The Ground Zero Mosque and Religious Freedom

Here’s another guest post by David Jones, a former Muslim and Iraq veteran.

———————

On the anniversary of 9-11 I feel it’s time to have a serious dialogue about Islam and religious freedom in the U.S. It is my hope that my Catholic brethren and anyone else who reads this article will finds my position a reasonable one to hold.

If anyone on this planet understands the concerns of those who are against the building the Ground Zero Mosque, I do. This includes not building it near Ground Zero out of respect for all those that lost their lives there. I am absolutely convinced that most Americans don’t have a clue about Islam though. Many are completely ignorant as to what it really teaches and the threat it poses to both Europe and the U.S. Islam by its nature is an ideology which is inherently political. In many regards it is a closed system, which is not open to reality. It does not organically develop as Catholicism has done throughout its history. Islam considers itself to be a completed (and total) system to be imposed on the rest of the non-Muslim world by any and all means necessary, both through peaceful and non-peaceful means. Therefore it struggles with this concept of religious freedom. If your system or ideology is closed, how can you really be free? Many good Muslims are attempting to answer this question though and many others related to it. We should be open to dialogue with them. We should offer our friendship.

At this juncture, I think it would be helpful to give a little historical background on myself. After studying Islam for several years during college in the early 1990s, I converted to Islam in my senior year in college. I was a practicing Muslim during that year. In fact I was able to attend the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) the year when it was held in Kansas City. It was there I met face-to-face with advocates and recruiters for Khalif’ornia Publication, a play on the word because they were based in California. They were a radical and militant group of Muslims which promoted the formation of Khalifas, Islamic nation-states, here in America, in Europe, and throughout the world. I studied their material and listened to their audios. I became convinced that to be a true Muslim I had to follow their ideology, so I had a decision to make. If I wanted to remain an American who believed deeply in the right of religious freedom, I needed to leave Islam, and that’s exactly what I did. Eventually, I became an Eastern Rite Catholic.

Fast-forwarding several years… Recently I returned from a deployment to Iraq. In fact, my unit was replaced by the unit you have seen all over the news as the last combat unit to leave Iraq. It was there that I saw the devastating results of this radical and militant version of Islam. Once you have smelled burning flesh you will never forget it. Once you have had to write home to the spouses and parents of soldiers who have been killed in action, you will never forget it. Everyday innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were being targeted by insurgents and brutally killed because of a perceived, real or not, support of the Iraqi government, military or police. Most were just trying to live their lives and just survive. For a year, the valiant soldiers of my unit worked day and night to bring freedom to the Iraqi people, as did so many before them and as others will do after them. Let us not forget our brethren who have served and are serving so courageously in Afghanistan as well.

As an Eastern Catholic, Melkite Greek Catholic, my heart goes out to the Chaldeans in Iraq, to the Copts in Egypt, and to the Christians throughout the Holy Land and Turkey who have been persecuted for their Christian faith. In many countries in the Middle East, religious freedom does not apply to the lives of the common man as it does for us here in America. What is so desperately needed there must never be forgotten by us here in the U.S. In many ways it is what sets us apart as a beacon for others to follow.

I do not wish to add to the already hyper-sensitized rhetoric of the mainstream media and of those with political ideologies trying to exploit this issue to advance their own agendas. The Ground Zero Mosque controversy, though, is something that has weighed heavily on me these days. Frankly, the answer I have come to even surprises me in many ways, but I feel I must publicly speak out in recognition of the truth I have lived and to whom I owe everything. This is not something I take lightly for it goes to the core of who I am as a person and who we all are as humans. Christ blows our hearts wide open to all of reality. He gives us an infinite desire to know Him in this world in which he inhabits if only we have the eyes to see Him.

As Catholics in America we should support the building of this mosque. The truth, beauty and goodness of the faith should not make us afraid. It should make us bold. We must be open to dialogue with those who we don’t agree with or with those who we don’t fully understand. We must give them the freedom to follow their own religious sense. This is what is means to be most fully Catholic and to be most fully American.

Let us this day honor all those that have fallen in foreign lands to bring freedom to our fellow human beings and to those that lost their lives on 9-11. I leave everything in the hands of Our Lady.

Disclaimer – The opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author and not those of the U.S. Army.

