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To Build or Not to Build: A Mosque near Ground Zero

Updated on August 24, 2010

What is really at the heart of the debate between the Muslim community and those who do not think they should build a mosque near Ground Zero? Do we even know, ourselves, how we feel about this, and if so... why? We need to ask ourselves one question, and that is... why do we care, and is it a matter I should be emotionally invested in? Let's say, you are against the idea, and you feel as if it were "disrespectful" to those who lost their lives there, on 9/11. I think this is a valid concern for many people... both, for and against the project. The individuals who lost their lives during this tragic event were unable to receive proper burials. Their bodies were, for the most part, obliterated... their remains unable to be identified/ or gathered together for what most people view is a symbol of respect (the burial/funeral). Why do we care, though? Many of us- the majority of us- do not know, personally, anyone who worked in the Twin Towers or who passed on that day. We care, because... no matter where we were on that date, we were riveted and immobile that entire day... stoically watching, in disbelief, as we saw broadcast after broadcast of a series of horrific events... right here, in the U.S. We care, because... we were created with hearts and most of us feel things in regards to events that happen, in our lives. We care, because... we are human. We also have to ask ourselves the tough questions... which none of us wants to do. There are two sides to this coin... not just one. Let's begin with religion, and the freedom of religion. Do you enjoy the freedoms we have, as citizens here, in the U.S.? Who, exactly, can partake of those "freedoms?" Do you have to be a certain ethnicity to enjoy such freedoms? The last time I checked, the only "prerequisite" to enjoying such freedoms, is... that, you be a citizen of the U.S. A citizen's nationality can be brought about a couple of different ways, in the U.S... through birth in the U.S., or by coming to the U.S. and taking a citizenship test. It seems to me, the debate begins here... although no one wants to admit it. The natural-born citizens (those born in the U.S.) seem to have a bit of an "entitlement" mentality, when it comes to their births in the states. On the other hand, we have individuals (foreign-born) who come to the states, oftentimes, to also enjoy the benefits of being in "The land of the free." Why do we, as natural-born citizens think we are any better than ANYONE ELSE? Those of us who do feel this way should not. God made us all equal... no one "better" or "more entitled" than the other. So... if someone from abroad moves to the states and takes a citizenship test, to become a U.S. citizen, aren't they just as entitled, as are the ones born in the states, to enjoy these freedoms and liberties? I certainly think so. It's almost like saying, a child who is adopted is not entitled to the same love and respect, and liberties, as a person's biological child. It's ridiculous! To my knowledge, the individuals in charge of seeing that the mosque is built, as well as the many people who will worship there, are, indeed, U.S. citizens. If that is not the case, I haven't heard it. That said... if we enjoy the freedom, as U.S. citizens AND as Americans (and that does not mean "race"), then we also must accept the fact that, other citizens of the U.S., likewise, deserve that same enjoyment. It has NOTHING to do with where you came from or where you were born. The truth of the matter, is... as long as you're a citizen, we should ALL be treated equally. I also notice many of those against the project saying things like, "They're the same people that crashed the planes into the World Trade Center, and we're going to let them build their church where they killed lots of Americans?" I have a theory about people who harbor racists thoughts, ideas and beliefs. I've heard some say, "They just don't know they're being that way." That is ridiculous! If you don't know what you're doing, then you probably shouldn't be walking around, free! My own, personal belief, is... racist thoughts and ideas are inborn; that is... they were taught, at some point, in a person's life. Those kind of angry and hateful messages and ideas cannot be contained, and that is why you'll hear racial slurs, ignorant statements, race-related "jokes," etc. The bottom line, is... these people who want to build the mosque are no more involved with Al Quaeda or radical Islam than you or I. If they were, they certainly wouldn't be trying to gain attention, by constructing what may be one of the world's most controversial landmarks. I say, "Give the nonsense a rest! Quit nitpicking and grasping at proverbial straws, where there is little or no validity! It's shameful and just makes ALL Americans look like idiots!!!" As I've attempted to point out... most of what those against the mosque feel, say and think is based (if not solely, in large part) on racist ideals. Those who want to change that characteristic about themselves will, or will not. In closing, I want to leave you with a snippet of our country's constitution. I remember it going something like this, "All Men Are Created Equal..." It is on these principles our founding fathers built America... in the hopes that ALL MEN would come together, in "The Land of the Free and Brave," and unite, as ONE.


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    • profile image

      audreana71 6 years ago

      I believe I was aware of that. Not sure. Anyhow... in my opinion, it shouldn't matter what state or city it's to be built in. As far as "freedoms" go, Yank... I agree with you on this (EVERYONE- REGARDLESS OF RACE, RELIGION, CULTURE, DISABILITY, ETC.- should be given THE SAME, EQUAL RIGHTS AS ANYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY); however... you would be surprised at just how many people who have been citizens of the states for DECADES that are STILL not receiving "equal rights" in the U.S. I have personally experienced, as well as witnessed others who have experienced, this horrible tragedy. Unfortunately, the foundation on which this country was built on is shaky, at best, and everything else that comes after that will completely crumble. Don't know if you read the bible at all, but this "falling apart" of the government/country was forseen even in biblical times. I think that's important to note;)

    • Yankee Reb profile image

      Yankee Reb 6 years ago

      doesn't anyone see that where they want to build is NOT AT GROUND ZERO?

