9/11 Controversy

According to a poll, 75% of Americans don’t want a mosque built at ground zero. However, I’m not sure that the 75% know or want to know that the proposed mosque is not just a mosque, but an Islamic cultural center to provide a place of worship for Muslims, Jews, Christians and others.  One of the goals of the project is to foster interfaith dialogue and understanding; a sanctuary for tolerance.   This purpose threatens radical Islam.

Islam is not the enemy, yet the protests suggest otherwise.  There seems to be a belief among many Americans that followers of Islam hate America and rejoiced after the 9/11 attacks.  This argument is like saying that all Christians support the twisted beliefs of domestic terrorists groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Hutaree, and anti-abortion groups who use their radical Christian views to justify violence and murder.

I recognize the psychological need to have an enemy, but let’s be clear that our enemy is not only radical Islam, but radical elements within Christianity.  Christians might say that the radicals are not really Christian.  Muslims would say the same of those 9/11 terrorists.

And the site is not at ground zero.  People are talking about the Islamic cultural center as if it were rising from the ashes of the twin towers.  It is blocks away from ground zero.  For the record, the ground zero memorial towers are being built at ground zero, not a mosque.

9/11 was a tragic day in American History.  I will never forget the day, and will continue to remember the fallen for as long as I live.  The war on terrorism is not a war on a nation, a group or a religion.  It is an ideological war.  We are a country founded on the idea of freedom which now extends to freedom for all.  When we follow the ideals of democracy, tolerance and respect for human rights, others will follow.  We cannot impose these principals of love, but simply provide an alternative ideology.  The lunatic fringe will always exist, both domestically and abroad.  We simply must be careful not to let ideologies based on fear, hate and violence drive our agenda.  Nor should we give evil ideas the fuel to expand by calling too much attention to them.  History will show that a way of life based on peace and justice will be the key to the survival of the human race.

For other thoughts connected to the events and controversies of  9/11, see my other blog posts:

9/11 Coincidences

Near, Not at Ground Zero

Near, not at Ground Zero

I was watching the CBS Early show this morning.  One of the stories they led with was President Obama’s comments on the mosque controversy at Ground Zero and top democrat Harry Reid’s break with the President on the issue.  Bay Buchanan was one of the guests and argued that Ground Zero is hallowed ground and that most Americans don’t want a mall or a casino built there.   She really said that.

What’s being lost in the discussion  is that this planned Islamic cultural center is actually not at Ground Zero, but near it.  It couldn’t be at Ground Zero anyway because the 911 Memorial and Museum is currently under construction there.

The last I checked, the first amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees Americans freedom of religion.  But the controversy is not really about religion, it is about fear, and misplaced blame and at its extreme, discrimination and racism.  And it is being politicized on both sides – Harry Reid on the left and the Republicans who have weighed in and will try to make it a divisive cultural issue.  And the birthers will use Obama’s support of the proposal as proof that he is a Muslim.

911 was a tragic event.  The national psyche was damaged and has not yet healed and may never.  And while I am not blaming anyone, I am surprised that it has taken so long to build a proper 911 memorial at Ground Zero.  I think had one been built already, there wouldn’t be much of a controversy over a development project such as the Islamic cultural center.