By Michael Goodwin, ,
Published May 07, 2015
It's a joke, one of those mass Internet mailings that gets a laugh and captures the spirit of the moment. It goes like this:
I just applied for a building permit for a new house. It was going to be 100 ft tall and 400 ft wide with 9 tur rets at various heights and windows all over the place and a loud outside entertainment sound system. It would have parking for 200 old cars and I was going to paint it snot green with . . . pink trim. The City Council told me to f--- off. So I sent in the application again, but this time I called it a mosque. Work starts on Monday.
Jokes aside, the conviction that government no longer works for the majority of Americans is spreading like wildfire. That nearly all of President Obama's major policies have gone against public will is fueling voter anger across the nation.
The Ground Zero mosque fits the pattern, with opponents in New York and elsewhere tarred as bigots for the simple -- and fundamentally American -- act of disagreeing with their leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even urged they be investigated.
Yet something profound and welcome is happening. The momentum for moving the mosque is growing as supporters multiply in both numbers and diversity. Even the first Muslim Miss USA, Rima Fakih, says it "shouldn't be so close" to Ground Zero.
In addition to millions of ordinary citizens, including construction workers who say they wouldn't work on the mosque, this New Majority includes conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ultra-lib Howard Dean both are calling on developers to consider the feelings of opponents, especially 9/11 family members.
Predictably, Dean's support earned him brickbats from the far left. But the former head of the Democratic Party and 2004 presidential candidate bravely told an interviewer that "we have to stop the polarization in this country" and that "some of the folks on my end of the spectrum are demonizing some fairly decent people who are opposing this."
Citing polls against the mosque, Dean added, "65 percent of the people in this country are not right-wing bigots."
Stop the presses. At least for one liberal, the majority is not automatically wrong or full of hate.
The majority movement includes religious leaders as well, with Jewish groups and Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan urging a compromise on the location. Dolan and Gov. Paterson are offering to mediate the dispute.
And now comes fresh support from an international Muslim organization. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has theological differences with the dominant Sunni and Shia branches and is subject to violent attacks. Two of its mosques in Pakistan were bombed in May, killing 94 people and an American citizen active in the movement was murdered in Pakistan last week.
Yet this persecution has not dimmed its views, with its American leader condemning terrorism and telling Muslims to leave the United States if they cannot be loyal and law-abiding citizens.
I asked the group about the mosque. Calling it a civic issue, not a religious one, spokesman Waseem Sayed said that if the "sentiments of non-Muslims are unduly hurt," then his group "does not see why that particular location has been chosen. There are surely other places where mosques can be built."
He went on to offer another perspective, one that reflects a true spirit of brotherhood. It stands in stark contrast to the mosque developers, who talk of healing but in fact are causing a fresh wound between Islam and America.
"If a mosque is built at the proposed site, then the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community would like see churches, synagogues, Hindu places of worship and places of worship of all other religions also built near Ground Zero," Sayed told me. "That would be a good example of how from an act of evil and terror has emerged unity and peace."
Amen to that.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.
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