- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Ground Zero Mosque project already has failed in its intended outreach mission, and its backers now seem to be committed to alienating as many Americans as possible.

The latest galling revelation is that the cash-strapped Cordoba Initiative is willing to accept funding for the mosque from overseas sources, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. This was not necessarily something the project’s backers wanted known. In 2008, the Cordoba Initiative raised only $18,255, which generated questions why the group believed it could undertake a $100 million project. If the developers had a funding source already lined up, they were keeping it a secret. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf had always said that the effort would be underwritten by donations raised in the United States. But earlier this year, he told a London-based Arabic-language newspaper that he would seek funds from throughout the Muslim world. When asked about this, spokesman Oz Sultan refused to comment, but added that they would seek money in the United States “to start.”

That the mosque will be funded from abroad reinforces the view that the proposed mosque is not an effort to serve a Muslim community in Lower Manhattan and is instead a symbolic effort to claim the area near Ground Zero for Islam. It is pertinent that Mr. Rauf, the mosque mastermind, has refused to admit Muslims had anything to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, and he quipped, “Osama bin Laden was made in the USA.” This calls into question his self-identification as a “moderate” Muslim.

Meanwhile, some voices in the Middle East are being raised against the mosque. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, director-general of Al-Arabiya TV, wrote that the Ground Zero Mosque will become “a monument to those who committed the crime … I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers, nor do they want a mosque that will become a shrine for the haters of Islam.”

Non-Muslim Americans are continually asked to be solicitous to Muslim sensitivities, but the Ground Zero Mosque backers show no concern whatsoever for the feelings of mainstream Americans. Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the powers that be have preached to the American people that Islam is the religion of peace and we must go out of our way not to offend Muslims while simultaneously fighting a bitter war against Islamic extremists. This officially mandated obsequiousness with which Americans are told to treat all things Islamic doesn’t invalidate the genuine sentiments of those opposed to the Ground Zero Mosque.

Trying to defend the mosque, Mr. Sultan said, “if you build moderate Muslim communities, that’s what’s going to fight extremism.” But if this is the case, the Cordoba Initiative should be focusing its efforts on countries that have more active and dangerous Muslim extremist problems, like Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Iran. It’s counterproductive to court a handful of moderate Muslims while alienating millions of moderate Americans. The Ground Zero Mosque is not healing a rift but deepening a wound. If the mosque is constructed, the terrorists win.