Wright on Park51

September 13, 2010 4:13 a.m.

I mentioned a few weeks ago reading Lawrence Wright’s masterful Looming Tower, his history of the backstory of the 9/11 attacks. So I wanted to strongly recommend to you his short and sweet summation of the Park51 controversy. Being immersed in the history of Islamic radicalism, having spoken to many of the formative players in its evolution in the research for his book, he writes with great authority when he makes the essential point that few things could better aide al Qaeda’s propaganda war than a hate-filled and vilifying campaign to block the building of an innocuous Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan.He concludes: “The best ally in the struggle against violent Islamism is moderate Islam. The unfounded attacks on the backers of Park51 and others, along with such sideshows as a pastor calling for the burning of Korans, give substance to the Al Qaeda argument that the U.S. is waging a war against Islam, rather than against the terrorists’ misshapen effigy of that religion. Those stirring the pot in this debate are casting a spell that is far more dangerous than they may imagine.”

This of course is the argument that Imam Rauf has taken to making in recent days. But like oversexed teenagers ramped up into an escalating excitement by a pornography of hate, the anti-mosque cheerleaders have transmogrified this wisdom into a threat on Rauf’s part, that if his project is denied his radical Muslim (non) allies will inflict more attacks on America. ‘Now Rauf is threatening us with more attacks!’

Calling it obscenity scarcely does it justice.

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Senior Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: