In opposing the planned Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, conservative stalwarts have picked up on right-wing extremists’ paranoid hysteria over the initiative. In an interview with RealClearPolitics today, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) joined Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Liz Cheney, and many others in attacking the plan as an “inappropriate” affront to 9/11 victims. Deeming the site “hallowed” and “sacred ground,” he asserted that “we shouldn’t have images or activities that degrade or disrespect [the site] in anyway.” But, as Salon’s Justin Elliott points out, Pawlenty and company are “strangely silent” over the fact that “Muslims have been praying inside the Pentagon since Sept. 11″:
Yes, Muslims have infiltrated the Pentagon for their nefarious, prayerful purposes — daring to practice their religion inside the building where 184 people died on Sept. 11, 2001. They haven’t even had the sensitivity to move two blocks, let alone a mile, away from that sacred site.
In noting the Pentagon’s Ramadan celebrations and a Qur’an reading at a 9/11 memorial service one month after the attack, Elliott points out that “no one has ever heard about Muslims praying at the Pentagon — let alone cared.” “It’s almost as if the entire ‘ground zero mosque’ controversy was whipped up out of nothing by a right-wing tabloid and politicians in search of a wedge issue,” he said. (HT: Daily Kos)