Religious Freedom And A Mosque

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Garb of Knowledge
ONE OF THE MOST COMMON arguments of the supporters of the Ground Zero mosque includes religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Religion is seen as the framework to support building a mosque and community center near the site of the former World Trade Towers. Is this really about religion? Step back and look at the controversy. Do you feel like you are taking part in a religious exercise or a political fracas?

There is a vast confusion about what a religion is and is not. Currently the operative rule is that anything associated with Islam is a religious affair where all of the freedom of religion is applied to the action or event. Islam's actions are religious and if you oppose it, you are an un-American bigot.

It is time to stop and take a look at what we mean by a religion. There are about as many Buddhists in America today as there are Muslims. When was the last time you remember a Buddhist demand of any kind? Do Buddhists set up councils to shape the textbooks and demand Buddhist finance? Does the government make a big announcement when Buddhists are appointed to high posts? Are there even any Buddhists in any White House appointments? Do Buddhists complain? Never, for these are political actions, and Buddhism has almost no political outreach. Buddhism in America is purely religious, not political at all.

Yet the media and the Internet are consumed by talk and argument about Islam. The discussion is never about how many rounds of prayer to do or whether a certain food is halal (religiously proper). No, the focus is always on something that non-Muslims are to do to accommodate an Islamic religious practice.

There is a practical working definition of religion as compared to politics. Religious practices are done by those who follow that religion and are motivated for achieving paradise and avoiding hell. Outsiders are not involved in those religious acts. If it is about going to heaven and avoiding hell, then it is religious. However, if the religion makes a demand on those outside of its own group, then that demand is political.

Most people think that the Koran is a religious text. Instead, 64% of the text (by word count) is about non-Muslims, who are called Kafirs. The Koran is fixated on Kafirs and makes many demands on them. Not the least is that Kafirs submit to the rule of Islamic Sharia law. Ultimately Sharia law is the pure expression of Islamic politics and it completely contradicts our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Under Sharia there is no freedom of speech, wives may be beaten and apostates murdered.

Mohammed had little success with Islam until he transformed it into a political system. He preached the religion of Islam in Mecca for 13 years and made about 150 converts. He left Mecca and moved to Medina. In Medina he turned to politics and jihad. In the last 9 years of his life, Mohammed was involved in an event of violence on the average of every 6 weeks. The political method persuaded every Arab to convert to Islam. The religion did not succeed; it was politics that made Islam powerful.

Bill Warner
Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam

Outreach To Whom?

partriarchate_constantinople

THANKS TO Traeh for the following clip. As we, who are wide awake to the time-worn Islamic strategies of stealth jihad, understand, the devil is indeed in the theocratic details. Americans may not know their own history much less the history of Islamic conquest, but the patterns of aggression are certainly easier to track once the spirit of multiculturalist appeasement, a one-sided plunge into dhimmitude, is understood as the dangerous tool of Islamic Supremicism that it is.

Victor Davis Hanson recently said with regard to the GZ mosque:

Plopping down a 100-million dollar, 13-story, “Constantinople House”, say, in Cairo, near a site of radical Christian-inspired violence by self-described Christian zealots against Egyptians—funded from abroad by Christian evangelical groups—for the purpose of Christian contemplation and interfaith outreach would be of course beyond fiction.

Muslims conquered Christian Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul. Muslims conquered Cordoba and Spain and later lost them. Hanson's analogy makes brilliantly clear that Cordoba House is Islamic revanchism, under a layer of multiculturalism. We frequently hear that once a land has been conquered by Muslims, they believe it is theirs by right forever. To put an Islamic revanchist project next to the site of the WTC jihadist atrocity is an arrogantly militant thing to do.

It would be like Christian revanchists putting a "Constantinople House" near a site of Christian-inspired violence. Meanwhile, one rarely, if ever, hears Christian priests talking up the possibility of recovering Istanbul and making it Constantinople again. One not infrequently does find imams talking up the return of Al-Andalus, centered in Cordoba.

A Muslim Victim Of 9/11

WTC-184
NYC Fireman on September 11
Dear Gabriel,

We know there are many Muslims in America who do not subscribe to the ideology of political Islam, the advance of jihad, and the imposition of imperialist sharia law.

This past Sunday, a courageous Muslim spoke out against the Ground Zero Mosque in a column in the Washington Post (see below).

The buzzing opposition to this repugnant Ground Zero Mosque continues to grow, with some polls show opposition now over 60%. Even mainstream media coverage continues to grow.

