The NY Times has an interesting report on the reaction of New Yorkers to the Ground Zero mosque-and what's most interesting to us, is the headline that states, "New Yorkers Unsure of Islamic Center, Poll Finds." Yet, when you read the story, what you find is the exact opposite-New Yorkers in liberal NYC don't want the mosque built anywhere near the current hole in the ground over by Battery Park City: "Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who say they favor the project, according to a New York Times poll. The poll indicates that support for the 13-story complex, which organizers said would promote moderate Islam and interfaith dialogue, is tepid and uncertain in its home town, confined mainly to Manhattan and those who identify as liberal."
The bigots are really coming out of the woodwork-but most folks understand the difference between what's permitted and what's proper: "The poll, however, reveals a more complicated portrait of the opposition in New York: 67 percent said that while Muslims had a right to construct the center near ground zero, they should find a different location. Most strikingly, 40 percent of those who expressed support for the plan to build it in Lower Manhattan said later in a follow-up interview that they would prefer it be moved farther away, suggesting that even those who defend the plan question the wisdom of the location."
And, as the Times points out, Mike Bloomberg isn't much of an opinion leader: "The poll, the first survey to focus exclusively on city residents, was conducted Aug. 17 to 31 with 892 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points. It suggested that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the center’s most ardent and public defender, has yet to unify public opinion around the issue. Asked if they approved or disapproved of how he has handled the subject, city residents were evenly split."
But the mayor's bipolarity on constitutional rights and liberties is what shines through for us. A NY Post editorial paints the picture in a particularly hypocritical hue: "Mayor Bloomberg advises The New York Times: "The government should not be in the business of telling people what to do." To which we say: Ha ha ha haha ha ha! Thanks, Mike. That was a good one. Previous mayoral pronouncements on the proper role of government in peoples' lives have been, of course, somewhat less libertarian in tone. They went something like:
* "Drop the donut, Fatso!"
* "Unhand the saltshaker, Knave!"
* "No sugar for your sodapop, Buster!"
Then there's tobacco -- which he has succeeded in taxing so oppressively that's it has become almost as attractive to the black market as that other devil weed, marijuana."
But when it comes to the bedrock constitutional rights of Muslims, Bloomberg opts to build his church (in the fashion of Martin Luther nailing his theses on the castle wall): "Mike's admonishment, to be sure, came in the context of the discussion over the Ground Zero mosque -- and his point was that government has no business dictating how people should pray. But that's so self-evidently true that it's a wonder he even raised the topic. Still, we're glad he did. A little hot-weather hilarity is always welcome."
But Bloomberg's hypocrisy is far from amusing to us-and it serves to divert attention away from the mayor's nonfeasance for nine years. Think about it, there is currently a seven story hole in the ground where the Twin Towers used to stand-and we are debating whether it is okay to build a mosque next to this holey symbol of government failure. In our view, we shouldn't even be having any discussion of the mosque until the reconstruction of Ground Zero is accomplished-we'll put it on our to do (later) list.
And New Yorkers, unlike the out of touch Bloomberg, understand that the issue is one of sensitivity. As one man told the Times: "Freedom of religion is one of the guarantees we give in this country, so they are free to worship where they chose,” Mr. Merton said. “I just think it’s very bad manners on their part to be so insensitive as to put a mosque in that area.”
It should also be pointed out that this isn't the first time that Bloomberg has lost his way when it comes to offensive Islamists. Remember the prison imam that the mayor couldn't fire? It happened four years ago-and, as the Chief's headline told us: "Jail Chaplain Is Suspended For Offensive Words; Mayor Claims Firing Would Impinge On Free Speech."
What did the guy say? Nothing too offensive; and anyway it was taken out of context: "During Mr. Abdul-Jalil's speech last April, he urged his Muslim audience "to stop allowing ... the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us." In another address at the same conference, he said, "We know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House." In a statement released shortly after the Mayor's announcement, Mr. Abdul-Jalil said that his comments were never intended "to be disrespectful or to hurt anyone." He added, "I preach love and respect for all people of all faiths. I am sorry if my words were taken out of context and caused offense to anyone."
Sound familiar? But Jalil's comments didn't bother the Left-after all, they were saying the same things about President Bush. And Imam Rauf, our current imam du jour, has the same kind of slipperiness-knowing what to say before different audiences. Lest you think that Jalil had simply had a momentary lapse of sanity, let's hear what else he had to say: "During his speech last year, Mr. Abdul-Jalil also claimed that Muslims incarcerated in Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks had been tortured. "They are not charged with anything, they are not entitled to any rights, they are interrogated," he alleged. "Some of them are literally tortured, and we found this in the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Manhattan."
And the best response Mike Bloomberg could muster was a reprimand-when it was within his rights to can the bastard whose views should have made him person non grata everywhere; but especially in our jails where many Americans have been converted to the most virulent strain of Islam: "The city could have fired Mr. Abdul-Jalil, who serves at the pleasure of the Correction Commissioner without civil service protections."
This is, as the NY Post reported in February, a pattern with the Bloombergistas: "It's time for City Hall to take the chaplaincy program at the Department of Correction and shake it like the dirty rug it has become. Wednesday, Imam Zulqarnain Abdu-Shahid was arrested as he entered the Tombs in lower Manhattan. The Muslim prison chaplain said he "forgot" that he had utility blades and scissors in his carrying bag. Abdu-Shahid was immediately suspended as chaplain, and for good reason. Quite apart from the contraband charges, it turns out he's a convicted murderer -- having been found guilty in 1979 of murder and robbery involving a Harlem supermarket hold-up. And it appears that the department was wholly unaware of Abdu-Shahid's record."
And then there's Imam Umar: "Three years earlier, Imam Warith Deen Umar, the man previously in charge of hiring Muslim chaplains for state prisons, declared that the 9/11 hijackers should be considered martyrs." And given this here no evil, see no evil attitude in Mayor Mike's administration, why should anyone be surprised that he's against vetting the GZ mosque funding?
As City Room reported the other day: "Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo should not investigate the financing of the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Tuesday, reiterating his support for the project. “I think it’s a terrible precedent,” he said. “You don’t want them investigating donations to religious organizations, and there’s no reason for the government to do so.”
So, Bloomberg doesn't believe in vetting anything that involves Islamists-and when one of them exhibits his true colors, the mayor invokes his first amendment rights to justify why he didn't fire him?" And what's up with City Room's description here? "Mr. Bloomberg made his remarks about the controversial development project, known as Park51, in response to questions about a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday that found voters in New York State deeply divided, with more than 70 percent of them wanting Mr. Cuomo to investigate the project’s financing." (emphasis added)
Hah, as James Taranto points out in the WSJ, it is Bloomberg and the dwindling 22% that is sharply divided from the city's clear thinking majority. So, while we applaud our fellow New Yorkers about their queasiness around the siting of the GZ mosque, we urge them to become more aware of how the man who can't be bought-but who, in turn, has bought an undeserved third term-has sold them a bill of goods about who he really is.