Ground zero is a place that will forever be etched in the minds of those who lost their loved ones in the September 11, 2009 terror attack. It is a location that instigated a great deal of suffering, torment and anguish in one of the most atrocious attack to grace the globe in recent times. It requires of us, those who are alive, to ensure the nobility of the place is never belittled or derided in respect of the dead, survivors and those who lost their loved ones. Structures used as places of worship are often put up in sanctified locations deemed to having an association with the divine, graciousness or in honoring the saints and martyrs, who suffered fighting for a worthy religious cause. Putting up a mosque at ground zero will only serve to rouse painful memories to those affected and as such the idea is distasteful and should not be entertained, but totally abolished.
The possibility of an Islamic center being put up next to ground zero only serves to remind of the terror attack that took place at the site. Terrorism is an intricate subject that needs handling with a lot of caution. It calls for various measures and actions to be taken to fight the menace. The motive behind the opposition to this idea of a mosque is only a visionary and preventive measure to avoid any possible future attack. The same reason the idea of a club selling alcohol near an institution is objectionable. A neighborhood will not allow a house that does not meet laid down structural design standards to be constructed there. A Japanese communal hub in Pearl Harbor would be unheard of. The Pope would not entertain the idea of a nun convent in Auschwitz (Krauthammer 13). This is all aimed at preserving the respect reserved for those who suffered in such places, same reason why a mosque should not be erected at ground zero, which will show utter disregard for the ground and victims.
Building a mosque at ground zero only stimulates the enduring ill feeling towards the Islam religion. Many, especially those affected by the terrorist attack, are of the opinion that Islam fundamentals and extremists are the ones pushing for this idea to go through, “…..who are really radical Islamists who want to triumphally prove that they can build a mosque right next to a place where 3,000 Americans were killed by radical Islamists” (Woodward). These are the same Islam extremists who carried out the terror attack on the site for on the basis of a misguided and ill advised belief which they call a holy war (Jihad). Theirs is not a cause to spread the good teachings of the Koran, getting their way in putting up a mosque will only serve as a conquest in the fight to those opposed to their fundamentalism. Krauthammer asks, “Who is to say that the mosque won't one day hire an Anwar al-Awlaki – spiritual mentor to the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber, and one-time imam at the Virginia mosque attended by two of the 9/11 terrorists?”. The Alwaki will only spread his corrupted religious beliefs in the mosque displaying utmost disrespect to a site that should be preserved in honor of those who lost their lives and loved ones.
Muslim clerics and Imams campaigning for the construction of the mosque at ground zero are doing so citing religion freedom as the driving factor. The Imams argument is that as a way of upholding freedom of religion, the city’s administration should not interfere with how the Islam or any other religion conducts their services. Nonetheless, New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who once criticized those opposed to the idea of building the mosque called for the Imams and other Muslims to demonstrate a bit of respect to the site and victims of the attack. Ground zero has a special preservation different from other sites, and thus not any structure, be it a mosque or a church, can be constructed there. The faction, Families for a Safe & Strong America, formed by relatives of survivors and victims sums all this as “a gross insult to the memory of those who were killed on that terrible day” (Jacoby).
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is one of the most vocal supporters of the idea to construct a mosque at ground zero. He is a highly respected spiritual head of the Muslim faction practicing Suficism. A Sufi is a Muslim devoted to Islamic spirituality and good judgment. Suficism advocates for compassion and kindness to others, but putting up a mosque at ground zero is just a display of gross selfishness and disregard to those who suffered at the site. There are Muslims who even have taken the initiative of visiting the site, though secretly and prayed for the victims. These Muslims abhor terrorism, and by showing support to the victims are in difference of opinion with their Imam. Many Muslims even recommend an initiative that is less controversial like putting up an agency that would offer support and counseling to the victims. It will only serve a good purpose and would not upset anyone’s feelings (Brooker).
In conclusion, a place of worship should not blend any great deal of controversy as it is only meant to serve as a place of worship. This is not an opposition to Muslim’s freedom of religion, but a sign of respect to the victims of the terror attacks that occurred at this site. The main factor behind the opposition to the idea is the fact that putting up a mosque at ground zero would not help any particular religion. Essentially, this will just end up arousing painful memories to the victims and causing animosity between people of different religions. Any religion is entitled to construct a place of worship in any place with no restrictions. However, a site as controversial as ground zero is bound to have unique reservations and restrictions on what structure can be put there.
Brooker, Charlie. “Ground Zero mosque? The reality is less provocative.” The Guardian August 23, 2010. November 24, 2011. Web <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/23/charlie-brooker-ground-zero-mosque>
Jacoby, Jeff. “A mosque at ground zero?” Globe Newspaper Company June 6, 2010. November 24, 2011. Web <http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/06/06/a_mosque_at_ground_zero/>
Krauthammer, Charles. “Ground Zero Is a Hallowed Place and No Place for a Mosque.” The Sacramento Bee August 15, 2010. November 24, 2011. Web <http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/opinion/commentary/article_73c0c23d-aa55-511b-9bd5-639ff3e57ab9.html>
Woodward, Calvin. “Fact Check: Islam already part of WTC neighborhood.” The Associated Press August 18, 2010. November 24, 2011. Web <http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/08/18/fact_check_islam_already_lives_near_ground_zero/>