'Mosque' debate: where's Rudy Giuliani?
While discussing the mosque that is not a mosque planned for Lower Manhattan last night at dinner, it hit me: where is Rudy Giuliani?
We have heard repeatedly from a chorus of callous Republicans who think nothing of using the murderous acts of 19 Muslim terrorists to trash all of Islam while professing to respect religious freedom. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was particularly noxious yesterday on Fox News when he said, "Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington." Not as noxious but nevertheless odious yesterday on MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show” was former New York governor George Pataki. Parroting the suspicion that the the backers of Park51 (the official name of the mosque that is not a mosque) are some sort of sleeper cell, Pataki said, “If it’s truly about sensitivity and understanding why do they do that?” Pataki asked. “Why does it have to be so close to Ground Zero? It raises questions in my mind that this is not about tolerance. This is not about worship....It’s about really poking a finger in our eyes and reminding us of this.”
Dana Milbank catalogs more of the ugliness in his column today. But the most tame comment came from Giuliani. "Come on,” he said, “we're going to allow that at Ground Zero?" Sure, the former mayor of New York City who escaped from his collapsed emergency command center near Ground Zero on Sept. 11 called the project a “desecration” and had some other choice things to say about its imam and his alleged ties to extremists. But Giuliani made these comments on a conservative radio show last month. That we even know he said this much is due to an Aug. 2 blog post from my former Daily News colleague Maggie Haberman, who is now at Politico.
Maybe Giuliani is too busy enjoying the summer in the Hamptons to jump back into the muddy puddle the ‘mosque’ controversy has become. Or maybe the rhetoric has gotten so heated, so over-the-top that even the man who became “America’s Mayor” on Sept. 11, 2001, has decided that it’s better for him to sit this one out.
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