The Perfect Place for a New Mosque: Ground Zero?


Site of the New Mosque at Ground Zero                  New York Times Photgraph

Site of the New Mosque at Ground Zero *New York Times Photograph

Allah most merciful, for whose forgiveness there is not a sin too large.

The above words are those of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

The Imam—and an unidentified Muslim group, which he represents—has paid $4.85 million in cash to purchase the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory, located right around the corner from Ground Zero. An historic five-story building at 45 Park Place, it was damaged by wreckage from the landing gear of one of the passenger planes hijacked by jihadist Muslims, who cried “Allahu Akhbar” as they flew those airliners into the nearby towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The Imam now plans to turn the site into a complete Islamic cultural center, which will cost upwards of $150 million and will include the mosque, a museum, gift-shops, and room for seminars to “reconcile” religions, to counteract the backlash against Muslims in general, and “to extend a hand,” according to the Imam’s wife, Daisy Khan, who told the German newspaper Spiegal that:

Only in New York City is this possible.

Indeed.

Where else could one build an Islamic cultural center and mosque so close to the site of, and so soon after, the largest terrorist attack in American history, in order to accommodate those wishing to pray to Allah for “reconciliation” for the murder of nearly 3000 innocent people—all slaughtered in the name of Allah?

As Ms. Khan sees it:

It was almost obvious that something like this had to arise from the ashes of 9/11. In some way, this has the hand of the divine written over it. It’s almost as if God wanted to be involved.

And who is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and where did he get all of this money?

An Egyptian national, he was profiled in a recent puff piece in the New York Times that described him as a “moderate voice” of Islam. “He subscribes to my credo: Live and let live,” the Times quoted Rabbi Arthur Schneier, leader of the Park East Synagogue, as having said.

That same Imam Feisal, however, also suggested in 2004 that it was important for the West to understand the terrorists’ point of view, and that it was Christians who started the practice of mass attacks on civilians in the first place:

The Islamic method of waging war is not to kill innocent civilians. But it was Christians in World War II who bombed civilians in Dresden and Hiroshima, neither of which were military targets.

And what about the money—where will it all come from?

Perhaps from Saudi Arabia, which already funds many US mosques (and was the country of origin of 15 of the 19 September 11th hijackers) in order to spread its strict Wahabi interpretation of Islam? Maybe from Iran?

What has been the reaction by the City of New York? How does the office of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg view the mosque-construction project? Spokesmen Andrew Brent told the Times:

If it’s legal, the building owners have a right to do what they want.

The mayor’s director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Fatima Shama, offered her support:

We as New York Muslims have as much of a commitment to rebuilding New York as anybody.

Lynn Rasic, a spokeswoman for the City’s 9/11 Memorial, said:

The idea of a cultural center that strengthens ties between Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds is positive.

And think of the convenience the center will have for Muslims in the area. As a local doorman noted in the Spiegal article, while making his way across Ground Zero to the proposed site:

It is great to have this option. This way I don’t miss my Friday prayer.

He need not worry. Upon completion of the mosque, all New Yorkers in the area will be able to hear the prayerful chanting of “Allahu Akhbar” on a regular basis, at the very site where it was heard just eight years ago—moments before the planes hit the towers.

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