I think there is a huge contradiction in the argument of those opposed to the NY mosque, if I understand them correctly. Let’s start by stating what I think is the most coherent argument against the mosque.
If there is a coherent argument at the heart of the opposition to the mosque, I understand it to be this:
Al Quaeda and the like will see this mosque being constructed as their “victory”, a monument to their heinous act of almost a decade ago, on the gravesite of their victims to boot. This will somehow inspire them to even more heinous acts.
That most Muslims aren’t in Al Quaeda or don’t see the mosque in this way would be irrelevent. The case against the mosque (irrespective of the fact we are trashing our own bill of rights) is based on not sending this message to Al Quaeda.
But most people who make this argument seem to also sneer at Obama’s efforts to reach out to Islam. They generally argue that Al Quaeda is totally unconcerned about if we reach out but will implacably pursue destroying western civilization. Moderate Islam, if it even exists, cannot affect Al Queada. Some also conflate all of islam and Al Quaeda as well, as proceeding down a path or unspeakable brutality, regardless of our message belligerant or reaching out, and Obama is a fool to send any message other than force to destroy terrorist where we find them.
Here is my point. Given their view that messages to Al Queada are irrelevant, then what matter is it that we send any message by allowing the mosque to be built? Terrorists behavior will be unaffected by the mosque being built or not according to the critics of the mosque.
Either: there are no “moderate” Muslims (some really believe this!) to be offended by stopping the mosque, and Al Quaeda will be just as dangerous; or moderate Muslims will be driven into the arms of Al Quaeda.
Stopping this mosque will at best accomplish nothing, and more likely do enormous damage to our constitution, our security, our relation with the Islamic world and the world at large.