Category Archives: 9/11

I THINK … the Ground Zero is the wrong place for the mosque, and Obama has failed to show leadership.

Many times, public policy is not as complicated as the political leadership would have you believe. The proposed mosque within a stone’s throw from Ground Zero – which many now consider hallowed ground.

There are two important consideration on the side of the decision-making scale that favors the proposed masque site.

First: It would be wrong to suggest that the attack on the World Trade Towers by Muslim extremists indicts all Muslims and justifies the suspension of their Constitutional rights. We have to always guard against diminishing the power of the Constitution over a narrow or momentary issue.

The second thing that supports the advocates of the project is the law, it would seem. There is nothing in the plans for the project that runs counter to legal requirements.

Just because the law is on their side, however, does not mean the mosque should be built so close to Ground Zero (see ariel view). In fact, these two seemingly formidable arguments are outweighed by obvioius wrongness of the plan. The problem stems from the fact that the overwhelming reasons NOT to build on that site are emotional and moral, while the arguments in favor or technical and legal.

The most disturbing part of the public debate is that the Muslim community, under the leadership of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, knows full well that the location is contentious. They know that it is an unnecessarily painful tribute to those who lost loved ones, and the millions more who sympathize with the bereaved.

In recent days, it was announced that Imam Rauf will be travelling as a goodwill ambassador of the United States to the Middle East courtesy of our own State Department. According to Department spokespersons, the Imam is a voice bridging any schism between Muslims and non-Muslims.

At the same time, others report some of Imam’s more provocative rhetoric and allege that he is a supporter or at least sympathizer of radical Muslimism. His supporters say that the Imam must maintain a balance in order to be effective. This is nonsense. If he cannot speak out against the wrongness of the murderous terrorists in every instance, he served no benefit as a conciliator. Rather, he only serves as an apologist for our enemies.

There is also the history of Muslims building mosques at the sites of great victories. So, is the determination to build this house of worship in the missing shadow of the Trade Towers an opportunity for conciliation and understanding – a bridge, if you will — or is it some cultural celebration and symbol of victory to be telegraphed to the Muslim world.

The fact that the motivation is controversial suggest that the project should be relocated. Failure to do so gives credence to the more sinister motivation. If the local Muslims want to produce goodwill, it is obvious that respectfully changing the site would have the most positive impact. If they persist in pursuing the Ground Zero site despite the public reaction, it is obvious that they are not seeking to establish goodwill but to force their own will for their own parochial purposes.

I am at a loss to understand why New York Michael Bloomberg gave the mosque his full support and endorsement. Governor David Paterson was more correct in proposing an alternative site, which he would help to secure.

But what about the President.

Obama stuck with the technical legal position in saying the Muslims have a right to build the mosque at the chosen site. He deferred in expressing any opinion on the wisdom or morality of the decision. In ducking the most important issue, the President missed an opportunity for leadership. If he can call in a cop and a professor to the White House to settle a minor confrontation, certainly he could have called in the Imam and expressed his presidential displeasure with the current plan. He could have cancelled the Imam’s taxpayer paid trip to Mecca.

Obama’s call for tolerance and understanding for the Imam and his mosque begs the questions why the American president chose to side with international Muslimism over the suffering of the American victims, their families and the majority of the President’s constituents.

If Obama, Paterson and Bloomberg had joined together to negotiate an alternative site, I feel quite confident that the issue would have been resolved early on. Why they didn’t is the lingering question. Minimally, it is a shortsighted lack of leadership. More disturbingly, it was the obvious new found influence the Muslim world enjoys with the Obama administration.