Imam Rauf: ‘We are Proceeding’ With NY Cordoba House
September 8, 2010
(ChattahBox US News)–The Imam and co-developer of the proposed Cordoba Islamic community Center in lower Manhattan, finally spoke out amid all of the contentious and incendiary opposition to the center two blocks away from Ground Zero. Feisal Abdul Rauf, just returning from an overseas trip, penned an Op-Ed in The New York Times addressing the controversy of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” by reiterating his resolve to build the center, to “strengthen relations between the Western and Muslim worlds.” “We are proceeding,” said Imam Rauf.
Despite the support for the center from Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama, as a testament to our religious freedoms, Fox News and the right-wing have used the opposition to the Cordoba House to stoke anti-Islam hate and fear, claiming the center would be a haven for terrorists. And the bigoted and ugly anti “Ground Zero Mosque” campaign has unleashed a wave of anti-Muslim violence nationwide.
Iman Rauf writes that now is not the time to give in to fear and hate. “I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons,” says Rauf.
“Our broader mission — to strengthen relations between the Western and Muslim worlds and to help counter radical ideology — lies not in skirting the margins of issues that have polarized relations within the Muslim world and between non-Muslims and Muslims. It lies in confronting them as a joint multifaith, multinational effort.”
Rauf praised President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg for their support, pointing out that the specter of a Christian president and a Jewish city mayor, speaking out in support of Islam resonated throughout the Muslim world.
“It was striking: a Christian president and a Jewish mayor of New York supporting the rights of Muslims. Their statements sent a powerful message about what America stands for, and will be remembered as a milestone in improving American-Muslim relations.”
The Cordoba House developer added that allowing the vocal bigots to win, would further empower Islamic radicals and their anti-America propaganda campaigns.
“These efforts by radicals at distortion endanger our national security and the personal security of Americans worldwide. This is why Americans must not back away from completion of this project. If we do, we cede the discourse and, essentially, our future to radicals on both sides. The paradigm of a clash between the West and the Muslim world will continue, as it has in recent decades at terrible cost. It is a paradigm we must shift.”
He called on Americans to honor the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by putting an end to the anti-Islamic rhetoric and focus on peace instead.
“I therefore call upon all Americans to rise to this challenge. Let us commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 by pausing to reflect and meditate and tone down the vitriol and rhetoric that serves only to strengthen the radicals and weaken our friends’ belief in our values.”
Rauf went on to reassure Americans that all of the funding sources for the project would be made public. And he stressed the multifaith approach of the Cordoba House, also pointing out that the center would honor 9/11 victims.
“There will be separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths. The center will also include a multifaith memorial dedicated to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.”
Will Imam Rauf’s eloquent words pierce through the noise of Fox News and resonate with ordinary Americans?
With a lunatic right-wing pastor looking for media attention, by planning to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11, let’s hope so.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf/World Economic Forum Cologny, Switzerland.