Or, when does a place of worship relinquish it’s Constitutional protections of “free exercise” of religion? The recent revelations concerning the Fort Hood terrorist, Nidal Hasan, and his association with a Virginia mosque that Nawaf al-Hazmi and Hani Hanjour–two of the 9/11 terrorists–also frequented, has gotten me to thinking along these lines…
A bank forfeits its legitimacy as a lawful financial institution when behind the scenes it serves as the means of laundering money gained from criminal activity. That bank no longer is serving its legal business function and therefore should be brought to justice in order that the illegal financial operations be ended and the underlying criminal activity exposed and prosecuted.
In the same way, doesn’t a mosque (or any other religious institution) cede its legitimacy as a place of religious worship, protected under the First Amendment, when it functions as a vehicle for the laundering of terrorists bent on carrying out their murderous vision of religion in the United States?
In the example of the bank, the bad money is given a cover of legitimacy through deceptive financial accounting. This allows the illicit money to have the cover of honest gain in order that it can be used to further illegal activities without exposure.
So too with the laundering mosque cited above, bad actors or otherwise jihadists (those waging a holy war on behalf of Islam as a religious duty) are afforded a veneer of peaceful, legitimate religious beliefs (in this case a misguided application of cultural diversity one might say) by the deceptive “house of worship” in order that those individuals can plan and carry out their terrorist intentions. When this occurs then that religious institution is likewise a criminal accesory and, I dare say, a treasonous enterprise. Such organizations should be broken up with the same or even more conviction exercised in law enforcement toward money laundering banks; exposed for what they are and those responsible brought to justice.
I am aware of, and sympathetic to, the objections of our government sticking its nose into private religious affairs. But when evidence of the above surfaces, then that evidence should be followed by investigation and, if warranted, indictments and the cessation of the bogus religious operation. The terrorist considers his mosque related activity as obligatory religious warfare. How are we to view it?
My gut tells me that we entertain squeamishness in this matter at our own peril.