The XX Factor

More on the Mosque

Rachael , following Mayor Bloomberg’s speech in favor of the building of the mosque near Ground Zero, he answered a few questions from the press. Surely he can’t mean some of the things he said. In his remarks he seems to carve out a (tax-exempt!) space for people to engage in any kind of speech whatsoever as long as it’s under the guise of religion: “This is about giving those people the right to say what they want to say. … Even if I disagree with it, they have a right to call for anything they want.” Really?  This must mean Bloomberg has quite a beef with Barack Obama, who has authorized the assassination of Islamic cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki for his incitement to murder Americans: Awlaki’s sermons were the inspiration for, among others, the Ft. Hood shooter, the attempted Christmas airplane bomber, and the would-be Times Square bomber (whose motives Bloomberg first opined were probably opposition to health care reform).

Bloomberg also says the government should have no interest in the source of the $100 million to fund the mosque, nor any other religious institution: “I do not think we should be investigating who puts money in the basket when it’s passed around, who writes checks at Yom Kippur, or any other ways that a religious organization raises money. That’s between the donors and them, and the government should not get involved in it.” He really doesn’t care whether Saudi Arabia, as part of its effort to export its noxious Wahhabism, helps underwrite this center? And I can’t he believe he opposes the federal government’s investigation and prosecution of Islamic charities that use religious cover to fund terrorist activities.

Photograph of Bloomberg’s press conference by Michael Nagle/Getty Images.