In a column carried by The Jerusalem Post, Boteach informs us that:
Tempers are heating up in the New York City area over the plans by the American Society for Muslim Advancement and another Islamic group known as the Cordoba Initiative to build a $100 million, 13-story, Islamic cultural center and mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero. And if that were not inflammatory enough, the plan is to inaugurate the new center on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
There are many ways in which building things can be inflammatory. For instance, if you build a settlement on private land belonging to someone else, that's inflammatory. If you build apartment blocks in defiance of both international law and the commitments signed by your country, that's also inflammatory. But what can be inflammatory about building a religious center in compliance with the existing laws and regulations? Let Boteach explain:
[I]t would be the height of insensitivity, not to say an outright provocation, for the Islamic community to build a giant Islamic shrine at the resting place of 3,000 innocent Americans who were murdered by Islamic terrorists.
Let me see if I get this straight. Some Muslims who did nothing wrong must refrain from building mosques near the place where other, completely unrelated Muslims crashed planes into buildings. This must be because all Muslims are responsible for what all other Muslims do, right? I can think of another religious group, with which Boteach may not be completely unfamiliar, that has been fighting this kind of logic for some two millennia.
But it seems this wise man is not alone in his paranoia:
New Yorkers seem overwhelmingly opposed to the plan, comparing its insensitivity to the German government opening, say, a Bach appreciation museum right outside Auschwitz, or Toyota opening a car factory by the Arizona Memorial on the island of Oahu.
He may have meant Wagner not Bach, and one wonders why the German government would want to open a music museum in a place inside Poland. But in any event, the fact that the Nazis acted as the elected leaders of Germany obligates all successive German governments to be very sensitive to Jewish feelings. This is hardly true for the Muslims of New York, who are in no way obligated by the choices of 19 men unrepresentative of Islam.
Having established that Muslims share collective responsibility for the original sin of the Twin Towers, Boteach proceeds to explain how they could redeem themselves:
I HAVE a simple, elegant, and deeply moral solution. Let the Islamic cultural center be built. Let the mosque be included. But, the Muslim organizations building it should commit right now to making the principal focus of the building a museum depicting the rise of Islamic extremism, its hate-based agenda and how it is an abomination to Islam.
The museum would feature exhibits showing the major fomenters of Islamic hatred worldwide and the cultural and religious factors that have gained them so wide a following.
Of course, it's a matter of everyday experience to walk into a Catholic church and see the pictures of child-abusing Catholic priests, along with an explanation of how that's an abomination of the institution of celibacy. Similarly, you may recall when you were last invited to a Jewish wedding and you saw a museum dedicated to rabbi Meir Kahane inside the synagogue, which explained how his anti-Arab hate is an abomination of Judaism, and denounced --complete with the pictures and videos-- the stoning of Palestinian schoolgirls and the burning of olive trees carried out by his followers. Because you know, all Catholics are tainted by their rapists, and all Jews by their racists, and they must exorcize themselves by repudiating those sinners in their houses of prayer.
The museum would feature exhibits showing the major fomenters of Islamic hatred worldwide and the cultural and religious factors that have gained them so wide a following. It would have exhibitions on some of the terrible atrocities committed by these Islamic fundamentalists, focusing specifically on the slaughter at Ground Zero on 9/11.
In other words, guilty until proven innocent. All Muslims must be considered terrorists unless they subject themselves to public self-flagellation in their own cultural centers.
Nothing new there. Try boarding a plane with a hooked nose and thick eyebrows, let alone a keffiyeh. But it's scary to see how mainstream such racist stereotypes have gone, and how cheerfully popular rabbis espouse them.