The Right’s Muslim-Bashing

I’ve already written about the insanity of the campaign to prevent the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan, but Robert Wright’s piece on the matter goes deeper into the McCarthyite smear campaign the right wing is wages against the organizers, typically of their efforts to beat down any kind of political or cultural activities by American Muslims:

But if you think Rauf’s good intentions are going to keep him safe from the Weekly Standard, you underestimate that magazine’s creative powers. Its latest issue features an article about Park51 chock full of angles that never would have occurred to me if some magazine had asked me to write an assessment of the project’s ideological underpinnings. For example: Rauf’s wife, who often speaks in support of the project and during one talk reflected proudly on her Islamic heritage, “failed to mention another feature of her background: She is the niece of Dr. Farooq Khan, formerly a leader of the Westbury Mosque on Long Island, which is a center for Islamic radicals and links on its Web site to the paramilitary Islamic Circle of North America (I.C.N.A.), the front on American soil for the Pakistani jihadist Jamaat e-Islami.”

Got that? Rauf’s wife has an uncle who used to be “a leader” of a mosque that now has a Web site that links to the Web site of an allegedly radical organization. (I’ll get back to the claim that the Westbury Mosque is itself a “center for Islamic radicals.”)

Think about how insane that is. Think about all the people who are more closely related to you than your wife’s uncle is. There’s your wife. Your wife’s brothers and sisters. Your wife’s parents. Your own parents. Your aunts and uncles. Your grandparents. Your cousins. Your brothers and sisters. Unless your family is extremely odd this set of people is going to contain a wide range of political opinions. My grandparents were card-carrying members of the Communist Party for a good long while. What does that have to do with my current political views?