Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ground Zero Mosque

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaching, many controversies having to do with questions of religious involvement during the anniversary are surfacing and causing quite the stir in NYC. Governor Bloomberg decided not to include any clergy members or any formal prayer at the ceremony in hopes to keep the attention on the families who lost their loved ones. However, there has been a 9/11 controversy stirring all along. The controversy that is now officially a decade coming is the well-known “Ground Zero Mosque”. Personally, I hadn’t heard any news of the mosque since it was criticized years ago. In the CNN article, “‘Ground Zero Mosque’ moving forward”, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf explains that the controversial mosque has been moving forward this entire time despite rumors that it was on hold. Rauf founded an organization called the Cordoba Initiative which is dedicated to “improving understanding among people of all cultures and faiths.” The mosque that he has been dreaming of creating is the Cordoba House, an Islamic community center. Rauf states, “‘I’ve had this vision for 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.’” The problem some Americans have with this mosque is that it is two blocks from Ground Zero, the location of the Muslim attacks against our country causing 2,983 innocent people to die.
The main point of the article is Rauf trying to stress the importance of the non-Muslim Americans to create unity instead of hatred to American Muslims. Those who planned and carried out the attack against our country a decade ago are considered Muslim extremists, not the moderates who represent more of those that practice the religion, especially in America. “‘The battlefront that I see is not between Islam and the West or Muslims and America but between all of the moderates and all of the extremists. We have to band together to combat the extremists of all religions.” America is known to be a country made up of those who escaped religious persecution; however that doesn’t mean that we are an openly accepting country. I believe we are more closely represent a country of religious toleration, which is why Americans are more likely to get upset with this mosque since in our minds, it represents those who attacked us a decade ago.
Looking further into the mosque controversy I found a poll from roughly a year ago indicating that 68% of Americans oppose the ‘Ground Zero Mosque.’ The article states that, “The project intended to bring people together, has done more to tear them apart. But Rauf is optimistic about the future, in a nation that was built on the principle of religious freedom.” The percentage of Americans that oppose the center really came as a shock to me. I am sympathetic to those who do not wish for a mosque so close to Ground Zero, but this opposition reflects poorly on America’s forgiveness or even acceptance of those innocent American Muslims who do not represent those who were behind the attacks.  

8 comments:

TNTbo said...

Great article Annie, but I must admit, I have no sympathy for those opposed to building this Mosque. America claims to have religious freedom, but this resistance is a prime example that we still have a long way to go. Building this Mosque gives the United States an opportunity to show the rest of the world that we are a tolerant people. It would be a tremendous demonstration of how far our nation has come, in just a decade, bridging the gap between Western religious moderates and the moderate Muslim community. If the construction of this Mosque is dismissed, than we are no better than the ignorant people who ridicule innocent Muslims everyday.

Harry R. said...

I understand Annie's viewpoint about the significance of American disapproval of the Ground Zero Mosque. This belief does promote the generalization of Americans as religiously intolerant in certain circumstances. However, I can understand why these Americans feel as they do. In the aftermath of 9-11, when America went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the public came to view these wars as wars on terror but, to a lesser degree, wars against the Muslim religion. While this viewpoint is of course inappropriate, I can understand the intense opposition shown to the Ground Zero Mosque.

Molly Veelguski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly Veelguski said...

While Annie supports her opinion well, I would have to disagree with her argument. Yes, the opposition of Americans might look bad but I feel as though it was WAY to soon to even consider buidling a mosque near the memorial site. I think the idea should have never been considered. On that tragic day, America was serverly wounded by the extremists of the Muslim religion. Americans will forever remember that day and will continue to associate the catastrophe with the Muslim religion, unfortunately. Maybe in the future the Mosque could be considered but right now is not an appropriate time.

Justin E said...

I have always been opposed to a Mosque being built so close to Ground Zero. This has "bad idea" written all over it and surely, whoevers idea it was to go forth with the project knew it would cause a controversy. Mosques usually aren't built in crowded areas, so that fact alone makes this location questionable. Furthermore, as Annie and others may not be aware, the real issue about the Mosque was not that people associated it with "Radical Islam" but rather that Mosques are usually built on sacred sites of defeated enemies, as a symbol of conquest. This is what bothered many Americans. I do not believe this makes Americans appear intolerant at all.This was the most devastating terrorist attack to ever take place in America, thousands died that day and millions of families were affected. In a city as large as New York, surely there are many other, and cheaper, areas to build a Mosque. Hopefully it will be and this predicament may all be placed behind us.

Sophie K said...

It is incredibly ironic that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf intended the Cordoba House to be a place to bring people together, yet it is only tearing people apart. With this case, I sympathize with both sides. Certainly, I understand where Americans who oppose the construction of the mosque are coming from. As ignorant as it may sound, most associate the tragedy of 9/11 with the Muslim Religion. At the same time though, I think we go against our country’s testament to religious freedom if we allow the mosque to be built so close to Ground Zero.

Brantley Gasaway said...

Sophie, did you mean to say, "I think we go against our country’s testament to religious freedom if we DO NOT allow the mosque to be built so close to Ground Zero"?

In other words, whose religious freedom are you talking about in your comment?

Allison S said...

Although Annie made many valid points I have to disagree with a Mosque being built so close to Ground Zero. It may seem that the United States is religiously tolerant, but to me it feels more like throwing salt into an open wound. I recognize that the terrorists who attacked us are far more extreme than the Muslims who would use the Mosque, but ultimately the association to the two groups will always be present. There has to be other places that a Mosque could be built, it doesn’t need to be so close to the site that marks such a horrific terrorist attack on this country.