Advocates of the proposed Ground Zero mosque are quick to dismiss any and all opposition as bigotry and Islamophobia. This comes despite similar criticisms of the plan expressed by Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.
Leading that charge has been Ibrahim Hooper and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority in our nation whose lives are dedicated to marginalizing American Muslims and demonizing Islam," he wrote in August.
It would be interesting to see if Hooper casts Saudi Prince Talal bin Alwaleed in that category. As Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz point out in the Weekly Standard, the prince told the New York Times that the mosque shouldn't be built at its current site. "I'm not for putting that mosque there," he said.
While Alwaleed has supported fundamentalist institutions abroad, Alawi and Schwartz say, he has "publicly favored modernization and a more open culture inside the kingdom …. A move away from Saudi involvement with the GZM hustle could favor moderation among Muslims in Mecca and Medina as well as in Manhattan."
His opposition, he told the Times, was rooted in its proximity to a strip club and out of respect to the relatives of 9/11 victims upset by the proposal. When a Saudi prince is more deferential toward American sensitivities than a national Islamist mouthpiece, it's time for Hooper, et al. to check their rhetoric.