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Monday, August 23, 2010

Mosque at Ground Zero?


The news and those that own it are back at it again.  Skewing reality and emphasizing the irrelevant is what they do best, but this is a polarizing debate that we just don't need - and the media is feeding it to us like crazy!

Whether or not the 15-storey building should be constructed - I really don't have the background to answer.  I do think that New York's Lower Manhattan is not the place, and this is not the time.  Maybe it should be in a different part of the city. Maybe it should be considered at another time.  Not when we're still steeped in war; not when financial uncertainties halted the re-construction of the gaping hole on the site, and not when some soldiers are coming home from the war against terrorism and others, unfortunately, will not. 

I get that's not a mosque....it will be an Islamic Community Center.  I get that it's not on the hallowed site of Ground Zero.  It's a few blocks away.  I get that it's private property.  I understand - logically - why it would make sense for a group to construct a building for the community that it serves, and I also understand the legal right for them to do so....but it just doesn't feel right, and the argument around it is causing much more damage to the American psyche than the building itself. 

9/11 changed everything - not only for the US, but for the world.  Airline policies, security measures to enter a country, even attire that Muslim women wear  - perspectives in the way we live have ALL all changed since that dreadful day.  It's certainly altered life for those living in New York City, and especially families of the 3,000 victims who died. 

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project, is causing more damage than good.  For someone to have spent a lifetime promoting interfaith understanding, peace and tolerance, I'm quite surprised that he's leading the plans of such a highly opposed project.  This isn't the way healing happens.

4 comments:

  1. Hi A,
    I hope you'll consider a few points which I think are important to put out there:

    First, this group has been an important part of this community for years. Their other building is just 5 blocks away and was damaged by the 911 attack.

    Second, the congregation are Americans either by birth or by choice. Denying them rights based on their religion goes the principles upon which our Nation was founded. Denying one group rights based on their religion is a betrayal of those values.

    Third, our best weapon against Radical Islam is Islam itself. They are as different as your corner church is from the Branch Davidian complex in Waco. Radical Islam is a massive cult that plays on its members' fears and hatred, revolves around charasmatic leaders, and really operates more like the mafia than a religon in many parts of the world. Islam, on the other hand, is a religion that shares a lot of history, content, and values with Christianity, and I believe that only a strong, positive, moderate Muslim voice can provide young Muslims an alternative to radicalizing when they encounter people like Trevorbone who treat them as less than human. What better place for a moderate Islamic center that teaches peace than near a monument to the alternative?

    You are right, 9-11 changed things for alot of people, including American muslims who now that to constantly deal with harrassment, negative images in the media, and event arson and other hate crimes.

    I hear you about it feeling not right, but I hope you'll consider the above and see if it feels any better.

    Best wishes to you and yours!
    Mary F.

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  2. Hey Mary!

    Thanks for the objective outlook. You've added some great and valuable insight.

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  3. Thanks, that all I can hope for :) PS, I thought of your post when I read this today about Mayor Bloomberg's comments. I really like them, especially the last one:
    http://gawker.com/5621205/mayor-bloomberg-uncompromising-on-ground-zero-mosque?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gawker%2Ffull+%28Gawker%29&utm_content=FaceBook

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  4. I agree with you whole heartedly. Well put. Totally off subject - but I adore your hair.

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