In the previous article âItâs About Respectâ, written by my friend and partner Frank DeMartini, Frank discusses the numerous moral reasons why a proposed âMosqueâ should not be built in the area presently located several blocks from the old World Trade Center site. This mosque/community center has ignited a firestorm of debate not only across the United States but across the world as well.
Gamal Abd Al-Gawad, director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo told Arab News…
“Many Muslims fear that the mosque will become a shrine for Islamists, which would remind Americans of what Muslims did on 9/11.”
He went on to say…
âSome people express concern that if the mosque will be built, it will harm Muslims and Islam in America. Itâs not good for Muslims and Islam to be in the heart of such a controversy.â
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al-Arabiya Television. In his column titled âA House of Worship or a Symbol of Destruction?â he also criticized the placement of the Mosque.
âMuslims do not aspire for a mosque next to the September 11 cemetery. The mosque is not an issue for Muslims, and they have not heard of it until the shouting became loud between the supporters and the objectors, which is mostly an argument between non-Muslim US citizens!”
So letâs look at some of the facts.
1) The Mosque/Community Center is not technically at âGround Zeroâ but two blocks north of the World Trade Center site.
2) The 1st Amendment gives them the right to build it there.
3) There is another mosque in the immediate area. It was built in 1970.
4) Yes there is also a strip club a block north of the mosque.
5) Yes there are several good bars a few blocks east of the mosque.
6) No the developers of the mosque have NOT agreed to move the site as of yet.
As if we didnât have enough voices fanning the flames our President weighed in on the debate proclaiming that the builders of the mosque have every legal right to put it there, which they do. There was an immediate tidal wave of criticism. Since then he has âclarifiedâ what he meant in his original statement.
The President said in Florida, “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding fathers. My intention was simply to let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.”
Well that clears things up. Sort of. Maybe.
Now Nancy Pelosi has jumped into the fray with both feet saying…
âThere is no question that there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded? How is this being ginned up?â
She too has had to âclarifyâ her original statement adding that both parties, those for and against, need to have their funding sources investigated.Â If youâd care to hear her complete statement a link to the video is provided at the end of this article.
But this article is not about the abundant inadequacies of Nancy Pelosi or the President constantly forgetting the old adage âLook before you leapâ. It is about the building of a mosque/community center two blocks from the site of the old World Trade Center.
Is it legal for the developers to build a mosque there? Of course it is. They are protected by the same 1st Amendment rights as the rest of us. Is it morally right to put it there? That depends on who you ask. Even several of the families of the victims of the World Trade Center are split on this.
Colleen Kelly of The Bronx lost her brother Bill Kelly Jr. in the attack.
âThe mosque is in many ways … a fitting tribute. This is the voice of Islam that I believe needs a wider audience. This is what moderate Islam is all about.”
However Sally Regenhard, whose son, a New York Firefighter killed at the World Trade Center, doesnât quite see it that way.Â She feels the Presidentâs comments show “a gross lack of sensitivity to the 9/11 families and to the people who were lost.”
The developers of this center need to understand if they want to build a bridge between Muslims and the rest of America pissing us off is not the way to do it. Frank was right when he said âthe question here is not whether building the mosque is legal; it is one of respect.â
Muslims say Americans donât respect their religion. Maybe thatâs true but respect is a two way street and we havenât seen a heck of a lot of respect for us either. You want us to think better of you then show some respect for those that were killed at the Twin Towers; show respect for the families of the dead and show respect for the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who donât want that âCommunity Centerâ built there. Thatâs all it will take to get the ball rolling. Maybe then we can really begin construction of that âBridgeâ between Muslims and Americans that Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf constantly speaks about. Maybe then our two cultures can really begin to understand one another and understanding usually leads to respect. And respect and understanding, after all, is what itâs all about.