Saturday, August 21, 2010

And The Discussion Continues On The Mosque Near Ground Zero

What a riveting issue this has turned out to be. Voices on both sides continue to speak out on whether or not a mosque should be built less than 600 feet away from Ground Zero.

I have said all along that I think it should be built elsewhere. It is not an issue of religious freedom, as Barack Obama tried to paint it as being. Of course we have religious freedom in this country for all people. That has never been in question. It is about sensitivity to a catastrophic event in our history that occurred so close to the area in which Imam Rauf wants to build a mosque.

Many of us who share that sentiment have been called intolerant, "hicks," ignorant, and more, by those conflating political correctness with amnesia. We have been depicted as anti-Muslim for acknowledging a fact - the 9/11 terrorists acted as Muslims, not as terrorists who happened to be Muslim. They attacked the Twin Towers, and the United States, as a direct result of their beliefs. That was the catalyst. This revisionist history serves no one.

To acknowledge that fact does not implicate ALL Muslims, as some contend. It is simply a fact. And so, many of us, as previously noted, more than 2/3 of the nation, and more than 2/3 of New Yorkers, think it is insensitive to build a mosque so close to what is considered hallowed ground. This does not make us bigots.

And if it does, how do those who label us as bigots, as intolerant, as ignorant Americans, consider Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, a professor of Islamic Studies at American University? He, too, feels that building a mosque so near Ground Zero is insensitive.

Professor Ahmed is a Muslim. I think he has a pretty firm grasp on the issue, and makes a compelling point:

What excellent suggestions Ambassador Ahmed makes! Wouldn't it be a true act of humanity, of compassion, if the Imam and his wife took him up on them? I suppose time will tell, though to be honest, I am not holding my breath.

I might add, to those who keep trying to paint those of us who support moving the mosque in a derogatory manner, who keep claiming we don't know anything about Islam, that this isn't about sensitivity, and on and on and on, I am going to hazard a guess that Ambassador Ahmed has a better idea than YOU about Islam and about cultural sensitivity. On the former, as a professor of Islamic Studies, he is most definitely an expert. On the latter, I imagine that unless you have been an Ambassador to Pakistan, and are a Muslim yourselves, he knows a tad bit more about cultural sensitivity when it comes to this particular issue.

And if Ambassador Ahmed's point of view isn't enough for you, maybe Miss USA's support for the mosque to be moved elsewhere will do it. Rima Fahik is Muslim, after all. And she is clear on the distinction between religious freedom, and why this is a sensitive issue:
"I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on Constitutional rights of freedom of religion," Fakih told "Inside Edition" in an interview that will air tonight.

"I also agree that it shouldn't be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion." (Click here to read the rest.)

There ya have it.

So, enough with the ad homiems already, against those who do not view everything through Kool Aide infused lenses, and who do not engage in "political correctness" to the point of denying reality. Try opening your eyes, and your hearts. A little compassion goes a long way.

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