The Jewish Week misses the point in its editorial concerning the Ground Zero Mosque. (“A Mosque Near Ground Zero,” July 30)
It is safe to say that a New York mayor’s leadership can move mountains on virtually any issue. I say categorically that Michael Bloomberg’s leadership is a gift that this great city shall not soon see once his term concludes. Particularly in education and public safety, I have seen his proficiency up close. It is therefore disappointing that he has, in a most facile manner, dismissed the opposition to the Ground Zero mosque.
Americans, and indeed New Yorkers, are good people who take others at their word. However, as columnist Cal Thomas has noted, “One cannot fight an eastern war with western values.” Islamists play by different rules. Suffice to say that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s recorded pronouncements to varied audiences are not consistent with pluralistic American values. It is difficult for the mayor to accept that some do act in a duplicitous manner to achieve their goals. This is akin to the fruitless negotiations that our president engaged with the president of Iran. While Imam Rauf is surely no Ahmadinejad, he nonetheless shares the trait of “stretching the truth with the infidels.” I will not repeat his outrageous statements on America’s complicity in 9/11, Shari’a advocacy and the like — they are available to all who are interested. Further, even the Vatican would be in no position to erect a $100-plus million house of worship. The federal government sees fit to examine the bona fides of foreign funding sources. Why do we not care in New York?
This is at its most basic level a matter of common decency. Rubbing salt in the wounds of the 9/11 families and Americans in general is indecent. There are many, many mosques in New York City and many other locations where Imam Rauf can make a statement with a grand mosque (which already exists on 96th Street), and where he can preach pluralism and common decency to the many millions of Islamists amongst the followers of the prophet.
Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld
Great Neck, L.I.
The writer is a former aide to Mayor Ed Koch and Gov. George Pataki and a current trustee of the City University of New York.