August 4, 2010 | National Review Online

Mosques, Barracks and Bayonets


NRO’s excellent editorial this morning on the Ground Zero Mosque (GZM), coupled with Barbara Lerner’s terrific essay yesterday about the rulers who have pulled Turkey back into the Islamist camp, got me to thinking: The GZM’s backers — Imam Rauf, in particular — are striking reminders of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For years, American and European opinion elites ignored a wealth of evidence to the contrary and pronounced Erdogan a moderate Muslim — purveyor of a hip, modern, tolerant, Western-friendly Islam. His Islamist past? His reluctance to condemn terror groups like Hamas? His practice of sending one message to Western audiences and another, quite different one to Muslim audiences? Nothing to worry about, we were told.

In eight short years since taking the reins, though, he has moved Turkey from West to East, from NATO ally to Iranian ally, from close Israeli ties to support for terror groups seeking to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas.

Before Erdogan’s image was rehabilitated by many of the same people who insist that the GZM is a wonderful idea and that opposition to it is a form of racism, he did a four-month stretch in Turkish prison for inciting religious hatred. As the BBC reported, he had stoked his fellow Islamists by reading a poem that proclaimed:

The mosques are our barracks,

The domes our helmets,

The minarets our bayonets,

And the faithful our soldiers.

Yes, by all means, let’s let Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamists, who won’t condemn Hamas and won’t tell us where their money is coming from, build a mosque named for the caliphate that conquered Spain on the site where almost 3000 Americans were murdered by Islamist terrorists.

How could any right-thinking person have a problem with that?