Friday, August 27, 2010

Hiding your real face under a mosque

I am sure that anyone who had read anything I have ever written knew this was coming. I have been a little behind the eight ball lately so it has taken some time to process my thoughts on the topic. Here they come...

This mosque in lower Manhattan issue is total insanity. As many of you know, my connection to the area and the event is very deep and personal. I'm obviously against putting a mosque in the area. Before you get on my case about any anti-muslim rhetoric, let me explain my position.

I'm not anti-muslim in any way, shape or form. I'm not against a house of worship in any particular location. I am against using the final resting place of many innocent victims as a platform for getting out a message. If there was a diversity group that wants to put a Catholic church, Jewish temple, mosque, non-denominational temple, etc along with a center for education and interaction, I would be all for it. I don't care if you want to add in a time slot for people who worship belly button lint. Fine. Go bananas and do it all. That is not what is happening here.

This is neither about religion nor faith. This is about the message. Did the terrorists want to get rid of those buildings? No. They wanted to disrupt our way of life on a massive level and kill as many people as possible in one fell swoop. It was about the message. So if the mosque is not about faith, what is it about? The message. A group wants to show the world that not all muslims are dangerous extremists. Not all Germans are Nazis - is there a Jewish temple where Auschwitz once stood? Of course not. Why? Because that's adding insult to injury and doesn't prove anything. Why is this any different?

Setting aside the discrepancies that have popped up about where this group gets its funding (such as partially from radical Muslim groups), this is a bad idea. Remember, that this is less than a decade ago. The wound has not healed for everyone just yet. Many people are still dealing with the loss of loved ones - some of whom were never found. For some, that land is all they have to visit. Staring at a center that represents the "good side" of the culture that took away a husband, wife, mother, brother, etc can't be helpful.

They say that there are 12 million people on Manhattan at any given moment. Are all 12 million people tolerant, balanced, informed people? If you've been there you've seen the guy talking to himself on subway and the lady who knows more pigeons than people. So, will the less than tolerant people stand by and watch this get erected and remain respectful or will this invite violence and misguided vengeance? Don't be naive.

So what's the point? To show the world you're peaceful and respectful? Then put your mosque elsewhere. The only reason this land is being considered is because the radical members of the same culture have made it so. If this group had outreach centers all over the place, it would also be different. Interesting how they showed up right now.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that the worshippers of Allah are not the only ones who are in the this negative limelight. The Christians had their day during the crusades of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. Every major religion had a moment when they ran around killing people because God said it was a good idea. I get that. And it has never been the whole group of any particular religion. And a group is greater than the sum of its parts. At the end of the day though, society remembers the noisy ones though. In the last decade do you remember the priests who have done good in their life or the ones involved in the sex scandals?

So here is my point... get your message out. Prove yourselves. Let us know that there are good muslims out there. Just don't do it by setting up shop on a tender spot of our land and hearts, especially when you know full well that the message will be lost on more people than it is received by.