5 Best Thursday Columns

The Democrats' chance to keep the House, the cab attack, and more

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  • Irshad Manji on Thinking Critically About 'the Mosque'  Too many Americans are mistaking feeling for thinking, and "that's true not just among antimosque crusaders, but also among warriors for tolerance," ventures the Muslim NYU professor in a Wall Street Journal contribution. Manji discloses that he is personally offended by the "crass politics" of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and suggests those interested in evaluating the relative extremism or tolerance in the leader's views ask him the following questions: 1) Will men and women be segregated in certain sections of the mosque? 2) "May women lead congregational prayers any day of the week?" 3) "Will Jews and Christians, fellow People of the Book, be able to use the prayer sanctuary for their services"? 4) "What will be taught about homosexuals? About agnostics? About atheists? About apostasy?"

  • The New York Post Editors on the Muslim 'Cabby Attack'  The Post editorial board is hoping that calmer heads will prevail in the aftermath of a knife attack committed against a Muslim cab driver in New York City. But though the deranged crime should be abhorred, they're not so sure it's connected to the continued debate over the Park51 Muslim community center, or evidence that said debate is getting out of hand. They conclude: "Certainly, there is no cresting wave of bigotry about to roll over Muslims in America: There are now slightly more than 100 such attacks each year--this in a nation of 310-plus million people."

  • David Ignatius on Cybersecurity and the Pentagon  Writing in The Washington Post, Ignatius voices concern about the Pentagon's new plan to combat cyberterrorism. Dubbed "Cyberstrategy 3.0," the new plan eschews "'massive retaliation' against attackers whose country of origin may be unclear" in favor of "an alternative concept of deterrence based on making America's infrastructure robust and redundant enough to survive any attack." Ignatius dismisses the new strategy as needlessly "costly and perhaps cumbersome." Ignatius believes that raising public awareness of cyber threats is more essential than formulating a response strategy. As it stands now, there is a "gap between the way defense experts see cyberspace -- as a source of potentially crippling assault -- and the public's view of an Internet that is a generally benign companion."

  • Reid Wilson on Why Democrats Will Keep the House  While many pundits are predicting a GOP tsunami that will wipe out incumbent Democrats, Reid Wilson of Hotline is more measured in his prediction. Namely, he thinks it's still a stretch to say that the GOP will take the House. Here are his four reasons why: 1) Money: Republicans are still playing catch-up in the money chase, with the DCCC having nearly twice as much cash as the NRCC. 2) Turnout: money matters a lot in this category, as advertising gets voters to cast their polls early in absentee balloting before election day. 3) Opposition Research: Reid believes the Democrats have an "unprecedented" dirt-digging team that can drive GOP negatives "through the roof." 4) Modeling: Expectations are too high for the Republicans; enthusiasm will wane.

  • George Will on the Myth of Peace in the Middle East  The Middle East peace process is an illusion, contends the Washington Post columnist, and one to which the U.S. is so committed that any actual progress is impossible. The mirage of progress, Will argues, allows Palestinian officials to demand concessions from Israel before even approaching the bargaining table. The historical narrative in the region is "cyclical rather than linear." Meanwhile, the U.S., instead of responding to harsh rhetoric from Syria's dictator, sends diplomats to the region who proudly tweet to the world "I'm not kidding when I say I just had the greatest frappacino [sic] ever." He ends by urging Israel and the U.S. not to make concessions prior to the peace talks beginning September 2.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.