Opposition to the Mosque in New York City: Hysteria, or History?

Lately I’ve been identifying myself with the Libertarian branch of politics.  There are many good reasons for this, not the least of which is the Libertarian idea of the relative supremacy of individual rights.  For this I applaud them and support their effort to change America back into a decentralized, freedom-loving society.

But I continue to struggle with certain libertarian viewpoints – the same opinions that have kept me at bay for years – keeping away from any real association with the movement.

Thanks to an article by Eric Margolis on lewrockwell.com, my struggle has been renewed with vigor.  Margolis’ article entitled New York Mosque: Bigotry Rears Its Head seems to disregard one of my primary axioms of truth, and an axiom that I would expect libertarians woul confirm:  Ideas have consequences.  A parallel to this concept is my own construct which is related:  Nothing happens in a vacuum.

What I mean by this is that libertarians often speak of economic and political actions as if they were inanimate phenomena unrelated to history.  For example, the reason the socialists can take advantage of poor people is because it is a fact of history that poor people have been abused and exploited not only by government officials but also by ambitious “entrepenuers” that have used up their employee’s energies and discarded them at the first sign of weakening.  This is not to be taken as an attack on free market principles;  rather, it is a statement of historical fact that defenders of the free market must account for.

And so it is with Mr. Margolis’ opinion of the controversy surrounding the proposed establishement of a Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.  

He speaks of “hysteria”, but is the real motivation behind the opposition to the mosque hysteria, or history.

He seems to suggest that public fear of Islamism is unfounded, that it is taking place as a knee-jerk reaction to near-time events, that 9-11 was a one-time anomaly, an exceptional case of violence, the proponents of which violence will simply go away if ignored.

But such is not the case, for ideas have consequences, and nothing happens in a historical void.  The populace of the Western World may not be brilliant, but they are not stupid.  We know that Islamic violence has a historical track record dating back many centuries, and it is founded not in the whims of a splinter group of cultists that are cut off the main stream middle, but is founded largely in the prescriptions of its founding documents.  Furthermore, these violent prescriptions found in their holy words were validated by the actions of its founding fathers.

One only need to briefly review the circumstances surrounding President Thomas Jefferson, an icon of libertarians, and his battles with piracy along the Barbary Coast, and Tripoli’s declaration of war upon the United States to see the long history of conflict that this country has had with Islam.

Gary Demar notes the conflict as follows:

In vain Jefferson and Adams tried to argue that America was not at war with Tripoli. In what way had the U.S provoked the Muslims, they asked? Ambassador Abdrahaman went on to explain “the finer points of Islamic jihad” to the Koranically challenged Jefferson and Adams. In a letter to John Jay, Jefferson wrote the following:

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. (http://americanvision.org/3373/thomas-jefferson-and-the-ground-zero-mosque/).

We the People believe in individual freedoms, and in the right of religious groups to purchase property to practice their religion, but we are not stupid.  We are fearful of Muslem expansion. And why shouldn’t we be fearful?  I supposed a philosopher might ask, “Is that fear rational?”.  To which we I would reply, “if your neighbor’s dog has attacked you on several occasions, would it be rational to have no fear of him?”  Mr. Margolis cannot rationally explain why the people’s fear of Muslims is unfounded. 

Some have argued that radical, violent groups and individuals are but a small minority of the millions of practicing Muslims.  I am fairly certain that this is true.  However, it is not the millions of Muslims that are more interested in getting their work done and earning their daily bread that are manning the battle stations in the Jihad.  It is Islamic leaders that have either outrightly called for violence or have stood silently by while it is executed that have made Islam the leading menace against civilization that it is today.

And in the case of those Islamic leaders that are in fact peacible toward non Muslims and are willing to participate in Western society to the highest degree that their religious convictions will allow, I will offer to them my greatest critique.  I say greatest critique because it is one thing for a bloody man to have no conscience toward his deeds, but it is a greater sin for those that do have a living moral conscience to remain silent in the face of the hatred and slaughter.

But I can understand their trepidation.  I suspect that any Islamic leader that boldly denounces the violent factions of his own religion immediately becomes a target of that same violence.  Assuming this is the case, then the only way to progress is for some, many, yea, all of them, to pull up to the line and make their stand, which may cost them their own blood before peace can be found.   

We Christians had our own version of it – it was called “The Reformation”.  Christian blood flowed at the hands of fellow Christians for centuries, till we finally came to ourselves and starting to actually believe the Bible’s admonition that “Faith works by love”, and to obey God’s command to “love one another”.  Maybe the time has come, after so long, for an Islamic Reformation.  Yes, that’s the thing – a Reformation along the lines of the Christian Protestant Reformation – a complete overhaul of the system, of the way of thinking about the freedom on an individual’s conscience, a resetting of the norm.  But alas!  We have those scripts in the Koran to be dealt with, we have the legacy of the Islamic fathers to be dealt with.  Is reformation even possible given these obsticles?  The Christian Reformation was fueled by the overwhelming encouragement of the Christian text, and the superlative loving example of our Founder, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I cannot say whether changes on a grand scale are possible in the Islamic world.  I am hardly an amature, much less an expert, on the internal workings of the Muslim religion.  But am I wrong to hope for such a change?

Of course, as a Christian, I see the greatest hope for change among Muslims as the promise of forgiveness of sins offered in the blood of Christ.  But I’m a realist – I know that the idea of a substitutionary atonement is regarded as blasphemy to a Muslim.  In the Muslim view, one must atone for oneself.  For someone that did not commit the sin to pay for the sin of another is an aggregious injustice.

The thing is, IT IS AN AGGREGIOUS INJUSTICE!  That is the very wonder and glory of God!  That the sinless Christ would pay for the sins of guilty man.  How else shall man be justified before Holy God?

In any case, centuries of Islamic violence, whether justifiable or not, have tainted that religion’s reputation, and millions of people live in perpetual fear of the “religion of peace”.  It is for this reason that the opposition to the establishment of a Mosque near the site of the World Trade Center destruction is the only rational position a thinking person can take; supporting it is completely irrational, and exposes one’s anti-Western/American bias.

History tells us where are, because it shows us where we have been.  Ideas have consequences, and nothing happens in a vacuum.

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2 Responses to “Opposition to the Mosque in New York City: Hysteria, or History?”

  1. Kimberly Says:

    Bravo, well said and I’m in complete agreement.

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