LAKE JACKSON, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Congressman Ron Paul today released the following statement on the controversy concerning the construction of an Islamic Center and Mosque in New York City:
“Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?
“It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”
“The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.
“Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”
“Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?
“In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.
“They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.
“The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we're supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.
“The nineteen suicide bombers didn't come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.
“Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don't want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.
“This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.