Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Ground Zero Debacle

by guest blogger Andrew Roman

many are saying "no" to a Ground Zero mosque
Until a day or two ago it really hadn't gotten a whole lot of play outside of New York City.

Save for the conservative blogosphere and talk radio, it had gotten nearly as much coverage as the Attorney General's refusal to go after members of the new Black Panthers who intimidated white voters - practically nil.

The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, said it was about diversity, tolerance and religious freedom - even though there are already over one hundred mosques throughout the five boroughs.

I'm not sure what it is about the lapsing of time that turns people's minds into wads of impacted pocket lint, but if absence makes the heart grow fonder, for some, time makes the mind grow more numb and incapable.

If anyone would have suggested on September 20, 2001 - the day President Bush delivered his magnificent speech before a joint session of Congress, nine days after the 9/11 attacks - that a mosque and Islamic cultural center would be constructed near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan before the completion of a replacement for the fallen twin towers, they'd have looked at that person like he or she had three heads. If anyone would have said that nine years later there would still be nothing scraping the sky from that location, but that there would, instead, be a new mosque opening up within spitting distance of the site, that person would have been smacked twice and asked for the name of the narcotic he or she had recently ingested.

And what if that same drug-dazed soothsayer also said that the new mosque and cultural center would open on, of all days, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks? You'd probably ask that individual for some of what he or she was smoking because the notion would have been inconceivable.

In the name of diversity - a value almost as important as equality to today's leftist (as counterintuitive as that might sound) - the future has, indeed, arrived.

This is where the inconceivable comes to life.

Of all the locations in the entire city to choose for this project - of all the locations on which to open a mosque and Islamic cultural center - why there? Truly, the only relevant question is: Why on Earth is it necessary to trample upon the emotions of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 by doing this so close to the spot where radical Muslims brought down the twin towers?

And make no mistake about it, that's precisely what's being done.

Whether that seems reasonable or rational to outsiders looking in is completely irrelevant. It's the reality of the situation; and surely, in a city of 304 square miles, there must be other places to erect a mosque and Islamic cultural center.

Certainly, anyone associated with this project - the American Society for Muslim Advancement, for example - had to have had the foresight to know how people would react to such a thing. Opposition to this positively dreadful idea cannot come as a shock to proponents. Why would supporters of this thing be willing to needlessly inflict pain upon those who witnessed their loved ones murdered by radical practitioners of the "religion of peace?"

And, as if the knife wasn't twisted in far enough, is the tenth anniversary of the slaughter of nearly three thousand innocents the right day to celebrate the opening of an Islamic cultural center in the very neighborhood where the dust of the dead blanketed everything?

Do these people understand the concept of common decency?

That's precisely what Sarah Palin asked when she now famously tweeted on this topic over the weekend:

"Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing."
After telling Palin to mind her own business, an aide to Mayor Bloomberg, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, tweeted back:
"Whose hearts? Racist hearts?"
Not that Muslims are a race, mind you - or that libs in general can mount any sort of argument that does not resort to labeling opponents as intolerant haters - but it was nice that someone so close to the Mayor could offer such a detailed and thoughtful counter.

Why would people who claim to want to "bridge the gap" between people of all faiths willingly and knowingly do so at Ground Zero, of all places, when they must know how sensitive a matter this is to so many Americans?

Lower Manhattan has no significance to Muslims - except to those who would honor the "martyrs" who took down the towers almost nine years ago - but it has an enormous amount of relevance to the surviving family members of the dead of 9/11, as well as this nation.

This isn't about property rights.

The location, while not officially designated a mosque, already serves as an overflow prayer space for the Al Farah mosque on West Broadway.

This is about the insensitivity of those who claim to be patriotic Muslim Americans choosing not to support, or be willing to understand, the objections of their fellow Americans on this issue.

Remember, the entire nation was attacked on September 11, 2001. All of America's people were targeted on that fateful day, including Muslim Americans. Having Muslim Americans stand by their fellow countrymen in recognition of that fact would speak volumes. So would the proposal of a cultural center exhibit that would promote Islam as a true "religion of peace" by openly condemning the 9/11 attacks and showing fellow Americans (and the world) what "bridging gaps" is supposed to be about.

Of course, that will happen the moment the moon falls from the sky and bounces down Broadway.

No one wants to keep Muslims from worshipping freely in America. That would be UNAmerican. And yes, of course, there are patriotic Muslims. I proudly served along side many in the Navy.

That isn't the point.

The area in and around Ground Zero is not the place for a new mosque and cultural center - not now; and not if the feelings of the surviving 9/11 family members matter at least as much as those Muslims who want to see this project through to fruition.

The fact is ... practitioners of Islam murdered nearly three thousand innocent human beings in lower Manahttan on that fateful September morning in the name of Islam. It is not unreasonable to suggest that building a facility that celebrates Islam just steps from the spot where so many lost their lives in the name of that religion is a bad idea.

This has absolutely nothing to do with tolerance - or acceptance - of Muslims.

And speaking of tolerance, I would also ask: Where is the tolerance for the 9/11 family members?

Why are their objections dismissed?

Today, almost seventy years after the attacks on Pearl Harbor - and given the fact that Japan is not only a strong ally of the United States, but that Japanese-Americans are among the most patriotic - it still would not be appropriate (as has been pointed out by many) to open a Japanese cultural center anywhere near the resting place of the USS Arizona.

The only reason to do this in the time and manner being proposed is to either incite trouble or invite appeasement.

So far, mission accomplished.

And here's the kicker ...

The building that would be used for the new mosque and cultural center was the home of an outlet of the Burlington Coat Factory - a building that has been abandoned since the landing gear of one of the airplanes that slammed into the World Trade Center on 9/11 came crashing through the roof.

Incidentally, the minute the Congrergation B'Nai Israel synagogue opens in downtown Mecca, I'll be happy to endorse the opening of a new Ground Zero mosque.

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