Bret Stephens’ Religious Test For Mosque-Builders

In a great example of how goofy, marginal conservative ideas end up as goofy, mainstream conservative ideas, the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens cites a couple of items from the right-wing fever swamps in order to raise suspicions about Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Kuwaiti-born imam, and his wife, Daisy Khan, and their proposal to build an Islamic cultural center several blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in lower Manhattan.

“As a confidence-building measure for those of us who live in the neighborhood,” Stephens writes, “it would help if the pair voluntarily answered some questions about the nature of their beliefs.”

A sampler:

Who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11, and what was their religion?


Are suicide attacks or other forms of violent jihad acceptable under any circumstances, including against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Does Israel have a right to exist as a Jewish state?

Do they agree with the State Department’s designation of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations?

What aspects of Shariah law, if any, do they repudiate?

Will their center invite the input and participation of Muslim gay and lesbian groups?

Do they consider the Muslim Brotherhood to be extreme?

What influence will any foreign funding of Cordoba House have on its programs or on the literature it distributes?

This is pretty astonishing. Would Stephens, or anyone, dare propose a similar religious test for any other faith? What about asking Jews whether they condemn violence by Jewish settlers in the West Bank before they can build a synagogue somewhere? Or asking Christians planning a new church whether they will invite the input and participation of Christian gay and lesbian groups? You know, just as a “confidence-building measure”? Doubtful. It would be considered un-American.