There is no doubt that the USA was injured on the morning of 9-11-01. Our nation was pierced in body and in spirit. The sheer depth of the hurt was evinced by the outpouring of volunteers who came without rhyme or reason to do SOMETHING/ANYTHING to help. During the healing effort over the next couple of weeks there grew a strength and solidarity not felt in this country for many years. And out of this grew our promise, “We will not forget.”
That deep wound still aches for us when it crosses the mind. No matter the cosmetics of the site, the emotional scar will remain for as long as this generation is alive. Perhaps, similar to the Holocaust, two generations from now it will fade and there may even arise 9-11 deniers.
And like any other painful remembrance, we try hard not to think of it too often. We avoid that pain. The promises made and the ‘togetherness’ felt seem also to be fading as it’s covered over with dusty layers of day to day living. “Time heals all wounds?” Not really, it just allows us to move it away from the forefront of our thought. We choose to numb ourselves rather than revisit the raw wound.
I struggle with the two faces of Islam, as perhaps you do. The face the USA sees turned toward it most often is one of hate, envy and bile. The side that sees us as the “Great Satan” and actively lives the suras of The Qur’an (Koran) that espouse conversion by violence and no quarter for the ‘infidel.’ Apparently we were even despised by the citizens of our ‘ally’ Saudi Arabia for simply having a presence on their soil, one that was sanctioned by their government.
The other face of Islam is represented to me by many members of the faith that I have met in my everyday life. They are usually kind, warm and pleasant. Reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, I was struck by the complete change in his attitude of hate and intolerance upon his “hajj” visit to Mecca. Here he learned the Islam he was living was nothing like the Islam he learned & felt there. He returned to the USA a changed man and his experiences should be read by all.
Where does the truth of Islam lie? Maybe in neither example, but more likely in both, as they both are among us. While I may love and respect those of Islam I know personally, I watch and fear those who put “kill” orders on writers and political cartoonists. Any religion that uses ‘faith’ as an excuse for evil is not of God. And yet nearly all religions have done this over time. It is troublesome to then separate the religion from the actions of it’s followers. Idealistically we may measure others by their beliefs, realistically we have no choice but to measure them by their actions.
The current plan to build a Mosque just two blocks from the tragic World Trade Center site has reopened our wound and rubbed salt into it. Although the plan has already been approved there is a great outcry from the public. Many feel the placement is an insult to those whose remains are buried at the site of the attack. This area is as sacred as the Arizona Memorial and yet it is not being accorded the sanctity it deserves.
Is the protest bigotry or a knee-jerk reaction to emotional pain? Pain is a safety feature of our body. Fear and pain help prevent or warn us away from potentially damaging actions. We ignore these warnings at our own peril. I fear this mosque will resonate with that pain, that fear & natural desire for revenge will become a festering sore. It will drive a wedge into any attempt at understanding or commonality between Islamics and everyone else in America.
Why the choice to build it there? The symbolism created is the very reverse of someone wanting to foster harmony. And why the Cordoba House? The name itself seems a negative selection. Islamics say that Cordoba, Spain was a prime example of enlightenment through Islam. It was a thriving metropolis and an intellectual capital where even Christians and Jews were treated with tolerance.
I don’t know about you, but I can read between the lines. All it takes is some history information and real world experience. Non Muslims were treated as controlled 2nd class citizens with limited rights, and extra taxation unless & until they converted. So Islam came in, took the city by force, enthroned their own religion there above all others, and kept the native people down. They built many mosques as reminders of their power base and local subjugation. If this sounds untrue or unfair check some history. Remember that Islam is, for all intents and purposes, not just a religion. It is the government, the law, the military, and the authority for whatever they want to do. Could this Mosque be a symbol of the harm they have done to us here? Some Americans will see it so. Mosques are often the training ground for vitriolic hatred against any & all obviously inferior non-Muslims. Now they want to make some statement in New York City, very near the site of Ground Zero. I guess that the two dozen mosques in NYC already just aren’t enough.
When commenting on a blog opposing the Mosque, Borough President Scott Stringer said “His spewing of racial hatred reminds me…of Adolph Hitler. We reject him. We reject his bigotry.” Some of the blogger’s comments were stupid and ill-informed, I agree. There is no need to defame or insult. But the Hitler comparison? And from a public official? Why spew additional garbage.
You can not tout our freedom and allow this to be built, yet in the next breath deny freedom of speech to people in opposition. How typical of the perversion of our country. Perhaps Mr. Stringer should inquire of his parents about who Hitler was, I’m sure they remember, as do mine. Hitler did not just talk – he killed. And so have the representatives of radical Islam, NOT the people speaking out against them here. This penchant we seem to have, to support & defend the criminal while bashing & silencing those who remind us of actual history, seems rather suicidal.
Crosses and Ten Commandments are being removed or hidden all across the USA, but we will have this in our face at this place of injustice? My child can not have or even mention a Bible in school but we may soon hear the “adhan” or ‘Call to Prayer’ five times a day at the Memorial of the Ground Zero fallen. We bring shame upon ourselves if we allow this.