By Abdullah Al Araby
The news is out. The Muslims of America are planning to build a $100 million mosque across the street from 9/11’s Ground Zero in New York City. So far, for most Americans there is nothing notable about such news. We are getting used to seeing magnificent multimillion dollar mosques spring up here and there throughout our nation. Little do we realize the extent to which such mosques serve multi-purposes beyond their stated functions as educational centers and places of worship for Muslims. In addition, they are advertisements for gaining converts to Islam. As you will soon understand, the Ground Zero Mosque signals something very significant to the entire Islamic World.
America is the global symbol for religious freedom. We even demonstrate tolerance for religions like Islam that do not show the same tolerance for Americans who want to build churches in Islamic nations. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, Christians are not allowed to build a church on its soil. In Egypt; Coptic Christians need a Presidential Decree of approval to build a church. In addition, such approvals require red tape security clearances that can take decades to obtain.
But, our attitude is, “that is just the way it is in the Islamic World.” For us, the contrast between them and us is expected in matters about religious tolerance.
But, do we really understand the extent of the contrast?
America is a huge country encompassing fifty states. The States are already saturated with over 1200 mosques that have been built in recent years. When Muslims ask for a permit to build a new mosque, nobody ask if there is a need for another mosque. Nobody is required to give an answer. Our attitude is let them build whatever they like, wherever they like. It is of no problem to us. .
However, alarms of some sort ought to arise when a new mosque is planned just a few hundred feet away from where the Twin Towers once stood. Alarms should sound that it was Muslim terrorists that brought down the Twin Towers and took 3,000 lives while doing so. That should spark some pointed questions in the minds of conscientious Americans.
What message is the building of the Ground Zero Mosque sending to Americans? The message is clear; it is a reminder of the defeat of America by Muslims in the Battle of Manhattan on September 11, 2001. The defeat caused the towers of the World Trade Center, the symbol of the American economy, to collapse. In its place, Muslims are planning a 13 story Islamic Center that will cost 100 million dollars. The proposed Islamic Center will consist of a museum, a library, and a mosque. The top floor will feature skyscraper minaret. Five times daily, Muslims will be called to prayer from that minaret. The Arabic prayers will be blasted over loud speakers down upon the very spot where over 20,000 victim body parts were collected in the aftermath of that horrible day.
It is a humiliating message to America. It is an insult to the country that generously provided safe havens to Muslims, many of whom were persecuted in their Islamic mother countries.
And, what message will this send to the families of the victims of September 11, 2001? About 3,000 people were killed on that tragic day. Those people never harbored any animosity towards Islam or Muslims. They never pointed a gun at Muslims. They never uttered unkind words about Muslims. Nevertheless, they found themselves facing terrifying deaths. Some burnt to death. Many died by toxic smoke inhalations. Others jumped to their deaths to get relief from the flames. Countless others were blown to bits by the crashing planes and their body parts were scattered throughout the area. .
But, the insult intensifies with the name the Muslims plan to give their new mosque!
The name of the proposed mosque is The Cordoba Mosque.
A little glance back in Islamic history will reveal the significance of naming a mosque on American soil the Cordoba Mosque. We must travel back in time to the hegira period of 622 A.D. The hegira period began after Mohammad moved his headquarters in Arabia from Mecca to Medina. That is when he was transformed from an eccentric religionist to a Jihad warlord. During that era his armies conquered much of the Mediterranean World including Andalusia in Spain. Huge sections of civilization were conquered by Muslims and became part of the Islamic Empire. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty with Damascus as its capital. After the fall of the Umayyad dynasty and the rise of the Abbasid dynasty, a bitter war took place to eliminate the Umayyad rulers in all of the empire. However, Muslims in Andalusia chose a young man of the Umayyad by the name of Abdel Rahman Aldakhel to be their ruler. Aldakhel was one of few Umayyads that was able to escape the Abbasid crush.
Aldakhel ruled Andalusia for 34 years and was credited with many accomplishments. His greatest feat was initiating the project of building the Cordoba Mosque. The mosque started a little after the First Hegira Century. As time passed it was enlarged by subsequent rulers. It was completed 250 years later. It was acclaimed as the benchmark of Islamic architecture.
Until this day, Muslims sing the praises of The Cordoba Mosque. The mosque was said to be an architectural master piece, the best structure ever designed by Muslim engineers.
However, after the fall of Cordoba to Spain, some 774 years ago, the mosque was turned into a Catholic church. From that day until this, it is heavily guarded by Spanish police. Spanish authorities refused to give the mosque back to Muslim rulers. They would not sell it back to them no matter what price was offered. At this juncture in history, Muslims are forbidden to even pray at the site
The picture will get clearer about what the Cordoba title means for the Ground Zero Mosque when you understand the following fact and ask the following questions. The fact is the building site was formerly owned by the Catholic Church. Could the Cordoba Mosque project in Manhattan, New York possibly be a settling of ancient scores with the Christian World for what happened to the ancient Cordoba Mosque in Andalusia, Spain centuries ago? Is the fact that the mosque is to be built a few hundred feet from the site of the Battle of Manhattan significant? Could it be that the Muslims are signaling something that Americans would never guess? Shouldn’t we be a little suspicious to learn that much of the funding is coming from Islamic strongholds that aid and abet terrorists? Is it possible that the building of the Cordoba Mosque near 9/11’s catastrophic site is the Islamic World’s prideful celebration of the defeat of the greatest military force in the world? Does it give them ongoing good cause to rejoice over the two towers of the World Trade Center crumbling into ashes and piles of debris? The Islamic World is very much into symbolisms. On September the 11th, 1683 the Muslim Jihad armies were defeated at Europe’s door. The timing of the 9/11/2001 attack on America’s shores was not coincidental. It was a signal to the home of the free and Christians everywhere that Islam has regained its strength and is back with a vengeance. Are we wise to think there are no correlations between the Muslim loss of the Cordoba Mosque 1000 years ago and rebuilding another of the same name in present day America?
But, of what benefit is for anyone to dig up old memories remindful of bitterness that affected almost everybody. In that event, memory wouldn’t forget the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia that was built in the 6th Century in Istanbul, Turkey. The conquering Muslims turned it into a mosque for 5 centuries. It has subsequently been changed into a museum.
An important question needs to be posed. Is the planned building of the new Cordoba Mosque in New York a genuine attempt to bring healing and peace amongst people of different faiths? Or, is it a call to reopen old wounds and to cause streams of blood to run?
Surely, the building of that mosque does not help the efforts of reconciliation between followers of different religions in America. If I were a Muslim, I would object to building the mosque. My concern would be that building a mosque on the designated site at this time would be inappropriate. Naming the edifice the Cordoba Mosque does not serve the best interest of anyone. If American Muslims and the Islamic World at large really want peace they should realize that building a Cordoba Mosque near Ground Zero is an inflammatory and provocative act of grotesque proportions.
If American Muslims intend to really honor the martyrs of September 11, here is a suggestion that would do it. They can buy full-page ads in major newspapers and on major TV networks around the country to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. The gist of the ads could state something like this: “On the occasion of the tenth commemoration of the attack of September 11, 2001, we, the Muslims of America, unconditionally condemn the attack as evil attack. We condemn the terrorists and the terrorist organization that planed and funded it. We deeply regret that Islamic religious texts were used to justify violence and the killing of innocent people. We declare that we honor those who died and those who were injured on that day. We send our sincere condolences to their families and loved ones. On behalf of every Muslim in the world, we apologize to the United States.”