(Ilario Pantano) – “Cordoba Center” sounds comfortably Latino and almost familiar in a multi-ethnic city like New York. The name’s Spanish origin has a little bit of history too: the Cordoba Mosque in Spain symbolized a gateway to Muslim conquest of Western Europe – a conquest that today is unfolding in real time. But as disturbing as the sharia invasion of the European Union might be, my concern is the new $100 million mosque that will sit smugly just 600 feet from Ground Zero in New York City.
This new Cordoba Mosque will occupy a building that was literally struck by pieces of an exploding passenger aircraft deliberately piloted into the World Trade Center by martyrs shouting “Allahu Akbar.” The suggestion that this mysteriously funded mosque is anything other than a permanent demonstration of Islam’s march on the West is naïve at best.
This Cordoba Mosque is not benign. It is not about reconciliation or understanding. It is about marking religious, ideological and territorial conquest. This mosque is a martyr-marker honoring the terrorists who less than a decade ago killed thousands of us just two blocks away, and it must be stopped.
I used to work in 4 World Trade Center, one of the buildings that was destroyed on 9/11. That day, 3,000 murders and 300,000,000 nightmares marked the scorching of our national psyche. It is almost profane to consider that the number of innocents who perished is blessedly small compared to the devious hopes of the attack’s jihadist masterminds. Mega-mass murder on an even larger scale was interrupted by the selfless heroism of a brave few that charged into the inferno. Targets in our nation’s capitol were saved by the bravery of “ordinary citizens” aboard a plane who that day did the extraordinary. Thousands of lives were saved that September day by heroes whose sacrifices should never be forgotten. But forgetting is something our society does shamefully well.
So is lying to ourselves.
Denying the true intent of this new mosque at Ground Zero is the worst kind of lie, and ignoring the symbolism of its location is a dereliction of duty. Travel the graves at Fort Hood if you think that ignoring the truth in favor of “cultural reconciliation” doesn’t have consequences. Failing to be honest about the Islamo-facist threats we face and who is behind them caused 12 people to die and 30 more to be wounded at Fort Hood late last year. Major Hassan was able to commit his act of jihad on a U.S. Army base because even soldiers were afraid to do their duty. Fear of death was eclipsed by the bureaucratic stigma of being deemed “intolerant.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported that the pace and number of attempted terror attacks against the U.S. over the past nine months has surpassed the number of attempts during any previous one-year period. Do you really think that this trend will slow down if we reward the bad behavior with a martyr-marker?
If we allow mosques to go up like mushrooms everywhere there is a terrorist bombing or shooting we will create a perverse incentive, not a deterrent. This mosque at Ground Zero will serve as a big trophy and we are welcoming it? I was deeply disappointed to learn that the local Manhattan community board and Mayor Bloomberg were complicit in this sell-out of monumental proportions. Were they bought out wholesale by the same folks that could mysteriously produce millions in cash to buy a building and not leave a trace? Or were they simply bullied?
Is Mayor Bloomberg afraid that his namesake building might get turned to match sticks if he offends the wrong crew? After all, they’ll kill you for a cartoon. Or does the threat of, say, beheading on video a la Daniel Pearl pale in comparison to the risk of being labeled “extremist” by Muslim advocacy groups or the liberal media that supports them? I can’t pretend to get into the head of the local community board, but having faced “headless” death threats from jihadists myself, and the withering wrath of the liberal media, I know how persistent these buggers can be.
The insult of the Ground Zero mosque is compounded by the use of federal dollars to make it possible. This is not just a “local” community board issue, nor a mayoral issue. This is a national issue. Reconstruction and security costs are being paid for by taxpayers from North Dakota to North Carolina. Ground Zero is a national war memorial, and so long as federal funds go to preserve, protect, and rebuild it, a national voice should be heard. In 2009 alone, $475 million dollars in DHS grants were spent on security for New York. The American people have a say, and if there is no mechanism for Congress to outright stop the Cordoba Mosque, then at the very least there must be an investigation into the source of funding behind this affront so that when it is completed on September 11, 2011, the American people will know who to thank.
One thank you note can be struck early for the mosque’s front man: Kuwaiti-born Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, Rauf is also the CEO of American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). But he’s more than just an apologist for the religion-based sharia law, which many experts see in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution. Rauf is also a key member of the Malaysia-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, reportedly the single biggest donor to the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) and its affiliated activists, which include former Weather Underground founders William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of Code Pink: Women for Peace (see discoverthenetworks.org for information on this web of Leftist relationships).
You might recall the “Free Gaza” team organized the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. It seems that when Imam Rauf isn’t raising money for martyr-markers in Manhattan, he is busy funding international incidents to cast aspersions on Israel. By the way, did anyone else notice how nicely that fabricated flotilla photo-op dovetailed as a cover for Iranian nuclear activity? James Cameron couldn’t have choreographed it better. Am I the only one that notices that every time Iran’s nuclear weaponization is about to be a focal point of world attention, they create a crisis through their proxies by provoking Israel? I didn’t dream the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah, did I? Just as the world prepares to get tough with Iran, the rain of missiles begins to fall, only this time it is life preservers.
Now the world stage is focused on isolating our only democratic ally in the Middle East, and members of the Obama Administration and the Left are intent on abandoning the Israelis just as they did last year with Poland and our missile defenses in Europe. After 5,000 rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, can anyone say “moral parity” with a straight face? The American Left can. Today, the cover of the snarky Economist magazine asks, “What is wrong with America’s Right?” But they answered their own question by reporting that “[a] gap in sympathy for Israel has widened between Democrats and Republicans. Conservatives still tend to back Israel through Hell and high seas.” Well that’s one gap I am proud to stand on the right side of.
The other gap I am proud to stand on the right side of is Iran’s credibility gap. As the UN prepares its fourth set of ineffective sanctions in as many years, Iran has once again managed to sidestep the yoke of culpability, and will continue developing nuclear weapons undeterred. Speaking of flotillas, the Iranians run a shipping scheme which bamboozles investigators with its shell game approach to false registration, renaming and outright scoffing of Western efforts to track cargoes, and yet we are told that we are supposed to trust them? Given that we have no clue on the workings of over 50% of Iran’s fleet, according to the New York Times, is it any wonder that Israel wants to stop and search boats? We should be doing some searching of our own: searching for the truth about who is behind the Cordoba Mosque and what their agenda is, and searching for the courage to stop them.
(Ilario Pantano is an Iraq combat veteran, bestselling author and Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina)