muslims would not take any offense at this fact. They would not consider it an
allegation. In fact, they would take offense at the implication that this ought to be considered an allegation. It's just basic Islamic doctrine, believed in by hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, confirmed and supported by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, confirmed by Islamic history, and given complete authority by the example of the Prophet Mohammad.

The fact is validated by the information in the
Quran, the Sira, and the Hadith, which comprises the core Islamic doctrine. It is not disputed by any mainstream or accepted sect or school of Islam, and has never been disputed by any mainstream or widely popular leaders of Islam throughout its history.

It is simply a basic Islamic principle: Islam exists in a state of war with the non-Muslim world until the whole world follows the holy law of Allah. Read more about this principle here.

Yes, it is true that many Muslims do not subscribe to these teachings. Most of them do not subscribe because they don't know much about their own religion (see more about that here), which is our good fortune.

But those who have read the core Islamic doctrine and consider themselves Muslims (and this would include almost all Islamic leaders,
imams, and Islamic scholars) understand perfectly well it is their religious duty to bring the whole world under Islamic law. This is the prime directive.

Mohammad did not believe in contemplating one's navel as a form of worship. He believed — and made it mandatory for all Muslims — that one proved one's devotion to Allah with
action. And the most important action, according to Mohammad, is jihad. Jihad is not limited to warfare. Jihad means striving to bring the law of Allah to all people on earth, by using your wealth, your speech, your pen, your time, and your life — ideally by peaceful means, but by war if necessary.

According to mainstream (not fringe or extreme) Islamic doctrine,
man made governments (like democracies) and man made laws are an abomination and a sin and should not be allowed to continue existing in the world. Political action is a religious duty to all Muslims — political action aimed at changing laws and governments to follow Sharia, the holy law of Allah.

All this information is easy to discover. It is not esoteric. It is not hidden. Every bookstore carries at least the
Quran (and usually the Hadith and Sira) translated into English.

Okay, so what does this have to do with the Ground Zero mosque?

When non-Muslims think about building a house of worship, we think about a peaceful place where devout, believing people can commune with their creator. But in order to understand what a mosque is to Muslims, you have to understand the fundamentally political nature of Islam.
Most of Islam is political. It is not a fringe part of Islam. It is the main part.

Mohammad's biography is one of the core doctrines of Islam. It is called the
Sira. The amount of the Sira's text devoted to jihad is 67%. It says in the Quran — Islam's most holy book — that a Muslim should follow Mohammad's perfect example, and it hammers on this point, saying it 91 times in the Quran.

The practice of Islam is fundamentally political. Non-Muslims may think this is strange, but it is a normal, unremarkable fact to a Muslim. How can you believe in a creator who has given you the perfect formula for living (Sharia), and told you it is your duty to live that way and to bring the light of the holy law to all people, and still have some arbitrary division between "political" action and "religious" practice?

So a Muslim's conception of a mosque is entirely different from a Westerner's conception of a "house of worship," because their conception of "religion" is entirely different than a non-Muslim's. We should think of mosques the way
Muslims think of mosques, rather than lay our own values over theirs, as if we understand their religion better than they do.

And their understanding is based firmly on the example of the Prophet. Mohammad used the mosque as a home-base where jihad was declared, where fatwas were made, where indoctrination took place, where raids and attacks were planned, where the planning and building of the Islamic State took place, where military orders were given, and where Mohammad gave his death sentences to the enemies of Islam. This is not "anti-Islam propaganda." This is history as understood and believed by Muslims. This is basic Islamic history.
Read more about what mosques mean to Muslims.

This is not just interesting ancient history. Mosques are still put to these uses today.

In Islam, the mosque is the center of their religion, and in Islam religion is totally encompassing in a way non-Muslims can hardly imagine.

If the mosque at Ground Zero is built, it will be considered to be a triumphant symbol of the third jihad by most orthodox Muslims in the world. We may not like it, we may wish this wasn't the case, we may believe that our Muslim friend wouldn't see it that way (and we may be right about that), but
most orthodox Muslims will see it this way. When you know a lot about Islam, this will be obvious.

But to understand the idea of "the third jihad," we need to go further back. There have been two major jihads in Islamic history, and mosques always played a central role.
The first jihad started with Mohammad. His armies conquered all of Arabia. In the hundred years after his death, his armies conquered most of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. The first jihad lasted from 622 AD until 750 AD. Read more about that here.

