Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mosque at Ground Zero: Dumb Idea or The Dumbest Idea?

Muslims have every right to open a mosque near Ground Zero. They should have the good sense not to.

Opening a mosque near the World Trade Center site would be like building a German beer hall just outside the gates of Auschwitz or opening a U.S. Army recruiting office in Mai Lai. After all, a majority of Germans today were born well after the Second World War and had nothing to do with the Holocaust, so why shouldn’t they show the world that they are good people and serve tourists some delicious beer and pretzels?

Muslims in New York want to open a large mosque and Islamic center two blocks from the site of the September, 11, 2001 attacks, in a building damaged in the attacks no less. They’ve been met with enormous criticism, of course, but may go ahead with the plan anyway.

Proponents of putting a place of Muslim worship close to where thousands of people lost their lives at the hands of Muslims argue that the mosque would serve as a more accurate representative of Islam, and that the work done by the September 11th hijackers in anathema to the true nature of Islam. Assuming that the intentions of these ambitious Muslims are pure, they could not be more misguided.

True, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are opposed to extremism and are decent people. To say otherwise would be ignorant. But it would be disingenuous or else willfully ignorant to pretend that Islam is at an equivalent stage of moderation of Christianity or Judaism. Extremism plays a much larger role in Islam, and Islam has a much higher percentage of violence-prone adherents than other religions. Critics of Christianity and Judaism do not require 24-hour security protection. Christ, who is considered divine by Christians (Mohammed is revered but not a deity in Islam), is regularly pilloried in various media without his detractors fearing for their lives.

Putting a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center will only show Muslims as triumphant, entitled and lacking in any decorum, class or common sense. By their very insistence that the mosque be near ground zero, the Muslims who want to build it will completely undercut whatever sympathetic message they hope to deliver.

To most non-Muslims, Islam does not mean peace today. It won’t mean peace tomorrow. Wanting it to be different will not make it so. And you can talk about the majority of peaceful Muslims until you’re blue in the face, but when your religion is enormously influenced by crazies and you’re across the street from some of their most deadly work, your message will rightly fall on deaf ears.

Instead of spending time and money to try to convince people that Islam means peace by putting a mosque across the street from one of Islam’s most infamous atrocities, supporters of the downtown mosque should spend their time and effort on making it true that Islam means peace. Right now it doesn’t, not by a long shot.

(FYI: the illustration above comes from the very sick but very funny Web comic Electric Retard - not for children and not safe for work; you've been warned)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

are you jelous??? bitch please...
i'm muslim here!