Is constructing an Islamic community center two blocks from ground zero an insult to the victims of 9/11 and their families? Sarah Palin seems to think so. The former Alaska governor famously asked "peaceful Muslims" to "refudiate" plans for the center, which will include a space for Muslim daily prayers. She also wondered why the proposed Cordoba House didn't stab its supporters in the heart "as it does ours throughout the heartland."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offers a different argument against construction of the proposed center: This country should engage in tit-for-tat with religiously intolerant Muslim nations. "There should be no mosque near ground zero in New York," Gingrich said, "so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia." Of course, following Gingrich's logic, no mosques should be built anywhere in the United States.
Both arguments will resonate with Americans in the "heartland" and elsewhere who remember that the hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, most of them in New York, were Muslims acting on a warped interpretation of their religion.
But Palin and Gingrich are wrong. The implication of their opposition to the Islamic center is that the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks are representative of their religion and that the organizers of Cordoba House are complicit in that atrocity simply because of their beliefs.