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Muhammad Comes to Manhattan

An anti-mosque protester.  

The minions of the Cordoba House—as the cultural center was originally called, before Spencer and Geller began trumpeting that the Spanish city was not, as many historians contend, a multicultural “Ornament of the World” but rather one more scene of ruthless Muslim domination—were unprepared for the full-court press exerted by the bloggers. Asked about the money issues, Sharif El-Gamal, with an exasperated sigh, said, “I don’t know where the money is going to come from. I don’t have it. I have to raise it. We will hire private auditors and cooperate with all governmental authorities and not take a penny from any group flagged by them.” This statement, while likely true, has done little to quell the so-called transparency issue. There is also the question of where in the world is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf? The Imam has been out of town for weeks, since the really heavy coverage started, and won’t be back till early September. While visiting her NGO-like office at the Interchurch Center near Columbia University, I asked Daisy Khan, Feisal Rauf’s wife and executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, about her husband’s absence. Wasn’t this a problem, what with Pam Geller and Robert Spencer bashing the Imam daily, all but painting him as the Osama within? Wouldn’t a personal response, a little old-fashioned New York “Oh, yeah?” be in order? “Well,” said Khan, who was born in the Kashmir and graduated near the top of her class at Jericho High School in Long Island, “this trip had been planned for some time, long before this controversy began.”

“If you want to know why we’re winning, it is because we’re right,” Geller said, as we batted around some of her favorite topics—her John Galt fixation; the book Eurabia, by the Egyptian-born author Bat Ye’or, which depicts the Muslim-immigrant problem in Western Europe, a situation Geller believes will soon happen here; et cetera. Geller’s postings have been accused of having only tangential relation to the truth (she blithely continues to claim the Park Place mosque will be on the top floor so it can “look down on ground zero,” when actually the mosque was never planned to be on the top floor, and even if it were, there are two twenty-story buildings between the Islamic center and the WTC site). But the life path of this self-described “New York City career girl” is not without an eccentric train-wreck fascination. Her greatest hits include midwiving the rumor that Barack Obama is actually the illegitimate son of Malcolm X and launching into a screaming match on The Joy Behar Show, claiming she knew more about Ronald Reagan than her combatant: Ron Reagan Jr. For sure, there aren’t many members of the new media who would post a video of Nina Simone singing “Love Me or Leave Me” on the same day (July 23) she posted a picture of kaffiyeh-wearing youth holding up a swastika under the blog title “ ‘Palestinian’ Jihad Flag to Fly at the UN.” Indeed, asked if her new book (written with Robert Spencer), The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, which does its patriotic best to depict the highest-elected official in the country as a Marxist-Leninist fellow traveler of the Muslim Brotherhood, was one more sign that the mosque issue was simply another facet of white America’s paranoia about immigrants and the Other in General, a fear driven in large part by the color of Obama’s skin, Geller laughed and indicated that this was just the way a dhimmi would think.

Dhimmitude was the state to which Muslim caliphs reduced their “useful” but decidedly second-class subjects, those who had to be made to “feel themselves subdued” (the Koran, Sura 9:29), Robert Spencer told me as we dined in the T.G.I. Friday’s on the scenic lower level of Penn Station. A canny operative who likely has the inside track on the State Department’s Middle East affairs desk should the tea party win the White House in 2012, Spencer nonetheless offered that he had spent part of his youth working at Revolution Books, which is run by the Revolutionary Communist Party (and its cultish leader Bob Avakian), a hard-line Maoist group most sixties-style radicals, like, say, Bill Ayers, would consider beyond the pale. Spencer—whose father worked for the Voice of America during the Cold War—contended that terror, the threat of the A-bomb in the burka, while worth worrying about, was “just one tactic” in Islam’s clash with the U.S. What was afoot was a more insidious thing, a burrowing infiltration of the enemy.

“Muslims are the first immigrant group that has ever come to this country with a ready-made model of society and government they believe to be superior to what we have here,” Spencer told me. The thinking was clear to anyone who took the trouble to study the plan, the blogger and author of Stealth Jihad contended. “Muhammad said, ‘When you meet the unbelievers, invite them to accept Islam; if they refuse, offer them the dhimma—second-class status—and, if they refuse that, go to war with them.’ That’s it. Conversion, subjugation, or war. Three steps. Conversion, subjugation, or war … That’s what Muhammad said. And in chapter 33, verse 21 of the Koran, it says Muhammad is the excellent example for the Muslim, you ask any Muslim and they’ll tell you that: That is nonnegotiable, what Muhammad said goes, and that’s not some hijacker extremist Islam, that’s mainstream … This is how it is, you don’t need a bomb. I don’t think Feisal is ever going to blow anything up, because that’s not his game; his game is a societal, cultural penetration … ”