Here’s how not to start off your op-ed about why you want to build the Ground Zero Mosque:
A story about your airplane ride. Feisal Abdul Rauf in the New York Times (where else?):
As my flight approached America last weekend, my mind circled back to the furor that has broken out over plans to build Cordoba House, a community center in Lower Manhattan. I have been away from home for two months, speaking abroad about cooperation among people from different religions. Every day, including the past two weeks spent representing my country on a State Department tour in the Middle East, I have been struck by how the controversy has riveted the attention of Americans, as well as nearly everyone I met in my travels.
Imagine that. This is followed by 1,000 words or so about “tolerance,” “building bridges,” and other comforting euphemisms for “Why don’t you all just shut up?” Rauf is creating a dialogue with people who disagree with him, so of course his first step is to tell them their opinion doesn’t matter:
We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners.
And if you’re part of the 70% of the United States who don’t like the idea? Well, you’re just not smart enough to understand how tolerant he is, you bigots.
From the political conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians to the building of a community center in Lower Manhattan, Muslims and members of all faiths must work together if we are ever going to succeed in fostering understanding and peace.
And by “work together,” he means “do what I say or stay out of the way.”
I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing.
If you were really seeking the support of 9/11 families, you would’ve sought it out already. If you really wanted unification and healing, you’d recognize that you’re acheiving just the opposite.
It goes on and on like that. When did the word “tolerance” become a synonym for “approval,” Imam Rauf? Which American principle am I violating by telling you I disagree with you? And how in the world do you think you’re going to change so many people’s minds by lecturing them about how much better you are than them, and that they should be ashamed of themselves for daring to dissent? Ask your pal Obama how well that one’s working.
P.S. Josh Trevino took apart this stupid op-ed on his Twitter feed last night. As Trevino points out, Rauf’s claim that he waited to comment until now because he was overseas is b.s. This started before Rauf left. And apparently he didn’t get the memo that they’re not calling it “Cordoba House” anymore, but rather “Park 51.” So much for the rebranding effort.
P.P.S. Say what you want about Bloomberg — and I have, and will — but at least he’s being consistent.