The second major jihad started in 1071 AD.
Islamic armies toppled Constantinople and spread into Europe, India, and further into Africa. The second jihad began to decline when the Muslim army was stopped on September 11th, 1683 at the gates of Vienna, Austria. Read more about the second jihad here.

The Middle East was eventually carved up, divided, and colonized by (mostly) European powers, and the danger of Islam's quest for world domination seemed to be over.

Then the combustion engine was invented and oil was discovered in the Middle East. Obscene amounts of money started flowing into the hands of devout Muslims. And for the last 80 years or so, Islam has been resurging. Orthodox (and heterodox) Muslims are immigrating into Europe and the Americas, and doing what they're supposed to do according to their sacred texts: Working to bring the holy law of Allah into the ignorant and decadent Western nations, by any means necessary. Violence is one possibility, but most orthodox Muslims now believe 9/11 was a tactical mistake. Arousing the anger of powerful Western nations is not the way to achieve victory.

Much more subtle ways must be found to convert the West to Sharia. And many ways are being found and successfully implemented. The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Islamic organization in the world, stated in an internal document written in 1991 (seized in an FBI raid) that their mission in America was:

"...eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house..." Read more about that here.

The Muslim Brotherhood has established what appear to be legitimate, mainstream, moderate Muslim organizations (opulently funded with Saudi oil money) which have set themselves up as representatives of "the Muslim community" to approve or disapprove of what is in American textbooks, what is published in magazines, newspapers, and television news, and how Islam is portrayed in Hollywood movies. These organizations have been able to influence how the U.S. governmental security agencies think about and write about Islamic terrorism. They are successfully silencing criticism of Islam in the West. And in numerous other ways, believing Muslims are getting Islamic law applied in the West, and getting it applied more completely with each passing year.

But what does this have to do with

Historically, starting with Mohammad, the process of conquering and subjugating non-Muslims included building a mosque on top of the previous culture's representative house of worship. It is a strong symbol of the dominance of Islam. It tells everyone present — Muslims and non-Muslims alike — that a change has occurred, a new sheriff is in town, a new political order is in charge.

In the world today, you could make a very good case that the United States is the most powerful nation on earth, both militarily and economically. And since at least the 1980's, the United States has done more to prevent the
Islamization of the world than any other nation. The U.S. is a barrier to the political goal of Islam.

The Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked because they were perceived by Muslims as being representatives of American power — America's money and America's military. They were symbols of core American values, according to Al-
Qaeda. They were our shrines. They were our places of worship, or at least this is how Al-Qaeda perceived it.

So building a mosque as close as possible to the site of the complete collapse of America's house of worship
is a symbolic act, an expression of dominance, a triumphal planting of the flag on foreign soil, and for non-Muslims who are educated about Islamic history and its core values, it is correctly seen as symbolically spitting on the enemy's grave.

In addition, according to the Muslim, Muhammad
Hisham Kabbani, who testified before the U.S. State Department, 80 percent of mosques in America preach "extremist ideology." Coming from an entirely different source, the Mapping Sharia Project sent trained people into mosques in the U.S. to find out how many of them are calling for jihad against America. They discovered that the majority of the mosques they've investigated so far do, in fact, promote jihad against America, in the Friday "sermons" (known as "khutbah") and in the literature available at the mosques.

Saudi Arabia's oil wealth enables it to control around 90% of the world's Islamic institutions (source), and the Saudis promote hardcore, fundamentalist Islam. They pay for these mosques because it gives them control over what is taught and promoted at the mosques. Read more about this.

If you understand all this, you can see it is not only symbolically offensive to allow a triumphalist mosque to be built almost on the site of 9/11, it is strategically foolish. It means allowing another mosque to be planted on American soil which will function as a kind of forward base of operations in enemy land, and which will, in all probability (given the high percentages just outlined) allow orthodox Muslims to reach more people and do more of their "good works" of bringing Islamic law to America.

Because the percentage of Muslims is much higher in Europe than in the United States, Europe is further along in the process of becoming "Islamized." It's hard to believe, but European laws are giving way to Islamic law. Muslim pressure continues to find cracks, and it works its way in. For example, all over Europe, the right to free speech is giving way to Sharia's limits on free speech (source 1 and source 2). Belgium, Germany and Britain offer benefits to polygamists' wives, even though polygamy is illegal there (source). Schools in Amsterdam don't mention farms because pigs are offensive to Muslims. "Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In France, school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire. The history of the Holocaust can in many cases no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity (source)."

