I still await news of a single statement at National Review or The Weekly Standard, or a single comment from a major Republican politician or conservative pundit, acknowledging that anyone on the right may have gone a bit too far on the “Gound Zero Mosque” – and not just in exaggerating it as an issue, as a few have at least suggested.
It’s in this context that I applaud Amy Ritter at the HotAir Greenroom for calling out Bryan Fischer of the “American Family Association,” who made a bit of a splash yesterday with his call for a complete moratorium on construction of all mosques in the United States. Ritter rejects Fischer as a valid spokesperson for conservatives, whom she asks to consider the rights of Muslims and the sensibilities of Muslim Americans and their non-Muslim friends – in which latter group she openly places herself. In a follow-up comment she mentions the notorious “Verse of the Sword” – Sura 9:5 – an ideological touchstone for both Islamophobes and Islamists, and she speaks to the variant interpretations of its meaning among Muslims, before she finally calls for “a balance of caution and also openness.”
Ritter is the proverbial voice crying out in the wilderness, at least for now. I wish her luck, and I hope she finds echoes beyond the couple of commenters standing with her against Hot Air-as-usual. Her gentler and more narrowly focused approach may allow her to make progress with hardcore conservatives where I couldn’t, but I don’t know how far she’s likely to get. My own disheartening experiences and my observation of just how far how many conservatives have stuck their necks out on this issue (or set of issues) don’t make me optimistic.