Monday, September 06, 2010

The Mosque Masquerade

Ebert Construction
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
I’m thinking about building a mosque in my backyard. One problem: there might not be enough space given my small, in-town lot. Perhaps I’ll settle for a lone minaret.

It would probably be a good idea to convert to Islam before I get started too. I don’t want to come across as some disrespectful infidel mocking Islam.

I don’t know... Honestly, my heart’s not really into it. But, if I had the disposable cash and a little less common sense, I’d do all of these just to piss off the growing gathering of Islamophobiacs.

Islamophobia 101...
Islamophobiac is another name for the God-fearing, banner-waving, Fox-News-crazed, wear-it-on-your-sleeve, love-it-or-leave-it “Americans” who oppose the new Cordoba House Islamic Cultural Center slated for construction near “ground zero” in Lower Manhatten. The cultural center has been likened to a typical urban YMCA, but will include a mosque instead of a chapel.

It comes as no surprise that Islamophobiacs are the same folk who believe President Obama is a Muslim and was born overseas too. Too bad he isn’t a Muslim for the same reason as in paragraph number three.

One I-phobiac said, “It’s a deliberate Muslim thumb in the eye to survivors of the terrorist attacks to build the facility on such hallowed ground.” Admittedly, when I first heard of this, I assumed we were talking about the first-ever mosque destined for New York City—or at least Manhattan. Then, I heard a sound bite about an existing mosque somewhere else in town. Later, I wondered if I had heard correctly and found myself googling “mosque in New York City” that resulted in the graphic with this blog. So, what do the I-phobiacs make of the half-dozen or more Islamic centers and mosques that are already in Manhattan—or the city’s 100-plus mosques located throughout its five boroughs?

Here’s another argument against the cultural center that jumped out at me... “The whole connotation of putting a mosque on conquered lands has overtones here.” Since when was New York City classified as “conquered?” Has anyone considered informing a typical New Yorker that they have been “conquered?” Whoever sides with this viewpoint should take a lesson from the Japanese about all the Americans that were in their country (running it) after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were leveled. I think they lost a few more than 3,000 civilians too. Anyone care to have a discussion about “turning the other cheek?”

Since a handful of Muslims brought down the World Trade Center, I could argue that we need to tear down the synagogues since a handful of Jews crucified Jesus? And surely the churches would be fair game too since their members have killed prostitutes, doctors, teachers and government workers—all in the name of Jesus.

Come to think of it, might as well get rid of religion altogether because all it does is make us feel good about ourselves (and there’s plenty of that going around these days) while excusing us to kill those who don't use the same nuts and bolts when it comes to worshipping God.

Location, Location, Location...
And all of this because the cultural center would be a mere two blocks from the hallowed “ground zero.” Isn’t two blocks in New York City/Manhatten pretty much like... two different worlds? If two blocks is really too close, how far is far enough? Four blocks? How about anywhere but Lower Manhatten? Anywhere but NYC? Sadly, I believe the most popular average American answer is “Anywhere but America.”

Maybe “Anywhere But America” will be the next bumper sticker along with “Not My President.”

I understand where the opponents of this project are coming from. Even President Obama questioned the sensibility of it all. Knowing the building will be so close to Ground Zero, I can almost appreciate how some might feel salt is being rubbed into our wounds, especially if they are truly unaware of all the other mosques in the New York City “gigalopolis.”

And perhaps that’s what really needs to happen here. Given America’s predominant Christian roots, this is the time to practice one of the more memorable teachings of Christ—as it relates to the events of September 11, 2001—“in turning the other cheek.” That said, even now might be too late given the two wars we initiated. Nevertheless, the opportunity to appreciate and welcome a lesson in tough love has arrived. As a country, we would do well in the eyes of the world if we simply all sat down, shut up and took our medicine. And wouldn’t that at least be a modest and admirable Christian gesture?

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