Mosque sends bad message
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By Samantha Hardcastle
It is hard to believe that this year marks the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. It is also difficult to believe that the plans of an Islamic cultural center (Park 51 also known as Cordoba House) in lower Manhattan is slowly but surely advancing. The Mosque of New York would be built just two blocks away from ground zero.
What would the nearly 3,000 victims who died that day say about the mosque if they had the chance?
At the White House Aug. 13, 2010, President Barack Obama addressed a crowd saying, “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.”
He made his speech during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He also forcefully supported the building of the mosque, stating that it was our duty under our country’s founding principles.
We as a nation under God need to respect the deceased who died in a nation under God, not a nation under religious establishments affiliated with Islamic fundamentalists.
In a Sept. 2011 CNN report, the organization’s hopes “to bring all people together” has seemingly only pushed people further apart. We have to at least revere the perished and that’s not through making their universal tombstone an Islamic Cultural Center.
Of course, there is resentment against the building. Regarding religious freedom, despite what ordinances state, people are rioting against this — even going as far as burning a Quran.
Hundreds of people gathered near the site of the planned cultural center for an “anti-Ground Zero Mosque” demonstration on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which featured Executive Director of Stop Islamization of America Pamela Geller.
“What could be more insulting and humiliating than a monster mosque in the shadow of the World Trade Center buildings that were brought down by an Islamic jihad attack?” Geller had said in June 2010. “Any decent American, Muslim or otherwise, wouldn’t dream of such an insult. It’s a stab in the eye of America.”
However, in an NPR report issued May 5, 2011, real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal is advancing with his strategy for the center. Though the board admits its difficulties thus far in the project from political to economical hardship, there is a four-phase plan that Gamal says will take a minimum of five years.
Founder and CEO of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and Imam of Masjid Al-Farah, Feisal Abdul Rauf, a board member for the project, speaks of his optimism for the future building.
“I’ve had this vision for over 20 years. The dream of establishing Cordoba House in New York is very much alive, and we are actively pursuing the methods by which we can have such an institution,” Rauf said.
The construction was described in full detail in the NPR report with 15 floors including museum space, a 9/11 memorial, a place for interfaith meetings, an auditorium, a media-tech library, a sports pool, a wellness center, a fitness center, a sports center, a culinary school, child care facilities and a restaurant.
It’s disheartening that even after two years of turmoil, Gamal is still trying to build the center contrary to what many Americans desire. It is true some things need to be accomplished, but this — an ache in the heart of America — should not be one of them.
“This is a slap to those innocent victims that were murdered that day on 9/11,” Sarah Palin said in the NPR report. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, “We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor.”