The Right’s Madness Over Mosques

It's not just Ground Zero anymore. They're flipping out about Muslims gathering anywhere.

By Daisy Hernandez Jul 29, 2010

We have to admit that right wingers aren’t all bad. Take their hypocrisy, for instance. It’s extremely helpful. Without it we might have to really dig into their online missives to find out when they’re pushing racist policies. But with their hypocrisy, we can just click, click, click and find that–bingo–they really do want to make it so Muslims can’t pray anywhere on American soil. The latest hypocrisy revelation started when New York officials approved the building of a Muslim community center a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. The Cordoba House is planned to be the Muslim equivalent of a YMCA or Jewish Community Center, equipped with programs, an auditorium and yes, a place for religious worship. It was named after Cordoba, the Spanish city where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived, if not happily, then at least in acceptance mode centuries ago. [Right wingers heard the news and flipped](–under the guise of the sacredness of Ground Zero. [Newt Gingrich](—-they-can-build-a-mosque-near-central-park-or-columbia-instead-video.php), for example, said he was ok with mosques, just not at this location. "I’m quite happy if they’d come in and said, ‘We want to build a community center near Central Park, we’d like to build a community center near Columbia University.’ But they didn’t. They said right at the edge of a place where, let’s be clear, thousands of Americans were killed in an attack by radical Islamists." It turns out though that right wingers also don’t want mosques or Muslim community centers in California or Tennessee either, and last we checked there were no terrorist attacks in those spots. In California, a group affiliated with the state’s Tea Party is planning a protest tomorrow in Temecula, in Riverside County, where the city is considering plans for a proposed mosque on Aug 18. To drive the point home, [tea partiers apparently emailed supporters]( to bring bibles, flags, and yes, dogs. Ironically, Temecula already has a mosque. It’s a white industrial building, according to the [LA Times](,0,2447625.story). It’s been there for a decade without a problem. The problem now, of course, is that the community has the money saved up to build the real thing. The story is similar in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Although the city has a mosque, right wingers are outraged that Muslims now want a community center. The audacity. The state’s Lt. Gov. [Ron Ramsey](, who’s running for the governor’s seat, told an audience that he supported religious freedom and all that good stuff in the Constitution, but that Islam was, arguably, less of a religion and more like a "cult": > Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it. Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face. > In New York, [Rick Lazio](, who’s in a long-shot bid to be the state’s next governor, told reporters: "This is about the safety of the people of New York," adding, "religion has nothing to do with this." Lazio called on the state attorney general to investigate the funding for the $100 million project, now renamed the bland Park51, and asked the city’s landmarks commission to protect the building where the Muslim community center would be built. The commission hands its decision down in August.