Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has an op ed in the New York Times in which he declares the cultural center will be built:
We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons.
He’s calling it Cordoba House; OK, fine.
At Cordoba House, we envision shared space for community activities, like a swimming pool, classrooms and a play space for children. There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths.
So if containing a Muslim prayer space makes any building a “mosque,” does that mean the Center will be a “church” and a “synagogue” as well?
It really is a lovely essay, and once again my impression is that the imam is a good-hearted, sincere man who means exactly what he says. Andy Sullivan:
As the far right seems to relish a clash of civilizations, his op-ed strikes me as so transparently constructive, so evidently in the interests not only of domestic peace but of strategic victory against Jihadist terror that I’m again at a a loss to understand why so many have reacted so ferociously to this project.
Because they are howling ignorant crazy bigots, that’s why.
I do not believe that we defeat them by empowering them, by giving them noxious symbols of Western intolerance in order to justify their own far far worse bigotry. We defeat them by the example of our toleration and the precision of our military power. The rest is poison.
Well, yes, exactly, and it remains astonishing that anyone bright enough to remember his own phone number can’t see that. There are border collies that could figure this out.
Elsewhere, Laurie Goodstein reports for the New York Times:
Prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders held an extraordinary â€œemergency summitâ€ meeting in the capital on Tuesday to denounce what they called â€œthe derision, misinformation and outright bigotryâ€ aimed at American Muslims during the controversy over the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero. …
… The Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, said: â€œTo those who would exercise derision, bigotry, open rejection of our fellow Americans of a different faith, I say, shame on you. As an evangelical, I say to those who do this, you bring dishonor to those who love Jesus Christ.â€
That’s good to see.
The Council announced Tuesday that it has invited local imams to perform Islamic invocations at the beginning of the Council meetings in September.
An e-mail from the Common Council called it “an act of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
I don’t have to tell you that the rightie blogs are having apoplectic fits. I think if they use the word “dhimmitude” much more they’re going to wear it out; the poor thing won’t have enough strength left to display on a monitor.
See also New York magazines tongue-in-cheek “Feisal Abdul Rauf Details His Harrowing Vision for Terror-Victory Mosque.”
At least two dozen Christian churches, Jewish temples and Muslim organizations in Gainesville have mobilized to plan inclusive events â€“ some will read from the Quran at their own weekend services â€“ to counter what Jones is doing. A student group is organizing a protest across the street from the church on Sept. 11.
Gainesville’s new mayor, Craig Lowe, who during his campaign became the target of a Jones-led protest because he is openly gay, has declared Sept. 11 Interfaith Solidarity Day in the city.