Re-posted with permission from author; original source: ilsussidiario.net

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53 Responses to The Ground Zero Mosque and Religious Freedom

  1. T. Shaw says:

    Thank so much for your service, Capt. (?) Jones.

    Can’t accept your conclusion. You spend several hundred words appropriately citing the murder cult’s true evil character. Then, you suggest we abide by their putting a mosque (for us to tolerate them) at the site where 3,000 Americans and visitors were massacred.

    If they dedicate the mosque to the WTC murdered it’s okay. Otherwise, we do not tolerate this agressive, infallibly ignorant murder cult in any of its masquerades.

  2. M Wagner, says:

    The President when asked about the wisdom of the building of the mosque his answer was legalistic, “it is their right to build”. Wisdom is something different.
    There is a study where family members since this up roar feel more isolated and marginalized. In other words the nation does not care. From flight 93 to the rest of the victims they where on the front line in this battle with evil. Christ vision for us I do think is just to accept the status quo, or a legalistic approach to reconciliation. I do think an American value is to have compassion for true victims

  3. mundabor says:

    Mr. Jones,

    your conclusion contradicts everything you have said before it (and you said it beautifully, btw).

    You are, if you allow me, the victim of the same misconception you had when you joined Islam: not thinking to the end.

    You can’t say (and I quote you) that:

    “Islam considers itself to be a completed (and total) system to be imposed on the rest of the non-Muslim world by any and all means necessary, both through peaceful and non-peaceful means”

    and **defend the mosque at the same time**.

    It’ll be the one or the other. Either is Islam a religion of peace, and then the mosque acceptable; or Islam is a religion of oppression “by all means necessary”, and then it isn’t.

    Make up your mind, Sir. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

    M

  4. We have to concur with the commenters above. It’s a stirring piece, but there is nothing in the early paragraphs that would justify the conclusion. As members of a society that values religious freedom, we may be legally obligated to allow building to take place (though there are valid arguments to the contrary.) As Catholic Christians, we are morally obligated to strive to forgive those who have harmed us and to treat those who do not hold to our beliefs as children of God with immortal souls. But if by “support” you mean we have a moral obligation to advocate for the building of the mosque, send contributions, or labor toward its construction, then I fail to see how our faith could possibly obligate us in this way.

  5. It seems to me that Lt. Col. Jones is saying not that Catholics should actively advocate for/contribute to the mosque, but rather that because we believe in religious freedom we should support the application of that freedom to this project. This doesn’t in any way mean that their ought to be or must be a mosque at this location, but rather that it would be a violation of our principles to keep it from happening.

    In this sense, it seems to me that this follows directly from his initial instinct as to Islam’s falsity — that religious freedom is a good.

  6. Joe Hargrave says:

    I agree with the previous comments. The conclusion does not follow from any of the premises.

    Fear has nothing to do with this, either. It is fear that compels people to constantly cede ground to the militant Muslims – not those who are determined to check their bold advances.

  7. American Knight says:

    Islam is the exact opposite of religious freedom. Why are we to extend freedom to an ideology that seeks to eliminate the very freedom we are expected to extend?

    It is self-defeating. We can respect Moslems. We must love them. We are required to free them. The last words Christ spoke before He ascended to His Father exhort us to baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. He also told us that no one can get to the Father except through Him.

    If we truly love and respect the Moslems in an authentic spirit of Truth and Charity, then we are obligated to bring them to Christ. Naturally, the Catholic faith is the faith of freedom. Christ came to set the captives free and it is only Truth that will set us free. We cannot impose, we are required to propose, in imitation of Christ.

    If we allow Islam the freedom it seeks within the walls then we are inviting the destroyers of those walls to eradicate the freedom of religion. Then not only are we confirming the Moslems in their error, we are also eliminating the free exercise of the Catholic faith in the West. If the Catholic faith is extinguished in the West, we are sacrificing generations of God’s children here and cutting of the support that the Church needs in the developing and underdeveloped world and contributing to the spread of the Mohammadan heresy.

    This is cowardly abdication and not the heroic Charity we are called to. To liberate the Moslems, we need to preach Christ, His Truth and do it with His Charity. Building an Islamic cultural center so close to the World Trade Center site is unacceptable. Nothing good will come of it. Of course God can make the worst we do good, but not if our intentions are weak, cowardly and not grounded in Truth and Charity.

