By Tom Quiner

Is an Islamic mosque a good idea at Ground Zero?

Is there a single voice today who speaks for Christianity? Obviously the Pope speaks for the Catholic world.  But in a sense he is the de facto Christian voice to the world on “big picture” issues even if all Christians don’t agree with all Catholic doctrines.

So in 1985 when Pope John Paul II traveled to Morocco, the world paid attention. There in the Casablanca Stadium, he said to the gathered Islamic youth “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God.”

What a powerful symbolic gesture.  He was extending the hand of peace from the world of Christianity to the world of Islam.

His Papacy was marked by repeated ecumenical outreach.  In 2000, he visited the Holy Land and arranged a ceremony which included an Islamic Imam and Jewish Rabbi.  The purpose of the ceremony, complete with songs from children of the three faiths, was to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The ceremony unraveled.  A Rabbi offended an Imam when he characterized Jerusalem as the “united eternal capital” of Israel.  The Imam walked out.

Nonetheless, the Pope, a world-wide voice for the Christian world, was seen as a voice of reason, as a leader for peace and understanding between the world’s religions.

There is no comparable voice for Islam.  That presents a problem when it comes to the Ground Zero mosque.

Americans aren’t hearing enough voices of peace coming from the world of Islam.

Americans are concerned about what is actually being said inside of mosques in this country.  They may be voices of peace.  Most probably are.  It’s the uncertainty that worries Americans.

How many mosques in this country advocate Sharia law, for example?  It doesn’t help when you hear about a study done by The Center for Security Policy that states that only 20% of mosques have no taint of Sharia.  Only 20%.  Is that really true?  It’s the doubt that bothers us.

The world hungers to hear loud voices raised in the Islamic world that proclaim their desire for peace.

The world so very much hungers for Islam to check the violent tendencies of the most extreme elements of their faith.

Until that happens, America is going to be uncomfortable with a mosque located at Ground Zero.

No Comments

  1. American Delight on August 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    “There is no comparable voice for Islam.”

    Right, because that would be a Caliph, and it’s probably for the best that there is no modern caliphate.

  2. Paul Sharp on August 29, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Good post.

    We hear many say that Islam is peaceful and poses no problems assimilating into U.S. life and that only “radical Islam” is a problem — but, how many saying this are Muslims? What do U.S. Muslims have to say about dhimmitude? Is “radical Islam” counter to the Koran?

    Seems to me we are expecting Muslims to ignore tenets of Islam.

  3. Monte Gray on August 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    As an American who embraces freedom of religion for all, as being a cornerstone of our constitution, I find it hard to condemn the Moslems wanting to build a Mosque nearby the 9-11 site. To not allow them to build it shows the world that we “talk the talk”, but don’t “walk the walk”! Sounds idealistic? Well, it’s the ideals that we put forward in this nation that makes us who we are. What better way to make another religion/culture (within the limits of the law of course!) feel welcome to this great country than by allowing them to express their constitutional rights, vs being way laid by people who hate or fear the Moslem faith. Otherwise perhaps we should amend the constitution to read “freedom of religion as long as you’re Christian”!

    Do you realize that we have had Muslem soldiers serving for as long as I can remember! I went into the service in 1974, so thats a long time! Are you going to marginalize their service by denying their peers the right to express their religious beliefs? We had a similar shameful episode in WWII with the incarceration of American Japanese, the “Nisei”(a native American of Japanese immigrants). Today we look back upon that episode as a shameful ordeal of denying rights to American Citizens, because people were afraid.

    In the 9-11 attack there were at least 23 Moslems who died in the attack. Did you think only American Christians suffered loss in this event?

    The Pentagon was also attacked on 9-11. When it was rebuilt, they included a non-denominational chapel in the pentagon, that can be used by all religions, including Moslems! Is it ok to allow Moslems to worship in the Pentagon, but yet prevent them from exerting their constitutional right elsewhere?

    Some people will remind me of the recent event where a Muslim soldier Major Nadal murdered numerous soldiers this last year at a post where they were ready to be deployed overseas. Did he represent all Muslims? No more than Timothy McVeigh represented right wingers who feel the government is too involved in our lives! Nadal was small time stuff compared to McVeigh, (Oklahoma City Federal Bldg bombing) who was raised a christian, yet who committed probably the greatest crime against this country that has ever been committed by one man. Soley because he hated our government, and what he perceived as injustices done by the federal government!

    There are times when I have doubts, in regards to new cultures coming here. But that has been experienced by every generation with every wave of immigrants. But I intend to strive to being accepting of others, even when I don’t fully understand them!(I’m not referring to the non english speakers!).

    So lets not repeat the same mistakes we have made in the past in regards to our fears. Lets embrace all our fellow Americans, and better try to understand and accept their cultures, so that this melting pot of a nation will continue to thrive. Lets not be controlled by the fear mongers. So, let them build their Mosque, as a symbol of one of the things that make this nation great! Freedom to practice religion!

  4. Mark Quiner on August 31, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hi Dad,
    This is in response to your blog post and the article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

    Clearly many Americans are uncomfortable with a mosque at Ground Zero. However, the bigger point is that Muslims have the right to practice their religion in the US, regardless of whether the broader public is comfortable with it or not. Whether there are voices of peace coming from within the mosques does not mean they should not be able to build a mosque, even by Ground Zero.

    I think it is sad that people are using this as an outlet to show anger about September 11. I wish instead it would be used as an opportunity for non-Muslim Americans to embrace Islam in America and to show them that we are a nation that embraces our freedom by allowing, and encouraging, all religions to worship free of persecution. I applaud mayor Bloomberg and president Obama for doing just that.

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