The Mosque: Republicans Stoke National Xenophobia

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

New York Rep. Peter King and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are staunchly opposed to the building of an Islamic center near Ground Zero.

Do the sentiments they've expressed suggest patriotism on their part or ignorant xenophobia?
President Obama, in a statement, said “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and community center.”

True to form, Rep. Peter King whined, “President Obama is wrong--It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero.”
The proposal, for the Islamic Center, was spearheaded by the Cordova Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement. The projected 13 floor center would feature several services intended for the entire community, not just Muslims.

The center’s amenities would include: a performing arts center, a gym, a swimming pool, office spaces, and a mosque. The site of the center would be two blocks from Ground Zero, in the old Burlington Coat Factory building. 

The construction of a prayer room within the center has overshadowed the rest of the initiative, engendering considerable controversy by those who equate Muslims with terrorists. Some have called the undertaking a “monument to terrorism.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich opined: “The folks who want to build this mosque—who are really radical Islamists who want to triumphantly prove that they can build a mosque right next to a place where 3,000 Americans were killed by radical Islamists—those folks don’t have any interest in reaching out to the community. They are trying to make a case for supremacy.”

But, Cordova Initiative's Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf stated “there is no other project like this in the United States. It will be a centre for everybody and will not be limited to just Muslims."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed the proposal saying “If somebody wants to build a religious house of worship, they should do it and we shouldn’t be in the business of picking which religions can and which religions can’t. I think it’s fair to say if somebody was going to try to on that piece of property build a church or synagogue, nobody would be yelling and screaming. And the fact of the matter is that Muslims have the right to do it, too.” 

Rep. King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said he wants an investigation into the funding of the center, estimated to cost $100 million. He declared “I think the 911 families have a right to know where the funding comes from; I think there are significant questions.” He also stated: “It’s a house of worship, but we are at war with Al-Qaida.”

Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR admitted “there are parties that have a political agenda and want to intimidate the American people against the mosque project--and this includes
Republican Congressman Peter King, and his opinions should not be considered because his ideas are extreme.”

Apparently, some 70 percent of Americans also agree with the bigoted views of King and Gingrich, according to a survey. Many people decry the building of this cultural center as “insensitive.” The real “insensitivity” here is that Republican reprobates, like Gingrich and King, ignore the fact that more than 60 Muslims were among those killed on 9-11. 

Moreover, don’t they realize they are equating Islam with terrorism? Indeed there are indeed terrorists who abuse the religion and hide behind Islam. The Ku Klux Klan claimed they were good Christians.

Should we therefore equate Christianity with the KKK's bloody deeds? If we carry this nonsense to its conclusion, should African Americans see all White people as terrorists because of the deeds of nightriders and lynch mobs?

There are those who attack Islam by claiming it isn’t a real religion. The irony here is there’s an affinity between Islam and Christianity that political provocateurs omit. The truth is: Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religions, along with Judaism and
Christianity. Biblical figures like Abraham, Moses and Jesus are also venerated within the Quran and Islam.

There are more similarities between Christianity and Islam—cultural dressings notwithstanding—than many people realize. Of course—like Christianity—there are different denominations with their frictions and peculiarities. Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Does America really want to denigrate the two billion Muslims worldwide?

Do Peter King and Newt Gingrich realize the Masjid Manhattan Mosque has been on Warren Street, four blocks from Ground Zero, since 1970, the same year the Twin Towers were built? 

The United States can't subjugate its principles and ideals because manipulative individuals, including King and Gingrich, irrationally stoke fear.

Has the United States repudiated the First Amendment?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” 

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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