France is allowing Muslims to rule parts of their country (source). Britain allows unfair treatment of Muslim women (source). Muslim doctors in Britain don't have to follow the same rules of cleanliness as everyone else (source). Britain knowingly tolerates sedition by Muslims (source). Britain allows over 80 Sharia courts to operate within their borders (source). In these and many, many other ways (source), the laws, values, and principles of Western civilization are giving way slowly but surely to unceasing Islamic pressure.

With this new understanding of Islamic history, Islamic doctrine, Islamic current events, and the role and function of mosques in Islam, the original sound bite makes a lot more sense: We don't want the Ground Zero mosque to be built because "Muslims killed people on 9/11 and Muslims should not be allowed to build a mosque so near to Ground Zero."


  1. As well as next month's anniversary of 9/11, there is a more imminent though lesser known Islamic anniversary - the murderous child-rape orgy at Beslan in early September 2004.

    For three days Muslim terrorists killed and tortured countless victims. Young girls were raped with gun barrels and other objects. Children were forced to drink their own urine before being executed. And to make matters worse, the MSM tried to cover up all Islamic involvement, and have done so ever since.

    Both anniversaries provide grim but necessary 'teaching moments' to educate the American people about Islam. We owe it to the victims to tell the truth and clear through the Islamic lies.

    The 9/11 attack wasn't an abberation caused by 'militants' who had hijacked the 'peaceful religion' of Islam. The attack was a direct consequence of standard Islamic teaching on the need to kill Harbis.

    Terrorism and intimidation are essential features of Islam .

    Similarly, the sadism and pedophilia of Beslan stem directly from the example set by the 'Perfect Man', the murdering, child-raping false prophet Mohammed.

    In commemorating the anniversaries of these atrocities, we need to avoid just preaching to choir. We need to copy the tactics of the jihadists with their mosques in every town and 'Think Globally, Act Locally'.

    The counterjihadist blogosphere is all very well for communicating globally with other Islamically Aware
    bloggers, but to reach the bulk of the people we need to use local forums and local online news media.

    So use your local forums. All the information you need is HERE - - Go forth and multiply it!

  2. Do you not find it interesting that a mosque near the WTC site is a near certainity while the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas Church, across the street from the WTC site, is unlikely?
    We hear Obama talk about a mosque on private property as part of the equation. However, Obama is silent about the private property of Saint Nicholas Church as part of equation.
    Clearly, this is a double standard and must be rejected.

  3. If all this is based upon fact and not "opinion" then why is there not more of this information made evident on a popular platform? Surely, there are countless "westernized" Muslims who may privately agree with what is stated in this article, but it is difficult for me to imagine that they are willing to forfeit their American freedoms and rights in pursuit of this archaic and barbaric nonsense.
    I am an American who studied abroad. many many years ago, I played chess with one of our professors who, aside from being a chain smoker and a fan of alcohol, had an IQ well into the "genius' category, and was a member of MENSA.
    One evening while playing chess, he casually stated to our small group that the next big war will not be fought over real estate (resources) or politics. I asked, "if not that, then for what reason(s):? His reply was immediate : "the next big war will be about RELIGIOUS will include the Christian, the Jew and the MUSLIM, and those sympathetic to each respective stance. Of course we all thought he had a wild imagination , but was clearly "nuts".
    Later that semester, I asked him why he believed such a seemingly outlandish "theory" ? he replied, "I studied the Quran for 6 years, and my thesis was "Comparative Religions and the Political Implications of the Quran"
    That was 46 years ago.

  4. You asked: "If all this is based upon fact and not "opinion" then why is there not more of this information made evident on a popular platform?"

    If it was made evident on a platform, that platform would no longer be popular.

    That was my first thought. But then I realized books by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Robert Spencer have been best sellers. A best seller, by definition, is a "popular platform."

  5. May, I suggest you move some of the paragraphs with source referencing to the front of your blog ? For folks looking for facts it might do well as some people are not disciplined enough to read the entire piece.

  6. I'm tired of the Ground Zero Mosque spin. Of course the first amendment protects the government from silencing religious speech. Of course. Even religious speech I don't agree with. However, that does not require that a building permit be given to anyone at anytime for anything. If the cleric cared about diversity and peace he would take his mosque and move elsewhere. There is no need for it to be there.

