Last night 60 Minutes had its turn with the controversy over the Islamic community center and prayer room planned for Lower Manhattan. Much of the segment will be familiar to those who've been following along with this trainwreck, but there are a couple of new nuggets for the "Ground Zero" mosque completist. For starters, the center's imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, announced that he's asking the US government to approve anyone who donates to the $100 million project. Also, as a sign of solidarity with real America, he's ready to die in the next terrorist attack.
"We have condemned 9/11," Rauf told correspondent Scott Pelley. "I pray for the souls of their loved lost ones. If 9/11 happens there again, I want to be the first to die. Muslims wanna stand right there to say that we are here. It's my duty as an American Muslim to stand between you, the American non-Muslim, and the radicals who are trying to attack you." Rauf also vowed that the project will move forward, and reiterated that he's determined to "wage peace."
For balance, 60 Minutes gave airtime to anti-mosque rantaholic Pamela Geller, who insists, "That building is Ground Zero. And I will say something else. Truth is the new hate speech. And you and I live in so tawdry an age that just telling the truth makes you a hero. And yet, there are so few heroes. Or makes you a devil, in the eyes of the media. That's all I do is tell the truth." What? Anyway, Geller is predictably outraged over the segment, writing on her blog today, "I am called a "conspiracy theorist" for speaking the truth and investigating the stealth jihadists behind the mosque. You can write to CBS here." Because you have nothing better to do.
And kudos to 60 Minutes for noting that "there is, of course, another Ground Zero: 184 people were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11... For eight years now, every weekday at 2 o'clock you can hear the Islamic call to prayer in the chapel. Every faith is welcome. Islamic servicemen and civilians are among those who use the chapel most often." Pentagon chaplain Colonel Daniel Minjares tells 60 Minutes, "I think this is representative of America, again, not just Army values, but what America, the best of what America represents, that various groups, various faith traditions can all use the same building."