This morning on CNN’s State of the Union, New York congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D) effectively dismantled the arguments of his fellow Empire State colleague Peter King (R), who has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the new Islamic center project in lower Manhattan.
King argued that, while he respects Muslims’ “right” to build a new center, “they should listen to public opinion” and “should voluntarily move the mosque away from Ground Zero.” Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, explained, “We do not put the Bill of Rights…to a vote. The reason we have a Bill of Rights is that you have your religious rights…whether majorities like you or not, frankly.”
Nadler then addressed the biggest fallacy of the right-wing argument: namely, that in their opposition to the Islamic center, they are ascribing collective guilt on all Muslims for the terrorist acts of 9/11:
NADLER: [W]hat they are saying essentially is how can you put a mosque there when, after all, Muslims attacked us on 9/11, and this is ripping open a wound? Well, the fallacy is that Al Qaida attacked us. Islam did not attack us. Islam, like Christianity, like Judaism, like other religions, has many different people, some of whom regard other adherents of the religion as heretics of one sort or another. It is only insensitive if you regard Islam as the culprit, as opposed to Al Qaida as the culprit. We were not attacked by all Muslims. And there were Muslims who were killed there, there were Muslims who were killed there. There were Muslims who ran in as first responders to help. And we cannot take any position like that.
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King — who has said he thinks there are “too many mosques in this country” and is an advocate of racially profiling all Muslims — claimed that he has been a defender of Islam. But, he added, the 9/11 attack “was carried out in the name of Islam,” and therefore, the new Islamic center would simply be rubbing “salt in the wounds.”
“[O]bjecting to this mosque would be as objectionable if you wouldn’t object to a church or a synagogue in the same place because that’s blaming all Islam and you can’t blame an entire religion,” Nadler explained. He then ticked through three prominent examples of GOP hypocrisy on the “Ground Zero mosque”:
1) Nadler: “One, there is a mosque in the Pentagon, which is also hallowed ground. No one objects to that.” [Link]
2) Nadler: “Second, the people who want to build this facility, which is partially a mosque and partially a community center, have a mosque a few blocks away from there, which no one has objected to.” [Link]
3) Nadler: “I would take the sincerity of many of the Republican critics of this…if they were supporting, as Peter is, but very few other Republicans are, the bill to give health care coverage to the 9/11 heroes and responders which all but 12 Republicans voted against in the House last week.” [Link]