Does Sally Quinn read the Washington Post microsite On Faith? You know, the one she writes for, created, and runs -- and which uses her name and photo in its banner graphic?
Quinn posted her thoughts on the proposed Park51 Islamic community center last evening, endorsing the project and denouncing its critics. But Quinn seems unaware of the commentary her On Faith site has featured.
Quinn ridicules Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich for their strident opposition to the community center -- ridicule that is well-deserved. She mocks Charles Krauthammer for failing to indicate exactly what he considers "Ground Zero" and how far away from it he would keep Muslims. She tweaks Gingrich for his plans to appear at a demonstration with a Dutch politician "who has called for a ban on the Quran."
Quinn's criticisms of Palin, Gingrich and Krauthammer are appropriate, as is her scorn for "conspiracy theorists" who claim that the cultural center will be "connected to terrorism." And that's why I have to wonder if she actually reads the site she moderates. See, On Faith has hosted some pretty far-out and incendiary commentary about the Park51 project, most notably Cal Thomas's angry July 21 screed. Thomas called Muslims liars, insisted that the cultural center is about "celebrating" the deaths of thousands of Americans, suggested that America should take Saudi Arabia's lead when it comes to religious tolerance, and claimed that the cultural center is an attempt by "our enemies" to establish a "beachhead in America" from which to "launch new terror attacks and forcibly convert Americans to their way of thinking and believing." Thomas did all that under Sally Quinn's banner, presented to the world by her as a "distinguished" panelist and part of an "intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful conversation."
It's great that Sally Quinn is calling out merchants of fear and intolerance like Palin and Gingrich. But why is she ignoring her own panelist's reckless smears of Muslims and of the community center she endorses? If she is really concerned about the "growing Islamophobia in this country," why does her site embrace and promote one of its most influential practitioners?