It’s impossible to imagine a Japanese temple being built in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor in 1951. Yet there is a proposal for a grandiose mosque/community center, 13 stories high, to be built just two blocks from the World Trade Center, the site where the most horrific attack on American soil occurred. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives at the hands of Islamic extremists. Since perception is reality, it seems very audacious and insensitive on the part of those behind this project. (This author sent numerous emails and made numerous phone calls to the organizers requesting a response and was referred to a press release.)
Many 9/11 family members view Ground Zero as a cemetery and sacred ground. Debra Burlingame is the sister of Charles “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of the American Airlines plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. She is a prominent spokesperson for the 9/11 families and a co-founder of Keep America Safe. Burlingame told PJ Media: “I am appalled the 9/11 attack, the death of my fellow human beings, is being used to further an all-encompassing Islamic ideology. Those people who killed my brother believed in that ideology as well.”
The name for this project, the Cordoba Initiative, does not represent multi-religious attitudes as the organizers claim. Clare Lopez, a fellow at the Center for Security Policy whose expertise includes Islam, commented that this is not an example of interfaith dialogue. She pointed out that in Cordoba (the capital of Spain during the Middle Ages), pogroms were committed against the Jews, and both Jews and Christians had to pay a protection tax.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a radio address: “If somebody wants to build a religious house of worship, they should do it and we shouldn’t be in the business of picking which religions can and which religions can’t. I think it’s fair to say if somebody was going to try to on that piece of property build a church or a synagogue, nobody would be yelling and screaming.” I think the mayor got it wrong. Cordoba was not a place that espoused religious freedom, and the fact is that neither Jews nor Christians had the insensitivity to build a house of worship on such a sacred site.