I have had many debates about this Cultural Center near the remains of the World Trade Center. For me, it is not just about upholding our constitution, it is about expressing to the world that as Americans we truly believe in our Democracy, that we are not hypocrites, that we are NOT afraid of Islam.

My brother who lives in NYC fully supports this center. People who I know that survived the attack on 9/11, support this center.

I read a wonderful article on the Imam, sent my way from a dear friend who is Muslim, and we had a wonderful exchange. Before people go screaming in fear and hysteria, I would recommend reading this very informative piece on the imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man who had the vision and dream for this project.

I wanted to share story by NPR, for it gave me hope that maybe in all this fear, anger and hatred, their is hope mosque_17after all.

There apparently were some ugly moments during Sunday’s dueling protests in New York City over the plan to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero.

Salon.com and John Cole onBalloonJuice.com pointed out the nasty moment that occurred when a black man wearing a skull cap like those many football players use under their helmets, walked through the crowd of anti-mosque protesters and became the target of the bile of some in the crowd who thought he was Muslim.

Turns out, he wasn’t. Watching the video, it isn’t hard to imagine how badly the situation could’ve turned out if cooler heads hadn’t prevailed.

But while some who protested the mosque clearly weren’t the best role models of how to behave in crowds, it would be unfair to suggest that they all were, as John Cole puts it, “mouth-breathers.”

In the very same video, there’s a man who appears to be with the anti-mosque protesters, who puts himself between the black man and a beefy guy in a construction hat who seems to want to escalate the confrontation.

The New York Times also describes another redemptive scene. When a pro-mosque protester carrying a sign that said religious freedom is what made the U.S. great, confronted the antis, a man got in his face and said if the police weren’t around, he’d be in trouble.

Fortunately, the police escorted the pro-mosque man, medical student Michael Rose, away.

But the anti-mosque protester who had gotten in his face followed and caught up to Rose after a few blocks .

The NYT goes on to report:

Then the man stuck out a hand and, in a terse voice, said, “I’m sorry.”

“You have a right,” he told Mr. Rose. (He would not give his name.) “I am sorry for what I said to you. I disagree with you completely, but you have a right.”

Maybe the unbuilt Islamic center which is, in fact, fairly far from getting off the ground, is having a positive impact as it generates such scenes of random kindness amid the furor.

55 Thoughts to “The Cultural Center in NYC, Hopefully Not an Opportunity Lost”

  1. kelly3406

    starryflights :
    The Nazis were good liars. Goebbels perfected the art of lying. You said that the mosque would be opened Sept 11 which was a lie. Calling it a victory mosque is a lie. So the comparision is apt.

    How can you be so certain that the Cordoba House is not intended as a victory mosque? Because the Imam says so?

    Here is what I see:

    1) Rauf claims that the purpose of the Cordoba House is to build understanding and reconciliation between Muslims and Americans of other faiths. However, a huge number of Americans (perhaps a majority) oppose a mosque near Ground Zero. Instead of reconciliation, a mosque at Ground Zero will create ill will and hostility, thereby defeating the stated purpose for building it. That contradiction indicates to me that understanding and reconciliation are not really high priorities for the Imam.

    2) The Imam and his wife scoff at the idea that they are building a victory mosque. Yet there is substantial evidence that funding for the mosque comes from countries like Saudi Arabia and Libya, which have significant jihadist elements. No matter what the Imam says, the hard-line jihadists in those countries will view it as a “victory mosque.” Such a symbol of pride and victory at the location of their successful attack on the World Trade Center may encourage further terror attempts.

    3) Why should we believe the assurances of the Imam anyway? Islamic law allows for the practice of “taqiyaa,” which allows Muslims to lie and deceive nonbelievers (i.e. non-Muslims) in order to advance the cause of Islam.

  2. Starryflights

    Emma :@starryflights PWC Taxpayer didn’t say the mosque would be opened Sept 11, I did.
    The current version of the story is that there is not yet funding for this project, so that it may not even happen for another 3-5 years. But the story earlier this year was that the desired opening date was 9/11/2011. That did not come from Fox.

    Yes it did come from Fox.

  3. Emma

    You conveniently ignored the link I provided to an article published in the spring of this year. @Starryflights

  4. Emma

    LOL, Slow. Only Starry could argue to the point of insisting that a website devoted to building interfaith understanding gets its marching orders from Fox.

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