Sunday, May 23, 2010

A mosque at Ground Zero? A sick joke

Douglas Murray weighs in.

By Douglas Murray

If you were planning to build a new £68 million giant mosque and 13-storey “Muslim community centre”, which site – anywhere in the world – would you think it most thoughtless to choose? The charred ruins of a Bali nightclub? A railway station in Madrid? Or perhaps the site of the most infamous Islamist terrorist attack of all – Ground Zero in New York?

This must count as the most crass idea since the award-winning plan to plant a red crescent (I kid you not) in the field in Pennsylvania in which flight 93 came down on that same day in 2001.

Amazingly, the organisation behind the Twin Towers mosque plan have said they picked the spot precisely because of its location. “Building a mosque where a piece of the wreckage fell … sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11,” according to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric leading the project.

Really? Building a mosque on the site of the Twin Towers sounds to me like having your Islamic cake and eating it. Those guys who brought down the Towers: bad Muslims. Those people who build mosques on the same site: good Muslims. Either way, the point is, it’s a gain for the religion which, misinterpreted or not, inspired the attacks.

Anyhow, enter Daisy Khan, the executive director of the sinisterly titled American Society for Muslim Advancement. Not the woman I’d get to make the case for the defence, but there you have it. Her argument? “We need to take the 9/11 tragedy and turn it into something very positive. It will also serve as a major platform for amplifying the silent voice of the majority of Muslims who have nothing to do with extremist ideologies.”

I’m sure that creating a mega-mosque in the area looks like very positive from certain angles, but not from where most Americans are sitting. Besides, those “silent voices” have been notably quiet of late. What’s the guarantee that this great dawah project isn’t going to backfire? After all, that £68 million price tag is awfully high. Are they really going to be able to raise it without any, ahem, foreign help?

Khan is right that Islam has had a run of bad PR recently, what with all the terrorism and decapitations and such. But I don’t think bringing “something positive” out of 9/11 is what most people want, do you?

A mosque at Ground Zero? A sick joke – Telegraph Blogs

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