Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ramadan Journal - Day 5 - To mosque or not to mosque

What’s worse than not knowing what to do is not knowing what to think.
Any newspaper reading person will come across the fight to stop the building of a Muslim community center – which would include a mosque, a library, a gym, an auditorium and a restaurant – two blocks from Ground Zero.
At first, I felt torn about the proposal.
There are obviously two ways to see this and both make sense.
But I have decided to take a stand. To fulfill the dream of making the United States a tolerant, loving place for all races and religions, this center must be built.
Thinking about this further will even bring one to the conclusion that this “sensitive” location is perfect. It’s exactly where it should be.
Now there are a plethora of rants against this from regular citizens and government officials alike.
It’s of no surprise that Sarah Palin, the Republican 2008 U.S. vice presidential candidate, sent a tweet insisting, “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.”
This is just one of the rants, though it is extremely polite.
Of course there are others that aree downright offensive.
Consider this, for example, from Slate:
Rick Lazio, New York's leading Republican candidate for governor, held a press conference to decry the project. He framed it as a threat to New Yorkers' "personal security and safety." Then he stood proudly beside Debra Burlingame, the co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, as she accused Rauf of hatching the mosque plot "to bring people to Islam" and create "a Muslim-dominant America." Burlingame said "creating an Islamic presence" near Ground Zero would serve as propaganda for "people who want to hurt this country."
Interesting.
I wish I could tell Mr. Rick Lazio that during my father’s 25 years in the U.S, where he worked hard and struggled to make a good living, he was never a threat to anyone’s personal security and safety.
Nor was my uncle and his family who continue to live in the California ever think about hurting this country—the  country that made him.
Now since it’s a Holy Month and a time to reflect and have at least some peace of mind, I didn’t read too many of the negative online comments abou the plan, but here is an example of what people think:
Rbrown: 
C'mon. This isn't a mosque. Or a cultural center. It's a shrine. Sure they have a right to build a shrine to their heros. Go ahead, and good luck with that.
Dear Rbrown, you spelled heroes wrong.

There really isn’t much to say about this. I understand where the opposing viewpoint is coming from.

I mean if some sick person who belonged to the religion Cupcake (for example) threw cupcake bombs in my neighborhood and then the non-sick Cupcakians decided to build a Cupcake Center in that same neighborhood in an attempt to mend their tarnished image I’d have at least some doubts.

Yet, they have to start somewhere, right?

I don’t know. I don’t want to say arguing for this is close to useless but President Barack Obama supports the right for mosque near Ground Zero. Maybe others should, too.

Clearly there is much more to this.


2 comments:

Pushkal Shivam said...

This one was really good, Jessica. Congrats to YJI for coming up with such a great idea. I personally believe that being hostile towards the proposed mosque near ground zero would be playing into the hands of extremists. Their intention is to create hatred and unrest.Just on the basis of the action of a few extremist outfits we cannot make a broad generalization for the entire community.

Jackie Majerus said...

That's right, Pushkal. But I want to give credit where credit is due. The Ramadan journal was Jessica's idea, and a fine one. I'm thrilled that she is doing it.
Jackie Majerus, Executive Director, YJI