Feisal Abdul Rauf – champion of the American way?

Feisal Abdul Rauf - taking full advantage democracy?
Feisal Abdul Rauf - Taking full advantage of democracy - When it suits him

A mosque should not be built on ground zero in New York. I agree with Americans I have heard who say that Muslims have the right to build but that they should not.

Why? Because to do so would be grossly insensitive!

Over centuries Western democracies have managed to throw off oppressive religions and now take pride in freedom of speech. So much so that it is enshrined in the United States constitution. I recall seeing the great and the good protest about the film The Life of Brian by Monty Python and I recall the storm over a ludicrous piece of art named Piss Christ. But the uproar did not sop these things it merely drew attention to them.

Wikipedia informs me that it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall summarising the beliefs of Voltaire who wrote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” and this is oft quoted when defending freedom of speech.

Along with other peoples, Muslims now take advantage of secular society in Western countries. However, it cannot have escaped many people’s notice that they have an uneasy relationship with the concept of free speech. Recall the fatwah on Salman Rushdie and the uproar over a cartoon depiction of the profit Mohamed.

Though Western media take great pride in their lack of censorship I note that they refrained from the obvious course of action which was to reprint the offending cartoon. I imagine that they did this because of a mixture of sensitivity to Muslims beliefs and fear of being killed by Muslims.

As we all know, in 2001,  a bunch of bastards, claiming to be Muslims killed around three thousand people by destroying The World Trade centre in New York and since then Al Qaeda have been shooting their mouths off claiming to be killing Americans in the name of Islam. Now someone wants to build an Islamic Mosque on the site of the deaths of these people.

Since Muslims are very keen that respect and sensitivity be shown to their religion and beliefs one has to ask why they show so little sensitivity to the feelings of the friends, relatives and countrymen of those killed in 2001?

To my mind this stinks of hypocrisy.

If a madman dressed up as Ronald McDonald, took a machine gun and murdered a lot of people in a parking lot would McDonalds have the right to build a restaurant on the site? Absolutely! Should they? Hell NO! I would expect that McDonalds would not try to build because they would not want to offend people and because they realise that their relationship with people would suffer.

The guy behind the plan for the mosque is apparently Feisal Abdul Rauf and he must know that his plans will offend people and that Islam’s relationship with non-Muslims will suffer. Yet he presses ahead! Obviously he does not care about either factor. If he goes ahead with this mosque then I hope that this defender of liberty, champion of free speech and protector of the American Way will be out there defending the rights of all Americans to act without sensitivity. I hope that we never hear this man whingeing and taking offence in the name of Islam.

However, I am not holding my breath as I suspect that Feisal Abdul Rauf is an insensitive boor and an offensive hypocrite.

The building of this mosque will do nothing to help repair the rift that is opening up between Islam and Western countries and should be condemned.

I heard that, in India today, a high court has announced that the site of the Ayodhya mosque which is claimed as sacred by both Hindus and Muslims is to be divided between the two religions. What may have been more sensible would have been to build a joint religious building to be shared by both faiths. Similarly in new York, if Muslims had wanted a mosque in the area, it would have been more in keeping with their penchant for respect if they had offered to build some kind of religious centre to be shared by all religions.

..oh…and atheists too as I don’t want to leave myself out.

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2 comments

  1. I find your arguments interesting and reasonably persuasive, but I don’t agree with your conclusion. What you are calling a mosque is in fact an Islamic community center, with only a small area reserved for religious purposes. Given the significant number of Moslems who work and live in lower Manhattan, I see no reason why they should be denied access to the same type of facilities as many other religious groups have in the same area. I have seen Feisal Abdul Rauf interviewed a couple of times and he comes across neither as a boor nor as a hypocrite.

    Rather than your Ronald McDonald example, you might ask how much uproar there would have been if, after the Oklahoma City bombings by Timothy McVeigh, a Catholic community center with child care facilities and a small chapel were build a street or two away from the bomb site. Not much, I think.

  2. To my limited knowledge traditionally a mosque is a community centre; site of far more than intoning the graces of allah or Holy War. Nevertheless, your factual argument stands. Muslims are percieved as a people apart because of those few who shriek to high heaven when anything blasphemous gets on the airwaves or in the rags. And it is understandable that many people feel offended by a mosque being established near to the World Trade Center, but in the city itself such a place, if it caters to non-Muslims, as churches in the UK sometimes do, can perhaps begin to mend some of the smaller hurts dealt by the 2001 atrocities.

    I reserve the right to be mistaken in time.

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