Mark the moment: The battle over the Ground Zero mosque has passed through the looking glass and into the wonderland of insanity.
Surprise, surprise, the "summit" of national and local Muslim organizations early this week turned into a rally-around-the-mosque gathering. While that was predictable, the logic justifying the move is as scrambled as the landscape Alice discovered behind the mirror.
It is now the "extremists" opposed to the mosque who are the reason why it must be built, according to the Muslim supporters. At least one of whom, not incidentally, is a big supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Growing out of the fetid swamps of moral equivalence, where extremism is in the eye of the beholder, the gathering illustrates how a preposterous sense of victimization is now the driving force behind the mosque. The initial vow that the facility would help heal the breach of 9/11 has vanished.
Instead of the interfaith bridge, developers and supporters delivered a superhighway of grievance and false claims of discrimination. In a flash, the mosque has gone from a plan to assertions of legal right and absolute moral authority.
To merely question it is to be a bigot. It must be built or the whole country will be labeled anti-Islam. And you know what that means — kaboom!
They threaten violence, and we're accused of being intolerant.
In fairness, we can't blame this switcheroo only on the shady cast of slumlords and tax scofflaws behind the project. Mayor Bloomberg and then President Obama showed them the way by foolishly inflating a fairly routine land-use controversy into a historic test of American values.
As I have noted, they were half-right — the development is a test. But it is a test of Islamic values, and so far, they are being revealed as seriously deficient in matters of tolerance and manners.
Those who claim to be representatives of Islam are acting in a bullying way to their downtown neighbors and, especially, the 9/11 families. They have created enormous bad blood, and are fueling a growing mistrust of Islam.
They are the villains of the piece.
Meanwhile, America's commitment to freedom of religion is quietly attested to by the 1,000 or more mosques around the nation. And, despite a generational war with Islamic fanatics who have killed nearly 10,000 Americans and continuously try to launch more terror attacks, the United States continues to welcome with open arms Muslims from around the globe.
As for the claims of harassment and violence against Muslims here, it's a jihadist fantasy. Yet it has become the rallying cry for mosque supporters and an excuse for increasingly open expressions of anti-Americanism.
As former British Prime Minister Tony Blair argues, the false narrative that Islam is under attack, which fuels the terrorists, is being adopted by so-called "moderate" Muslims as well.
The victimization card offers them a defense for their silence about terrorists, and helps create the conditions for the homegrown cells popping up throughout the Western world.
And you thought the mosque was just a mosque. Think again. The stakes are rising day by day.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.
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