Monday, September 6, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque? Now?

I am in New Yorker, I felt it was my duty to say something about what's
going on at Ground Zero at this time. September 11 is coming up fast and
it's true, for most people, especially those from New York, you cannot
forget exactly where you were at the time of the twin towers disaster. I
remember it as if it were yesterday. I was actually just starting school in
another country. It was first day of classes. A quarter of the class was
from New York. The talk was rushing across the campus very quickly that
morning. Some of us didn't even have TVs yet so we got the word by hearsay,
I remember for a fact that I didn't even get a chance to watch TV that
morning. The words came in slowly through each ear, bombing, New York, twin
towers, Muslims, Islam, is there class? There was confusion all over the
place. Most of us congregated in the public places and watched the TVs on
campus, it was devastating, planes hitting buildings, buildings falling
down, national treasures at that. People running all over the place in
familiar places I knew! I'll save you from the rest of the thoughts and talk
around campus for the morning and the rest of the day, the announcement that
we would all get free calls back home. I would just say and imagine it would
be like finding out your house had burned down while you were on vacation in
another country, but on a greater scale, a surreal yet devastating feeling
of helplessness. The news, pictures, years to come, visits to Ground Zero,
were a painful reminder. I can only imagine what those people who had loved
ones die in the area must have felt. To this day that pain must linger, and
it does, as evidenced by what is going on in New York today.

Because of this, I feel I must say something, for good or for bad, as far as
the state of Ground Zero goes. The future as of this point is unwritten for
the area, but forces are fighting for the property, the future, the overall
meaning of what and who will be remembered at Ground Zero in the future.

I feel I must weigh in. First, I'll give you my opinion short and sweet. It
is, that a mosque should not be built at Ground Zero or in the near vicinity
of ground zero.

Why? First I'd like to explain that I do understand the Muslim reasoning
behind why a mosque should be able to be built at Ground Zero. This country
was built on the precipice that freedom would be given in all things, for
example, speech and religion. Religion being key here, most people coming to
America in the past which probably includes your family and mine, came for
religious reasons, the right to practice their own religion without
prejudice and fear of death. Protesting and denying a mosque's right to be
built at Ground Zero does fly in the face of what this country was built on.
Seeing the protests and reasonings on TV every day does seem more like
hatred and less like the understanding this country was built on. I don't
deny that, and it's painful to watch. In truth, American citizens have done
this to others in the past. Other citizens mind you. To the Jewish, to the
African Americans, to the Japanese, to the Chinese, more, and now, to the
Muslims.

I would say that this time though, the reasonings are different, and they
should be respected. Underneath it all, this time, it's about remembrance
rather than hatred. On the surface, it looks like hatred, there is no other
way it can be seen in public. People yelling, people screaming, calling each
other names, fighting, it looks bad, but what are they really fighting for?
I'd wager that it is that they want to keep Ground Zero a place of sacred
remembrance, a peaceful, neutral place, that those who have lost loved ones
at the site can go to as to not be reminded of the radicals that took their
loved ones away, but a place that can give solemn peace. After such a great
tragedy, I think those who have lost loved ones have the right to ask for
that, and to receive it.

I can't speak for everyone, and I didn't lose anyone in the tragedy, but
just as someone who has New York in his heart, I truly believe that a mosque
on ground zero will bring more harm than good (at this time). On this side,
I do believe that most Muslims are very good people. I have many friends
that are Muslim, that speak of peace, understanding, but to a point. That's
fair, but I don't see the understanding here. This Ground Zero is still an
open wound, a sore, that has not fully healed. We all know that in human
nature it is easier to remember the bad over the good. We always remember
the wrong someone has committed against us much easier than remembering the
good that people have graciously given us. I am not against the building of
mosques and I believe a good percentage of the people of New York are the
same. It's just not yet the right time to fight to build one on Ground Zero,
Muslim understanding and sensitivity should be greater here. I imagine one
fear is that if the property goes to someone else now, Muslims may fear
losing that site forever. It's prime real estate! Perhaps, some Muslims are
truly wanting to build this mosque as a sign of peace and as a base of peace
at Ground Zero. I commend that. As we all can see though, from this local
issue becoming national and how strong the views are, it's just not the
right time. You can't force peace, Israel and Palestine should have taught
us that much already. If a mosque is allowed to be built there now, I see
years of hatred and anger and fighting and prejudice for decades to come,
truly, I foresee it! If given time to heal though, to a future, better time
and place, a mosque may be welcomed with open arms. For my idealistic view,
I imagine the time in the future when all faiths and houses of worship will
be allowed at ground zero as they should be anywhere else in America.

I can see, with a little patience and a little sensitivity, that time can
come. So to my Christian brothers and sisters and to my Muslim brothers and
sisters, we are all a family on this world, let's quiet our hearts and our
mouths, be respectful of each other, look toward peace and the future. I
hope as they say, cooler heads can prevail, and we can all work toward peace
before the riots that are more apt to come in America show their ugly heads.
Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

Ikyoto said...

The proposed center is not at Ground Zero but two blocks away, and the Cordoba Initiative seeks to build a community center, not a mosque. The center is not designed as a local mosque for a Muslim community but rather to serve the wider community.

Although I find some of your reasoning to be interesting, mistaking the facts weakens your arguments.

Hunter said...

Is it really so technical? I never meant to say I was talking about ground zero technically at the area of the twin towers only. I should have been more clear. In honesty, doesn't ground zero, quote unquote, end where each person imagines it ends? For me that's unfairly most of lower manhattan. I would imagine that goes for others too. At this time though, as I said, the wound is still fresh. The definition of ground zero will shrink as time goes on. I'm sure of it. It's shrinking for me each time I talk about it openly and as I write this.