Adam Serwer points out today that the very name of the planned Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan has led the most paranoid members of society to believe that it is an explicit announcement of the intention to impose Sharia law on the United States. Serwer points out that this is "cartoon-villain stupid." So it makes sense that leading the charge here is Newt Gingrich, who divines the magic forces at work thusly:
The true intentions of [Faisal Abdul] Rauf are also revealed by the name initially proposed for the Ground Zero mosque --"Cordoba House" -- which is named for a city in Spain where a conquering Muslim army replaced a church with a mosque. This name is a very direct historical indication that the Ground Zero mosque is all about conquest and thus an assertion of Islamist triumphalism which we should not tolerate.
Serwer notes that the Cordoba Initiative has announced ideals of its own, chief among them being a restoration of "the atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect that we have longed for since Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony and prosperity eight hundred years ago."
As Serwer goes on to say, this basically boils down to whether you accept that Faisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" -- after having a long career building interfaith bridges with the stated intention of out-competing Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda death cult for the hearts and minds of young Muslims -- has now accidentally tipped his hand to the secret plot to destroy America that he's been hiding all along. (If only he'd been smart enough to call the proposed center "The Newt Gingrich House of Pancakes!")
And then, if all that is true, you have to imagine that somehow, it's even possible for Sharia law to be imposed somehow on America. One need only look at how difficult it is for a global superpower to impose Western democracy on Iraq and Afghanistan to see how foolish an idea that is. From my perch inside the Beltway, I find it hard to believe that the "Impose Sharia Law Act of 2011" wins Ben Nelson's vote in the Senate. I suppose it could be done through sorcery, but al Qaeda will really have to step up its game, from crotch-based incendiary discharges, to make that work.
Cordoba: Lost In Translation [Adam Serwer]