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Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop
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The Mosque and the ‘American Street'


The circus around the mosque should start to lose audience. New York officials have the authority to decide whether an Islamic center may be built near the tragic site of the attacks on the Twin Towers. They've given it a green light.

Our foreign policy establishment worries that the intemperate rants against the project are hurting efforts to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world. As Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, the mosque debate could "take a toll on prospects for U.S. policies throughout the greater Middle East." The experts fear that the nastiness will antagonize what is sometimes called the "Arab street" — roughly defined as the frustrated, angry masses in much of the Mideast.

Well, here's the American street. Perhaps it is useful for our makers of foreign policy to understand these feelings, as well. Perhaps their military interventions to turn the Islamic cultures into Jeffersonian democracies have not quite won the hearts and minds of Americans. They certainly haven't delivered the promised groundswell of affection from the people that Condoleezza Rice kept saying we were liberating.

Left-wing columnist Frank Rich accuses right-wing media agitators of undermining the military effort in Afghanistan by stoking anger against the project. He writes, "So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right ... that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus' last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative."

Surely he knows that Fox News and Sarah Palin don't give a damn about Afghanistan or the brave Americans fighting there. All they care about is ratings and attention.

Texas Republican/libertarian Rep. Ron Paul similarly berates the foes of the Islamic center. Like Frank Rich, he insists that this controversy was driven by neo-conservatives who "never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill-conceived preventative wars."

Both men have been right about "ill-conceived preventative wars," but they're wrong about neo-conservatives' using "hatred" to promote them.

On the contrary, real neo-conservatives use a sickly humanitarian language to justify their crazy attempts to make over entire countries and cultures by use of force.

Indeed, neocon George W. Bush was "America's First Muslim president," according to Muslim-American leader Suhail Khan. Writing in Foreign Policy, Khan recalls how the Republican national convention that nominated Bush for president in 2000 included a Muslim prayer. He notes that Bush frequently celebrated Americans who regularly attend a "church, synagogue or mosque." Bush won over 70 percent of the Muslim vote that year.

The need to turn the Mideast into democratic, peace-loving societies — for their good and ours — was a chief neocon rationale for invading Iraq. But it took the phony "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction to bring the American public securely onboard. The specter of "a mushroom cloud" rather than the beauty of nation-building had clinched the deal.

Over at ground zero, a lot of bigots are getting their ugly mugs on TV, but the polls taken nationwide show broad opposition to the Islamic center proposal. Clearly, many good people are against this also.

Perhaps they feel that the project to make common cause with very different cultures has been a one-way street. They've been told for years to tiptoe around Islamic sensitivities, while Islamists have provoked theirs. If a mosque two blocks from the site of outrage done in the name of Islam, albeit a twisted brand, bothers so many Americans — rightly or wrongly — why not just move it elsewhere?

The American Street is talking. The Street sees its government's program to win hearts and minds delivering only contempt. This was not the neocons' vision at all.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




4 Comments | Post Comment
To say that Fox News and Sarah Palin don't "give a damn about Afghanistan or the brave Americans fighting there"
is the height if mendacity and Ms. Harrop ought to be ashamed of herself for saying so. What proof does she offer?
What have Fox or Palin said or done to back this calumny up? She is engaging in more left wing agitprop and she
knows it. But in her book the end justifies the means and thus lying in sake of a losing cause is excusable.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Julian Baker
Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:13 PM
Finally, a well done article on this issue. I am a liberal & adamantly oppose a GZ mosque for legit reasons.

The Left has removed prayer from schools, removed the 10 Commandments, crosses, Christmas trees & nativity scenes from schools & other public buildings & much more (which I support as a separation of church/state advocate) but, the left then trips over each other to give Islam & muslims whatever special treatment & privileges they want. The utter hypocrisy is absolutely outrageous.

That ground zero mosque building (Burlington Coat Factory) was hit by airplane parts & bodies on 9-11 - THAT IS GROUND ZERO, period, end of discussion. The Imam has LIED about receiving foreign funding & refuses to make it public & he admits he wants to implement Sharia law. The Left seem to be in a race towards Dhimmitude.

The time has come for Islam to step out of the dark ages and reform for a 21st century. Sharia is utterly incompatible in western countries. Americans are well aware of the crusades, Inquisitions and dark ages and absolutely do not want to even come close to heading in that direction and that is precisely the direction Islam leads. Christianity and other religious ideologies have been tamed by the US Constitution - and we are all the better for it. Now, it's Islam's turn.

Here are a few videos explaining why

Islam MUST Reform Now - VIDEO

Three Things About Islam

Why did they hate us in 1783?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Jose54
Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:57 AM
Julian, I see very little from Sarah Palin, Fox & company that benefits America - quite the opposite. They are an utter embarrassment to America. Palin quit her job as gov. in Alaska half way through the term. Fox is turning the right into a religion and proselytizes for them 24/7. Sarah Palin, like so many on the right, doesn't care about anyone but herself, money and her right-wing regime. Remember, it was the right who was responsible for getting us into the utterly un-necessary war in Iraq based on lies about WMD's?

The Bush W. admin turned every 'problem' into a major crisis. Palin, Fox and many other leading Republicans have already made public that they want to go back to Bush era policies. Palin, too many Republicans, Fox & bunch often sound like home-schooled psychos with room temperature IQ's. Ms. Harrop was spot-on.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Jose54
Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:13 AM
Re: Jose54
You are welcome to your opinions, however ill-informed they are, but you never answered the
challenge I offered in my post, namely evidence or proof that justified Harrop's charges.
As to your ignorant comments concerning the Iraq war, recent comments by Tarik Aziz and
statements made by Saddam Hussein to his FBI interlocutor confirm both the fact that Saddam
WANTED the world to think that he had nuclear capacity and that he intended to create such a
capacity within a few years, believing that Iran posed a greater danger to him than the United
States. Obviously he miscalculated.
I suggest Jose54 that you educate yourself as to the world of realpolitik rather than cocoon
yourself within the slanted "news" from the left, offered by a monolithic machine that spews out
politically correct but reality challenged propaganda.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Julian Baker
Tue Sep 7, 2010 10:12 PM
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