No doubt the group funding the proposed "Cordoba House" mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from the sacred 9/11 Ground Zero site are being intentionally provocative and disingenuous regarding their main motivation.
There are a thousand more suitable sites in Manhattan that would be just as convenient for promotion of Islamic worship and culture.
Currently, we don't know if the funding comes from a foreign source and what the real interests and policies are behind this poke in the eye for New Yorkers in general and victims of 9/11 and their families and friends in particular.
Yes, all the 9/11 hijackers were Muslims. Yes, they used Islamic religious principles to justify their actions. Yes, some Muslims in the US and many worldwide cheered as the World Trade Center Towers came tumbling down, killing some 3000 innocent civilians at the New York site, along with many others at the Pentagon and in the other 9/11 aircraft.
Yes, our righteous indignation over this terrorist attack on the US mainland justified our military response, resulting in the deaths of additional thousands of our best and bravest young men and women as well as those of our allies. Yes, nearly all terrorists worldwide are Muslims who use their religion to justify their actions. They martyr themselves in the belief they will ascend immediately to paradise for all sorts of rewards their religion denies them here on Earth.
I have received many e-mails from relatives and friends with links to websites that are in opposition to the buillding of this 9/11 mosque. Most, while understandably passionate, are well-reasoned in their arguments. Unfortunately, some cross the line into outright religious bigotry, even trivializing the Holocaust by violating Godwin's Law. (I favor Dennis Miller's version: Don't call someone a Nazi unless they have croaked at least a million people.)
ARGUMENTS FOR THE PROPOSITION
Some of the 9/11 victims were innocent Muslims at work in the World Trade Towers. Nearly all American Muslims were and are as enraged as you and me about the attack.
I personally hope the backers of the new mosque and Islamic cultural center find a more appropriate location. But, I do not support those who would twist the "historic building" laws to prevent the former Burlington Coat Factory from being torn down. Official permitting and other government oversight must be neutral to religion unless it can be shown that the new facility will be involved in recruiting additional terrorists. Freedom of religion is part of what makes the US the greatest country in the world and makes me proud to be a citizen.
Let us not battle darkness with more darkness, but rather with light!
Here is a good CNN video on the topic.
Here is what New York's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said in a recent radio address:
“If somebody wants to build a religious house of worship, they should do it and we shouldn’t be in the business of picking which religions can and which religions can’t. I think it’s fair to say if somebody was going to try to on that piece of property build a church or a synagogue, nobody would be yelling and screaming. And the fact of the matter is that Muslims have a right to do it too. What is great about America and particularly New York is we welcome everybody and I just- you know, if we are so afraid of something like this, what does it say about us? Democracy is stronger than this. You know, the ability to practice your religion is the- was one of the real reasons America was founded. And for us to say no is just, I think, not appropriate is a nice way to phrase it.”Here is a link to the site run by backers of Cordoba House, where they say, in part:
"Why the Cordoba House?Yes, of course I know in many Islamic countries it is currently illegal to build a church or synagogue in certain locations, and, if you do build one it must not be higher that any nearby mosque, and must not display a cross or a star of David, etc. Not too long ago (and perhaps even today) there were similar restrictions on the design and permission for building synagogues in parts of Christian Europe. All the more reason to demonstrate American Exceptionalism! If the backers of Cordoba House insist on their right to build what they want where they want, LET THEM DO IT so long as the design and construction meets the same standards applied to any other similar building in New York City.
"Cordoba House is a Muslim-led project which will build a world-class facility that promotes tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of New York City. The center will be community-driven, serving as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.
"This proposed project is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by universal values in their truest form - compassion, generosity, and respect for all.
"The site will contain tremendous amounts of resources that otherwise would not exist in Lower Manhattan; a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores, restaurants - all these services would form a cultural nexus for a region of New York City that, as it continues to grow, requires the sort of hub that Cordoba House will provide."