brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

In The Name Of Feedom Build The Mosque

President Barack Obama took a rather tepid step into the issue over whether or not an Islamic mosque should be allowed to be built close to the World Trade Center sight commonly referred to as ground zero.  During a White House celebration meant to recognize the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Mr. Obama said that Muslims should have the right to build their religious institutions on private land as they see fit without any interference from government.

This might seem petty courageous on Mr. Obama’s part considering that, according to a CNN Opinion Research poll, more than two thirds of the American population oppose a mosque being built so close to what many people say is sacred ground.  Less than thirty percent of the population supports the building of a mosque.  But in typical fashion whenever Mr. Obama shows courage to buck popular opinion, he backtracks at the first sign of staunch opposition.  The next day, while vacationing on some beach in Florida, Mr. Obama said that while he supported religious freedom he would not comment on the wisdom of building a mosque two blocks away from where 9/11 took on new meaning in the American, if not the global, lexicon.

During a local meeting held to gauge the public’s concern about the plan to build a mosque on private land, a woman who lost a loved one in that infamous disaster approached the microphone placed for people in the audience to speak and said that she didn’t want anything that has to do with terror, fear, fright and all she wanted was peace when she visited the place where her family member died.  Another woman in tears begged the commission not to let the mosque be built.  She gave no reason in the video clip that I saw.  But as she turned away from the microphone, the audience gave her applause of support.

It’s understood that there are a lot of people still dealing with their losses of the World Trade Center disaster.  A lot of emotions are raw.  But the attack on America was not perpetrated by Islam.  The Islamic faith is not at war with the United States and is not responsible for what happened that fateful day.  To hold Islam responsible is to lump all people who share a similar faith into a single group and to hold all responsible for the actions of a few.

Prior to the attacks that happened on September 11th, the worst act of terrorism in the United States was Timothy McVeigh’s assault on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  He killed one hundred sixty eight people.  Never in the aftermath of that event did anyone say that Christians or Catholics shouldn’t be allowed to build churches near federal buildings.  When the white supremacist and Christian Eric Rudolph was convicted for a number of bombings, including the very high profile Centennial Olympic Park bombing, across the southern United States nobody said anything about putting restrictions on where any Christian churches can go.

Every day a lot of Christians commit crimes in the name of Jesus.  I heard one crazy woman explain that she killed her children because Jesus told her to do so.  But we’d never say something rather simple minded like Christians shouldn’t be allowed to do something because one or a few act in an irresponsible or socially unacceptable manner.  Why do we go there when Muslims or the Islamic faith is involved?

Christians have a lot of nerve pointing a damning finger at other religious faith because of what a few non Christians may have done.  Islam is not responsible for that awful day.  To say that a mosque shouldn’t be built because of the fear of terror and hatred is pure prejudice.  And simply because the majority of Americans want to surrender our principles of freedom and justice to some predisposition of bigotry and intolerance doesn’t mean that it’s right.  The narrow mindedness of the majority doesn’t trump the law.

Although I have some doubt that it will be allowed to happen, I do hope that the mosque will be allowed to go up.  Americans are fond of saying that we are willing to do whatever it takes to protect our freedoms.  We will gladly go to war to protect the American way of life.  According to history, we’ll even go so far as to drop nuclear warheads and incinerate hundreds of thousands to protect our principles.  But, these are the same principles we’re ready to throw away at the drop of a couple of office buildings.   If the destruction of our freedoms was al-Qaueda’s plan from the beginning then it looks like their strategy is working.

Monday, August 16, 2010 - Posted by | Life, Racism, Thoughts |

15 Comments »

  1. Amen.

    Comment by Outi | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. I started a comment which turned into this post:

    http://afrospear.com/2010/08/17/a-move-towards-religious-tolerance/

    btw… good to see you blogging consistently again.

    Blessings to the fam!

    Comment by asabagna | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback asa,

      And thanks for the well wishes. We’re continuing to work through our ordeal. It helps to have a partner as wonderful as mine.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. Lest we forget that Muslim’s died in the 911 attack.

    Comment by Jazzy | Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Reply

  4. The major problem with your piece is comparing isolated incidents such as Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the federal building with any concerted organized faction within the Christian community to radical Islam. First, Timothy McVeigh never blew up the federal building in the name of Jesus or Christianity; he and his demented cohorts blew it up because in their minds the US GOVERNMENT was becoming too big and intrusive. Furthermore, no church was denied building on or near the site, because no church wanted to do so. There was absolutely no correlation between the act itself and any organized (or unorganized for that matter) religion.

