The Ground Zero Mosque thing is long past its expected life span as a major controversy – you would have thought it would be resolved by now given the obvious difficulty its proponents are going to have in getting it built – but it’s not going away.
And despite the efforts of the Obama administration’s gang to blame conservatives for “ginning up” the controversy, it’s the statements of the mosque’s advocates which are keeping the fires lit.
Consider Daisy Khan, the wife of imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who went on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour yesterday to talk about the mosque. Amanpour put on a friendly show for Khan, so much so that she felt comfortable enough to say that opinions of Muslim Americans are like a “metastasized anti-Semitism” and “it’s beyond Islamophobia, it’s hate of Muslims.” She also said “there’s too much at stake, we have to go ahead with this project.”
As the Wall Street Journal notes this morning, “The words could further inflame an already angry debate about the proposed location of the community center, which opponents denounce as a ‘victory mosque.'”
One of the central tenets of public relations is that if you’re doing something the vast majority of the public is very upset about, don’t do it. And if you want to calm the public down, you need to make a showing of compromise.
Some 68 percent of the American people think it’s wrong for Khan and her husband to build a mosque so close to the World Trade Center site. Demonizing that 68 percent of the American people as “Islamophobic” or “extremists” or saying that they “hate” while insisting on building a mosque at that site only irritates the situation. Shrieking about constitutional rights as though the question of religious freedom is central to this controversy – which has been the M.O. of both the Obama administration and its allies and the mosque proponents themselves – will only make things worse as well; nobody is talking about denying Khan and her husband the right to worship.
None of this is particularly advanced thinking. It’s fairly obvious stuff. But the mosque proponents don’t seem to get it at all. As for the $100 million the mosque will cost, if that money comes from Saudi Arabia the controversy so far is NOTHING compared to what’s ahead.
This issue isn’t going away. It’s likely to be even more contentious in coming days – and not because of the right wing “ginning up” controversy. It’s because the organizers of the mosque are attempting to ram it down the throat of a public which opposes it.