  7. Doug Mann, that was a good suggestion. I added a small change and linked it near the beginning. I said Islam is intent on Islamizing the non-Muslim world, and I linked that to a short excerpt from much further into the article:

    I'm sure that's not enough of what you were looking for, but at least it's in the right direction. I may add more.

  8. News Corp’s number-two shareholder funded ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ planner

  9. From an article by Andrew C. McCarthy:

    "Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society." The writer was not one of those sulfurous Islamophobes decried by CAIR and the professional Left. Quite the opposite: It was Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide and a favorite of the Saudi royal family. He made this assertion in his book, How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah, an excerpt of which was published by the Saudi Gazette just a couple of months ago.

    This was Qaradawi the “progressive” Muslim intellectual, much loved by Georgetown University’s burgeoning Islamic-studies programs. Like Harvard, Georgetown has been purchased into submission by tens of millions of Saudi petrodollars. In its resulting ardor to put Americans at ease about Islam, the university somehow manages to look beyond Qaradawi’s fatwas calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq and for suicide bombings in Israel. Qaradawi, they tell us, is a “moderate.” In fact, as Robert Spencer quips, if you were to say Islam and secularism cannot co-exist, John Esposito, Georgetown’s apologist-in-chief, would call you an Islamophobe; but when Qaradawi says it, no problem — according to Esposito, he’s a “reformist.”

    And he’s not just any reformist. Another Qaradawi fan, Feisal Rauf, the similarly “moderate” imam behind the Ground Zero mosque project, tells us Qaradawi is also “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”

    Rauf is undoubtedly right about that. So it is worth letting it sink in that this most influential of Islam’s voices, this promoter of the Islamic enclaves the Brotherhood is forging throughout the West, is convinced that Islamic societies can never accept secularism. After all, secularism is nothing less than the framework by which the West defends religious freedom but denies legal and political authority to religious creeds.

    It is also worth understanding why Qaradawi says Islam and secularism cannot co-exist. The excerpt from his book continues:

    "As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions. It is indeed a false claim that Shari’ah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: “Say! Do you know better than Allah?” (Qur’an, 2:140) For this reason, the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari’ah is downright apostasy."

  10. In an interview with Pamela Geller, the interviewer asks her about an audio recording.She says, "the audiotape, segments of which are available at [2], was recorded on July 12, 2005. It's a speech Rauf gave at The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre in Australia. The speech reveals that he is not even close to being the "moderate" that the media always portrays him as being. This speech Rauf delivered contains numerous statements that belie his moderate image and raise serious questions about what the mega-mosque will really be standing for once it is up and running in lower Manhattan.

    "Like Osama bin Laden and other jihadis, Rauf blames America and sees America as more evil than the terrorists. Here is what he says about how the U.S. is worse than Al-Qaeda:

    "We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims. You may remember that the US-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was Secretary of State and was asked whether this was worth it, said it was worth it."

    "We all know what a profoundly misleading statement this is. It is curious that Rauf makes no mention of the 270 million victims of over a millennium of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation and enslavement. Nor does he say anything about the recent slaughter by Muslims of Christians, Hindus, Jews, and non-believers in Indonesia, Thailand, Ethiopia, Somalia, Philippines, Lebanon, Israel, Russia, China. Rauf's words manifest no candor, no willingness to admit that Muslims have ever done anything wrong. He shows none of the mutual respect and readiness to take responsibility that we might expect from someone with such a reputation as a "moderate."

    "In his address in Australia he said he had just come from a conference in Jordan featuring "over 170 leading Muslim scholars from almost every part of the Muslim world, including some of the most important names like Sheikh Tantawi of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, who is the Chief Mufti of Egypt, the Chief Mufti of Jordan, the Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, who is a very very well known Islamic jurist, highly regarded all over the Muslim world."

    "The late Sheikh Tantawi several years ago endorsed suicide attacks against Israelis, as did Sheikh Qaradawi. Sheikh Gomaa has defended Islam's death penalty for apostasy and sanction for wife-beating, and has endorsed the jihad terror group Hezbollah."

  11. The Center for Religious Freedom did a study on Saudi influence in American mosques and produced this 95-page report:

    The Report (PDF document)

  12. This is great: It's a challenge to Imam Rauf to prove he is serious about promoting a new Reformed Islam that divorces itself completely from the ideology that brought down the World Trade Center. The principles are basic American principles. Will he accept them?