    I agree with the other commentators, the article begins well and ends with an illogical conclusion. Additionally, we all need to pray for Mr. Jones, as an apostate Moslem, he is sentenced to death by Islam. I suspect that allowing the Moslems the religious freedom to kill him is not what he had in mind when he wrote this.

  8. Joe Hargrave says:

    Darwin,

    How many times does it have to be said that this is not about religious freedom? In this controversy it is about the location of the mosque, not the existence of mosques in general. If they are allowed to build a mosque elsewhere, then their religious freedom has not been eliminated.

    I’ll make the point again: they say they want to be friends. If they want to be friends, then they should build their mosque elsewhere. Invoking rights and freedoms as a debate stopper means the end of friendship and the beginning of arbitration of hostile enemies.

    But again, if it is friends they want, then they ought to reconsider the logic of doing something just because they can. And if they are going to be so radically insensitive to us, then I don’t see why anyone should care if we torch a few Korans.

  9. Mike Petrik says:

    Joe,
    The idea of religious freedom is normally understood to assume that religions are accorded an equal legal playing field. It is not convincing to suggest that we can treat Islam more onerously as long as we don’t “eliminate” it. That said, as others have pointed out, the legal right to do something does not make it wise. And how or whether a person or group chooses to exercise a legal right does say something about that person or group.

  10. How many times does it have to be said that this is not about religious freedom?

    Simply repeating it doesn’t it make it so. Telling people they can’t build a religious building because their religion is inappropriate in that area is a textbook example of religious freedom being denied.

  11. Blackadder says:

    Why are we to extend freedom to an ideology that seeks to eliminate the very freedom we are expected to extend?

    This is the same argument liberals use to justify speech codes: we believe in tolerance, but you are intolerant, so it’s okay for us to prevent you from speaking, etc.

  12. T. Shaw says:

    Anyone able to reconcile (equal protection under the law!) the NYC gov/community board/landmarks preservatiion (whoever) denying the Orthodox Christian Church rebuild with the murder cult approval at the GZ site (religious freedom)?

    Is Mein Kampf still banned? Anyone have a problem with burning Mein Kampf? Anyone want to allow the Nazi Party to organize in the US? How’s about Aztec human sacrifices – religious freedom!

    Let’s go to the Constitution: First Amendment: Congress shall make no law establishing a religion. How does that give these filthy pagan murderers the right to urinate on our dead (1,100 WTC victims’ remains are still there) martyrs?

    Here’s a homework assignment. Each day keep a WORD (or whatever you use) doc listing all the mass murders committed (I have one at work from front page WSJ) in Muslim hellholes around the world. That (religious freedom!) will be the US in 10 or 20 years.

    But, I semi-agree with the Col. We are God’s: living in exile in this vale of tears and must remain true to Jesus Christ. Even unto martyrdom.

  13. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Telling people they can’t build a religious building because their religion is inappropriate in that area is a textbook example of religious freedom being denied.”

    There is a world of difference between “cannot” and “should not”. John Paul II understood this difference, and at Auschwitz I do not believe he was violating the freedom of religion of the Carmelite nuns.

  14. Joe Hargrave says:

    ” It is not convincing to suggest that we can treat Islam more onerously as long as we don’t “eliminate” it.”

    I don’t think this rises to the level of “onerous treatment”, though here is a point worth making: what if Islam is simply a more onerous religion?

    Are we really to pretend that there is no difference between Islam and Quakerism? When you have a religion based on a book that mandates war and conquest and the subjugation of infidels – a book that was used, by the way, to justify the aggression that Thomas Jefferson and his successors put a stop to with the Barbary Wars – then I have to question the wisdom of this “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” approach to religion.

    I’m not raising the point to justify denying the legal right to build a mosque at ground zero, by the way. I’m raising it in general. Not all religions are the same. And we already have a precedent for denying some religions freedom when those freedoms would pose a threat to others, such as Christian “Science” or Satanic rituals involving animal sacrifice. A ground zero mosque in particular doesn’t rise to this level, but what about Islamberg NY?

    Bottom line is this: I can accept their abstract “right” to build their mosque and trample all over their own stated goals in a most irrational manner. But I will not accept this “right” on the grounds that Islam is just another religion like Christianity or Judaism, because I don’t believe that. You may as well call anything a “religion” and then have it protected under the law.

