The old building at 51 Park Place is so close to Ground Zero that it sustained damage in the attack. A part of one of the airliners fell onto this building.
Nine years later, we are supposed to "get over it" and "move on". I, for one, will never get over it and I do not want to. I want those images as a reminder of the evil and danger that exists in the modern world.
The Muslim mosque, which has gained approval of the City of New York and the endorsement of Mayor Bloomburg, not to mention Obama, is to be intentionally located in close proximity to the site of the death of nearly 3,000 Americans. How do I know this? Three reasons: there are other mosques within a few blocks of this site, there are other sites available not so close to the WTC site, and the planners have rejected the appeal to move away from Ground Zero.
The Cordoba House, which was to be the name of this mosque, is the result of efforts by Muslim Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, the chairman of the Cordoba Inititive. He is also the Imam of another mosque that is only 12 blocks from Ground Zero, already. He has said that he wants this mosque to be a bridge between Muslims and Americans. Oh, really!
Let's dissect some of the issues, beginning with "Cordoba". Cordoba, Spain is a city that was conquered by Muslims, from the Romans, in 711 AD. As Muslims have done in various areas they have conquered, they built a mosque in Cordoba. This became the capital of Islamic caliphate in the middle ages. (Caliphate refers to the reign of a caliph, which is a title given to Islamic rulers that are believed to be the successors of Mohammad.) In other words, Cordoba became the center for Islamic rule and a symbol of their superiority over the conquered territory and people.
There are those who believe that the Cordoba House is another mosque to be built on the site of conquest, as a sign of Muslim dominance. From this mosque, the daily call to prayer will be heard at Ground Zero. As opposition grew, he suggested changing the name (not the location) to "Park 51". That sounds so much better! It will make swallowing of the bitter pill so much easier. It even sounds like a nice restaurant or club. Will it change the teaching of the Quran? Will it change how Muslims feel about us infidels? I feel the bridge building, already!
Feisal Abdul Rauf (FAR) has made notable statements. He said that Americans have more Muslim blood on their hands than al qaeda does. Maybe the news sources I watch have censored the events, but I am unaware of any non-Muslim Americans flying jet liners into Arab buildings or committing suicide by blowing themselves up on Arab streets. His web site has this heading, "Healing the Relationship between the Islamic World and the West". That sounds like a very sensitive goal. When it comes to putting sensitivity into practice, it seems to be missing from FAR. Many pleaded, that if he was going to build another mosque in NY, just do it somewhere else. FAR's sensitive response, "No". But, they pointed out, this area is sacred ground and he must be aware that it was Muslims who caused this damage and these deaths. FAR did not care about building a bridge based on sensitivity.
When you begin to search out FAR and the organizations he is involved with, or the leader of, you will find some great titles and descriptions. They talk about bringing Muslims together with those in the West and of other faiths. "(H)e directs projects that aim to heal conflict between Islamic and Western communities by...engaging Islamic legal scholars in addressing the implications of contemporary Islamic governance." "(H)e founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement".
As I did this research, there began to grow within me a tendency to doubt my doubts of this Imam. But, about a half of a second later, I remembered how Islam teachings do not allow for a watering down of their religion. He has no intention of compromise or meeting half-way. He may be serious about "healing the conflict", but he plans on doing it with "Muslim Advancement". He is just like many Republicans who claim to be reaching across the aisle and working together. The compromise is all on the side of the maverick. Islamic law - Shariah - is enforced in some parts of the world by executing people who break parts of the law. Being an Imam, I have to hold onto my doubts that FAR is going to half-way convert to Judaism or Christianity.
If FAR were honestly desiring to mend fences, I can think of a few things he could do before forcing a 13-story mosque onto this site. It would be a good sign to yield to the objections and build it somewhere further away. He could openly and clearly pronounce his utter disgust and contempt for any Muslim who participated in any part of the 9/11 attacks. He could publicly stand against Muslims who murder in the name of Islam. He could explain, from the Quran, where the radical element of Islam is dead wrong and condemn their practices. He could show us, in the Quran, where they are supposed to love their neighbors and their enemies, instead of kill the infidels.
FAR could use the opportunity of the US taxpayer funded and State Department supported trip that he is currently on to the countries in the Middle East to denounce terrorism and anyone who supports it as a tool. He could condemn Iran and Hamas for their actions against Israel and the Jews. Is he doing any of those bridge building things? No, he is traveling around, at our expense, raising money to build the Cordoba House as a monument towering over the hole in the ground at Ground Zero.
It is us that he expects to cross the bridge he is building. In my opinion, this is just another bridge to nowhere and I hope to no one.