Though he tries to act like he’s playing the role of peacemaking conciliator, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat eventually reveals his true feelings:

By global standards, [Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the mosque] may be the model of a “moderate Muslim.” But global standards and American standards are different. For Muslim Americans to integrate fully into our national life, they’ll need leaders who don’t describe America as “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 (as Rauf did shortly after the 2001 attacks), or duck questions about whether groups like Hamas count as terrorist organizations (as Rauf did in a radio interview in June). And they’ll need leaders whose antennas are sensitive enough to recognize that the quest for inter-religious dialogue is ill served by throwing up a high-profile mosque two blocks from the site of a mass murder committed in the name of Islam.

Douthat makes the same error that most other observers are making in failing to see the wide spectrum of beliefs in Islam. Yes, there are those (al-Qaeda) who couch their hatred of America in the religion (just like there are Christians who use their faith to justify their hatred of our government). But there are also Muslims — in fact, the large majority of those in the United States — who worship peacefully, just like other the Judeo-Christian worship communities Douthat taps earlier in his piece.

I wouldn’t like to be told as a Christian that I could not buy a property in Wichita, Kansas because Scott Roeder, a Christian zealot, killed a doctor who performed abortions. Same goes for Atlanta, Georgia, when Eric Rudolph bombed the Olympic Park during the ceremonies in 1996, “to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand.” But because Christianity is the privileged religion in Douthat’s second America, we simply understand that Roeder and Rudolph are right-wing nut jobs that do not represent the wide majority of Christians. The same doesn’t go for Muslims.

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