  15. Ivan says:

    Islam is an ideology masquerading as a religion. The same standards and instincts for self-preservation that characterised the fight against global Communism should apply when confronting Islam. Muslims are no different from the rest of us at the level of individuals, but when they tie their fortunes to the rise of Islam it is a menace everywhere for the kaffirs. At independence the the proportion of non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan was around 15% today it is down to to 4%, whereas in India the proportion of Muslims has in fact increased from 15% to 18%. Sheer numbers tell their own story, from Sudan to Lebanon to the Phillipines. Wherever Islam is ascendent the infidels find their rights curtailed, and their public lives preoccupied with navigating the myriad disabilities of dhimmification. Which is why among other things, we had to tolerate the spectacle of a sainted Pope kissing the horrid Koran that explicitly denies the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

  16. cminor says:

    Well, Darwin, maybe that was what he meant.

    Nonetheless, in view of my suspicion that the intentions of those seeking to build the mosque are not entirely innocent (a suspicion the Imam did nothing to dispel recently when he did his Vito the Torch impersonation and warned us all of bad things to follow should the project he’s now hyped all over the Muslim world with U. S. funds fall through)I believe I have the responsibility as a Christian to speak truthfully about those suspicions.

    And I really don’t think that we are called as Christians to invite abuse upon ourselves and others in the name of love, faith, or dialogue. The Apostles were cautioned to be shrewd as serpents as well as harmless as doves, after all.

  17. Elaine Krewer says:

    “Is Mein Kampf still banned?”

    Not by the government, it isn’t. It’s still possible and perfectly legal to buy copies of it. One does not have to agree with all the ideas presented in it to want to read it for purposes of understanding history.

  18. Art Deco says:

    Simply repeating it doesn’t it make it so. Telling people they can’t build a religious building because their religion is inappropriate in that area is a textbook example of religious freedom being denied.

    As opposed to a textbook example of trivializing what is meant by religious freedom?

    They are not being find for recusancy or being compelled to pay tithes to the local Presbytery or paying a dhimmi tax to the New York State United Teachers for the privilege of educating their children in schools of their choice or being enjoined by a federal judge from leading prayers at football games. Much less are they facing criminal penalties. They propose to put up a 13 story building at a historic site, a building contextually inappropriate in the extreme. It would not be unjust for the usual political and bureaucratic physics attending the construction business in New York to frustrate them as it does everyone else, Larry Silverstein and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America included.

  19. Fernando says:

    I´m sorry, but what a piece of nonsense.

    First of all: “As an Eastern Catholic, Melkite Greek Catholic, my heart goes out to the Chaldeans in Iraq, to the Copts in Egypt, and to the Christians throughout the Holy Land and Turkey who have been persecuted for their Christian faith”.

    Well, congratulations then, Christians in Iraq were safe and protected by the nationalist government of Sadam Hussein, thanks to the US invasion and you and others like you, they are now been massacrated and expelled. Seriously, congrats, you are in the side who is destroying the people you have in your heart.

    Did you ever talk to any Christian in Iraq?

    Second of all: Catholics do not support religious freedom. Never. Ever. Is completely against the Catholic doctrine to proclaim that is rightful to everyone to publicly follow any religion other than Catholicism. Check the Syllabus. Your point that Islam can be transformed into a harmless religion if we are able to change them to be all modernists (i.e. they don´t take their religion seriously anymore) could be fine only you were not revealing yourself as a modernist Catholic who is lowering his religion to a just another opinion in the religions pool.

    In my opinion the only one who is right here is Obama: it is legal to build anything anywhere in the US if you have the money to do so, it is in the US foundation that eveybody is free to believe whatever they want. Religious freedom is part of the US identity.

    A completely different issue, the real issue here actually, the one that is hard to assume by American Catholics, is that US foundation principles are unacceptable for Catholics, because they allow things like a mosque built in ground zero and religious freedom.

  20. Art Deco says:

    Well, congratulations then, Christians in Iraq were safe and protected by the nationalist government of Sadam Hussein,

    1. The Christian population of Iraq survived quite passably for centuries before the Ba’ath Party turned the place into a totalitarian hellhole.