    All your other examples are equally weak. In Christianity there is NO sect or recognized movement that is actively recruiting suicide bombers and fomenting hatred toward “non-believers” with an eye toward either forcing them to convert or killing them.

    Unfortunately today, there are numerous examples of mosques around the world in which the imams are actively preaching hatred toward the very cultures and countries in which they’re allowed to build and worship. Furthermore, these radical Islamists always start insisting on making the host countries “Sharia Law compliant.” Making a country “Sharia Law compliant” is the road to one thing: theocracy, and it won’t be pretty for even those of you who think you’re so tolerant. This is already happening throughout Europe and Canada — don’t believe me? Look it up.

    Not all Muslims are obviously of the radical sort — I know many Muslims who fled intolerant, radical Islamic countries, but don’t kid yourself that the radical variety are not numerous or in short supply.

    Comment by justinwashingtontheblogger | Friday, August 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback justinwashingtontheblogger,

      “Not all Muslims are obviously of the radical sort — I know many Muslims who fled intolerant, radical Islamic countries, but don’t kid yourself that the radical variety are not numerous or in short supply.”

      Now that you’ve admitted that not all Muslims are the radical sort, why are the Muslims in New York city who want to build their Islamic cultural center being lumped into the same category as the ones who are radical? Why are those Muslims being labeled as radical? Because they want to build a mosque? I’m sure you see your arguments as very strong. And they probably are. But not for what you think. This is just more evidence of your bias against all Muslims. And it’s very strong indeed.

      And as far as your little argument that there are no sects of Christianity that forment hatred to “non-believers”, I do believe the example of Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, the klan, a number of militia groups who pray to their god for the strength to smote their enemies, Pat Robinson, and many other examples are enough to support my argument. While there maybe intolerant Muslims, the idea that there is no such thing as an intolerant Christians is rather ludicrous. But just like I said in the article, we don’t go around telling Chrisitians where they can and cannot build their monuments to god. Why do we want to cross that line with Muslims? Only a keen sense of prejudice and hate would support such an action.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, August 20, 2010 | Reply

  5. If you’ll re-read what I actually said, you will see that I did not say — as you assert — “there is no such thing as an intolerant Christian.” That would be a ridulous statement on its face.

    What I did in fact say is, “[i]n Christianity there is NO sect or *recognized* movement that is actively recruiting suicide bombers and fomenting hatred toward “non-believers” with an eye toward either forcing them to convert or killing them.” That is quite different.

    In reference to the KKK or “the klan,” their organization was odious and contemptible, for sure, but it certainly wasn’t a religious organization, let alone a “Christian” one. Some of their leaders are called things like, “Imperial Wizard, Grand Dragon, and Exalted Cyclops” — those hardly sound like Christian titles to me!

    Re: Timothy McVeigh, you’ve either missed or ignored what I wrote in my post — his action was not done in the name of Christianity or any other religion. I have no idea who Eric Rudolph is so I can’t comment. Regarding Pat Robertson, you may think he’s extreme but I am not aware of his rhetoric even approaching the rhetoric of radical Islamic clerics or imams. He’s certainly never called on Christians to detonate themselves in crowds of innocents or “non-believers.”

    Comment by justinwashingtontheblogger | Friday, August 20, 2010 | Reply

    • justinwashingtontheblogger,

      Thank you for the clarification. Obviously you don’t understand the point I’m trying to make. That’s understandable considering your focus. You obviously have access to the internet but refuse to educate yourself on who Eric Rudolph might be. The choice to remain ignorant is pretty typical of people who operate with prejudice.

      But you missed the most important point. If there are Muslims who fled intolerant, radical Islamic countries, why are they assumed to be a problem here in America? Is America guilty of practicing it’s own version of religious intolerance? If America was so tolerant, why is this becoming such an issue? Have these people broken some law that prevents America from recognizing their right to build where they want?

      As far as I know, the people who are trying to build the mosque in New York never promoted anything resembling suicide by detonating themselves in crowds of innocents. So why are they being prosecuted? That’s what I’m not getting from you.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, August 20, 2010 | Reply

      • The Muslims who fled intolerant, radical Islamic countries whom I know would never attend this mosque headed by Imam Rauf whose position is that the US needs to be Sharia Law-compliant, believes that the US was somehow to blame for 09/11 and refuses to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization. These are the very radicals the Muslims I know were trying to escape by coming to the US.

