On mosque, U.S. should stand on moral high ground

By: Mike Ghouse Who are the folks opposing or supporting the Mosque near Ground Zero? The revelations are as clear … Continued

By: Mike Ghouse

Who are the folks opposing or supporting the Mosque near Ground Zero? The revelations are as clear as the day light, while the religious leaders are speaking boldly for freedom and co-existence, the right wing politicians have gone berserk and hanging on to tiny branches to save their political careers, and it is an abuse of Patriotism to have political gains.

If you have surfed through the internet, you might reasonably conclude that the ones opposing are the right wing Republicans like Palin, Gingrich, Paladino, Corker, Tancredo, Rowe, McCain and others. They continue to fall in the abyss of ignorance and are out of touch with the American public. The pied piper Limbaugh had led them once and his cooked up support will blind them again.

Until they come up with concrete alternative solutions for the difficulties our nation is facing, they will continue to hang on to anything they “perceive” will save them. The American public does not like divisive politics and I hope they understand and honor it, and become conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers.

Senator Croker writes, “These Muslims will stand inside their mosque and “gloat” over their “victory” and plot and plan more mayhem and murder!” Another one writes “Would Muslims in any part of the world let the Jews or Christians build a Church/Synagogue”. Gingrich writes, “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” Not to be left behind, Sarah Palin appeals to the Muslims on twitter, “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts.” There seems to be a competition among the right wing Republicans as to who can be the ugliest twister.

It is time for the moderate Republicans to speak up and wrestle out party leadership from the right wingers for survival. As Americans, our loyalty ought to be for our system of checks and balances. It is in the interest of sustainable and just policies to have each house run by Republicans and Democrats respectively. Most mistakes by our government have occurred when all the three branches of government were run by the same party. Monopoly in governance leads the other to resort to divisive politics.

Bin Laden pulled two of our symbolic buildings down and murdered nearly 3000 Americans; He is still at large. We need to find this criminal and punish him instead of creating a deficit and ruining our economy with the war. Bin Laden is the most hated guy for American Muslims than anyone else; he has provoked prejudice towards Muslims and has made their lives miserable. The right wingers on the other hand will pull all of us Americans down from the moral high grounds we have held for nearly a century and sink us in bigotry. We have stood up for the Holocaust survivors, the refugees and the oppressed people in Bosnia and elsewhere in the world.

The right wingers have made their business to mislead us, and now they are bent on making an issue out of a cultural center like the YMCA or the JCC and calling it a mosque as if it is not a place of worship and a dungeon where the public is not allowed. In reality, it is an open place where they will teach co-existence and pluralism and will be open to all Americans. The Republican PAC has produced a commercial that mixes the Muslim call for prayer with the destruction of our twin towers. This is destructively divisive. The center is not on the spot of Ground Zero but two blocks down. Does speaking the truth weaken them?

This is the very reason we need to support the Mosque to show to the world what freedom of religion means: to demonstrate our spirit of liberty and set an example of how a nation treats its minorities.

It also paves the way for critical thinking that we can distinguish between terrorists and Muslims, doctor killers and the Christians, Fred Phelps and Christianity.

America has led the world in Science, technology, innovation and has remained a beacon of morality and a defender of human rights. Our constitution is an exemplary document of democracy and now the time has come to lead the world in Pluralism and co-existence.

The other nations need to look up to us and not the other way around. We need to set higher standards of civility and NOT stoop down to the level of Talibans or some dictators and monarchs around the world. If we want other nations to behave, we need to lead the way. We need to stand tall and on a moral high ground and be an example of morality and civility to the world.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a write on Pluralism and Islam and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day; a frequent guest on the media. His work can be found in three websites and 22 blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

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  • bobbymacbean

    This is one issue that you’re not going to be able to pigeonhole that easily. I am a liberal democrat and believe this to be a very insensitive proposition and know for a fact that I am not, as a liberal democrat, alone in that perception. I will grant you that there is probably good reason to guess that some of the sentiment from the right is based primarily on prejudice of one kind or the other but the objections from a lot of people like me is that we feel it’s just inappropriate to build this center so close to ground zero. Why is it necessary to have this facility so close ? It could just as well serve the local community if it was built a few blocks uptown while not being so in your face to the people who live and work in the neighborhood and the people who come from all over the country to pay their respects.

