Build the mosque near ground zero! Families of the Christian and Muslim victims can share common grief, and Christians and Muslims, together as Americans, can show common cause in the fight against global terrorism.
The furor over the mosque planned to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, sometimes referred to Cordoba House or Park51, is understandably emotional. Some families of 9/11 victims oppose this effort, because they feel that Muslims perpetrated this crime, and a mosque near Ground Zero would be constant reminder of that fact. But some families of 9/11 victims are sympathetic to the mosque construction. Anita Koronsky, who lost her sister in the 9/11 attacks, said: ‘I canâ€™t turn around and hate all of the other people involved in this religion because then I would become no better than these people who killed my sister, who supposedly were doing it because they hated, too.’
Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, says: ‘Muslims want to be part of rebuilding lower Manhattan, because we feel it an obligation.’ She also says, ‘The 9/11 families need to understand that the majority of Muslims abhor violence, abhor terrorism.’ She points out that there were Muslim victims of 9/11, and their families also need a place to grieve.
Christians know that the neo-Nazis in Boundary County, Idaho, who’s leaders spread their ‘gospel’ of hate from the pulpit of Christian churches, do not represent the entirety of Christianity; in the same way, those radical jihadists who perpetrated the wave of global terror these past twenty years do not represent the entirety of Islam.
The current US counter-terrorism strategy in Afghanistan, as formulated by General Petraeus, is as much about genuinely working within communities to lower and remove stimuli for terrorism as it is about destroying active terrorists. The US Army understands all too well that, for every terrorist killed in Afghanistan today, many more innocent civilians are killed, and this creates hatred and mistrust among the very people who have been victims of those same terrorists yesterday, and helps create a breeding ground for future terrorists. For the US Army, the long term success of counter-terrorism is about building solidarity and mutual trust with the great majority in those communities who also do not support terrorism.
The more we work together with the mainstream and moderate Muslims to fight terrorism, the less influence today’s radical jihadism or Wahhabism will have in the Muslim community tomorrow, and the more we will together sow seeds of trust upon which to build future collaboration in the war on terror.
This mosque, and public acceptance of this mosque, is a positive step in uniting 9/11 victims, Muslim and Christian, in their common grief, and in uniting Americans, Muslim and Christian, in their common goal towards the elimination of global terrorism. It is a gesture that General Petraeus would likely approve of.