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I’ve had mixed emotions and jumbled thoughts about the Park51

By: Abu Sharif

mosque. Bigotry masquerading as sensitivity has reared its ugly head to the delight of morally bankrupt pundits and rapacious politicians looking to gain an advantage with the November elections looming. In evaluating the situation, I consider the possible consequences of both going ahead with the project and a strategic retreat. It could possibly be a no-win scenario in either case.

Going ahead with the project gives the journalistic bottom-dwellers at Fox News and the ultra-conservative media the hot button issue they need to fan the flames of America’s latent bigotry while they watch ratings, and revenue, soar. We must always keep in mind that jingoism in America is a profitable growth industry. This could lead to even greater percentages in the polls of anti-Islamic Americans and greater risk for Muslims in this country. On the other hand, backing down from the project would strike such a note of triumphalism that all future mosque construction or expansion could be in danger of meeting resistance by emboldened pseudo-patriots who see terror cells under every skull cap.

The irony is that Park51 is already an existing mosque and has been for a year now. What is being discussed is a grand expansion, nothing more. If they were to abandon the grand project and scale back their expansion, a mosque would still remain at the site. Would there still be a protest? And what about Masjid Manhattan, 2 to 3 blocks from Park51 and only a half a block from City Hall which has been there for 40 years with no incident? Would they now raise a hue and cry about something that even pre-dated the Twin Towers and had co-existed peacefully for over three decades in their shadow just a stone’s throw from City Hall?

And a note to all those who suffered loss on 9/11. My condolences for your loss and I honor your pain. But I had nothing to do with it, nor did my wife; nor my daughter; nor my son’s former math teacher; nor my butcher; nor the Mali goat-herder; nor the Malaysian fisherman; nor the Sengalese taxi driver; nor Muhammad Ali; nor Dr. Oz; nor the hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who were horrified by what happened. These were the acts of crazed individuals. There is nothing remotely religious, or remotely Islamic, in deliberately flying planes into skyscrapers. There is no such thing as a Qur’anic prayer for mass murder and destruction.

Your grief and pain is misdirected. Your holding the religion of Islam and Muslims responsible for your loss is wrong.

That needed to be said.

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