One of the more risible aspects of the conservative braying about the proposed Park51 Islamic center is the idea that Islamic extremism can somehow be defined by geography. "Too close," is the clarion call for opponents of Park51, who insist that only an extremist would want the facility to be so near to Ground Zero.
But that raises an obvious question -- how much further away should it be? Where is the boundary line between "extremist" mosque and "moderate" mosque? Columbus Park? The Holland Tunnel? Washington Square? (side note: such boundaries apparently don't exist outside Manhattan, as Muslims have been happily praying away inside the Pentagon since 2001 without so much as a murmur of controversy).
Fox Business' Eric Bolling endeavored to answer that question yesterday, asking one of his guests of Park51's Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: "This imam says he's a moderate Muslim, if I'm not mistaken. If he's a moderate Muslim, why wouldn't he propose to move this mosque two or three blocks away and make everybody happy?"
Finally, some clarity on the issue -- Park51 will be two blocks from Ground Zero, but we need another two or three blocks more, which comes to a five-block radius from Ground Zero, which effectively means no mosques in the financial district (unless they're along FDR Drive or in the Hudson River).
Unfortunately for Imam Rauf, Bolling's solution means he will be tagged as "extremist" no matter what he does. If Park51 remains at its current location, then it will be well within Bolling's "extremist" quarantine, which means Rauf acted as an extremist. If Park51 is somehow moved two or three blocks away into the "moderate" territory, then that will mean Rauf will have acknowledged that, by wanting to build Park51 so close to Ground Zero, he acted as an extremist.
Of course, this all rests on the ridiculous notion that the tilt of your ideology can be divined via GPS.