Memories of 9/11: Mosque at Ground Zero – Build Bridges, not Walls

by CJFosdick on September 13, 2010

“The Imam who is pushing to build a Mosque at Ground Zero is a man of mystery. Is he a man of love or a man of hate?” (Rudy Guiulani, 9/11/2010)

Rudy concluded that Imam Raul is a man of hate. The Imam is saying things like, “If the mosque is moved, Muslims throughout the world will rise up and kill Americans.” A man of peace would never, ever hate-monger this sort of hostile dialog, fanning the fires of world Muslim feelings. Rather, he would use his influence to prevent any such killings from happening. He is, after all, a Muslim religious leader and claims to be a man of peace. No one disputes the fact that as far as laws are concerned, the Imam has a legal right to build the Mosque there. Legality is not the issue. The issue concerns matters of the heart.

The scars left by the terrorist attack on 9/11 by the bombings on our shores are still fresh — fresh, deep, and painful. Families still grieve the senseless deaths of their loved ones, and will until the day they, too, die. America still carries visions of the towers falling, of bodies hurdling through the air, of the smoke and debris choking those as they raced from the scene of death and destruction. All of America saw it. We all stared at our televisions in disbelief, and we knew this was not some over-the-top fictional drama. This was real life, this was fellow Americans; we were watching a devastation, a hell on earth beyond belief.

I sat alone in my living room, watching it unfold. I was praying over and over to God to save our White House, our Statue of Liberty, our precious icons symbolizing all that is good and wonderful about America. We watched heroes — real heroes and heroines — actual men and women who had lives much like our own, the first responders, rush back into the still-standing twin towers, many never to come out alive. They didn’t hesitate; they were helping their fellow Americans. The first responders were men and women of love. Those on Flight 93 willingly gave their lives to keep this plane from getting to Washington D.C. They didn’t want to die. But they willingly did. They crashed this plane into a field in Pennsylvania. They knew they were going to die, but they did it anyway. This is heroism at its best.

9/11 drew us together as Americans, more than anything else since Pearl Harbor starting World War II. We, acting as one, showed the world the stuff we Americans are made of. Today, 9/11 is far from a distant memory. The pain and the glory of that day linger. Pain because of the deaths, and glory because of the heroism. Humankind at its worst and at its best.

It is not because Americans hate Muslims that we don’t want a mosque built near Ground Zero. Nor are we against building mosques at other places. We realize that the terrorists who attacked us are not the majority of peace-loving Muslims throughout the world. But, Ground Zero holds a sacred place in our hearts. To build a mosque so close seems a desecration to the memory of what happened there that awful day. The Imam, if he were actually a man of peace, as he claims, would realize this and would willingly move the mosque a few blocks away; just a few blocks would make the difference. This would build more bridges between religions than could any mosque forced on us on a site about which we have such deep feelings.

When I saw grieving people on Saturday, nine years after 9/11, so choked with tears they could hardly speak, and as I watched and remembered my own feelings on that day, I knew in my heart how much these people, and we Americans, would be hurt by a mosque nearby to Ground Zero. Building it seems more like an Arch de Triumph to the terrorists who attacked us than a bridge between people. Why do this, Imam Raul? Why hurt those among us who have been hurt already more than the rest of us will ever realize? Only an insensitive clod, or a man who actually has ulterior motives, would insist on building the mosque at Ground Zero. Why be so hard-headed as to say you will never compromise, Imam? I’ll go back to the question I posed at the first of this blog. “Is this Imam a man of love or a man of hate?” He said again today, September 13, that he is a man of peace, and he didn’t realize how much division his proposed mosque would bring to America.

So, he does realize it now. He admits the mosque is pulling America into pieces. This takes him out of the “clod” realm. Thus, like Rudy Giuliani, I must conclude he is a man of hate. And this mosque will further divide Americans, drive wedges between people, and will create more pain in the hearts and minds of fellow Americans than anything I can think of. I know this is the effect this proposed mosque has had on me. I feel revolted. I feel all my love of America building. I feel — yes, Americans feel building this mosque close to Ground Zero is wrong — some 67% of us, 87% of New Yorkers, according to polls. Listen to us, peace-loving Muslims. After all, you are Americans, too. Use your influence.
Make your Imam Raul listen. Help build bridges, not walls.

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