      It is two blocks away.

      What is acceptable?

      3 blocks?

      10 blocks?

      or how about in the middle east and just forget their Second Amendment CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to Freedom of Religion?

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      there is a whole city to build, why build there. Do you seriously think it is by chance? It feels like a slap in the face. We have the right to say what we want and refuse what we feel- door swings both ways. As for the spiritual aspect- their God is different than yours/ours. Would our God "tell" us to kill thousands of innocent people in exchange for virgins-sex??? I do not believe so. The comment above is amateur, but this is how faithful new yorkers feel about being"slapped in the face". I am very tolerant and look for good in all people. I am sure not all are bad but why not speculate their actions as to building by ground zero. coincidence? I think not.

    • audreana71 profile image

      audreana71 7 years ago from WV

      Granny's House... either you're pulling my leg, or you're extremely insensitive, and that's putting it mildly! There's not much to address, really, other than to say... in regards to your reference that "they" (I'm assuming you're referring to Muslims, in general, here- if not, I have no clue who you're referring to) are not tolerant unless they accept the racist and intolerant tit-for-tat the (hopefully) minority of Americans feel/will be juvenile enough to engage in, is simply ridiculous. The bottom line, is... politically, "they" are in the right. They have every right, under the U.S. constitution to build the mosque, like it or not. The individuals responsible for that would be the persons who constructed the constitution's amendments. Anything other than full constitutional liberties against such, is obviously a breach of one's human rights. If you want to address this from a spiritual (i.e. religious) point of view, then the same premise is true: we are ALL God's children (black, white, Puerto Rican, Jamaicaan, Polish, Iranian, Israeli, Portuguese, etc.), and should treat our "brother" as such. I could quote scripture after scripture, from the bible, supporting this viewpoint, as well, but I have a distinct feeling I might just lose you there. You certainly have a "right" to your own opinion, and... it is what it is. I would only ask you to ask yourself, "How would I feel if I were in 'their' shoes?" Would you still feel the same? I'm sure, not. Anyhow... thanks for your comment. I pray you gain clearer insight into this issue and eventually, maybe, even have a change of heart. That's what this is all, really, about... coming together and, as you mentioned, being TOLERANT. That applies to EVERYONE. Not because I say so, but because God's own word says so.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Regarding the Mosque being built near ground zero. I say let them build it. But then, across the street we should put a topless bar called " You Mecca Me Hot" and next to that a gay bar called "The Turban Cowboy" and next to that a Pork Rib restaurant called "Iraq-O-Ribs" and next to that a ...check cashing place called "Iran out of Money" then we'll see who's tolerant.

    • audreana71 profile image

      audreana71 7 years ago from WV

      Yankee... A lot, it seems! As is usually the case with such controversial topics, in the world, most people pronounce their own judgement, one way or another... for OR against. This topic is certainly no exception. This is one reason why, I am happy to say, I am apolitical... meaning, I do not involve myself in political matters. As any imperfect person, living in the U.S., though, I do have thoughts and ideas. The basis for my whole being, is the bible. So... I have to say... God's word says, we are ALL his children (he doesn't specify: white, black, rich, poor, catholic, agnostic). In an IDEAL world (which would have been the case had God been left in charge!), EVERYONE would have the same "rights" as everyone else. Unfortunately, this is NOT an ideal (or anywhere near ideal) world. So... you have people running around, saying, "I think this and I think that," instead of looking to the person we all need to be looking toward, for guidance (advice, ideas, feelings, etc.)... our creator... Jehovah God! People are real quick to use God and his name WHEN IT SUITS THEM OR THEIR BELIEFS, but... what about your EVERYDAY life- before you make decisions, choices and so on. Do people consult God THEN? The answer is obvious, because... if it weren't, this country would not be in the MESS it's in- including the above "situation." Thanks for your thoughts. They are much appreciated!

    • Yankee Reb profile image

      Yankee Reb 7 years ago

      What are people thinking??

      It is just this simple - the Constitution grants EVERY American Religious Freedom.

      Who thinks they are entitled to take that away from ANY American?

    • profile image

      audreana71 7 years ago

      Thank you for your point of view. I have, honestly, never heard of her, but I will definitely do some research. Sounds interesting!

    • profile image

      SAM 7 years ago

      Rather than knee jerk judgement, I have listened to both sides. I wondered about what Nonie Darwish would say about this. I have read both of her books. She is the daughter of a very famous, revered, even to this day, Egyptian general, was from a privileged family and grew up fearing and hating the Western culture from what she was taught in school. Although she is controversial among Muslims, she has a unique perspective as she is from this culture and understands both philosophies.

    • fetty profile image

      fetty 7 years ago from South Jersey

      Please retype this into at least three paragraphs. Add a few pictures to improve this hub. You have a lot to say now entice others to read this.