“To be a Muslim is to support Al Qaeda.”
That would be one direct intepretation of “How About a Hirohito Monument at Pearl Harbor?” – the title of Jennifer Rubin’s latest post on our favorite topic. For Rubin, apparently, an Islamic cultural center with worship area two blocks from Ground Zero would be the equivalent of a monument to the Japanese Emperor, at the site where the armed forces of Imperial Way Japan attacked the United States. In other words, the hijackers of 9/11 and their terrorist organization are equivalent to the armed forces and sovereign government of a nation, and Islam (the term that corresponds to “mosque”) is the equivalent of that sovereign nation.
Which is exactly what Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri think about the hijackers, Al Qaeda, and the House of Islam.
Once again: Islamophobia and Extreme Islamism amount to the same thing: “Fight them all together.” In every way that matters, Islamophobes like Rubin and Islamist Extremists both believe, and demand that you believe, that the terrorist jihadists are the true and legitimate leadership for a world empire comprised of 1.5 billion human beings, 1.5 billion human beings inherently different from all of the rest of us. And that a war, what Rubin calls a “civilizational war,” is necessary, desirable, and already under way.
I’m not sure what Rubin thinks she means by “civilizational war,” what she imagines it will entail if conducted in the manner she sees fit. I doubt she’s given it very much thought. She seems to be too busy blogging to listen to herself, to reflect on what she’s supporting, to think about what other major Western political movements have liked to pose as defenders of the sensible populace, as the enemies of the intelligentsia, and as fighters in the elementally necessary “civilizational war” that somehow is always already on the verge of being lost to the cunning inferiors.
To me, “civilizational war” is the language of holocaust, whether upper- or lowercase, but, even apart from the language of international violence bis zum bitteren Ende, just on the question of the minimal consensual values of American democracy, how are we to take a sentence like this one: “What passes for the liberal intelligentsia is convinced that we have no right to protect the sensibilities of our citizens (whom the left scorns as brutes and xenophobes)…”? The sensibilities of our citizens? Isn’t that the justification for every self-righteous idiocy standing firm against every advance by every minority group, every creative or scientific discovery, every new idea? I find it incredible to read such a tragicomically repugnant, unself-conscious statement in the virtual pages of a would-be respectable intellectual journal of political opinion. How fitting, and sad, that Rubin writes such words while also approving of the Anti-Defamation League’s disgraceful decision to jump on the “anti-mosque” political bandwagon. And she disparages “the left” as “loony.”
I don’t know about “our citizens.” But I do know that you’ll sometimes find “brutes and xenophobes” in unexpected places.
I hope Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf fights for his project, and that the people who have backed him thus far continue to stand behind him. Statements like Rubin’s and the ADL’s make it ever clearer that “healing” is necessary. But I also wouldn’t blame him for canceling his intended gesture, upon the determination that the wound to our spirit was fatal after all.