Thursday, August 26, 2010

More on the 'mosque' ...

Last week CBS News brought up that 10,000 Muslims live and nearly 90 Islamic organizations exist in the immediate area of Ground Zero in Manhattan, where planes "piloted" by Islamic extremists flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, collapsing both buildings and causing thousands of deaths.

And that got me thinking, especially because of the controversy over Cordoba House, the Islamic-oriented community center planned for an old Burlington Coat Factory store 2 1/2 blocks away and not even visible from Ground Zero: 9/11 happened in their own neighborhood.

It seems to me that, if those Muslims really were terrorists, they would have participated, or at the very least rejoiced, in the act -- but they didn't; as Jim Wallis of Sojourners mentioned, 59 Muslims were known to have also perished in that disaster. Moreover, more than a few Muslim leaders, including one I interviewed in the aftermath, denounced the terrorist attack as opposed to the message of Islam; that message, however, seems not have gotten through to much of the public.

And perhaps that's why Cordoba House, whose planners seek interfaith understanding, really needs to be built.

We can debate all we want as to whether Islam is a religion of peace or violence, but it should be clear that American Muslims are indeed Americans; two-thirds of American Muslims are African-Americans, most of which have no direct ties to the Middle East. (In fact, they followed the late Malcolm X right out of the Nation of Islam, now led by Louis Farrakhan and which most orthodox Muslims consider a cult.)

Anyway, it also seems to me that, as long as we treat Muslims with the respect and dignity they deserve as fellow human beings they would not likely turn on us.

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