Ablogwithoutaname's Blog

Should a mosque be built near Ground Zero?

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Last Tuesday, the Community Board responsible for approving construction projects in an area that includes Ground Zero approved a plan to build a mosque and Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero.

Obviously, the mosque, called Cordoba House has sparked intense debate especially amongst survivors as well as families and friends of 9/11 victims.   Many(but not all) families of 9/11 victims call the project insensitive, saying that the mosque would be a constant reminder to them of the people who killed their loved ones.  To a certain extent, I empathize with them. I can not imagine the grief the families went, and probably continue to go through.   Even for rationally and usually tolerant people,  I can understand the hatred one would feel for a religion that a family member was killed in the name of, even if I do not believe that Islam advocates murdering people(which I don’t).

What I do not have tolerance and sympathy for are comments like those made by Tea Party Express chairman Mark Williams called the mosque a “monument to the terrorists’ monkey-god.”  Now to be fair, he has apologized for those comments and also stated he was referring to what the terrorist’s worship, and not Muslims as a whole. However,  his personal blog contains several posts attacking Islam specifically casting doubts on the sincerity of that apology. Also, his comments still suggest an opinion that all mosques breed terrorists.

Personally, I feel this could be an opportunity for Cordoba and the Muslim American community, if they play their cards right. The group’s mission, it should be noted, states that it “aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, bringing back the atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect…”. The institute are involved in a number of initiatives that I feel many Westerners would approve of, including advocating for woman’s rights throughout the Muslim world.

While I sympathize with the anger of the families of the families of the victims of 9/11, I feel that this could be an opportunity here to help cultivate religious tolerance amongst Christians, Muslims and Jews as well as work to break down stereotypes held by both U.S. citizens and Muslims alike.

The website for the Cordoba Initiative can be found here:

http://www.cordobainitiative.org/

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Written by Matt

May 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Politics

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