Michael Bloomberg has launched another passionate defence of the Park 51 mosque.
But if we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom.And there are experts echoing his claim that this controversy could fuel Islamic extremists.
We would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen. And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam.
Islam did not attack the World Trade Center -- Al-Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American. Today we are not at war with Islam -- we are at war with Al-Qaeda and other extremists who hate freedom.
The members of our military are men and women at arms -- battling for hearts and minds. And their greatest weapon in that fight is the strength of our American values, which have always inspired people around the world. But if we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad -- if we do not lead by example - we undermine our soldiers. We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security.
George Bush was always very careful to emphasise that Islam was a religion of peace and that the war was with al Qaeda, not with Islam and it's followers.
Experts worry the controversy surrounding an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing right into the hands of radical extremists.
The supercharged debate over the proposed center has attracted the attention of a quiet, underground audience — young Muslims who drift in and out of jihadi chat rooms and frequent radical Islamic sites on the Web. It has become the No. 1 topic of discussion in recent days and proof positive, according to some of the posted messages, that America is indeed at war with Islam.
"This, unfortunately, is playing right into their hands," said Evan F. Kohlmann, who tracks these kinds of websites and chat rooms for Flashpoint Global partners, a New York-based security firm. "Extremists are encouraging all this, with glee.
"It is their sense that by doing this that Americans are going to alienate American Muslims to the point where even relatively moderate Muslims are going to be pushed into joining extremist movements like al-Qaida. They couldn't be happier."
Bush: The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world.
[...]Since Bush stood down the Republican party appear to have abandoned the distinctions which he was always very careful to make. They appear to think that they are at war with Islam, rather than al Qaeda. As Bloomberg and the experts say, this is a very dangerous path which they have embarked upon.
Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.
Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.
Lacking a Republican leader with the courage to make the distinctions which Bush was always very careful to make, this is inevitably where they are heading.
The guests on Morning Joe examine this Republican phenomenon and Brzezinski says that they are using anti-Muslim rhetoric and are "purposefully damaging our society in order to gain politically". I find it hard to disagree with that sentiment.
Click here for full article.