    2. I would refer you to the assessments of political and civic life offered by Freedom House over the period running from 1972 to 2002. You have over 190 sovereign countries assessed. The mean composite score received by Iraq over those 30 years was 2d from the bottom, just ahead of North Korea. Nobody was safe.

  21. mundabor says:

    “thanks to the US invasion and you and others like you, they are now been massacrated and expelled.”

    Er,no.
    If they are massacred, this is “thanks” to those who massacre them.
    Anyway, a working democracy will always give them a better protection than a ruthless dictator.

    M

  22. Bill Sr. says:

    We have the right to drive by a stranded motorist or an accident victim lying on the roadside. Cops have the right to ticket the hundreds of motorists who exceed the speed limit on our streets every day .Our career politicians in the Senate have the right to run for reelection after 30 years of milking the system for thousands and thousands of dollars from the lobbyist in Washington and becoming multimillionaires in the process.

    “Legality” is not the debatable issue here. At this very time in our society when we are laboring with the “fairness” of our laws and morality along with the ideology of “social justice” to find common ground and respect for each other it would seem unthinkable in view of the circumstances of 9-11 that a minority with such close ties to those responsible for the cowardly acts which destroyed lives, property, and national land marks in the heart of our largest city would even consider building their version of a monument to the catastrophe at or near the site standing on the grounds that it had the “legal” right to do so.
    Common sense or common decency would dictate otherwise but they seem to have been scraped by most everyone in government and a lot of our population in general. Like the film makers in Hollywood, TV producers, fashion designers, every minority has come to realize the public stage is the place to push the envelope for your cause or agenda in every conceivable way once you have the funds and above all the “right” to do it.
    This bit of strategy is simply the militant Islamist seizing the moment and taking advantage of our moral and social leniency like the traffic cop having his coffee and donut while watching the speeders doing their “normal” thing.

  23. cminor says:

    “Catholics do not support religious freedom. Never. Ever. Is completely against the Catholic doctrine to proclaim that is rightful to everyone to publicly follow any religion other than Catholicism.”

    Fiddlesticks. Catholics believe in free will. Always have. The Apostles were given clear instructions on what to do when their preaching was rejected: “Shake the dust from your feet when you leave.” We are called to preach the Good News, not to ram it down the throats of the unwilling. Not sure which syllabus you use, but you might try checking the Catechism.

  24. cminor says:

    “Telling people they can’t build a religious building because their religion is inappropriate in that area is a textbook example of religious freedom being denied.”

    Though the situations aren’t exactly parallel, I’ve found my mind wandering to the example of Columbia, MD every time I’ve seen this argument come up. If you’re not familiar with it, Columbia was a planned community developed by the Rouse Company in 1962. One of the company’s bright ideas for fostering community solidarity was to zone no space for churches, but instead to build four “interfaith centers” to be shared by several religious communities at once. This arrangement wasn’t exactly popular, but for years after congregations had to go outside city limits if they wanted a home of their own. Was religious freedom denied? Limited, certainly. You could worship –lots of folks did–if you didn’t mind being subject to the city’s restrictions. You didn’t have the right to buy an acre or two in the city and erect your own building. Is religious freedom in the U.S. absolute? I think we can all think of cases in which it is not.

    But this isn’t about religious freedom anymore, assuming the go-ahead to build has been given by New York. It’s about the motivations of the builders, and the messages they intend to send to those residents of NYC whose hearts are still raw from 9/11, and to Muslims around the world, a good many of whom have little concept of the U. S. idea of religious freedom but who will immediately grasp the symbolic value of a mosque near the WTC and on land hit during that attack. I don’t believe objecting to the decision to build is remotely akin to denying religious freedom; in fact, I believe the ability to air concerns civilly is essential if we are to remain free.

    (Incidentally, about 30 years later a few churches did build inside Columbia only because some old codgers who had refused to sell out to Rouse in ’62 opted to sell to them –probably to annoy Rouse– instead.)

  25. jh says:

    I am very concerned the precedent that vocal opponents of the Mosque are setting up here.

    When we have a certain Fed Judge in California say the thing he has about Christian participation in the public square we should be more careful

    A few years ago Christians were up in arms that the City of San Francisco was being quite hostile to the orthodox Christian faith. From resolutions against a Christian Youth Rally to resolutions against the Catholic Church. People were quite correct then pointing out that the Govt should not in it’s official capacity be weighing in on these matters.

