Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The mosque at Ground Zero

My man Newt speaks on the controversy surrounding the Ground Zero mosque. What I find particularly interesting about this debate is the argument from some that the mosque should be allowed on, essentially, freedom of religion rights.  I find this an interesting argument, not least because in some cases it comes from people one would think would know better. (On the other hand, of course, one can't rule out the possiblility that they're simply idiots. See above source.)

It is, nonetheless, challenging to offer a response to it when it comes from culturally conservative Christians; it's somewhat like trying to answer the question about whether or not you're still beating your wife.

And that's why Gingrich's answer is powerful. Without lapsing into the hysterically purple prose to which those same some resort, Gingirch lays out the case calmly, logically, and rationally. Andy McCarthy talkes about it at NRO, and I'll use the same excerpt he does, but I'll join him in encouraging you to read the whole thing, and to check out Gingrich's major foreign policy address tomorrow.

One of our biggest mistakes in the aftermath of 9/11 was naming our response to the attacks “the war on terror” instead of accurately identifying radical Islamists (and the underlying ideology of radical Islamism) as the target of our campaign. This mistake has led to endless confusion about the nature of the ideological and material threat facing the civilized world and the scale of the response that is appropriate.

Radical Islamism is more than simply a religious belief. It is a comprehensive political, economic, and religious movement that seeks to impose sharia—Islamic law—upon all aspects of global society.

Many Muslims see sharia as simply a reference point for their personal code of conduct. They recognize the distinction between their personal beliefs and the laws that govern all people of all faiths.

For the radical Islamist, however, this distinction does not exist. Radical Islamists see politics and religion as inseparable in a way it is difficult for Americans to understand. Radical Islamists assert sharia’s supremacy over the freely legislated laws and values of the countries they live in and see it as their sacred duty to achieve this totalitarian supremacy in practice.

Some radical Islamists use terrorism as a tactic to impose sharia but others use non-violent methods—a cultural, political, and legal jihad that seeks the same totalitarian goal even while claiming to repudiate violence. Thus, the term “war on terrorism” is far too narrow a framework in which to think about the war in which we are engaged against the radical Islamists.

As McCarthy points out, Gingrich goes on to describe "the authoritarian, anti-American, and often barbaric nature of sharia; the alarming advance of the sharia agenda in the United States; and how these matters ought to shape the understanding of, and opposition to, the proposed Ground Zero mosque project."
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