  • Mohideen_Ibramsha

    Please readAlso read We are for peaceful coexistence.The Masjid near the Ground Zero would hopefully have meetings of Jews on Saturday nights, Christians on Sunday nights and Muslims on Friday nights with open admission to the whole public to integrate the communities to live in peace.We suggest the 24/7 telecast of the prayer hall of the Masjid to be done like that of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah so that the whole world could see what happens inside the Masjid.A Muslim has nothing to hide; Islam is Peace and we strive for peace.

  • post_reader_in_wv

    I think the proponents of the Islamic center near Ground Zero project are making an enormous PR mistake . . . BUT we should be staunch and forthright in our commitment to their having the right to do so. WE are not Saudi Arabia, so WE shouldn’t practice religious intolerance the way they do.I read Gingrich’s piece a few days ago. It is filled with specious arguments and, I think, cynical and opportunistic pandering to his base. Although I think he’s a bright and articulate guy, I also think he’s a bottom-feeder. May he never regain power.

  • muslim1908

    This is an excellent article. Keep up the good work!

  • Secular

    Mr. Ghouse, Mohideen_Ibramsha, muslim1908: You definitely don’t want to offend the 1.3 billion muslims, what may. Arent you the guys who constantly parrot do not stereotype all muslims by the actions of few. Given that why do you stereotype all the 1.3 billion muslims when it serves your purposes. If you believe as you state then why is to not conceivable for you that there may be a significant fraction of the muslim population that may not be offended by the cartoons or South Park or Draw a MO day. For those of you who have made an art form of milking the “we are offended” cow for all it has got, cannot even conceive that 300 million of your countrymen may be offended by the building of the mosque? You know what. you just do not care how offensive it is for the remaining 300 million people. By your own counts there are between 100 to 200 mosques in NYC for 600,000. So clearly it is not that you do not have place to worship your magical man in the sky? this is just an arrogant demand for group rights. How many of you have ever reflected and made any attempts to facilitate the construction of places of worship for the magical men in the sky of non-muslims. Let me guess, let me guess me says 5? no no 3? No, no, no how about BIG FAT NO right? I agree with you lots of the protest are driven by bigots and ignorants. But you did not flinch for a moment to stereotype all the critics into bigots. But that is OK right? Of course it is you are muslims so you are the only one who is always right. Have you seen the reaction here compared to the reaction in your native lands. There were wide spread riots and burning of embassies over the Danish cartoon incident. The proponents of the mosque would do well to foster tolerance in your native lands. There is enough tolerance here. May be when you have brought you sunnah to the point where they would stop rioting for each silly thing and start writing instead. Then you can plan on building more islamic centers here.

  • mikeghouse

    Dear Secular:I hope you are not falling in the same trap as the right wingers without checking for the facts; facts don’t matter to them and I hope they do matter to you.We must all stand up for freedom of speech i) Danish Cartoon, we prayed for the well being of the artist and suggested those few right winger Muslims to do the right thing; pray for the well being, the article has gone world over ii) Muslims have made firm commitment to stand by the producers of South Park and defended their positions iii) Muslims have opposed the UN bill to prevent insulting religious figures or criticism of Holocaust iv) Muslims like every moderate person in the world is for free speech. I don’t know if I can give all the links on this forum, but it is on the site world Muslim Congress dot org or simply log on to my website listed in the article and check it out. Everything I have said above is posted there. Americans are not offended; Google it out, the Rabbis, Pastors and the religious people from different faiths in unison defending the religious freedom. Check the Dallas Morning News piece, there are many here at the post and on Miami Herald. The right wingers are acting to be offended, and messing with the emotions of the people who lost their loved ones in the 9/11 terrorists attack by invoking patriotism against religion. It should not work, the right wingers cannot dupe Americans for too long. There is always a political or financial gain to them as they have done with other issues. It is a political ploy.How many Muslims have facilitated constructions of place of worship? Too many to list, Google it up bud. Respecting other places of worship is embedded in religion, like all other religions. 1/10th of 1% of any religious, ethnic or racial group tends to be radically intolerant, but the others are fine people.Every community should build their own centers to teach tolerance, pluralism and co-existence, like this proposed center aims to do that. Let’s take actions to shape the future rather than drift into disharmony. Muslims are taking positive steps, and the American public will support it despite the politics of the right wingers.

  • Maria17

    I love this country for its values and its wonderful people. I came here as a child and would give my life to defend all America stands for, and that includes protect our values, our people and our territories from those who want to harm us. Regardless of the political affiliation or the multiple creeds that peaceful co-habit this land I DO OPPOSE to have a mosque near ground zero.