This has become, and rightly so, a high-profile national issue, which is why we continue to burn the eyelids on it. Islamists and their politically correct Leftist allies are desperately trying to smear anyone who opposes the Ground Zero Mosque. They know they are losing the national debate on this. And on Saturday, the New York City bus company is censoring a media campaign about the Ground Zero Mosque initiated by Pamela Geller.

The Ground Zero Mosque is not a done deal. We must keep the pressure on!

***

A Muslim victim of 9/11: 'Build your mosque somewhere else'

By Neda Bolourchi
Sunday, August 8, 2010

But a mosque near Ground Zero will not move this conversation forward. There were many mosques in the United States before Sept. 11; their mere existence did not bring cross-cultural understanding. The proposed center in New York may be heralded as a peace offering—may genuinely seek to focus on “promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture,” as its Web site declares—but I fear that over time, it will cultivate a fundamentalist version of the Muslim faith, embracing those who share such beliefs and hating those who do not.
I have no grave site to visit, no place to bring my mother her favorite yellow flowers, no spot where I can hold my weary heart close to her. All I have is Ground Zero.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, I watched as terrorists slammed United Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, 18 minutes after their accomplices on another hijacked plane hit the North Tower.

From the first memorial ceremonies I attended at Ground Zero, I have always been moved by the site; it means something to be close to where my mother may be buried, it brings some peace. That is why the prospect of a mosque near Ground Zero—or a church or a synagogue or any religious or nationalistic monument or symbol—troubles me.

I was born in pre-revolutionary Iran. My family led a largely secular existence—I did not attend a religious school, I never wore a headscarf—but for us, as for anyone there, Islam was part of our heritage, our culture, our entire lives. Though I have nothing but contempt for the fanaticism that propelled the terrorists to carry out their murderous attacks on Sept. 11, I still have great respect for the faith. Yet, I worry that the construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site would not promote tolerance or understanding; I fear it would become a symbol of victory for militant Muslims around the world.

When I am asked about the people who murdered my mother, I try to hold back my anger. I try to have a more spiritual perspective. I tell myself that perhaps what happened was meant to happen—that it was my mother's destiny to perish this way. I try to take solace in the notion that her death has forced a much-needed conversation and reevaluation of the role of religion in the Muslim community, of the duties and obligations that the faith imposes and of its impact on the non-Muslim world.

But a mosque near Ground Zero will not move this conversation forward. There were many mosques in the United States before Sept. 11; their mere existence did not bring cross-cultural understanding. The proposed center in New York may be heralded as a peace offering—may genuinely seek to focus on "promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture," as its Web site declares—but I fear that over time, it will cultivate a fundamentalist version of the Muslim faith, embracing those who share such beliefs and hating those who do not.

The Sept. 11 attacks were the product of a hateful ideology that the perpetrators were willing to die for. They believed that all non-Muslims are infidels and that the duty of Muslims is to renounce them. I am not a theologian, but I know that the men who killed my mother carried this message in their hearts and minds. Obedient and dutiful soldiers, they marched toward their promised rewards in heaven with utter disregard for the value of the human beings they killed.

I know Ground Zero is not mine alone; I must share this sanctuary with tourists, politicians, anyone who chooses to come, whatever their motivations or intentions. But a mosque nearby—even a proposed one—is already transforming the site from a sacred ground for reflection, so desperately needed by the families who lost loved ones, to a battleground for religious and political ideologies. So many people from different nationalities and religions were killed that day. This site should be a neutral place for all to come in peace and remember. I believe my mother would have thought so as well.

Islam Burka Slaves
Islam Burka Slaves
The Iranian revolution compelled my family to flee to America when I was 12 years old. Yet, just over two decades later, the militant version of our faith caught up with us on a September morning. I still identify as a Muslim. When you are born into a Muslim family, there is no way around it, no choices available: You are Muslim. I am not ashamed of my faith, but I am ashamed of what is done in its name.

On the day I left Ground Zero shortly after the tragedy, I felt that I was abandoning my mother. It was like being forced to leave the bedside of a loved one who is dying, knowing you will never see her again. But I felt the love and respect of all those around me there, and it reassured me that she was being left in good hands. Since I cannot visit New York as often as I would like, I at least want to know that my mother can rest in peace.

I do not like harboring resentment or anger, but I do not want the death of my mother—my best friend, my hero, my strength, my love—to become even more politicized than it already is. To the supporters of this new Islamic cultural center, I must ask: Build your ideological monument somewhere else, far from my mother's grave, and let her rest.

Neda Bolourchi lives in Los Angeles.