    Let us say that a very conservative Orthodox Church wanted to build in the gay district of San Fran. THe people there say heck no their “Homophobia” has caused hurt, suicide, and even violence against us. It is “not” they would say they are against their legal right to build a “Church” not just there and they enlist their public officials to “persuade” them to build elsewhere.

    Well what is the difference? I am kinda of shocked that so many small Govt Conservatives think it is the proper place to get our politicians involved in this in actively opposing it. In having politicos making policy statements on a particular religious faith. When I hear this I have to believe that many here forget the real anti Catholic fever that was in this country when it formed and it took some act of political courage to face that down.

    What Obama did was not “legalistic” but Correct.

    In the end we decided not to make all of Manhatten a National Park. Within this two block radius there are food places, strip clubs , and off track betting places. It is a place where people worship, eat, and just live. There is no legal reason to deny the Mosque the permit.

    We all need to move on.

  26. Adrian Wainer says:

    “As Catholics in America we should support the building of this mosque. The truth, beauty and goodness of the faith should not make us afraid.”
    David Jones

    In so far as I am can understand the apparent logic behind Mr Jones’ article, which is hugely vague on his reasoning behind his conclusion that Catholics should support the proposed 45 Park Mosque build, my best guess is that he fails to comprehend the military fact that Islam has a history of confronting conventionally more powerful military states and defeating them through asymmetric warfare. Islam currently lacks the technological and industrial capacity to successfully challenge the West in a conventional military conflict, so one of the ways it is seeking to defeat the West, is through ideological asymmetric warfare practiced inside Western societies, Islam is attempting:
    1, To destroy the West’s commitment to the values of European enlightenment.
    2, To establish a two tiered society in the West under the guise of a false multiculturalism and a false liberalism, in which Western societies grant Muslims supremacy over non-Muslims.
    3, Box Christianity and Judaism in to a corner, in Western societies, portraying them at best as irrelevant at worst as wholly evil.
    4, Form a tactical alliance with Stalinist Communists and the extreme left.
    5, Form a tactical alliance with the amoral and unacceptable Face of capitalism.
    6, Form a tactical alliance with the well intentioned idiot and fascistic / neo-Nazi elements of the LGBT community.

    Perhaps David Jones’ reasoning is based on a concept that the mission of Christ was to replace Judaism, if so then I would argue that he is wrong and that the mission of Christ was to expand Judaism in a way which changed it from a religion for one people in one place to a religion for many people in many places. In the concept of Christianity as expanded Judaism, there is a prominent value placed on the necessity of the military defense of right. The 45 Park Place new build Mosque project, is a military threat because it is part of a broad based multifaceted attempt by Islam to destroy Western civilization from within through the use of ideological societal warfare. If that Mosque is built, it will encourage Muslims in America to demand rights and privileges which can only be granted by degrading the legitimate rights and privileges of non-Muslims in America and it will encourage Islamists within America and outside America to carry out new future 9/11s on American soil, very possibly even using nuclear weapons.

    Perhaps, Mr David Jones should have joined the US Marine Corps, as the Marines have traditionally had an understanding that War is about more than fighting tanks, aircraft and an enemy wearing uniforms but rather is a holistic battle, in which the struggle for hearts and minds is every bit as important as conventional military combats such as for example tank battles. And had Mr Price joined the Marine Corps, he might have learned something about War that he doesn’t seem to have understood through his service in the US Army. For example, the contention of the US Marine Corps that the, “search and destroy”, strategy of the US Army in Vietnam was doomed to failure and had to be replaced with a strategy of, “Clear and hold”,. This is also very much a concept that the Churchill administration understood during World War II, emphasizing that the likes of shop-workers were in the front line as much as soldiers with guns in trenches. Well the shop-workers in the Burlington Coat Factory, were in the front-line on 9/11 and a Western society which would allow a battlefield site to be desecrated by having an Islamist triumph Mosque erected on it, honoring the murderers of the thousands of innocent dead of 9/11, is a house divided which cannot stand. If this Mosque build project goes ahead and opens for business, it is likely America will then have three choices:
    1, America becomes an Islamic state.
    2, America splits roughly on the Mason-Dixon Line and the North as the USA becomes an Islamic state, whilst a de facto new Confederate States of America emerges in the South, ( whilst utterly rejecting the historic CSA’s support for slavery and discrimination against black folks),.
    3, Civil War.

