Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zoned Out: What Happened To The Ground Zero Mosque?

Barry Rubin updates us on the status of the Ground Zero Mosque, which you may recall was an issue that exploded this time last year with the "proper" opinion being it should be built immediately (and opponents were racist Tea Baggers in the pay of the Koch Brothers). Well, Rubin reports that the Mosque is never going to be built despite the best efforts of the enlightened left:

Readers of my column know that I have written repeatedly that the “Ground Zero” mosque would never be built for reasons having nothing to do with politics. The main financiers and the imam have gotten into one legal problem after another and Allstate Insurance Company is now launching a major lawsuit for fraud against one of them. As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11, it’s clear that there isn’t going to be a mosque next to the World Trade Center attack site.

From the start, it seemed to me that the whole project was designed as something of a scam by shady characters to get lots of money from the contributions of the Saudis and others. In other words, the controversial and triumphalist aspects of the mosque were a public relations’ scheme designed to win millions of dollars from the Muslim-majority world’s millionaires. When the money didn’t materialize–the controversy didn’t help matters–the whole thing fell apart.


Here’s the real story:

A group of people with a terrible record as developers who didn’t develop, businessmen who didn’t pay their bills, and slumlords put together a very badly designed project that would never otherwise have gotten zoning and other permits. In other words, the true story is how city officials gave special privileges and the media gave sweetheart coverage because people were Muslims building a mosque, not that there was discrimination against Muslims who wanted to build a mosque. Remember, in the end the mosque project got everything its advocates wanted and yet it still wasn’t built.

It is the story of how the corrupt can play a system built around special privileges for special categories of people, in which fear of being labelled some variety of “racist” overrides the proper enforcement of the law.

You have to laugh at this stuff. I mean, the president and the mayor of New York went on Full Smug Liberal Alert over this thing! No one - no one, that is, except the American public, which recoiled at the thought of a Ground Zero Mosque - thought to question the propriety of such a mosque. And, if they did so question, they never even reached the issue of whether the sleazy imam at the center of the project was the right man for such a fraught job. And after all that, whinging Muslims and their political sponsors got everything they wanted - and still couldn't get the job done.

Of course, if they point of such a pointless controversy was to divide Americans over the issue of whether a mosque could be built in a particular location, then I guess you could say "Mission Accomplished," but that seems like a dubious mission indeed. I'd like to think someone out there is embarrassed over this, but it's not likely.

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