  • Secular

    Hello Mr. Ghouse, thank you very much for responding to my comment and reaching out to me. You take issue with many of my assertions. I will try to respond to your critique of my positions.1) I agree with many a characterizations of the politicians demagoguing the mosque issue. But this had to be expected of from some of those quarters, So beating your chest about them is a non-sequiter, unless their demagoging goes beyond words.2) Now coming to your claims of opposing the Danish Cartoon,South Park your positions may well have been a tolerant one and in western liberal tradition. Nonetheless in the muslim world the popular opinion, media opinion and that of the clergy was far from it.3) You claim that there were hardly 50 people doing the destruction an dthe rest were gawkers. That is the problem in all cases that is what happens. The so called gawkers did not stop the 50 odd people. They are nearly as complicit as the 50. The community at large did not challenge the clerics from Denmark, instead they were given a platform in the OIC counties to incite the people. The countries in which normally assembly of more than 10 people is tightly controlled, such riots were allowed to occur. It was not in one country but several countries. Which makes for difficult to anyone to swallow the claim that only a1/10th of 1% were the miscreants. That claim is probably true, but off the 99.9% a far away majority were not unsympathetic the happenings. Your denouncing them from the safety of US, while commendable, is a non-starter. The fact still remains that there were hardly anyone in the OIC countries who dared to confront those clerics to nip the whole thing in the bud. That is the critique of Islam.3) Compare that with the what happened in the US immediately after 9/11. While there were sporadic case of hate crimes against muslims and inadvertently against others too. However, what we did not see is any organized or whole scale riots against the mosques or any of the muslim embassies and interests. Even in case the mosques issue we see lot of letters, people expressing their view and prejudices. To lump them all together as prejudice is a mistake. At the same time you also see lot of pro statements as well. The pro people are not cowed down by the anti people either. That is teh difference

  • calexanderbrown

    Though not an American, I am one of those strongly opposed to building a Mosque and an Islamic Cultural Center overlooking the killing field of 9/11. Apart from their brazen insult in choosing this site, these folks think that Americans are idiots that do not understand the brazen significance of their naming their organization “Cordoba.”C. ALEXANDER BROWN

  • mikeghouse

    Dear Mr. Brown and SecularMr. Brown, how is it an insult? You are speaking like those right wing Muslims who were intolerant to see the Cartoons in Denmark, they act like cry babies, getting insulted for every little thing. How are you more civilized than them?Secular,Secular, thanks for your input.Indeed, Saudi police have prevented a man from worshiping his Hindu Icon, and Muslims have condemned it unequivocally. I hope you are not suggesting we the Americans emulate them as an example. This is one of the reasons we need to support the mosque, so others can learn from us. There are indeed temples in most of the middle east except in Saudi Arabia, so are the Churches, please do the fact check. I was in Saudi Arabia and attended a Mormon Congregation and there were Catholic Congregations as well. Saudi Arabia does not have any citizens who are not Muslims, most people are on a work visa.Really, the right wingers among us are acting exactly like the right winger Muslims who were destructive against the Cartoons in Denmark. Do we want to stoop that low like them? Of course not, we are civil society and shamefully we have to endure our right wingers who are just a small fraction of our population, but as loud as those right winger Muslims in other lands. We are a civil society and we need to be an example to other nations, how the civil societies function.

  • KaddafiDelendaEst

    Leftist-fascists in NYC agencies don’t hesitate to obstruct construction of houses of worship — at least non-Islamic ones. These Leftist reprobates would sell your Catholic mother’s grave to support a scatologists right to squat and plop a steaming pile of free expression.But when patriotic Americans object to jihadists opening a 9/11 snuff porn vendor emporium (and recruitment center) on the hallowed graves of Ground Zero– and Leftists shriek with indignation!”Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!”

  • KaddafiDelendaEst

    Examine Ghrouse’s grousing in light of the sentiments of Cordoba House sharia advocates.“Muslims are the vilest of animals…”“Show mercy to one another, but be ruthless to Muslims”“How perverse are Muslims!”“Strike off the heads of Muslims, as well as their fingertips”“Fight those Muslims who are near to you”“Muslim mischief makers should be murdered or crucified”Hate speech? Incitement to violence? Sounds like it to me; but a knowledgeable Cordoba House Muslim would have to disagree.Why would Cordoba House Muslims not consider this to be hate speech? How is it that I can post these quotes with full certainty that Cordoba House won’t be contacting WaPo Editors (or Congress) with wild-eyed accusations of Islamophobia?Don’t be an apologist for Islam-supremacist hate mongers your whole life, Mikey.