Nancy Pelosi who always has her ear to the ground for a simple-minded explanation of an intricate matter has demanded to know whose money is behind the campaign against the Ground Zero mosque. Maybe she can't imagine anything other than a grand conspiracy: maybe Glenn Beck or David Koch, maybe Sarah Palin or some other ditzy lady with access to right-wing money.
In my view, the really modest struggle against the mosque is probably the closest thing we've had to a genuinely grass roots effort against the casual and elitist First Amendment fundamentalists. "No" to admitting in schools that Christmas has something to do with Christianity. But "yes" to public financing of what looks to me like a sleazy venture combining religion, marriage catering, sports activity, political propaganda and what would pretend to be kultcha.
In any case, there are zero interest loans in the offing...Perhaps to facilitate Muslim investment.
If the project ever gets off to a start which it looks like it just might not.
There is no real Muslim demand for this project because there are two mosques in the neighborhood already and enough mosques in the city to serve all who pray to Allah, plus more. It is assumed (though I make no such assertion) that Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud would help foot the bill. "Knowledgeable" folk say it's true. But maybe that's only because he is the nineteenth richest person in the world. In any case, that's what Forbes says.
Foreign Arab interest in this enterprise is actually not very deep.
In fact, a popular Arab language web site, Elaph reported that 58.5 percent of its 11,235 respondents felt that the Muslim world had no need for this mosque. Apparently, many explicitly objected to it. This is less than the proportions of Americans who object...but not by much.
The fact is that Sharif El-Gamal, the real estate hustler who is behind the project, has had his troubles in the business. He was an outrageous landlord in apartment buildings that he owned in New Jersey, and was taken to court endlessly by tenants. Of course, he is a pious man. So his tenants must have just been nudniks, which doesn't necessarily mean that they are Jewish.
He has been eluding the municipal tax authorities over some $200,000 in previous obligations. Why is the city in such a rush to help him? He recently announced to great fanfare that he had actually collected $10,000 for his mosque.
And then there is the theological desperado, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, whose intellectual history is so flexible that no one (except, of course, Mayor Bloomberg) can tell what kind of Muslim he is. And, yes, there are different kinds of Muslims as there are different kinds of Christian Fundamentalists.
Back to Elaph, a phenomenon in Arab-Muslim society in its independence, honesty, unpredictability. Take a look at an essay it published on-line in May on the "Cordoba Initiative."
An excerpt from the essay translated into English by the web site Answering Islam:
The project by Muslims to build a mosque in the United States, close to the place where the 9/11 attack took place, is causing quite a stir. It is worth noting that the name chosen for the mosque is confrontational and provocative. The first Cordoba mosque was built in that Spanish city in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest of Christian Spain. This Islamic “Conquista” was followed by the killings of men, and the enslavement of women, many of whom were carried away to the Arab lands to work as servants and concubines for their Muslim masters. For both Arabs and Muslims, the history of their conquests remains as a symbol of their past glory, and power. They have no thoughts of remorse or shame, when they recall those heinous crimes that accompanied the colonization of Spain!
Nowadays, some Muslims in America dream of repeating that ugly history of Islamic imperialism. In fact, I submit that the very choice of “Cordoba” as the name for the projected mosque was not an innocent one. On the contrary, it indicated a longing for the resumption of Islamic futuhat (conquests) throughout the world.
Actually, New York City has already several Sunni and Shi’ite mosques. It is a known fact that the Irhabi ideology has infiltrated many of the Sunni centers; while some Shi’ite mosques have allowed Iranian Intelligence services to operate freely within them.
The State of New York has no need for more mosques, since there are plenty of them. Furthermore, Muslims living in New York do not frequent their mosques on a daily basis; usually they go to them either on Saturdays or on Sundays, due to the nature of their work. Therefore, there is no real need for the building of the Cordoba Mosque; especially as the project has already provoked the sentiments of Americans, by reminding them of the attacks on 11 September, 2001, the Islamic conquest of Spain, as well as the tragic consequences of Islamic imperialism in general