As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, a movie about the Ground Zero mosque highlights why Americans should never forget how we got involved in all this. Pam Geller, an outspoken critic of the mosque, is one of the producers of The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of 9/11 Attacks. PJM interviewed her about the movie and what she hopes to accomplish with its release.
A 13-story mega-mosque is to be built in New York City approximately two blocks from the site of where the World Trade Center used to stand. Since Islamic extremists murdered 3000 people on September 11, 2001, Ground Zero is a cemetery and to many a sacred ground. Because of the strong outcry against the mosque project, it has publicly morphed from a religious place of worship to a prayer center to a community center.
The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of 9/11 Attacks powerfully starts by reminding Americans of the horrors of that day: clips of people jumping to their deaths as the World Trade Center became an inferno.
Geller strongly believes that “the 9/11 families took a hit for all Americans on that day when the Islamic extremists declared war on America.” She hopes viewers will be awakened as to why this mosque should never be built near Ground Zero, and to understand that if built, this mosque would be viewed by the jihadists as a triumph.
The movie intends to convey the magnitude of the jihadist threat. The landing gear from one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center was found in the Burlington Coat Factory building, where the mosque is to be built. A powerful statement from the movie: “Ground Zero becomes all about the mosque and no longer about the attack.” Geller wants Americans to understand: “[There] are thousands of mosques throughout the U.S. and hundreds of mosques in New York City. Why build it here?”
The film contains quotes from foreign leaders, 9/11 family members, and American political figures explaining why a mosque being built at Ground Zero is wrong. Says Rudy Giuliani: “The attack was in the name of Islam.” The movie also includes quotes from mosque supporters, like Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “It will increase religious tolerance and understanding. If forced to move, then I am afraid of what Islamic extremists would do. Moving the mosque would be handing the terrorists a victory.” Geller uses the quotes to show how out of touch people like Mayor Bloomberg are with the majority of Americans.
The movie chronicles how mosque supporters use political correctness to their advantage by claiming that anyone not in favor of the mosque is bigoted and biased against all Muslims. Those who speak out, such as Geller, are marginalized and demonized. Geller tells PJM:
[Mosque supporters] assassinate your character. They make you appear radioactive so people don’t want to associate with you. It’s a way of shutting people up. They attack the person. They never attack the argument. I am anti-jihad, not anti-Muslim.
Although she has received numerous death threats, she says:
I am more afraid of doing nothing and that is much more frightening to me. It is not an issue of freedom of religion or speech but an issue of human decency, human compassion. Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it.
Some argue that the mosque is not being built on Ground Zero; the building is two blocks away. The movie makes the point that they are wrong. Gordon Haberman, who lost a daughter at the World Trade Center (WTC), told PJM he was able to see, from many different angles, Ground Zero while in the Burlington Factory building. All Americans should be asking the mosque supporters: If the mosque were built directly on Ground Zero would that be ok? What about across the street, or right next door? What about one block away?
Maureen Santora, who lost a son at the World Trade Center, tells PJM:
[Mosque supporters] fail to see what the right thing is. The boundaries of Ground Zero should include all buildings damaged, destroyed, as well as any building that had pieces of the WTC, the plane, and people’s body parts or ashes. Future Americans need to understand that people were murdered out of hatred for our way of life and Ground Zero, including its boundaries, needs to be viewed as sacred ground.
The movie’s most important point: Americans need to keep up the pressure and awareness regarding this insensitive project.
(People who are interested in attending a screening of the film can go here for a list of showings.)