  27. Phillip says:

    It seems Mein Kampf is banned in Germany and I wonder how that country is doing. I am also aware that there are (were?) zoning restricitions in King County WA that so limited church sizes that many denominations felt that they could not build churches to meet the needs of the congregations. The purpose of the law was to help preserve the “rural character” of undeveloped areas and can’t remember ay outcry about limiting religious freedom when it was passed. (Th WTC Mosque would violate the size limitations of this law.)

    Whether it is legal to build a mosque at the site is not subject to debate. Just as it is legal to burn a Koran. Both are offensive to other persons. Both are inflaming contempt of others. Both are unwise.

  28. jh says:

    “this Mosque build project goes ahead and opens for business, it is likely America will then have three choices:
    1, America becomes an Islamic state.
    2, America splits roughly on the Mason-Dixon Line and the North as the USA becomes an Islamic state, whilst a de facto new Confederate States of America emerges in the South, ( whilst utterly rejecting the historic CSA’s support for slavery and discrimination against black folks),.
    3, Civil War.”

    What? So if the Mosque is built this will happen!! Please. There is not going to be any Islamic State in the USA

  29. David says:

    I see that I have caused quite a provocation for many folks. This is good, this is very good. Allow me to draw out a few points that some folks might feel are helpful (or not). Back in 2007 when Christopher Blosser and I had the conversation on Islam after the Regensburg Address we realized there were two different conversations or points being made. Refer to the links I provided in my comments above.

    The first was a dialog about what Islam means, its very essence and origin, and another dialog about the important of interfaith dialog. In many regards the same thing is occurring now as well. If you read my earlier posts on Islam it’s very clear what my position is in regards to Islam.

    I would love to hear what Blosser has to say about this current conversation.

    The one thing that I have not seen mentioned in this entire conversation though, unless I missed it, is the principle of subsidiarity which means that things should be handled at the lowest level possible. For this topic of the Ground Zero Mosque it’s a local NYC problem. The mayor and the local zoning council, or whomever, has already approved for this mosque to be built. It’s not proper for the NY Governor, President to U.S., or any of us, to impose their/our view on the city. If the residents of NYC don’t like the decision they should vote out office those responsible for approving it.

    I also don’t hear the freedom of conscience being mentioned in this debate as well. If Muslims in good faith following their own religious convictions and their own religious sense, have did everything legally and administratively proper to build their own worship center there who are will to tell them that they can’t or shouldn’t do this? The best we can hope for is to begin a serious dialog with them.

    At the end of day what must be said though is that this is a prudential matter. Good Catholics, good Christians, and good Americans can disagree about it being built there.

  30. David says:

    I must add one final point. Chaldeans Catholics (and Christians) are some of the biggest supporters of our war in Iraq. They have and are currently serving as trainers and interpreters for us in a major way. There are many other good Muslims, some very, very educated, doing the same for us as well. Things are not as simple as some think they are…

  31. David says:

    I would also love to hear what Chris Burgwald has to say about all of this. He always seems to be the most reasonable one among us. I tend to write posts using Celtic sword and Burgwald does so with a Samurai or Ninja sword.

  32. Phillip says:

    I agree things are not as simple as they look. It was interesting that you point out Chaldean Catholics are still supporters of the war as some bloggers make it seem this is not the case.

    It is also fair to say that not all Muslims are the same as they are not. But this gets back to my point. It is rare to hear the condemnation of even moderate Muslims of this project even though there are those who are truly offended by it. This is quite unlike the response to the plan to burn the Koran. One can disagree with those who hold both sets of feelings but their feelings are valid. The feelings of those who oppose the mosque are as valid as those who object to the Koran being burnt.

    The call for dialogue ultimately involves respect from both sides of the issue. I don’t believe that Muslims are showing that respect. I might have not felt even with all the things mentioned up till now. But that was until the Imam’s unfortunate comments about the risk of violence if the Mosque was not built. Now we seem to have respect that goes one way. Respect what we Muslims believe. If you do not, there will be an increase in anger and violence on the part of Muslims. If you do what you believe, then there will be an increase in anger and violence Muslims. We must build our Mosque, but your cannot build churches in our countries. Your laws must respect our rights but you cannot have your rights in free speech in burning the Koran. You must respect our sensitivities but we are not called to respect yours.

