Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sacredness of Ground Zero: Part 2- I Support Park 51

With Ramadan under way and Eid al-Fitr marking the close of the holy month which will fall around 9/11, the fear and tension in the U.S. is rapidly building. President Obama strongly backed the Park 51 ("Ground Zero" mosque) in a recent statement he gave on Friday he stated,
“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”
Two American Muslims are on day 6 on of their Ramadan Road trip visiting 30 states in 30 days, you can follow them here. I thought it was very interesting that they chose the controversial Park 51 mosque as one of their first stops to kick off their trip. You can see pictures inside the mosque here of the building which used to be an old Burlington Coat Factory. And there's also been a recent Anti-Ground Zero Mosque bus campaign which boldly ties the terror attack of 9/11 with everyday American Muslims.

And of course let us not forget the most trusted name in news, Jon Stewart. Nails it!!

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Why I support Park 51.

You can't have it both ways. If we want to be the beacon of freedom to the world by proclaiming egalitarian ideals like freedom of religion then it must be freedom for ALL. It seems as if whenever freedom of religion is spoken of many conservatives and fundamentalist Christians equate that with "Christian freedom" of religion only. We must be better than the countries which deny these freedoms to their own citizens, we can call them out to do the same but we must not drop down to their level as it has been commonly suggested "we'll allow a mosque here for a church in Saudi Arabia".

Protest if you like but know your enemy, really, go visit a mosque and get to know them. Find out what they really believe not what you fear they believe. These are American Muslims, our neighbors, they are not the Taliban or Al-Qaeda just people living, working, and praying peacefully. If you want the truth don't go to your pastor or gossiping neighbor, go directly to the source, go to a mosque and talk to them. Don't try to convert them or argue, just ask your questions openly, honestly, and courteously.

9/11 was caused by the hands of Muslim extremist, period. You can't judge 1.4 billion people for the actions of a few. How would Christians respond if a Muslim thought that all Christians were bigots because of the actions caused by members of the Klan? Would a Christian appreciate being forever associated with members of a hate group? Stop presuming and protesting, and start asking and acknowledging.

I support Park 51, and all mosques for that matter, because there is no more danger from a rational Muslim than a rational Christian. It is when believers go to the extreme, becoming irrational and violent in their words and actions, do I begin to fear. All religions have skeletons in their closet and blood on their hands, not because of what they teach but how they balance the religious teaching with their humanity. I personally fear for the Muslim community in my area because I sense the hatred boiling. The Islamic Society Of Greater Chattanooga is collecting donations to build a new Islamic center off Gunbarrel Road (the open plot of land next to the roundabout). They purchased the land in 2007 and now they are raising the funds to begin construction. I know when word gets out when construction begins that all hell will break loose. When that happens I will be standing side by side with the Muslim community not because I agree with their beliefs (which I don't) but because I acknowledge their humanity and their freedom to worship.


Don said...

Very nice presentation.

captron52 said...

Great advice to go to the source yourself instead of taking someone else's opinion for it.

Al said...

Along with agreeing with all that you say, I have a question: Why is 'ground zero' considered so 'sacred'?

As a non-American, I see Sept 11/2001 as one of many violent acts in the history of the world. No worse than many others, some of which have been perpetrated by our side, so that makes them righteous?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed perhaps 200,000 people. 9/11 killed about 2800 to 3000 (depending on the source).

Draw your own conclusions.

Unknown said...


Why is 'ground zero' sacred? That's the unasked question, at least in the media which is more concerned with the political ramifications caused by Obama's remarks. I surely do not consider ground zero sacred (least of all the Burlington Coat Factory which will be torn down to build the cultural center) but this is how the American people grieves over the loss of her people. Life itself is sacred, and when blood is spilled who is to blame? I'm afraid the American people (not all though) is still grieving and have pointed the finger of blame at Muslims, all 1.4 billion of them. How many countless civilians have been lost in the Middle East since the war began? Yet Americans are so concerned with its own wounds that they are blinded by the suffering caused abroad. We all suffer.

I fully agree, in fact you touched upon the theme of one of my next post: how do we recover from past injuries without creating new ones? Muslims do not have to apologize for 9/11 no more than Christians today have to apologize for the ongoing sex abuse in the catholic church. Not all believers are responsible for these atrocities. But we can at least wrestle together with these events, mourn together, and together understand what lead these individuals to commit these acts so that it doesn't happen again.

captron52 said...

My friend Euresso id like to ask if I can borrow your quotes from Harold Kushner's books to put on my blog. Ive had a couple of "christians" kind of attack my blog and Ive been accused of writing heresey.Id like to put on my blog the story of the garden of eden as told by Kushner. But I wanted to check with you first before I copied a part of your blog. And I will not mention youir blog in order to keep anyone from attacking yiu personally. Thn kas my friend and keep up the great work yiu are doing

Chris Ledgerwood said...

To be honest, I know very little about the muslim faith, and I agree totally with everything you have stated here. But I also can understand why Americans want to lash out at something. Now I am not advocating it in any way, I believe in grace and love, but it's human nature to want to strike back, and fear and anger have no common sense. America has spilled the blood of it's young men and women in defense of other peoples human rights all over the world, and it hurts like hell when you cannot defend your own against sensless violence. I support the mosque, but I understand the anger. I don't agree with it, but as an American I understand.

Unknown said...

@Chris- I believe your willingness to listen and understand is all the Muslim community is asking for. All I know about Islam is from reading the Qur'an once through and a handful of history books, yet that was enough for me to understand and appreciate their humanity. Thanks for visiting.

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