The New Clintonian Rhetoric

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 15, 2010


From clarion call, to furious backtracking: The story of President Obama’s rhetoric on the Ground Zero mosque.

Come to think of it, “Clintonian” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I suppose that I am not going to get away with not taking a position on this issue. To be sure, a lot of people have opposed the mosque because of anti-Muslim sentiments that constitute pure bigotry. And to be sure, no one can deny the right of those interested in having the mosque at Ground Zero; it would be a blatant First Amendment violation if government authorities somehow ensured that the mosque could not be built at Ground Zero, but that a synagogue or a church could. Of course, writing just for myself, if I were in Feisal Abdul Rauf’s place, I would not have the mosque at Ground Zero, precisely because of the controversy it courts. If Rauf persists, the politics of the situation will be so that the burden is on him to reach out to the families of those killed on September 11th, as well as to the community as a whole, in order to ensure that hard feelings dissipate. And certainly, good intentions on his part ought to be reciprocated.

Some of the best writing on this issue has been done by Christopher Hitchens, who points out why the general tone of the debate concerning the Ground Zero mosque is circling the drain.

  • John

    Hitch just glosses over the most important stuff in a tiny sentence at the end of the piece. Awesome.

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