When President Obama decided to make a comment on the right of Muslims to build a mosque near the ground zero site during a speech at the White House, a firestorm erupted. In an article from the Huffington Post, the President’s statement asserted, “that Muslims have the same right to freedom of religion as everyone else in America.” Almost immediately, he commented further to CNN saying that, “My intention was to simply let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country, we treat everybody equally in accordance with the law. Regardless of race. Regardless of religion. I was not commenting on and will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country’s about and I think it’s very important that as difficult as some of these issues are, we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.”
The most heated discussion among Northeast Georgia residents on Facebook these days; is all about whether the mosque should be built. It seems to be the main topic of discussion on every page, and tempers are boiling on one side, and staying relatively cool on the other. No matter how you look at it, the one thing that everyone on both sides of this debate must try and remember is that, the US is not at war with Muslims or the religion of Islam. The US is at war against terrorists, and all Muslims are not terrorists. There were hundreds of Muslims killed on 911 along with the Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and many other religions. Americans of all religions suffered that day. We must remember that, in the end, all Americans must stand together in support of our country and it’s freedoms, including the freedom of religion…all Religions.
Here is some of what is being said.
Jason says: “This is an afront to the Americans that died on 9/11 because of that so-called religion….This is one that I am beyond anger…Any Democrats, libs or whatever that support a Political Religion that kills 3000 Americans and then uses their freedom against them is wrong!”
Greg says: “There are actually over one hundred mosques in NYC, but none of such proportion. If CAIR is so interested in peacemaking and bridge-building then why slap the people on the other side in the face from the get go? It IS legal. They do have the legal right to build there, but why would they want to? Why there? To think that Christianity and Judaism are the only two “acceptable” religions in America is ridiculous and uninformed. I have met many Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrianists and pure Pagans and they are accepted. Why? Because they do not use fear, intimidation and terror to try and subjegate people. It WAS Christians that founded the nation so of course it is the predominant religion, but so what. Do not let the lie of multiculturalism blind you to the truth.”
Roger says: “I think that many are very concerned about the man behind the mosque- when I let myself calm down a little, I can concur that there are MANY peace loving Muslims in the world, I know a family myself who would be apalled at the radicalized version of their way of life, but I am convinced that we are now in a fight for our very lives. This Imam has made many statements that expose his likely motives for ramming this through. Indeed, if he were such a peace loving holy man, he would be sensitive to the plight of the grieving family members and relent in his pursuit. There was once a Catholic enclave where nuns prayed night and day about the atrocities at Auchwitz. The victim’s families were upset and offended, and the nuns relocated, not wishing to cause ANYONE emotional harm, even though they weren’t of the same faith. This is being ram-rodded through, and I really question the motives here. I also am very suspicious of the way Christians are told to sit down and shut up by the gov’t while Muslims get everything they ask for, and we are accused of everything from intolerance to racism if we say a peep about it?!? too strange.”
Angela says: “I still can’t help but to be angered and offended by the building of this mosque. I am no historian or political expert by any stretch so much of the facts here were over my head in many ways. However, as the wife of a soldier is sends me into a frizzy knowing that our soldiers are in these middle east countries fighting and dying to destroy the group of Muslims behind the 9/11 attacks. Our own President can’t extend the common decency to the American people to say NO to this slap. No…I’m sorry. Leave Ground Zero a hole in the ground before building something like that on it or near it!!!!”
Glen says: “I do agree not all are bad and hateful toward us. The difference is though that we are also still fighting a war against them. As long as we are doing that then the Muslims are going to use, as history has shown us, these places of worship as recruiting centers for money to send to the terrorist along with possible “freedom fighters.” They have time and time again used the place of worship as a place to recruit to fight us.
And here are some comments from the opposing side.
Joan says: “This is a land of religious freedom as long as those who practice that religion do not infringe on the rights of others. Those Muslims who practice what the Koran teaches have the same rights as Christians if those Christians practice what Christ taught. That’s it in a nutshell for me.”
Laura says: “If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wanted to build a cathedral near the WTC site, would Americans object to that because, interestingly enough, on September 11, 1857, LDS church leaders, some dressed as Indians to disguise themselves and place blame on the Piaute tribe, murdered over120 innocent Arkansas pioneer men, women and children (over the age of eight)? They were unarmed, and killed ostensibly in the name of God. The children who were not killed were kidnapped by those same men and placed with LDS families for them to raise. They were spared because they would have no memory of seeing their parents and brothers and sisters slaughtered like cattle. Fortunately, all but one were eventually found and returned to relatives in Arkansas. And some of them did remember. Would we forbid the building of that LDS cathedral or community center near the WTC or anywhere else because of that terrible crime? Of course not – but then again that’s ancient history. More recent history calls for more stringent measures and prejudices, I suppose. Time makes us forget some things, gives past atrocities a gauzy dreamlike quality and the knowledge or at least the perception that since it happened in another lifetime, for reasons that we don’t understand or don’t want to take the time to investigate, but we would never allow that to happen today – or would we?
The men who committed those murders 153 years ago didn’t represent the entire LDS community, even though many believed and there is some evidence (but nothing concrete) that shows Brigham Young was aware of the plans to kill the Arkansas pioneers but did nothing to stop it. Not all practicing Muslims approve, condone or remotely support what those terrorists did on September 11, 2001, nor do they support Jihad or Osama Bin Laden, just like some LDS members were horrified at what happened at Mountain Meadows. Some left the church after what happened there. To convict an entire race of people for the actions of a few is stupid and shortsighted. President Obama is right – this is a country of religious freedom. It was founded on that principle. The religious fanaticism of a handful of men caused the tragedy at the WTC – not the members of the entire Islamic community. We can never begin to build bridges with those who are part of a group of believers who espouse the teachings of Mohammed and the Quran, which is peace, love and helping your neighbors. Hatred and intolerance has brought down many an empire before this experiment we call America came into being. It can happen to us – it almost did from 1860-1865. We need to grow longer memories. Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.
Amy says: “I’ve been so frustrated lately because I’ve read so many status updates that are cruel and close-minded. I have yet to locate the courage to “speak-out” for fear of being “attacked”. I applaud all of you for putting these thoughts out there. I hope I can gain the strength to speak out as it so upsets me to see people pigeon holed based on actions of a few. So, thanks for the wise dialogue. It’s inspirational.”
Emily says: “I still believe that the building of the mosque, if viewed properly, could be seen as a sign of our Christian grace and understanding. The site is important because it allows us, as Americans, to prove we don’t hold the whole Muslim religion responsible for it’s extremists. It’s a message to the world and to peaceful (many wrongfully persecuted), followers of the Muslim faith. How is it any less respectful than if some Christian zealots had orchestrated 9/11..and a CHRISTIAN church was built on the site? We’re better than these knee-jerk reactions…and calls of disrespect…If we don’t start trying to understand and make peace with other religions…more zealots will find reason to hate us. And, no, they are not right to do so. But, in the immortal words of Elvis Costello, “what’s so funny bout peace, love and understanding?” We don’t have to accept the actions of religious zealots in order to accept the non-violent members of their religions…including Christianity.