Controversy surrounds the possible construction of a mosque and Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero in New York. The building standing there now was damaged by one of the engines from a jet that hit the World Trade Center towers. To read some comments by Mayor Bloomberg click on the title of this blog.
People affected in different ways by the tragedy have spoken against the new structure. Most, but not all, equating the worshipers that would attend services at the mosque with the radicals that claimed their acts of terror were done in fulfillment of their Islamic faith. I have even received emails from friends in my church containing screeds against all Muslims and expressing the belief that the mosque is a Muslim plot to honor the bombers.
How easily we forget the excesses of our faith. How many innocents were burned at the stake? Tortured on the rack? Endured unspeakable horrors inflicted by those that called themselves Christian? Even today, some of my Baptist brethren will tell you Catholics are not Christians. The more fervent the belief the farther we are willing to go, for example, abortion doctors killed by Christian zealots.
Christians and Muslims are not so different. The majority struggle to understand and follow the dictates of their faith in our everyday lives. Only on the fringe do we find those who would distort the faith and kill in its name. Murder is a sin in any faith.
The mosque and community center should be built. Christians are admonished not to judge. I think that scripture is particularly apt with applied to other faiths. How dare we try to limit God and say he can be experienced only one way. While I believe Christianity is the clearest expression of God and humankind's relationship, I do not believe Christianity is the only true revelation of God. Jesus spoke of other shepherds, surely some are Imams.
Finally, let me say that the mosque should be built because Muslims died on 9/11, and I am not referring to the hijackers. Below is a partial list of Muslims that were killed that day from Ask.com. Remember them when the mosque becomes reality. Honor them.
Partial List of Muslim Victims:
Note: This list is as yet incomplete and unconfirmed. It has been compiled from the Islamic Circle of North America, the Newsday victims database, and reports from other major news organizations. The victims' ages, employers, or other personal information is included when available, along with links to further information or photos.
Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
Jamal Legesse Desantis
Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
Arslan Khan Khakwani
Qasim Ali Khan
Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.'s Fiduciary Trust)
Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
Photo from andrewroman.net