"Anyone paying attention the last couple of weeks has heard multiple reports about plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero," writes James Standish, deputy secretary general of the International Religious Liberty Association and Seventh-day Adventist Church representative to the United Nations.
Continuing in his online Washington Post On Faith op-ed, Standish writes:
It's been labeled a "victory mosque", described as towering over the memorial to the victims of 9/11, and as being the pet project of a terrorist-sympathizing, Muslim imam. All of this would be cause for Americans to get upset, and no surprise, polls show we are.
But what if what we're being told are gross distortions mixed with bold faced lies?
Three simple fact checks help put the flap in context
1) There is no "Ground Zero" mosque
If you take a minute to Google map the address of the supposed "ground zero" mosque, 45-47 Park Place, you'll find the proposed site is on a small city street buried in the middle of the block. It is separated by two full city blocks of towering buildings from the World Trade Center site. While the entire lower Manhattan might be considered "Ground Zero", the site of the mosque is separated visually and physically from the World Trade Center site. No one visiting the World Trade Center site will see it - unless they take a wrong turn on the way.
2) There is no "Victory" Mosque
The stated goal behind building the Muslim center in lower Manhattan is to recapture the spirit of mutual respect between Judaism, Christianity and Islam that existed in Cordoba, Spain, from 700 - 1200 AD. While Europe was trapped in the Dark Ages, marked by bloody religious repression, Cordoba thrived as a commercial and cultural center with what was, for the time, a high level of religious freedom. For example, in the 10th Century, Cordoba became the intellectual capital for Jews worldwide. The stated point of the project is creating a world where Jews, Christians and Muslims connect again in a way that builds mutual understanding and respect. This is precisely the opposite goal of the 9/11 terrorists.
3) There is no Terror-Loving Imam Behind the Mosque
The Imam behind the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is reported to have good relations with the Jewish community and has strongly condemned terrorism. He is precisely the kind of Imam that violent Islamic radicals despise the most. He has been lambasted in some quarters in the US for stating that American support of corrupt and coercive regimes in the Middle-east motivated the 9/11 terrorists. While the precise motivation of the terrorists may be subject for debate, his analysis can only dismissed blithely by those unfamiliar with the deplorable practices of American "allies" in Middle-east ranging from the Saudi regime to Egyptian government. But this misses the point; we don't have to agree with his analysis or the way he expressed himself to agree that in a free society, unless someone is engaged in criminal activity, they have the same rights as anyone else to build and operate a house of worship.
Read the rest here. The great "Ground Zero mosque" hoax.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2598