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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Mosque or No Mosque

I was inside a Mini-stop convenience store in Bustillos the day after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. I saw it on the front page of a broad sheet while I was waiting for James to meet me up so I could accompany him for his check-up. Seeing the two towers in smoke and later on learning that the towers were completely destroyed gave me the shock.

The terrorist attack on New York and other places on the same day were allegedly done by the terrorists in the name of Islam. The good name of the religion was again painted with blood.

Several years later, people have not forgotten what happened. The event was the start of the new war of the US versus entities in the Middle East. The US has once again proven that it is the sole superpower of the current times. Now, another battle is being fought – legal and emotional ones, at that – for a mosque that is planned to be built a few blocks away from the 911 site.

The proposed building, to be named the Cordoba House, which would house a mosque and classrooms, is being developed by imam Feisal Abdul Rauf from an old factory. This plan has sparked a debate between politicians and constitutionalists and people whose families were devastated by the 911 tragedy and by those who hope for true peace.

One side of the arena says that the US Constitution, like most of the world’s, assures the people of equal rights for religious freedom on private properties. This very clause is enough for anyone to build any religious building anywhere, even beside the 911 site. On the same side, it was also argued that the building of mosque would bring people of different beliefs closer, more so that it is believed that the terrorists brought the Islamic religion to a principle not shared by the majority of Muslims. Therefore, they should not be seen as the forever antagonist against other people.

On the other side of the arena are individuals who knew or loved someone killed in the 911 tragedy. It is a painful thing to accept that the very religion which allegedly fueled the attack would build a home on a place that saw lives taken abruptly. It was like building something in the middle of a war-torn city signifying conquest. Or blatant discourtesy. They go further in saying that there are doubts as to the source of funding for the proposed establishment.

As for someone who does not personally know anyone who passed away in the tragedy, I think it is easier for me to say yes in building the mosque anywhere as it should promote the true teachings of Islam which is based on love, just like all the other major religions. But I need to be sensitive and put myself in the shoes of those who were affected that it would very hard to separate logic from emotions.

Without doubt, religion has always been a sensitive issue. This is one of the many instances when I am just glad I do not have to make the decision for them.

Nonetheless, I hope we can all live with respect, if not with full understanding, at least tolerance, of other peoples’ beliefs as long they are centered on love.

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