Mosque at Ground Zero

Perhaps, some of you are wondering what is Left with Balls position on the planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero.

I won’t deny that when I first heard about it I could not believe it. WTF? – I thought. It seemed to be the biggest insult to us, New Yorkers, a way a victor in war establishes his way of dominance in the conquered land, or the worst act of provocation that feeds on our tolerance. Then I thought, sure, let’s build a mosque, there, but not before we build some churches or synagogues in Iraq or Saudi Arabia. You know, for the purpose of good will and reconciliation. I think I went through all the stages of grief – shock, denial, anger, etc. But in the end, if you think about it, it all comes down to a simple legal matter –  they have a right to do it. Whether we like it or not. It’s a free country and as a result some of us here, hell, all of us here have to live side by side with others who do things we don’t like. As long as it is legal there’s nothing we can do about it. I still would prefer this country to be the country of laws and not mobs, because if today the mob comes for somebody you don’t like – tomorrow it may come for you. If today we ban mosques because somebody is too uncomfortable or because it touches the raw nerve, then what would stop us to, say, ban Michael Moore or, God forbid, Rush Limbaugh for having the exact same effect on the others?

Having said that, this mosque does touch a lot of raw nerves and people are right to be upset. It does have a flavor of provocation similar to that Confederate monument in Selma that I wrote about in my previous post. However, that monument was moved eventually to a more appropriate place after the public outcry. But the difference between the mosque and the monument in Selma was that the monument wasn’t presented as an act of reconciliation – and was an obvious act of provocation. But here, in New York, I’m eagerly awaiting to see what Muslims can teach us, bleeding heart liberals, about tolerance and reconciliation. Perhaps, there’s something we don’t know.

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3 thoughts on “Mosque at Ground Zero

  1. Progressive Scholar says:

    I’d like to clear up some misconceptions presented here about the “Ground Zero Mosque”.

    1. The building will not be a mosque but a cultural center. It will contain a basketball court, swimming pool, childcare, art exhibitions, a restaurant, a bookstore and a prayer room. It will also include a 500-seat theater that can be a part of the neighborhood’s trendy Tribeca Film Festival.
    2. The building that the cultural center will be replacing was a Burlingon Coat Factory until 9/11, when part of a plane’s landing gear crashed through the roof. The building currently houses a mosque. The place is a mosque now, and it is being turned into a cultural center.
    3. It is a stretch to say that the Cultural Center is “near ground zero”. The proposed location is over 600 feet away from ground zero and you can’t even see the World Trade Center site from the location.
    4. The people who run the cultural center are moderate Muslims, not Islamic radicals like the ones who committed the 9/11 tragedy. There is very little similarity between moderate Muslims and Islamic radicals – as we know there can be extreme differences in opinion falling under the same broad religion – just look at Christianity. Moderate Christians don’t want to be judged by the actions of extremist Christians, and the same goes for Muslims.

    • poh says:

      There is nothing factually wrong with the post, what you write is just hair-splitting. I do not see how 600 feet is not “near”. Yes, everything is close in Manhattan but 600 feet, please, is 4 lengths of an Olympic swimming pool which Michael Phelps crosses in like 2 minutes.

      The proposed building is a cultural centre and a mosque. And the part of it being a cultural centre does not make it any less of a mosque. Don’t get me wrong, I do not see anything wrong with building a mosque, its just the place could be chosen better. Its nice to know that it will be run by moderate muslims. And you know this exactly how?

      Moderate muslims want to be judged by their own actions, not by extremists’. That’s fair. To start, how about choosing a more appropriate place for a cultural centre.

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