By Dave Lindorff
The saga of the Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, deceptively dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque" by a right-wing clique with the avid support of Rupert Murdoch and his New York Post and Fox TV Network, exposes the right in America as a bunch of charlatans, hypocrites and plain old garden-variety scumbags.
New York, the ultimate melting pot of cultures, races and religions in America, has no problem with a Muslim center being set up in Lower Manhattan. (It is not, let me note, being built on the site of the World Trade Center, or even next door. That area is reserved for strip clubs, bars etc., and a big hole in the ground that nobody can figure out how to fill.)
The community center, which will include a Muslim mosque and a multi-religion chapel, is blocks away from the site of the old Twin Towers, which, if you've lived in Manhattan as I did for years, is described locally as "across town."
The biggest hypocrisy about this right-wing fake scandal is that the people making all the noise are the same right wing ranters who are always complaining about the Federales interfering with local people's right to do things their own way.
So here we have New Yorkers, who after all were the ones who had to endure the attack on their city back in 2001, and who did most of the dying in that attack (and who continue to die from it, thanks to all the asbestos and other toxins released by it into the environment and into rescuers' lungs), deciding that it is quite legal and proper for a Muslim group to build a community center in Lower Manhattan, and then we have a bunch of outsiders--Senators, Congresspeople, would be presidential candidates etc., most of them Republicans who piously insist that local control is next to godliness on the virtue scale--saying that this is a scandal, and that it cannot be allowed to happen.
What kind of crap is that? New Yorkers, who aren't afraid of Muslims because there are hundreds of thousands of them living in all five boroughs, riding the buses and subways with fellow New Yorkers, working with them, riding the elevator with them, sharing lunch with them, and being friends with them, have their own zoning laws and their building permit process, and this community organization went through all the steps and got the needed permits, and now they have every right under local law to build what they are building where they want to build it.
What business do these outsiders have to complain? By what kind of intellectual gymnastics (I hesitate to use the word intellectual in the same sentence with the word Republican, but I guess I have to here) do these scumbags figure that they should have any say in any of this? And don't tell me the New York Post is a local publication. It is so under the thumb of Australian Rupert Murdoch (okay, he bought himself a US passport, but he's about as American as Kim Jong-il).
Second of all, these hypocrites are normally all about how government has no business interfering with religion. But here we have a religious organization trying to do something for the community, and these same hypocritical scumbags are saying no, because it's not a Christian or a Jewish organization. Sorry folks, but if you have freedom of religion, it means all religion. You don't get to pick and choose which ones have freedom from government intervention and control. You've either got it or you don't.
And don't get me going on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Of all the gutless scumbags in Congress, he's the worst, because all he's doing by jumping on this racist, anti-Muslim Republican bandwagon is just a cheap play for right-wing yahoo votes in his race for re-election in Nevada.
DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper. To read more of the original articles by the award-winning news collective, go to: ThisCantBeHappening!