        Therefore, these types of Muslims are not the ones I have any issue with. The types of Muslims behind the building of this mosque are not “moderates”; if they were, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Any moderate Muslim would have the sensitivity to understood that while they have the legal right to build their mosque where ever they want, that it might not be the right thing to do under the circumstances. In fact, there are many Muslims who are against this mosque — does that make them “prejudiced” and “intolerant” of others’ religions?

        Unless there is some additional symbolism to building the mosque here, this group would understand the geographic sensitivity of the location and decide on their own to build the mosque elsewhere. Certainly under the circumstances, if their objective is to “build bridges” with the non-Muslim community, then they’re off to a very bad start, or are they just “ignorant,” too, by your definition.

        BTW, does disagreeing with your viewpoint automatically make one intolerant, ignorant and/or prejudiced?

        Comment by justinwashingtontheblogger | Friday, August 20, 2010

      • justinwashingtontheblogger,

        “BTW, does disagreeing with your viewpoint automatically make one intolerant, ignorant and/or prejudiced?”

        Not exactly. I think the fact that someone would insist on labeling any Muslim who wants to build a mosque where you don’t like as not being moderate or labeling them as radical because they want to build where others don’t want them is what makes someone appear intolerant, ignorant and/or prejudiced. I think the fact that somebody acquired private land and is using it as they see fit is symbolism enough for our sense of freedom and justice. I really don’t see how we need more.

        If the mosque needs to be removed from being built near a crime scene simply because the perpetrators shared a similar religion, then it should be standard procedure that all religious institutions that share a common religion with the perpetrator should be removed as well. Why the focus on the Muslim religion? Christians and Jews commit crimes all the time and no one has ever made the suggestion that a church shouldn’t be built. Why is this required now? It appears that the only reason this is an issue is because we are talking about Muslims

        If so many people think that this isn’t some form of prejudice why don’t Christians “build bridges” and show that they believe it is okay for religious locations to be put off limits because somebody committed a crime by volunteering to move their religious institutions from areas where crimes were committed by Christians? Now that would speak volumes. Until then, I guess we’ll just have to do without the additional symbolism of having Muslims bend to our American will because some of us think we’re all that and they, the Muslims, are not. They don’t have to build any bridge to the rest of America. If anything, America needs to build a bridge to Muslims and quit harassing them for trying to exercise their right to practice their religion where they see fit.

        Peace

        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, August 20, 2010

      • Justin, last night New York’s mayor Bloomberg spoke eloguently on this topic, and I am not at all a Bloomberg fan:

        “Before closing, let me just add one final thought: Imam Rauf, who is now overseas promoting America and American values, has been put under a media microscope. Each of us may strongly agree or strongly disagree with particular statements he has made. And that’s how it should be – this is New York.

        And while a few of his statements have received a lot of attention, I would like to read you something that he said that you may not have heard. At an interfaith memorial service for the martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, Imam Rauf said, ‘If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind, and soul: Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one.’

        In that spirit, let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion.”

        http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2010/08/24/bloomberg-on-mosque-a-test-of-our-commitment-to-american-values/

        Furthermore, your characterizations of what the imam has said are completely distorted, and do, as Brother Peacemaker is argue, reveal your own intolerance and prejudiced point of view.

        Comment by ish | Wednesday, August 25, 2010

  6. August 9, 2010

    “Proposal for a mosque at site of 9/11 tragedy is nothing short of a ‘fitna’ or making mischief”
    Muslim Canadian Congress urges New York’s Ground-Zero Mosque Imam to abandon project

    TORONTO – The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) is urging the Cordoba House Initiative to abandon its proposed Ground-Zero Mosque in New York in the face of outrage expressed by large segments of the American population calling the proposal an act of ‘fitna’ or mischief.

    In a letter to Imam Faisal Rauf that will be delivered on Tuesday, August 10 by MCC’s board member Raheel Raza, the MCC says, “Many Muslims suspect that the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation, to thumb our noses at the ‘infidel.’ We believe the proposal has been made in bad faith and, in Islamic parlance, is creating  ‘fitna,’ meaning ‘mischief-making,’ an act clearly forbidden in the Qur’an.”

    “The Qur’an commands us Muslims to, ‘Be considerate when you debate with the People of the Book’ — i.e., Jews and Christians [chapter 29, verse 46]. Building an exclusive place of worship for Muslims at the place where Muslims killed thousands of New Yorkers, is not being considerate or sensitive, it is undoubtedly an act of “fitna,” the letter added.

    The MCC challenges Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf about his claim that building the mosque will increase tolerance for Muslims when the evidence is the exact opposite. “Do you not understand that building a mosque at Ground Zero is equivalent to permitting a Serbian Orthodox Church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 6,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered?” the letter asked.

