Word of Wisdom on the Cordoba

Much has been written (most of it worthless) on the controversy over the Cordora House in New York. Build or no build. I have written on it. I’m positive that I haven’t changed anyone’s mind.

Matthew Alexander adds his voice to chorus.

The Cordoba House would be a powerful symbol of U.S. tolerance and freedom that will stand in direct contradiction to al Qaeda’s narrative that Americans hate Muslims. As a symbol, its construction demonstrates that the U.S. is not at war with Islam and that Muslims are welcome in America. It communicates a message of moderation that stands in stark contrast to al Qaeda’s bankrupt ideology.

As I discovered as a high-level interrogator of al Qaeda members in Iraq, symbols like this matter. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and the policy of torture and abuse handed al Qaeda its number one recruiting tool. Those who think al Qaeda will not be able to spin this controversy to their advantage are disastrously mistaken — but it can be a victory for America as well.

The political uproar over the Cordoba project, and in particular the use of harmful, bigoted rhetoric by some opportunists, leaves America facing a choice. It can project one of two symbols: One of integration, acceptance and positive affirmation of American values; or one of intolerance, rejection, and animosity. The former will work to undermine al Qaeda as part of a long-term strategy to defeat them. The latter will bolster Islamic extremists’ arguments that America is an intolerant country hell-bent on war with Islam, aid recruitment efforts and add support for more terrorist attacks.

The choice is obvious. Let’s build the Cordoba House.

0 Responses

  1. I am all for letting them build it. But all I can see is someone blowing it up and then what happens? Just like when the abortion doctor was killed. The gunman was hearlded as a hero to alot of people. The same thing I am afraid of will happen in this case. The security they would have to have would be huge. Would that not give the Islamic estremists more power to attack the US soldiers overseas.

  2. Doesnt look like this will happen.


    Oh but wait a minute. The hardhats refusal to engage in this is a violation of the Commerce clause. Obama can force them to participate whether they want to or not.

    Isn't that what we learned during the health care debate? Passive inactivity (Refraining from making a business deal or transaction) is actually economic activity and subject to federal regulation.

  3. Keep hope alive. As far as I know, hard hats are union workers. I thought that you hated unions.

    Workers need work, if they want to build it there will be skilled people willing to do the job.

  4. Give one good reason why the hardhats should not be compelled to participate in spite of their desire not to.

    If the government can force us to engage in commerce, why should this type of commerce (exchanging labor for dollars) be exempt?

  5. You say the choice is obvious but obviously many including myself do not agree.
    We should not fear riley up radical Islam and using that to show that we have tolerance.
    You need to be more sensitive to the real reason and stop helping instigate religious intolerance as the reason why people are against the building of the mosque.
    They have 30 or 40 mosques in NY. They don't need one in that spot to show religious tolerance and acceptance of Muslims.
    It is the location, location, location. People like you are the ones making the religious intolerance an issue and stirring up dissent among Muslims.

  6. As Reagan proved many years ago you can try and force a union to do something and if they don't, simply replace them.

    I think that Obama could compel them to work on the mosque but he won't. This is way too much of a political hot potato.

  7. “I think that Obama could compel them to work on the mosque but he won't. “

    oh my word!

    These people are private citizens, not government employees.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the President can compel private citizens to take a job they dont want?

    How long have you supported slavery, Dr Thompson?

    Reagan fired and replaced union workers that were federal government employees.

    Do you understand the difference?

    Just keep talking and help assure that voters understand that Democrats are often totalitarian in their approach.

  8. A few years ago Muslims rioted in Nigeria after a beauty contest. Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death in Holland after a film about critical of Islam and women.

    al Qaeda doesn’t argue that America is intolerant, they argue that America is evil.

    Would Alexander suggest that we ban beauty contest or not show van Gogh’s film in the US?

    Given the freedoms that Muslims enjoy in the USA compared to any Islamic country, I don’t think that we need to prove anything.

    I find Alexander’s WWAQD [What Would al Qaeda Do] not very convincing and more than a little disturbing.

  9. Here’s another interpretation of the Cordoba Project from these Canadian Muslims:

    “New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it's not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers. The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel. The proposal has been made in bad faith and in Islamic parlance, such an act is referred to as “Fitna,” meaning “mischief-making” that is clearly forbidden in the Koran.

    The Koran commands Muslims to, “Be considerate when you debate with the People of the Book” — i.e., Jews and Christians. Building an exclusive place of worship for Muslims at the place where Muslims killed thousands of New Yorkers is not being considerate or sensitive, it is undoubtedly an act of “fitna”

    So what gives Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the “Cordoba Initiative” and his cohorts the misplaced idea that they will increase tolerance for Muslims by brazenly displaying their own intolerance in this case?

    Do they not understand that building a mosque at Ground Zero is equivalent to permitting a Serbian Orthodox church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered?”


  10. I don't that we should be arguing equivalence with Nigeria or the Netherlands or anywhere else. We are the US. We should be arguing against our standard ruler, us.

  11. There are approximately 800,000 muslins in NY. Is 30 mosques enough? who knows and that's not the point.

    There are lines in these ancient texts that we all can agree with or disagree with. I can find a line in the Bible which forbids playing football on Sunday (pigskin) yet there are many Christians who don't think anything about it.

    As usual I appreciate your comments.

  12. ECT:

    I think that you misunderstood my argument. My fault. My point is that I don’t think that we should allow our politics and culture to be guided by fears of the reaction of Muslim extremists. The incidents in the Nigeria and the Netherlands illustrate a reductio of the logic in Alexander’s argument..

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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