Mark Steel: Is Sarah Palin ‘militant jihadist’?
Writing in today's Independent, Mark Steel posits that the opposition to an Islamic Centre (it's not a mosque, though it does contain space for prayer) being built 2 blocks from Ground Zero is based on anti-Islamic fears and prejudices, and has nothing to do with protecting the memory of those who died in 9/11.
The centre will include a swimming pool, gym, performing arts centre and will host a range of interfaith and secular programmes. It will be open to everyone and is part-funded by the Cordoba Initiative, an organisation that aims to improve relations between Muslims and western cultures by creating programmes of active engagement between individuals and communities. Surely this is exactly the spirit that should be promoted in the years following 9/11?
The centre has been opposed most vociferously by Sarah Palin, who has called upon 'peaceful Muslims' to oppose the centre.
"So, as she's asking Muslims to oppose a centre open to everyone," writes Mark Steel, "That commemorates the victims of 9/11, it seems likely she's a militant
Jihadist who thinks the building will be a betrayal of true radical
Islam. She's certainly got experience of being filmed with rifles so
she's probably sat by one while making a video up a mountain right now,
leaning into the camera and booming 'The front crawl is the agenda of
the infidel, my friends.'"
Critics have also stated that the centre would breach the 'sombre tranquility' of the Ground Zero and Mark makes an interesting point:
"So instead of this centre there should be more buildings such as The
Pussycat Club," he asks, "Which is next door to where the towers were, and boasts
of being the area's premier strip joint. But that must be in keeping
with the sombreness, presumably because the girls start their slide down
the pole in a fireman's uniform in honour of the heroic firefighters of
that fateful day."