It’s September 11, 2001 and I’m sick, lying in bed at home. I make my way downstairs to the kitchen to get some 7UP and turn on the TV. The news was on and I’m about to flip the channel until I hear the anchor say “We can now confirm that one of the World Trade Centers has been hit by a passenger aircraft.”
I was stunned as I sat in my kitchen trying to comprehend what was going on. I called my mom who had just left to get some groceries. She rushed home to get to see the TV and immediately broke into tears. The pictures and videos were hard to look at yet we continued to watch as the other tower was hit and both eventually fell to the ground and turned to dust.
Now the same hollowed ground once filled ashes of buildings and screaming civilians, known as “Ground Zero” may become the foundation of a Muslim mosque and community center.
My understanding of the word diversity is groups of different races or religion being in one area and coexisting.
What many people don’t seem to get is that we live now in a diverse global community. The world is more connected and intertwined with itself than ever before with people moving to different countries and it’s bringing upon new challenges and obstacles people aren’t familiar with and we must learn to cope with our ever changing lifestyle.
Although I have not been to New York yet, I know the shear size of the city that is probably one of the most diverse places in the United States. But after returning from London, England this past summer, I feel that I saw something similar to the diversity in New York. My hotel was in the West End of the city, an area mostly inhabited by those of the Muslim faith. Many men I saw wore white robes with head wraps while women covered everything but they’re eyes, something that may make a stereotypical person pretty uncomfortable.
I am fully conscious that my/our community is halfway across the country from Manhattan, New York (1,206 miles give or take city limits) and we simply do not see the same amount of diversity as in bigger cities. But the fact of the matter is that America is integrated and has been integrating ever since the Columbus came ashore hundreds of years ago. This is no different. We allow people to come into our country to become citizens and enjoy the freedoms given to us by our forefathers that many of us take for granted.
The first amendment of the Bill of Rights states the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;….”
So in legal terms, Imam Feisal Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, the founders of the project have every right to go forth with building their people’s house of worship in downtown Manhattan. Furthermore, they have the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg as well President Barack Obama.
Keeping the above in mind, I still do not believe that building a mosque near “Ground Zero” is an appropriate thing to do. While there may not be any sort of legal problem with the construction, it is certainly an ethical problem to many Americans, including myself.
With more than 800,000 Islamic people in the greater New York area, there are already more than 100 mosques that have been built within the last three decades. I have no problem with building more mosques, but anywhere near “Ground Zero” is not the place.
In the end, any American that agrees that the Mosque should not go any where close to “Ground Zero” has my support. In a recent statement released by the President, he said something like freedom of religion is what America is built on and now is not the time to change our ways. Yet this seems to me that it should be a rule of thumb that you don’t build a house of prayer near what is somewhat a mass grave of civilians, firefighters and other law enforcement.
Maybe the builders of the Mosque will take the hint to be observant and respectful for those that America lost not so long ago.