Jonathan Chait

Palin Takes On Islam And The English Language At The Same Time

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Sarah Palin is so upset that some Muslims want to build a mosque and cultural center in lower Manhattan that she invented a new word to express her umbrage:

Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

I think "refudiate" is actually a fantastic word. I propose we all start using it immediately. Palin soon thereafter replaced that message with one consisting entirely of words invented by people other than her:

Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real

That ain't right, either --I think the word she's looking for is "repudiate," not "refute" -- but it's close enough.

The Bush administration understood that defining its foreign policy vision as a battle between the West and Islam was a disastrous choice and a victory for the extremists. But conservatives now are falling into the precise trap the extremists have set, which is to define all Islam as radical Islam. If you are capable of distinguishing between moderate Islam and extremist Islam, the notion of a mosque and Muslim cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero ought to be totally uncontroversial. Indeed, it is a celebration of American diversity and a symbol of what makes this country superior to its enemies.

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