Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote this opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal titled “Liberal Piety and the Memory of 9/11,” which clarifies some of the reasoning behind opposition to the planned construction of a mosque a very short distance from Ground Zero. I recommend clicking the link and reading it.
It certainly is no accident that Ground Zero for the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, targeted landmarks of New York City. Because it’s America’s biggest city? In my mind: I suppose so. Because it’s America’s financial capital? In my opinion: I suppose so. Because it’s America’s media center? My best guess is: I suppose so. Because it’s the largest community of Americans who identify themselves as Jewish? My mind is totally clear on this one: Most definitely.
Dorothy Rabinowitz is not paranoid. She has good reason to believe that Jews are prime targets of terrorists who identify themselves as Muslims.
And while Americans mourn the tragic loss of lives at that fateful spot of New York City, there are a number of people scattered around this globe that would dance and make merry on that spot of ground. Many of those would-be revelers would identify themselves as Muslim.
Is the building of a mosque that close to Ground Zero an attempt to revel in the damage caused by evil deeds? It might be. Or it might not. It’s like a Rorschach test, with no conclusively right or wrong answer–different people see it from different perspectives.
The next to last paragraph of the editorial reads thus:
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser—devout Muslim, physician, former U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy—says there is every reason to investigate the center’s funding under the circumstances. Of the mosque so near the site of the 9/11 attacks, he notes “It will certainly be seen as a victory for political Islam.”
It seems quite reasonable that it would be viewed by a number of people as a victory for political Islam. But not every one would jump to that conclusion.
My opinion? I’ve already spoken out, here at Buckeye RINO, against religious intolerance from the political right. Of course, that admonition can well be extended to others along the political spectrum. Religious freedom extends to Muslims. Religious tolerance should extend that far, also.
I can’t help that there are a number of people who will view it as a victory for political Islam. People will make of it what they make of it. The First Amendment to our Constitution has to be the prevailing principle.
Besides religious freedom, I also believe in property rights. If Muslims acquire a property, they have the property rights and the religious rights to build a mosque there.
On the other hand, yes, if I were Jewish resident of New York City, I’d likely feel those exact same feelings that Dorothy Rabinowitz expressed. In fact, I sympathize with those feelings, already, even though I’m not a New Yorker (disclaimer: for one summer, I did live in upstate New York, but I don’t think that makes me a New Yorker, even in small measure), even though I’m not Jewish, and even though I can’t empathize because I’ve never walked in her shoes and borne the brunt of anti-Semitic persecution. I am an American, though, and a human being, and on those common grounds, I feel anguish to this very day for what happened on 9/11, just as surely as I cried tears of great sadness on the day it all happened.
Religious tolerance, though, sometimes means we have to live with a great deal of anguish as we allow other religions to exercise their Constitutional liberties. So a mosque can be built there. But there will be many who feel an anguish that cannot be alleviated. It’s just the way it is.
It has to be a two-way street. Public figures have publicly asked the public to refrain from retaliating against and persecuting Muslims. Again, I expect religious tolerance to extend to Muslims. But I also expect Muslims in America to tolerate other religions. I expect Muslims in America to neither persecute nor molest persons not of their faith. As has been pointed out, there have been a few Muslim individuals that haven’t measured up to that expectation, and they must face American justice to be held accountable for their deeds.
If a Muslim chooses to reside in the United States of America, then it should coincide with the choice to respect our Constitution, and our laws, including the freedom of non-Muslims to choose their own religion. This necessarily means that Muslims must forfeit any design to impose any incarnation of political Islam in America. There is freedom to believe what you believe so long as it stays within the religious realm. Furthermore, in America, there can be no coercion exerted to make others adhere to a religious persuasion, and a Muslim who chooses to reside here must agree to abide by that principle. Political Islam cannot coexist with the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Any Islamic insurrection that may arise in an effort to wrest power from the people of the United States of America must be crushed or America would cease to be America. If a Muslim insists on living in a nation that conforms to sharia law, then that Muslim must necessarily take up residence somewhere else.
I have worked alongside Muslims in companies where I have been employed, and I enjoyed their friendship. They were friendly, devout, honest, trustworthy, humble, hard-working, conscientious, respectful, well-behaved, ethical individuals. I wouldn’t mind if there were many, many more of them here that shared those same characteristics. I hope the American experience is as rewarding for them as it is for me.