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The ninth anniversary of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York has just passed but unlike any other anniversary of the event it has passed in a haze of controversy and debate. This media frenzy can mainly be pinpointed to the plans to build a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero that has caused outrage throughout America. Two out of every three New Yorkers are opposed to the build. In all the furor, genuine opposition for sentimental reasons is being confused with anti-Islamist sentiment, which no one can deny is rife throughout America today.
Although some have tainted the opposition to the building of the mosque through extreme, racist and anti-Islamic views expressed towards it, the families of the 3000 people who died in the terrorist attack have a justifiable and understandable reason to be opposed to such plans. I believe everyone of us would feel the way they do to the plans to build a mosque next to the site if our loved ones had been murdered in the name of the religion that the building not only represents but also celebrates.
It may be the wrong decision to postpone or cancel plans to build the Ground Zero mosque as it would cause outrage throughout the Islamic world, being public and blatant rejection of Islam in the west. The proximity of an Islamic centre to Ground Zero would also show the acceptance of Muslims in America as the World Trade Centre attacks are not typical of Islam at all. So why should the approximately 8 million perfectly peaceful American Muslims suffer because of the faults of a few others who except for their shared faith have little or nothing else in common? But to a mourning family this is little consolation, a grieving person will find someone to blame for their loss and this blame all to easily lands on the Muslim community.
Obviously the blame is misplaced but it helps us understand their anguish at the community they blame for their family members death thriving in the same area as their murder, they are not racist they are simply grieving.
My grievance is that while the British media are labelling the mourning families who will forever be affected by the actions of Al-Qaeda as racists and bigots, the developer of the mosque and Islamic cultural centre, Feisal Adbul Rauf, is prepared to talk to blatant anti-Islamists and those frankly verging on the mentally ill, such as Terry Jones – the man who has put all of our lives in danger by tempting and angering those who are not afraid to attempt another attack on the same scale of the attack on September 11 and a man who is completely disrespectful of other religions and cultures going against all ideals America holds dear.
To stop his insane stunt of Quran burning Terry Jones has bargained with Feisal Abdul Rauf to move or to drop plans completely to build the community centre in order to stop his racist and vicious plot. In doing this Terry is as bad as the 9/11 terrorists as Barack Obama highlights himself: “This is a way of endangering our troops, our sons and daughters … you don’t play games with that.”
So why is anyone even negotiating with someone who is prepared to put so many innocent lives in danger whilst no one would listen to those who have lost and been hurt.
Doesn’t the fact that Terry Jones and those involved in the threat of burning the Quran gained global media attention and a chance to discuss their views with some of the most influential people in the country, only give opportunity for other like minded people to pull the same or worse stunts than this in order to gain attention for their cause. And all the while we are giving these people time in the media and considering to halt plans to build the mosque, halting plans in the name of religious hatred and not to those who deserve some consideration and a view in such matters, the families of all those who died.