Geller, Spencer, & the Cordoba House: Fear and Loathing in New York - updated 9/13/10

Sheila Musaji

Posted Sep 13, 2010      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Geller, Spencer, & the Cordoba House: Fear and Loathing in New York

by Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller just can’t restrain themselves from promoting fear and hatred.  We have chronicled their views in the articles The Politically Incorrect Guide to Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Attempts to Make a Point, Muslims Shrug.  We attempt to keep these articles updated, but these two are so prolific that doing so would require a full time staff.

In a recent jointly written article The 9/11 Mosque’s Peace Charade they continue to vent their anti-Muslim hatred.  Geller also penned a “heartfelt appeal” to Imam Feisal and Daisy Khan.  In this Islamophobic screed disguised as a courteous appeal her genuine attitudes toward Islam and Muslims show throughout.  They have been at the center of the debate about this project.

“How does this mosque honor those who were “harmed” - i.e., brutally murdered - on September 11?” Geller expanded on this in her “heartfelt appeal”.  She said “you must understand the pain this is causing for the victims who mourn their dead, for Americans who mourn their country’s losses”  And, she expanded even further in a statement at a protest against the mosque:  “Building a mosque just several blocks away from Ground Zero is an insult and an affront to every single person that was killed on 9/11, to their families, to the first responders and every concerned American who cherishes liberty, democracy and freedom.”

Are American Muslims not Americans who mourn our country’s losses just like all other Americans?  Are the families of the Muslim victims who died in the 9/11 attacks not mourning?  Do all of us as Americans not mourn all of the dead?  Do the Muslim victims and first responders have no value?  Are all Muslims collectively guilty for this terrible crime?  Do American Muslims not cherish liberty, democracy and freedom?

The terrorist act that brought down the World Trade Center in NYC on 9/11/2001 was a terrible tragedy for all Americans of whatever religion.  There were 2,749 victims, including 320 foreign nationals from more than 90 countries who died on 9/11.  Those who died were from all ethnic groups and religions.  The exact number of Muslim victims is unknown, but many have estimated about 300 Muslims who died on 9/11.  In this tragedy as well as in many past historical events, Muslims are a part of America.  [Note:  A list of all victims is here, more on this topic here].  The Cordoba House will honor all of the victims, Muslim and non-Muslim.

Daisy Khan has said “The center will “serve as a major platform for amplifying the silent voice of the majority of Muslims who have nothing to do with extremist ideologies.  It will counter the extremist momentum.  ...  three hundred of the victims were Muslim, that’s 10 percent of the victims.” “We are Americans too. The 9/11 tragedy hurt everybody including the Muslim community.”

“How will a mosque, the place where jihadis go for spiritual sustenance, at Ground Zero help stop jihad terrorism?” In her “heartfelt appeal” Geller calls 9/11 “the largest jihadist attack”.

This is pure statement of hatred towards all of Islam and all Muslims.  Are they claiming that every mosque is involved in teaching extremism?  Are they claiming that on the off chance that among the worshippers who might come to any mosque over time, there might be one who was a criminal or an extremist, and that criminal might gain some “spiritual sustenance” from attending prayers, then it would be better to have no mosques? 

A mosque is a place where Muslims promoting non-violence go for spiritual sustenance.

Imam Feisal has said“There’s nothing like this that we know of in the United States.  This will be a community center for everyone, not just for Muslims, but non-Muslims.  ...  It’s about building an American Islamic identity, because we have second-, third-generation Muslims who don’t feel they are part of (the country).  The complaint throughout the years has been: ‘Where’s the voice of the moderate Muslims?’” Rauf said. “Well, here we are.”  He also said: “This space [Ground Zero] has very powerful symbolism in the perception of the world.  It is important for us to be stakeholders in what this symbolism means.  What better place to show that we, as Muslims, condemn the acts of 9/11 than making this stand and making this statement here. When we say it here, we will be heard.”   Ane, he said  “We are a threat to the radicals ... [Moderate Muslims] are the most articulate advocates for combating radicalism.”

The 9/11 attack was a criminal act of “HIRABA” not jihad.  The only Muslims who consider such attacks on civilians as a legitimate part of jihad are extremists.  Geller at least seems to agree with Osama bin Laden.

In her “heartfelt appeal” Geller calls al qaeda - “the military arm of Islam”.

  Al Qaeda is an extremist, political, terrorist organization that defies Islam.  To claim that Al Qaeda is a legitimate component of the religion of Islam is an insult to all Muslims.

“moderate Muslims not speaking out against terrorism”

This again shows the deep seated hatred towards Muslims that is regularly expressed by Spencer and Geller.  Muslims have clearly and regularly denounced terrorism generally, and denounced specific instances of terrorism, including 9/11.  Their voices are simply drowned out by those who see Islam as a monolith and Muslims as something like the Borg, not individual human beings.  Anyone who claims some knowledge about Islam and about the Muslim community in America is being deceptive if they refuse to acknowledge this, or if they attempt to simply dismiss all such clear statements as “taqqiyah” (lying or deception).  In this article Geller/Spencer don’t use the word taqiyyah as they do in many of their other articles but refer instead to Imam Rauf as “patently dishonest” in his public statements.  We have discussed this Taqiyyah libel against Muslims at length here in an article that includes information about Jewish, Christian, and Muslim legal and theological discussions about lying.

“So anxious were they to secure the location at Ground Zero ...  It is unnerving - the deliberate speed and anxiousness that the leader of the American Society for Muslim Advancement has demonstrated in working to open a mosque at the gaping wound of Ground Zero.”

This is ludicrous.  This site was vacant and shuttered for 9 years before it was purchased with the hope of building Cordoba House.  The immediate neighborhood also currently has a strip joint, a porno house, and an off track betting parlor.  Would it be better to see the neighborhood continue its downhill slide?  On a family trip to NYC would you rather have your children exposed to pornography, gambling, and public nudity than to have a community center open to all to visit?

“Even the name of the initiative - Cordoba - speaks volumes. While Islamic Spain is held up today as a proto-multiculturalist paradise, in reality non-Muslims there suffered under the discrimination prescribed in Islamic law for dhimmis, non-believers who were subjugated as inferiors and denied equality of rights.”  In her “heartfelt appeal” she repeated this claim when she said “the name itself (evoking Islamic conquest over the West)”.

If Spencer and Geller choose to believe in this selective version of history, that places them in a minority.  It also ignores any context of the time period.  For the time, Cordoba was strikingly more tolerant of minorities than other cities or countries.  Discrimination and inequality may have existed (as compared with 20th and 21st century standards) but even the worst case scenario meant discrimination as opposed to outright persecution and regular violent pogroms in addition to daily discrimination and inequality elsewhere, especially in Christian Europe.

”... seeing the Ground Zero mosque as a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism.”

Actually, the Cordoba mosque in Spain was originally built as a mosque on a site which had been a Visigothic church and which was purchased by the Muslim ruler in order to build the mosque.  After the Reconquista, the mosque was turned into a church and since that time Muslims are forbidden to pray there.

Roger Boase notes in the article The Muslim Expulsion from Spain:  An Early Example of Religious and Ethnic Cleansing “According to the terms of the treaty drawn up by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492 when the Christian troops entered Granada, the new subjects of the Crown were promised that they would be allowed to preserve their mosques and religious institutions, to retai