    The Ground Zero Declaration

    The declaration includes the following. Will a devout Muslim be able to accept them? And if Rauf doesn't, that should clarify the issue for a lot of people. Here is some of the text of the declaration:

    1. Freedom of Religion

    Freedom of conscience is an inalienable right for all Americans, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. No person or group, religious or secular, has any right to impose religious beliefs on anyone else. American citizens are entirely free to choose and practice (or not practice) whatever religion they believe is best as long as they uphold the right of others to do the same.

    2. Equal Protection

    Men and women have equal status under the Law, entitled to protection from harm, even from family members who may think it is unacceptable to leave a religion, convert, or date and marry someone of another religion.

    3. Human Dignity

    All human beings have equal dignity, and thus must not be subject to slavery, ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination, or cruel and unusual punishment.

    4. Peaceful Assembly and Free Speech

    Everyone has the right to meet with others of like mind to share ideas, even those contrary to majority views. However, this carries the shared responsibility to allow others to safely express ideas we may disagree with and strongly object to.

    In particular, we must always be free to criticize religions and religious choices in a responsible manner. This is essential precisely because we respect religion as a serious intellectual matter, deserving of thoughtful consideration and informed debate.

  13. Someone just emailed me the following comment:

    Saudi Arabia's Al-Waleed bin Talal is back in the spotlight for allegedly being one of the financers of the mosque near 9/11 Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan.

    One of the richest men in the world, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has recently been named as being one of the financers behind the planned Islamic center in downtown Manhattan by Fox News -- which is owned by a company in which, ironically, he is also a major stakeholder, reports Foreign Policy magazine.

    It is believed that bin Talal has pumped more than $300,000 into the project headed by New York imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as part of the prince's campaign to 'improve the image of Islam among the American public.'

    It is to be noted that in October 2001, following the World Trade Center attacks, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani turned down a $10 million donation from Al-Waleed for disaster relief after the prince suggested the United States 'must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack,' and 're-examine its policies in the Middle East.'

    However, Giuliani interpreted his statements as drawing 'a moral equivalency between liberal democracies like the United States, like Israel, and terrorist states and those who condone terrorism.'


  14. Here's an excerpt from a letter written by Feisal Abdul Rauf, and published in the New York Times in November 1977:

    "For my fellow Arabs I have the following special message: Learn from the example of the Prophet Mohammed, your greatest historical personality. After a state of war with the Meccan unbelievers that lasted for many years, he acceded, in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, to demands that his closest companions considered utterly humiliating. Yet peace turned out to be a most effective weapon against the unbelievers."


  15. Here's a link to Rauf's letter, recently published in the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, you can't read the article without a subscription:

  16. In an article in the New York Post, Amir Taheri describes the different kind of Islamic structures:

    In Islam, every structure linked to the faith and its rituals has a precise function and character. A mosque is a one-story gallery built around an atrium with a mihrab (a niche pointing to Mecca) and one, or in the case of Shiites two, minarets.

    Other Islamic structures, such as harams, zawiyyahs, husseinyiahs and takiyahs, also obey strict architectural rules. Yet the building used for spreading the faith is known as Dar al-Tabligh, or House of Proselytizing.

    This 13-story multifunctional structure couldn't be any of the above.

    In fact, the proposed structure is known in Islamic history as a rabat — literally a connector. The first rabat appeared at the time of the Prophet.

    The Prophet imposed his rule on parts of Arabia through a series of ghazvas, or razzias (the origin of the English word "raid"). The ghazva was designed to terrorize the infidels, convince them that their civilization was doomed and force them to submit to Islamic rule. Those who participated in the ghazva were known as the ghazis, or raiders.

    After each ghazva, the Prophet ordered the creation of a rabat — or a point of contact at the heart of the infidel territory raided. The rabat consisted of an area for prayer, a section for the raiders to eat and rest and facilities to train and prepare for future razzias. Later Muslim rulers used the tactic of ghazva to conquer territory in the Persian and Byzantine empires. After each raid, they built a rabat to prepare for the next razzia.

    It is no coincidence that Islamists routinely use the term ghazva to describe the 9/11 attacks against New York and Washington. The terrorists who carried out the attack are referred to as ghazis or shahids (martyrs).

    Thus, building a rabat close to Ground Zero would be in accordance with a tradition started by the Prophet. To all those who believe and hope that the 9/11 ghazva would lead to the destruction of the American "Great Satan," this would be of great symbolic value.