Monday, September 6, 2010

Proposed Mosque Near Ground Zero

Daughter: The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission cleared the way for a Muslim center and mosque to be built two blocks from the heart of ground zero.  Although the center is still a long way from fruition, this decision has set off a national furor.  I can understand why people are uncomfortable with a mosque being this close to Ground Zero, but as far as I can see, it's a constitutional issue and that's what really matters.  What I don't understand is the way opponents are expressing their frustration.  Instead of discussing the issue intelligibly, some are lashing out with prejudice and hate crimes.  On top of that, by acting out in this way we are driving more Muslims into the hands of the Taliban.  According to a Newsweek article, Taliban operative Zabihullah said: "By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor.  It's providing us with more recruits, donations, and popular support."
Additionally, the mosque in NYC is supposedly being protested because of its proximity to Ground Zero, not as a protest against all mosques and in turn Islam as a whole.  Well, if that's the case, then why did someone attempt to set fire to the site of a mosque in Tennessee?  Why are people protesting mosques and community centers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky and California?  
I'll end with one last quote that really hit home for me from Zabihullah: "The more mosques you stop, the more jihadis we will get." 
Why should we let the terrorists win? If the mosque were built, it would show the world that we haven't let the Taliban's actions taint our worldview of Islam and it would draw moderate Muslims to our cause rather than theirs.
Grandmother:  I can remember the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out of the top floors and watching most of the day as it was demolished on 9/11.  Now they want to build a mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero.  I can see the people's opposition to it in New York City but one of our four freedoms is Freedom of Religion.  Time has not lessened the smell of smoke, the sounds of destruction, the loss of life and the total frustration New Yorkers felt.  We here on the west side of our nation were not there to feel the devastation of what was happening, but the hateful things going on to stop the building of the mosque is not the right way to go about protesting.  This is still America where we have the freedom to enter into any religion we prefer to practice and build churches, cathedral, temples, mosques and other religious buildings.

Mom:  There is no doubt that 9/11 will live on as a day that we hope is never repeated. But I wonder if there would be the protests and furor if a Catholic cathedral were being planned...or a Presbyterian church...or even a Jewish synagogue? I doubt that people would reject the proposal of any of those being built near Ground Zero. The fact that a mosque is being proposed sets off alarms. The reason being that people associate mosques with Muslims and Muslims are associated with al-Qaida and terrorists. That is where the reasoning goes astray. Terrorists  and al-Qaida are fanatics. They are off the beaten path and they twist and turn and interpret the Qur'an to suit their actions just as Christian fanatics twist the words in the Bible to validate their protests at military funerals and bombings of abortion clinics. Just as the scriptures can be taken out of context, that also is true of the words in the Qur'an.

This is a time for us to educate ourselves about the Muslim religion and the culture of those who righteously practice it. Generalizations and ignorance will only result in chaos, religious discrimination and hatred. This isn't the first time that we have responded with hell-bent fury mindless of intellectual reasoning. Why do we never learn? Mom


  1. I agree with you all, why shouldn't the build a house of worship where they please, after all they have been operating a house of worship in that neighborhood since before the world trade center was built all they are doing at this point is upgrading.

  2. I'm very torn about this issue. It reminds me of the confederate flag issue in SC. The flag flying in front of the SC statehouse offends many South Carolinians because they associate the flag with racism and hatred. Those who want to keep the flag in front of the statehouse say that it it a symbol of heritage and Southern pride, not racism.

    For some reason, I'm not able to verbalize how I'm making the comparison between the two. I've written and deleted the same paragraph here several times, so I'll just leave it at that and let you draw your own comparison.

    Sorry for the brain block this morning. :-)