Saturday, August 7, 2010

ISLAMIC CENTER

The Islamic Center was approved yesterday by the New York City's Landmarks Commission.

Whew! I am glad, very glad!

The people who objected (among them were Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Rick Lazio, whom jumped on that bandwagon to help their own bandwagons), are already announcing lawyers, lawsuits -- suing the Landmark's Commission, NYC, and Mayor Bloomberg.

Oh boy, here we go--rallies, protest marches, fundraisers, postponements, delays.

The only objections that made sense to me were put forth by the Anti Defamation League. The ADL said, "The Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam." They explained it was ultimately -- "Not a question of rights, but a question of what is right ... building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain unnecessarily -- and that is not right."

I can't accept "that is not right!"

I think the Islamic Center is wonderful idea. The huge plans -- a mosque, 500 seat auditorium, sport facilities, pool, restaurants, school, book stores, art exhibits -- benefitting the neighborhood, tourists, the city of New York -- locating it across the street from where the World Trade Center, is a powerful way of showing the world that Islam is not the enemy, that Muslims are people to respect, trust, enjoy as friends, as brothers and sisters.

The pain that 9/11 victims feel, cannot be assuaged. The dead are dead. What must be assuaged is anger, and blaming Islam, blaming Muslims,

I can't help remembering what President Roosevelt did to the Japanese with Presidential order 9066 -- interning, putting into fenced-in camps, Americans of Japanese ancestry -- some 120,000, and those who were not interned, became blighted people. They and their children continued to suffer, as American citizens who'd been labeled as enemies.

I wrote about banning the burqa, and our relationship with Islam yesterday. I'm feeling it more-so, stronger, louder, today. The Islamic Center could be the beginning of our connecting with Islam -- and hope -- a world where we can all live and survive together.

We need to embrace them, They need to embrace us.
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