America at it’s greatest or it’s most naive?
The debate whether to build a mosque/community center a few blocks from the world trade center has sparked mixed emotions. Emotions which for the most part have been filled with apprehension and a disdain for the religion of Islam. A large percentage of Americans( that’s what the opinion polls say) see the plan to build the mosque so close to the world trade center as offensive, insulting and rubbing salt to the wounds of the men and women who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Why must the mosque be built so close? what are they( the financiers of the mosque) trying to prove? why can’t they respect those who died, and in the spirit of the universal creed of religion(tolerance) move the mosque somewhere else and let there be peace. So many questions and concerns. The delicate art of upholding the constitution and balancing the emotional pulse of a scared nation threatens to test pulse and tolerance of Americans
Those in support of this project reference and invoke the 1st Amendment of the US constitution which prohibits Congress from prohibiting the free exercise of religion or abridging the freedom of speech. They are perfectly correct, but does the changing international and world climate toward terrorism throw a wrench in this whole discussion?
This is a very complicated issue and i think both sides have pretty convincing arguments. I will make arguments from both sides and leave you to make up your mind.
Islam is a religion which a majority of Americans associate with violence. Perhaps wrongly, but the “leaders” of Islam have done very little to dispel those rumors. This may not have been the case before 9/11 but after those callous attacks the perception of Islam as a whole changed. Islam is a religion which finds it authoritative directive, and perhaps derives its veracity from countries like Saudi Arabia because people go to Mecca for Hajj the ultimate pilgrimage of faith for any Muslim and Egypt to a large extent because it is seen as a strategic and cradle of civilization.
Most Americans are very weary of these countries because Saudi Arabi still has very restrictive limitations on women’s rights: they can’t drive, and are seen as subservient to their men. Egypt has virtually been a dictatorship nation with President Mubarak in control for over 28 years. Inspite of its elections which are seen by most in the west as a charade. Off course America has turned a blind eye on these misgivings because these two countries are strategic and important allies in the quest for middle east peace, so interfering in , and pointing out their human rights violations are a no go area for the U.S government.
The conservative media and radio talk show host have also gone into overdrive since President Obama assumed office. They have painted him as ” UNAMERICAN “, a Muslim and have fed an already paranoid American people into believing the Islam as a whole, not spouts of Islamic terrorists are dangerous people. Simply put Islam is seen as bad religion. Americans are on the edge, September 11, 2001 changed everything, and Islam as a religion has become the central point of those attacks.
The greatest problem i see for Islam is that it does not have enough of its moderate disciples carrying its torch and showing people what the religion is all about. Islam has been hijacked by the fundamentalists, the extremists who paint a deadly portrait of the religion; one filled with hate, killing of innocent people and unforgiveness. The religion and its tenets need to be taken back from these crazy extremist and more moderate Muslims need to speak up against this misconception of their religion. The failure to speak up only makes most feel as if they endorse these beliefs. I do not know much about Islam but i know it preaches tolerance. The face Islam portrays today lacks that. The re branding of Islam needs to be done by them.
In this culture of constant and revolving media we live in communication is key. The more you can get your arguments out quicker, and clearer the better for you. Islam is its greatest enemy at this point. There are many great Muslims in the US and all over the world, that need to take back their religion from the extremists who have hijacked it. They need to erase the misconceptions about their religion, because right now the religion is associated with violence and not peace. As of today they have done a poor job at pushing back against the extremists. This is not a verdict of Religion nor an endorsement of Christianity. The disgusting behavior of some priest in the catholic church goes to show Christians have their own demons to fight.
The debate over the mosque will continue way beyond the postings on this blog. I certainly did not intend for this to be all-encompassing of all the facts,but this is the pulse of a large number of Americans. The fear, paranoia, and misconceptions about Islam as a whole is what is driving the apprehension about building the mosque a few blocks from ground zero. Those fears need to be dispelled quick and fast. Moderate Muslims have an uphill battle in wrestling their religion from the jaws of the fundamentalist who preach killing innocent people in the name of their religion.
The developers have a right to build the mosque, without a question. And absent a showing of any violations by the New York city council the constitution guarantees that right. But should they, you be the judge.