America must oppose the ground zero mosque
Those [few] people who support constructing this mosque assert that the project is intended to “span the divide between Muslim and non-Muslim, not widen it”. It is clearly stated in the Cordoba house’s mission statement that they intend to “create a national model of moderate Islam and to build bridges between faiths”.
So to what extent have they succeeded in this mission thus far? Polling shows a majority of Americans oppose building it near the twin towers and the construction is perceived as insensitive to many of the victims’ families. Further, 62% of the residents of the admittedly liberal city of New York oppose it as well.
What supporters of this plan must realize is that when we speak of Ground Zero as hallowed ground, it means that it belongs to those who died there and that such ownership obligates us to preserve the dignity of the location, never allowing it to be forgotten.
The election of the former site of the world trade center does not seem to be based on good intentions as it is likely to be perceived by many radical Islamists in the middle east as a symbol of victory over the United States and would match the historical inclination of Muslims to construct mosques in locations in which the spread of Islam had triumphed [see Constantinople].
This is why, while nobody objects to Japanese historical or religious centers, the idea of constructing one at Pearl Harbor would be offensive. Further, this is why Pope John Paul II had the Carmelite nuns depart the convent they had established at Auschwitz. He was teaching them a lesson in respect to the Jews who suffered there on that hallowed ground.
The controversy has stirred up a great deal of discussion and debate about what exactly is a ‘moderate’ Muslim and whether or not the Ground Zero Mosque imam is acting in good faith and goodwill. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a man who has called U.S. policy “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 and, when asked whether Hamas is a terrorist organization, replied, “I’m not a politician. . . . The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.”
It has now become an pressing necessity to distinguish ‘Moderate’ from ‘Radical’ Islam because, absent such a distinction, the U.S. will remain divided regarding this issue. Debates can be endless unless we define the words ‘radical’ and ‘moderate’.
To rebut recent arguments by liberal supporters of the proposal, we all are very aware that The United States is a free country where you can build whatever you want – just not anything anywhere. It’s this very reason that zoning laws were first created – preventing liquor stores near schools, strip malls where they offend local sensibilities, and, community architectural codes for buildings obstructing the view of others.
If the mosque leaders portray this construction as a sign of moderation and meant to build bridges between faiths, then Muslims should not be surprised if businesses pop up nearby such as ham factories, stores to sell alcohol, and the recent ‘proposal’ for a gay bar as a sign of moderation that also aims to build bridges between their faith and ours.