The following is a commentary in an ongoing series of “Reflections” by John Mill. John Mill is the radio persona of Ronald Bruce Meyer and can be heard on “American Heathen.” The American Heathen” Internet radio broadcast is aired, live, on Friday nights from 7:00pm-10:00pm Central time on ShockNetRadio.com.
A “Mosque” at Ground Zero?
A Reflection by John Mill
I've been thinking about that "mega-mosque" and Islamic community center some Muslim group is proposing to build about 600 feet from Ground Zero. Ground Zero, of course, is the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The sponsors wanted to call this $100 million project "Cordoba House," after the supposed period of peaceful coexistence among Muslims, Christians and Jews in medieval Spain.
But that peace, such as it was, was under a Muslim caliphate. So, a lot of Americans objected to the subtext of Muslim hegemony. Consequently, "Cordoba House" was magically transformed to something less controversial, Park51. That’s the address of the former Burlington Coat Factory that will be razed to make way for a 13-story worship center.
So, I've been thinking about Park51 and wondering if it's a good idea.
Some say the mosque location could be used for a terror base. But I think the 9/11 terrorists did just fine without a terror base close to Ground Zero — or near the Pentagon, for that matter. If terrorists wanted to plan another attack, it would be stupid to be so obvious. And one thing the 9/11 terrorists were not is stupid.
Besides, the World Trade Center is gone. And, after nine years, Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground. It seems like the Muslims are the only people capable of building anything anywhere near the site!
But if you really want to think clearly about whether or not the mosque should be built, here are five points to ponder:
1. OPPONENTS of the Ground Zero Mosque don’t trust our police and security forces to protect us from Muslim extremists. And they believe our intelligence services are as incompetent as they were prior to 9/11. If that’s the case, I wonder just what it is they like about America.
2. OPPONENTS of the Ground Zero Mosque forget that the site is private property and, apparently, wish to abandon the property rights on which America was founded. The building was for sale: if it truly is “hallowed ground,” it’s strange that nobody else cared enough to buy it. It seems that the Ground Zero Mosque site became "hallowed" only when Muslims bought it.
3. OPPONENTS of the Ground Zero Mosque forget that the First Amendment to our Constitution, a Constitution that many brave Americans fought and died to preserve, guarantees freedom of religion — and says so in the very first clause. They forget that this doesn’t just guarantee your religion but your neighbor’s religion, even religions with which you don’t agree or, as in my case, no religion at all.
4. OPPONENTS of the Ground Zero Mosque ask why, when there are already 30 mosques in New York City, why build an Islamic worship center so close to where almost 3,000 people perished at the hands of Islamic extremists?
I don’t know: if the same number of people had been killed by a group of Christians or Jews or atheists, would the mosque opponents insist on removing the St. Peters Roman Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Chapel, Trinity Church Cemetery, John Street United Methodist Church, Battery Park Synagogue, or (for us atheists) the NY Academy of Sciences?
It’s not as though a mosque is being build on Ground Zero. So, if not 600 feet away, how far away from Ground Zero is far enough? Saudi Arabia?
5. With all the objections from Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and their fellow bigots, when all their hyperventilating is reduced to its core, what they are really saying is that Muslims are enemies of America and that we should fear them if we honor the victims of 9/11.
But how do we honor the memory of those who died on 9/11, and the heroes who died trying to save them, if we become as intolerant as the nations, and the religion, that gave us the terrorists? What does America stand for if we become no better than those who attacked us? And what more unambiguous way to give the finger to those who hate us than to say, go ahead, build it; we are not afraid?
Say it with me: We are not afraid.
No, our Constitution is not a suicide pact. But neither is it a tissue in which to blow your nose and throw it away. I believe our Constitution is stronger than towers made of steel. And I believe we are not afraid.
“I have found some astonishing answers to my questionings as to God and religion in [Flaubert’s] book,” wrote Tchaikovsky. Flaubert was an Atheist.