Archive for August, 2010


“Mosque to be built at Ground Zero”, screamed the headlines. My first thought, like that of many others, was “that’s absurd, insensitive, and it needs to be stopped.” Within hours, the internet was crawling with articles spewing hate against Muslims, proclaiming that terrorists wanted to build a monument to their conquest. And here we are days later and the hatred just keeps on coming…and it’s coming from those who claim to be Christians. No-one seems to be bothered with such trivia as facts. They just keep spewing the hatred…declaring that the mosque will be a breeding ground for terrorists.

So… what are the facts?

The proposed mosque is not a mosque. It’s a community center which will have a place for prayer. The main thrust will be a culinary school and a gym. It will be open to ALL New Yorkers, not just the Muslim community. It’s the Muslim equivalent of the YMCA. Of course there will be a place for prayer. Muslims pray five times a day. If the facility is going to be staffed by Muslims, they must be accommodated. So now, the location. This particular group has been in that neighborhood for years…long before 9/11. And if you want to get technical, the lower East Side has been home to Muslim groups as far back as the late 19th century when there was a section known as “Little Syria”. As for it being at ground zero?  It’s several blocks away and can’t be seen from ground zero.

The Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who I heard described this week as one of the most evil men in the world, is an American and a Sufi. Right now he’s on a goodwill tour in the east FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT! If there is anyone in the country who can promote goodwill between the Islamic countries and the U.S. it’s this man. To oppose him is to do the terrorists jobs for them. Sufis are Islamic mystics. Their lives are based on peace and love. Read Rumi’s poetry…read Kahlil Gibran…that’s how Sufis think.

The Christian Right is acting disgracefully both as Christians and Americans. The hatred is appalling. The disrespect for the constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, is totally un-American. What has happened to the Republican party? Yes, there were ideological differences between republicans and democrats. The republicans were led by the upper crust while the democrats were the working class…but they worked together for the good of the country once the election was over. There were no hate spewing leaders…particularly against fellow Americans. All of this dissent is just adding fuel to the fire for the terrorist groups. We need to stand together as one nation under God…whatever you choose to call that God…and even if you don’t believe in a God, we are still one nation. After the votes are counted, we have a country to run, not one to sabotage because we didn’t win. The “make-sure- Obama-fails ” crew is an outrage. And most of them say they are Christians. The bible says to pray for elected officials and that doesn’t mean to pray that they die…it means to pray that they are given Divine wisdom to carry out their task. This whole controversy about the mosque that isn’t a mosque is reflective of the current Republican mindset…and the current Republican mindset dishonors the generations that went before us.

At the end of the day, the whole mosque issue is none of our business…it’s between the Imam, his board, and the New York city council.


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