Right-wing freakout over NYC Islamic center generates flood of absurd comparisons

In their escalating attacks on an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, conservatives in the media have resorted to using ridiculous analogies to claim that the center would somehow be offensive.

Conservatives make absurd comparisons to ramp up attacks on Islamic center

Limbaugh suggests building Hindu temple at Pearl Harbor. On the August 16 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said, “Folks, let's do this. Let's suggest that we build a Hindu temple right next to the Arizona memorial out at Pearl Harbor. Why? Outreach. Show we have no hard feelings. Put a Hindu temple there.” Later in the show, Limbaugh clarified, “I said a Hindu temple at Arizona memorial. I meant Shinto shrine.”

Gingrich compares Islamic center to Nazis erecting sign near Holocaust museum, Japanese site near Pearl Harbor. On the August 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Newt Gingrich said, “Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.”

Shepherd, Geraghty tweet multiple analogies to Islamic center. On August 4, NewsBusters managing editor Ken Shepherd and National Review Online blogger Jim Geraghty tweeted scenarios they alleged to be similar to the construction of the Islamic center:

Sekulow compares Islamic center to “monument to kamikaze pilots” at Pearl Harbor. On the August 4 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott said, “The mayor says it would show what a great and tolerant country America is if you allow the building of a mosque in this site. Do you have an answer for that?” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, responded, “That argument is like saying this: It would be appropriate and show tolerance to allow a monument to kamikaze pilots at the site of the Arizona at Pearl Harbor.” Sekulow later described the Islamic center as “a 15-story monument to what happened on 9-11.”

Buchanan invokes Nazi march in Illinois while discussing Islamic center. On the August 4 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan said, “I don't think there would be a real -- these objections if a Catholic community center was put where the mosque -- or where the Islamic community center's going to be, or a synagogue or something like that. There wouldn't be the objections.” Buchanan went on to say, “We had a real controversy about three decades ago, Joe, and I was involved in it. Should the Nazis -- open Nazis -- be allowed to march through Skokie, Illinois? And I argued they ought to have a -- they certainly have a right to meet, but that's a provocation because that was a Jewish community, and so I said no. Now, I don't know that this is a provocation, or can be called that, if you could get a synagogue there. But I do know it does seem deliberately insensitive, and I don't know why the Islamic leaders don't see that this isn't bringing us together and it's not helping, and take a unilateral step and pull back.”

Limbaugh compares Islamic center to the Klan building a memorial in Gettysburg. On the August 3 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh asked a caller, “What would happen, do you think, if the Ku Klux Klan established a memorial at Gettysburg?” Limbaugh later said, “They wouldn't get to first base. Nobody would put up with the Klan building a memorial anywhere, much less Gettysburg.”

Erickson asks if supporters of Islamic center also support display of Confederate flag. RedState blogger and CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote in an August 3 tweet: “Do the people who think a mosque at ground zero is ok b/c of sensitivity concerns support the display of the confederate battle flag?”

McGuirk: You wouldn't build “a sushi stand at the Pearl Harbor memorial.” On the May 20 edition of Fox News' Hannity, radio host Amy Walter said, “You would never build something like a German cultural center outside of Auschwitz. You wouldn't do that, even 50 years later. It's wrong. It's in poor taste. You just don't do that.” Imus in the Morning producer Bernard McGuirk replied, “Or a sushi stand at the Pearl Harbor memorial.” [Transcript from Nexis.]