Monday, December 27, 2010
Allahu Akbar and Ho, Ho, Ho
"A flag bearing a crescent and star flies from a flagpole in front of the World Trade Center, next to a Christmas tree and a menorah."
New York Times, 1997
In 1997, Mohammed T. Mehdi, head of the Arab-American Committee and the National Council on Islamic Affairs, lobbied to have a crescent and star go up at the World Trade Center during the holiday season. His wish was granted, despite the fact that Mehdi had been an adviser to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the religious leader behind the original bombing of the World Trade Center.
Long before the Ground Zero Mosque was even a twinkle in the eye of a violent ex-waiter and a slumlord Imam, the World Trade Center allowed Mohammed T. Mehdi to bully it into flying the symbol of Islam. By 1997, Mohammed T. Mehdi had become an unambiguously ugly public figure. He had been fired by Mayor Dinkins in 1992 for anti-Semitic remarks. The year before he had proclaimed that, "Millions of Arabs believe Saddam stands tall having defied Western colonialism". In 1995, the US Attorney's Office in New York had listed Mehdi as one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the trial of Sheik Rahman. Mehdi had already published a book titled "Kennedy and Sirhan: Why?", which argued that Robert Kennedy's assassin had been acting in self-defense.
Considering Mehdi's role in actively working on behalf of the Sheik behind the wave of terrorism that included the original attack on the World Trade Center, if the WTC should have turned down anyone's request for an Islamic symbol at the site, turning down Mehdi should have been a no brainer. And yet when all was said and done, in the winter of 1997 there was an Islamic star and crescent at the World Trade Center. And another one at the park in front of the White House. No one in the media thought it at all odd, that a man who had a long record of blatantly supporting terrorists should get his way. They thought it was just great.
The previous year had marked the first annual Ramadan dinner, integrating the Islamic celebration into the Clinton Administration's schedule of events. Bill Clinton who had not come down to the World Trade Center after the bombing, had a different set of priorities. A month after 9/11 however, Bush went Clinton one better, when he became the first US President to host a Ramadan dinner. Many of the Muslim ambassadors at the event were there representing countries which had helped finance Al Queda. Little more than a month after the attacks that killed 3,000 Americans, the President of the United States sat down to break bread with the money men for the killers.
But the Star and Crescent flying at the World Trade Center did not prevent it from being targeted in a second greater attack four years later. Nor did Bush's Ramadan dinners do anything to diminish Islamic terrorism. On the contrary, every gesture of appeasement only seemed to make it worse. Before the star and crescent flew at the World Trade Center, the site suffered only a few dead. After it, thousands dead. The more Ramadan dinners Bush hosted, the more Americans died. There was of course no direct connection between the two, only an indirect one. Because the Star and Crescent and the Ramadan dinners both signified a deliberate blindness to the threat of Islamic terrorism.
No one who understood what had happened at the World Trade Center in 1993, would have permitted a banner associated with its attackers to be flown there. But while the World Trade Center, administered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, let Mehdi have his way, Muslims in dark rooms were plotting to fulfill Sheik Rahman's formula for a war on America and the free world; "Cut the transportation of their countries, tear it apart, destroy their economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air, or land."
While the Star and Crescent was blowing in the cold December wind coming off the Hudson River, an even colder wind was blowing out of Hamburg, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. A year earlier Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had come up with the idea and presented it to Osama bin Laden. A year later the operation began to move forward.
While Secretary of State Albright was holding her Ramadan dinners, other Ramadan dinners were being held out of sight at which more substantive events were being discussed. While the US was busy bombing Yugoslavian civilians in order to create a separatist Muslim state for KLA terrorists, Osama bin Laden and Mohammed were recruiting the first of the 9/11 hijackers. That same grim parallelism would go forward, as the US tried to appease Muslims, while Muslims tried to murder Americans.
In 1997, the New York Daily News wrote an upbeat story about Mehdi's Star and Crescent, which envisioned Islam blending in merrily into the holiday season.
New York may seem a little brighter this holiday season as the glowing Muslim crescent and star symbol nudges its way onto a seasonal landscape of Christmas trees, menorahs and Kwanzaa candles.
Watch out, ho, ho, ho-ing Santas you might get drowned out by cheery folks yelling, "Allahu akbar!"
Four years later, Muslims had indeed made things brighter in New York City with the flames of the attacks of September 11. The 9/11 hijackers left behind notes, which said among other things, "Shout, 'Allahu Akbar,' because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers". If there were any Santas on those planes, they were certainly drowned out by the cries of "Allah Akbar". And if that didn't drown them out, having their throats being slit by the cheery folks with box cutters surely would.
On the Christmas of 2001, New York City was a city with an open wound. Muslims had finally made their impact on the holiday season in a truly unforgettable way. At Ground Zero, workers were still struggling to search through the remains, looking for bodies or parts of them. "It would be like a gift for somebody," a police officer said, who was spending his holiday searching through the debris. A gift for the non-believers on that holiday season from Islam.
But while Muslims were stuffing their faces in November 2001, Americans were mourning for the dead. While Abdul and Mohammed and Raisa were picking through their lamb stew, Americans were picking up the pieces. And yet it was Americans who were repeatedly told to be sensitive to Muslim concerns. From Pakistan, Musharraf urged the US to suspend bombing his Taliban allies during Ramadan... in the name of sensitivity. New York City schools were making arrangements for Muslim prayers out of "heightened sensitivity to Muslim concerns after the Sept. 11 attack". As usual it was not Americans who were on the receiving end of "heightened sensitivity", but the people whose ideology had conspired to murder them.
And on the 9th anniversary of 9/11, Islam had another gift for us. Having bought up a building damaged in their own attack, they plotted to set up a grand mosque near Ground Zero. Another gift to New Yorkers from the religion that keeps on giving. On the same date as the Battle of Vienna against the Muslim horde and the breaking of ground on the construction of the Pentagon, Muslims murdered 3,000 Americans. And on the 9th anniversary of that date, another Crescent and Star, another mocking reminder that Muslim atrocities represent a victory, rather than a defeat.
And the same people who did not learn the lesson in 1997, and allowed the Crescent and Star to fly at the World Trade Center, are now eager to let the Ground Zero Mosque go forward. In the name of tolerance of course. Yet despite the Crescent and Star, and even the designs of the World Trade Center itself, which supposedly incorporated Islamic elements from Mecca, appeasement proved to be no defense. 3,000 people died on 9/11 because America preferred to appease, rather than confront. And we are still busy appeasing, like never before.
Goodbye Gitmo. Farewell Ground Zero. While New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet, Bloomberg is golfing with Obama. Every Islamic act of terrorism is met with worries about growing Islamophobia, as if the terrorists were Islamophobes, rather than Islamophiles. While the majority of New Yorkers and Americans want the mosque to move, the rich and the powerful want it where it is. How better to show Muslims how tolerant we are, than to show that we are willing to denigrate our own dead for a trade deal with Dubai. At Bloomberg's own Ramadan dinner, he praised his favorite Muslim slumlord and defender of terrorists. Bloomberg who had never heard of the word freedom, when it came to what ordinary New Yorkers can eat, drink, smoke or where they can drive, rediscovered the word as applied to the freedom of Muslims to give yet one more gift to New Yorkers in preparation for the holidays.Allahu Akbar and Ho, Ho, Ho.