There is a huge, vocal and heated debate going on right now in the media over the proposed building of a Mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.
The decision to chose this spot, out of so many other, more suitable places to build a Center for Islamic Studies and a place for Muslim worship has divided and enraged the country.
Some argue that in building a Mosque at this sacred place, the Muslim community is making a loud, triumphant statement to the rest of the country. This would be a “trophy” site. A place where the followers of Islam can come to see the devastation wrought by their radical brethren.
Others defend the decision, saying that America is a free country and the Muslims have a perfect right to build their Mosque anywhere they please.
It is undoubtedly true that the people who are going to build this Mosque have the right to do so.
The issue here is not whether Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the right. Rather the more important issue is why this Imam is so clearly set on going ahead with this project when the rest of the country has been so clearly against such a move?
According to the American Society for Muslim Advancement’s website, a society founded by the same Imam at the center of this firestorm:
Rauf “… has dedicated his life to building bridges between Muslims and the West and is a leader in the effort to build religious pluralism and integrate Islam into modern society.”
Considering this country is embroiled in a war against radical Muslims bent upon our destruction and judging by the outpouring of anger and frustration towards this proposed Mosque, it may be early to think that the U.S is ready for “integrate Islam into modern society”.
In spite of the fact that Rauf says he desires to build bridges between Muslims and the West, he is clearly showing a complete lack of regard for the feelings of the very people to whom he says he wants to reach.
His website goes on to glowingly portray Rauf as a seeker of peace saying;
“Imam Feisal is also the architect of the Cordoba Initiative, an inter-religious blueprint for improving relations between the Muslim world and West & America.”
Just how does Imam Feisal think to achieve this goal? By shoving his religion down the throats of the grieving citizens of this country who lost loved ones on Sept 11? By erecting a Mosque, the ultimate symbol of Islam and the Middle East, right next door to the ultimate symbol of Jihad?
If Feisal Rauf really was concerned about fostering good relations between the Muslim community and the people of this country, the first thing he would take into consideration would be the feelings of the people he wants to win. The old adage; “you catch more flies with honey” is particularly apropos in this situation.
Rauf says he wants to heal the anger, yet he refuses to consider that what he is doing is fueling that very fury.
Yes, he has the right to build that Mosque anywhere he chooses.
It is ironic that he is holding onto those rights and freedoms with a chokehold at the same time that a huge contingent of his own people want to kill us and destroy them.
Imam Sulayman S. Nyang , a Muslim scholar from Howard University is quoted as saying:
“The Koran is saying to humans, this is the final guidance from your Creator, for the specific purpose of worshipping him and creating a civil society where you can live in peace with one another,”
If this is true, then perhaps Imam Rauf might reconsider where he wishes to build his Mosque. As it stands now there will be no peace between the Muslim community and the rest of this country if he stubbornly continues to disregard the deafening outcry against this plan. This is just one more affront against the people of the U.S. by Muslims.
Rauf stands to gain a great deal if he would address the pain and anger his decision is causing and graciously move this Mosque to a different, less inflammatory location. It would be a tremendous gesture of goodwill and healing on Rauf’s part. It would back his words with actions that could be understood and appreciated.
It would be, in fact, a stepping stone in that bridge he wishes to build.
As it is, there is going to be a Mosque build just blocks away from Ground Zero. In order to go to the site of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, one will have to pass the worshipping and gathering place of the very faith that caused such destruction, death and pain.
Imam Rauf, on your current course, you are indeed building a bridge to nowhere.