    The MCC said it is opposed to the Ground-Zero mosque because many questions have gone unanswered. Questions about where the funding is coming from? If this mosque is being funded by Saudi sources, then it is an even bigger slap in the face of Americans as nine of the jihadis in the Twin Tower calamity were Saudis.

    If Imam Rauf is serious about building bridges, then he could have dedicated space in this so-called community centre to a Church and Synagogue, but he did not. He could have proposed a memorial to the 9/11 dead with a denouncement of the doctrine of armed jihad, but he chose not to.

    The MCC letter said, “Even if the intention of the mosque organizers was noble, the negative reaction by the American people has ensured that if built, the mosque will remain a permanent sore point and a lightning rod for anti-Muslim feelings. For this reason alone, the project must be abandoned.

    “When we try to understand the reasoning behind building a mosque at the epicentre of the worst attack on the USA, we wonder why its proponents would not build a monument to those who died in the attack? New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it’s not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers,” the letter added.

    Comment by Old Bookshelf | Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Reply

    • [Comment Deleted]

      Comment by justinwashingtontheblogger | Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Reply

      • Thanks for your latest reply justinwashingtontheblogger,

        But I’m not interested in debating against your insistent rhetoric. If you feel I’m not addressing your points or that I’m distorting what you write then you’re more than welcome to take your argument elsewhere. Instead, you come here to give more rhetoric to the rhetoric that you’ve already presented. Your pointless arguments are already here for everyone to see. We really don’t need more from you. If you had a point to make, with all of the comments you’ve written, people would have gotten it already. You really don’t need to add more.

        Good luck convincing people of all the evils of the radical Muslims who are doing nothing but minding their own business and building a mosque on their own private land. But if you really want to convince somebody, try having an argument that is supportable. It would really help you out a lot.

        Peace

        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, August 21, 2010

    • Thanks for the feedback Old Bookshelf,

      But you may have missed the following articles in your research…

      Jewish activists support ground zero mosque

      A group of Jewish activists and community leaders support a planned mosque near the ground zero site of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and said opponents, including America’s leading Jewish civil rights group, are perpetuating misunderstandings about Islam.

      ===

      Many Religious Leaders Support Mosque

      TIME Magazine conducted interviews with eight prominent, diverse religious voices in the U.S. on the subject of the so-called Ground Zero mosque and community center in New York City. With the exception of Franklin Graham, the leaders appear committed to religious freedom, though a few worry that the funding for the mosque as well as its political and religious agenda have not been fully disclosed.

      1. Heidi Hadsell, president of the Hartford Seminary
      2. The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary for the National Council of Churches
      3. Jerry Campbell, president of the Claremont School of Theology
      4. Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School
      5. Sohaib Sultan, Muslim life coordinator at Princeton University and author of The Koran for Dummies
      6. David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee
      7. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

      ===

      Rabbis Rally in Support of Ground Zero Mosque

      NEW YORK (Aug. 5) — Rabbis rallied near the World Trade Center site today in support of a planned Islamic center known as the ground zero mosque.

      About 20 religious leaders and activists gathered on the street in lower Manhattan today where the mosque is to be built. They said the Cordoba Initiative, the group sponsoring the cultural center, was welcome in New York.

      “We need this Islamic center to preach love and respect in contrast to those who preach hate and destruction,” Rabbi Richard Jacobs of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, N.Y., told reporters.

      ===

      Mass. Gov. declares support for ground zero mosque

      BOSTON—Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick cited the words of George W. Bush on Wednesday as he showed support for a proposed mosque near the ground zero terror site.

      The Democrat noted the Republican president argued after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the terrorists responsible should not be confused with peaceful practitioners of Islam.

      Patrick said during his monthly appearance on WTKK-FM, “The sooner we separate the peaceful teaching of Islam from the behavior of terrorists, the better for all of us.”

      ===

      J Street backs Ground Zero mosque

      Following protests against the planned construction of a mosque close to the site of the former World Trade Center in New York, Washington-based left-wing group J Street launched a petition Monday in support of the project.

      ===

      Muhammad Ali Hasan: Why I Support the Ground Zero Mosque

      As an American, a Republican leader, and a practicing Muslim, the issue of building a mosque near New York’s Ground Zero is of natural interest to me. For the record, I deeply support building this mosque. To my fellow conservative leaders who say they are against this project, yet claim to not be bigoted, I have news for you: you are a bigot.

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Reply


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