Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The mosque and the question of tolerance, redux

Ross Douthat:

Finally, some moral clarity amid the howls. After making a thoughtful distinction between devout, non-Enlightenment-embracing Muslims and terrorist-backing extremists, Douthat goes on:
But making these kind of distinctions doesn’t require us to suspend all judgment where would-be Islamic moderates are concerned. Instead, dialogue needs to coexist with pressure: Figures like Ramadan and now Rauf should be held to a high standard by their non-Muslim interlocutors, and their forays into more dubious territory should be greeted with swift pushback, rather than simply being accepted as a necessary part of the moderate Muslim package. (This is particularly true because Westerners have a long record of seeing what they want to see in self-proclaimed Islamic reformers, from the Ayatollah Khomeini down to Anwar Al Awlaki, and failing to recognize extremism when it’s staring them in the face.) And what’s troubling about some of the liberal reaction to the Cordoba Initiative controversy is that it seems to regard this kind of pressure as illegitimate and dangerous in and of itself — as though the First Amendment protects the right of Rauf and Co. to build their mosque and cultural center, but not the right of critics to scrutinize Rauf’s moderate bona fides, parse some of his more disturbing comments, and raise doubts about the benefits (to American Islam as well as to America) of having him set up shop as an arbiter of Muslim-Western dialogue in what used to be the shadow of the World Trade Center.

1 comment:

  1. Douthat's a stronger drink than that offered by
    Mo-do eh. I respect Douthat--or at least respect his tight prose to some degree . Content-wise, I rarely agree with his views and/or the Roody Giuliani variety of catholicism. His writings on the mosque have been quite good, however. He doesn't mince words--kinder, gentler rational muslims are a rarity, if not non-existent, regardless of what the Pelosicrats insist upon. (and that semi-psychotic Marquessa Pelosi's enough to have many a blue dog pitch his Dem. registration...)

    There are many reasons to be wary of "American Islam." They are Other, as the pomos say. They're carrying baggage, at least as much as catholics and protestants are. One doesn't have to enjoy brunch at Cafe La Misa to understand that. And....really, the conservative Demo's affiliation with islam is not new. Many rabid anti-semites--WASP, catholic, or...masonic-- have often cozied up to muslims (and some GOPers are as well), and the...anti-rationalist elements of Islam tend to appeal to some WASPs (e.g. scottish masons, like). And recall the palestinian Mufti who met with Hitler and the nazis in WWII, and being completely sympathetic to the final solution. That's not representative, of course--but seems relevant (also given the Iranian despots comments)

    I scribbled a few thoughts on Islam a while back.


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