Suppose the American Nazi party proposed building a cultural center outside the Holocaust Memorial in New York City. Would the high-minded politicians and columnists, many of them Jewish (Mayor Bloomberg, Richard Cohen, et al) defend their First Amendment rights to do so, as they are now doing on behalf of the proposed Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero?
Constitutional evangelists would likely spurn such a question. Cohen calls such comparisons (a Japanese aeronautical center at Pearl Harbor, a KKK headquarters in Selma, a Wagner opera house outside Auschwitz) "demagogic buffoonery" and a "pornography of analogy."
But if such parallels are really "demagogic," take another point of view. Would any Islamic government allow an American center to be built at one of our own bombing sites in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Presumably our First Amendment champions would say no. But they would hasten to invoke American exceptionalism: as the leader of the free world, we as a nation are morally obligated to set the gold standard of freedom and human rights. In short, we must extend freedoms to those who would not only deny them to us, but wage holy war on America as a colonialist, apostate, morally corrupt society.
In rationalizing current Islamic terrorism, political progressives insist that holy warriors, jihadists, are a radical fringe group not at all indicative of the Muslim community at large. To this day, however, entire nations — Iran, Somalia, Indonesia and many other Islamic theocracies – sanction beheadings, stonings, floggings, and amputations not merely for western “infidels,” but alleged journalist “spies,” homosexuals, and adulteresses.
According to Islamic scholar Nonie Darwish, no fewer than 35,200 verses in the Koran encourage such practices. Above all, in the “Sword Verses,” Mohammad preaches: “Those who reject Islam must be killed. If they turn back, take them and kill them wherever you find them" (4:89). Furthermore: “I will terrorize the unbelievers…. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes” (8:12). (Also see: 8:39, 8:59, 9:5, 47:4, etc. etc.)
Have the jihadists, as their moderate brethren insist, truly misinterpreted their holy text? And are their sympathizers really so few? According to the UK Sunday Times poll after 9/11, 40% of British Muslims supported bin Laden’s attack. In 2004, a Pew survey reported that 65% of Pakistanis viewed bin Laden favorably, as did 55% of Jordanians, and 45% of Moroccans.