“Mosque” in New York City

There’s been a lot of misleading information about Cordoba House, the Islamic Community Center proposed for New York City, not too far from the World Trade Center site.

Let’s be clear about one thing. It’s not a mosque. It’s a community center. Yes, it will have a large room for prayer. That doesn’t make it a mosque.

Another thing: I detest radical Islam, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. I strongly support Israel. I’m Jewish. If I’m in a group of people captured by violent Muslims, I’m first in line for beheading. So don’t think for a second I’m soft on Islamic terrorists.

I’ve read some comments recently have been irking me.

First, some compare this community center to the Japanese building religious institutions near Pearl Harbor.

Reality check: Japan Airlines flies from Honolulu International Airport. The airport is about 1000 feet from The Mall at Pearl Harbor. There are a number of Japanese religious facilities in Honolulu some of them very close to the harbor, even encircling it – Waipahu Soto Zen Temple Taiyoji, Wipahu Hongwanji Mission, Rissho Kosea Kai Buddhist Center, and Aiea Hongwanji Mission Hall.

Demographics show ethnic Japanese to constitute somewhere between 16 and 25% of the population of Hawaii. Honolulu and Pearl City have a dramatically higher percentage of Asians and thus, most likely, of Japanese descent.

So let’s move past that stupid argument.

Second, Rick Lazio has called for an investigation into the financing for the community center. He suggests that the money may come from sources linked to Islamic terrorist groups.

Mr. Lazio, you are on leave from your lobbying job at JP Morgan Chase. Your employer does business in the Arab world, with facilities in Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. Saudi Arabia was home to most of the 9/11 terrorists, and remains the home of the bin Laden family. Does JP Morgan Chase do any business with the bin Laden family? That might be worthy of an investigation.

Third, I have asked some people if they would object if it was a synagogue, church, Jewish community center, or YMCA. All of them say that wouldn’t bother them. So the reason for opposing this facility is because it’s associated with the Muslim religion. That violates freedom of religion under the First Amendment.

Fourth, some compare this to how the Saudis would not allow a church in Mecca. That’s the whole point of American exceptionalism. Our country is better because we support freedom. Any Jew should be disturbed about this argument. If the US follows the Saudi model, we would become a Christian country and synagogues would not be allowed.

People associated with the Tea Party movement often invoke the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment. If you support the Constitution, then support the whole document. Too often, so-called conservatives tout the 2nd Amendment but disdain the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Many are not keen on the Fourteenth either.

Liberals suffer the same problem. They often dismiss the Second and Tenth Amendments, and ignore the limits of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause.

If you support the Constitution then support it fully, not just when it’s convenient for your ideology. Jews supported the right of Nazis marching in Skokie. That doesn’t mean we don’t hate them.