Cohen calls out Gingrich for "pushing prejudice at Ground Zero"


From Richard Cohen's August 3 Washington Post op-ed, titled, "Newt Gingrich, pushing prejudice at Ground Zero":

Newt Gingrich, his doctorate notwithstanding, has offered us an illogical and ahistorical context to the ugly dispute about building an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Manhattan's Ground Zero. For a while, I thought that Sarah Palin and others would be the only ones to reap the political benefit of exploiting anti-Muslim sentiment, but Gingrich was not to be denied. With a preposterous solemnity, he expounded the schoolyard doctrine of tit for tat.

Gingrich noted that there "are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia." True enough. However, it is not the government of Saudi Arabia that seeks to open a mosque in Lower Manhattan, but a private group. In addition, and just for the record, Saudi Arabia does not represent all of Islam and, also just for the record, the al-Qaeda terrorists who murdered nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001, would gladly have added the vast Saudi royal family to the list of victims. In recompense, the Saudis would just as gladly apply some dull swords to the necks of al-Qaeda's leaders. It is the way of the desert, or something like that.

I would also note that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Applying Gingrichian logic, it follows that no Muslim women should be allowed to drive in the United States and its possessions and territories -- or, for that matter, use a BlackBerry, since the United Arab Emirates is about to block some of its key functions. I'm sure Gingrich would agree.


This mosque and Islamic center were approved by the local neighborhood advisory board and have the backing of the mayor. To an alarming extent, the opponents are mostly Republican politicians -- Palin, Lazio, Gingrich and even congressional candidates in other states. They pretend to have the courage of their convictions, but the truth is otherwise. When it comes to convictions, they have none at all.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
The Washington Post
Newt Gingrich, Richard Cohen
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