The Mosque at Ground Zero

I wrote the following points on Facebook in response to a friend’s article on the debate about the Ground Zero mosque. Perhaps they are worth sharing. To put them in context, I should add that my friend had written an article saying that liberal values of freedom of expression and tolerance of others must be respected, and the hardliners who are against the mosque should not be succumbed to. This is my response:

– This is a question of what kind of values must be upheld in the USA and in the world – the value of freedom of religion, freedom to express one’s beliefs, values of taking a tough stance against criminals, values of honouring the dead, and so on.

– I think that in any dispute – unless physical violence is involved (and sometimes even then) – one of the highest values is to rise above oneself and one’s own demands. The Prophet has shown us this amply well at Hudaybiyyah. He was right in wanting to enter Mecca, but he still forsook his wish. This value is more important than anything else that the Cordoba House will stand for, including freedom of religion and tolerance of others.

– Therefore, Imam Feisal and others behind the project should spend their energies on engaging in dialogue with those people who oppose them. At the same time, they should let it be known that building the Cordoba House today, tomorrow or 10 years later is their moral commitment. But they will not do so by trampling on the feelings of those who think that Islam is the enemy. Talking to and respecting the views of the ‘extremists’ is a higher value than pushing them aside. Only when there is consensus should they move ahead.

I feel that in such issues, there are no victors and losers. If one side loses, its the loss of everyone. Yesterday, in my country there has been a tentative decision on a dispute over building either a temple or a mosque at Ayodhya that has gone on for 500 years and killed thousands. This is the main lesson that I learn from it.

~ by tdcatss on October 1, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Mosque at Ground Zero”

  1. Calling this project “Cordoba House” raises questions — not just among “extremists” — about what it represents to its builders. The allusion to the caliphate and Muslim dominance in Europe surely is not accidental.

  2. Your thoughts remind me of this . . .”to love your neighbor as yourself.” :)

  3. Annie, thanks for your comment. The question is: does Cordoba represent Muslim dominance, or does it represent harmony and flowering of different religions while co-existing together?

    As far as I understand, even the specialists – the historians – do not entirely agree with each other on this.

    Perhaps equally important is the fact that those behind the proposed Cordoba House say that they want to name it so because Cordoba, to them, represents interfaith harmony. I believe them. If one does not believe them, one is left with the explanation that these people are liars and have a hidden plan to bring in Islamic dominance to the modern West. This explanation is quite unreasonable and reminds me of those who consider everything in the world to be a Zionist conspiracy. I don’t see why this explanation would appeal to anyone unless they have certain pre-formed assumptions that they want to confirm.

    Having read Imam Feisal’s statements and also a book by him on Islam, and having had an extremely brief opportunity to meet him, I must add that my impression of him is that he is a very well meaning and also deep thinking person.

  4. Debbie, when in doubt, consult Jesus :)

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