Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Great Mosque Debate
NYC's Landmarks Preservation Honchos have declared that the former garment-district building on Park Place is not an historical landmark. This building and its neighbour are at the centre of a major controversy because of their proximity to Ground Zero and the intentions of developers. The building will become a taller structure and part of a new Mosque and Islamic Centre. And I think that Soho Properties should reconsider this idea.
Like it or not, the disturbed boys who leveled a significant chunk of Manhattan were adherents of Islam. Muslims all over the World have made it a point to place Mosques at places they deem strategic victories. The locations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Babylonia as well as Mosques throughout not only Asia and Africa, but also Europe are no coincidence. They are intentionally built over sites considered holy to many other faiths and none have escaped. Mosques have been built directly over sites considered special to Christians, Jews, Pagans, Hindus and even peaceful Jains and Buddhists. And to many of the more radical Islamic followers, this will be a sign of victory and dominion over the infidel.
But even if it weren't a Mosque, but a Church or Synagogue I would be opposed. People of all faiths were mercilessly massacred by evil people in the name of the same G-d. It is the ultimate insult to humanity and to G-d itself to inject a metaphysical being into a place where MAN'S most sinister impulses prevailed. It is akin to Lutherans building a church at Treblinka or Catholics erecting a cathedral to celebrate the Inquisition. There are some places where man's horrible displays of free will dominated over any of the almighty. As humans we have emotional attachments to places where the most awful things occur. They become sacred to us.
It is not a question of Islam being more inherently sinister than the other People of the Book. All Abrahamic faiths call for executions of non-adherents, not just Islam. Very few people of any religion actually think they are supposed to murder people. But like it or not, there are a lot of Americans who do feel slighted by a Mosque being built when the ancient church that was nearly destroyed in the attacks has not been rebuilt. A new religious site built while the old is still a wreck seems unfair regardless of the book they read. And since it would be categorically uncouth to exclude only a Mosque, we should not have any new religious preaching posts in the area still scarred by misguided fools who used their beliefs as a weapon of mass destruction.
While it is indeed true that many people are angry at Muslims and blame them for 9/11, religious bias is not the sole reason why a Mosque should not be built in such close proximity to Ground Zero. It is not a case of "THEM" taking over like so many right-wing pundits proclaim. A Mosque built there will simply give the fearful and bigoted a new reason to complain about people they do not know but are very much like.
Folks' hearts may be in the right place, but many will take it as an offensive gesture regardless of the motivation. This Mosque will not bring unity, but xenophobia. As much as you try to force hippiedom down the throats of people, there is a timeline for healing and these wounds are simply too fresh.
I firmly stand against construction of this Mosque as well as construction of any new religious buildings in close proximity to a location where so many people lived and died as equals. There needs to be a moratorium on denominational religious construction until people come to the realization that we are all spiritual entities with our own merits and flaws. We cannot erase fear and hatred by force. Time does indeed heal wounds, an there simply has not been enough of it to justify something so divisive.
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 18:14