    Here is where dialogue must begin – with Muslims respecting our concerns also.

  33. David says:

    A major point made by Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensburg address was to challenge Islam’s use of and acceptance of violence, both historic and current…

  34. Phillip says:

    And it is the current threat of violence if the Mosque is not built that is offensive and contrary to true respect and dialogue.

    Which is why now, more than several weeks ago, I am against the Mosque.

  35. Art Deco says:

    For this topic of the Ground Zero Mosque it’s a local NYC problem. The mayor and the local zoning council, or whomever, has already approved

    As a rule, I would agree with you, but the historic significance of the site is not wholly local, just as Gettysburg and Manassas are not sites of wholly local significance.

  36. David says:

    So let’s build a Wal-Mart store, or another major retailer, there in stead like they are doing near (or on) on many of the Civil War battlefields… That makes everyone happy.

  37. Joe Hargrave says:

    jh,

    I’m still very concerned by those who, in spite of having been told a thousand times that this isn’t about the right to build but the WISDOM of doing so, continue to speak of rights.

    Nevermind the San Francisco comparison – just look to the nuns at Auschwitz and JP II’s decision. That’s the sort of precedent we are talking about.

    If you’re screaming about your rights, you’ve given up on friendship.

  38. David says:

    I would encourage everyone to check out Oasis.

    http://www.oasiscenter.eu/en/

    It’s an initiative of Cardinal Scola and many other outstanding folk.

  39. Adrian Wainer says:

    “The one thing that I have not seen mentioned in this entire conversation though, unless I missed it, is the principle of subsidiarity which means that things should be handled at the lowest level possible. For this topic of the Ground Zero Mosque it’s a local NYC problem. The mayor and the local zoning council, or whomever, has already approved for this mosque to be built. It’s not proper for the NY Governor, President to U.S., or any of us, to impose their/our view on the city. If the residents of NYC don’t like the decision they should vote out office those responsible for approving it.”
    David

    The proposed new build Mosque at 45 Park Place NYC NY, is not a local New York issue, it is not even a solely American issue, it is an issue for the whole of Western society. Since if that Mosque gets built and opens for business, the possibility of a Western city being attacked by Islamists with a ten kiloton yield range nuclear weapon significantly increases.

    Nuclear War on BRITAIN – BBC Broadcast Attack Warning.

  40. Adrian Wainer says:

    “I also don’t hear the freedom of conscience being mentioned in this debate as well. If Muslims in good faith following their own religious convictions and their own religious sense, have did everything legally and administratively proper to build their own worship center there who are will to tell them that they can’t or shouldn’t do this? The best we can hope for is to begin a serious dialog with them.”
    David

    Freedom of conscience is not a matter which I feel is imperiled by opposing the proposed 45 Park Place Mosque build, though freedoms of all sorts would I feel be placed at greater risk than they already are, if the Mosque build goes ahead.

    “The best we can hope for is to begin a serious dialog with them.”

    What is the basis for dialog with Islamist Arab racial supremacists, who believe what the Nazi Third Reich did to the Jews was morally correct from both a religious and racial “science” perspective and who would if given the opportunity to do so, exterminate America’s Jewish community and hunt down and kill without mercy, everybody in America, who would oppose America becoming an Islamic state ?

    Three Things About Islam.

  41. Adrian Wainer says:

    “In the end we decided not to make all of Manhatten a National Park. Within this two block radius there are food places, strip clubs , and off track betting places. It is a place where people worship, eat, and just live. There is no legal reason to deny the Mosque the permit.

    We all need to move on.”
    jh

    Are you claiming from a Catholic perspective, it is morally wrong for people to eat food, if so what was Jesus doing at the last supper ? The Irish Republic had a very strong Catholic ethos to it and as far as I know, both on-track and off-track betting have been allowed since the foundation of the Irish State. As for strip clubs, which is a matter which would be in conflict with Catholic teaching, whilst that would place an obligation on Catholics to seek to encourage people away from such activity, the existence of strip clubs is hardly an argument for encouraging Islamists to erect a battle triumph Mosque at 45 Park Place NYC NY, celebrating the mass-murder of thousands of innocent people.

  42. David says:

    Folks might find helpful to read the recent Communion and Liberation flyer on this topic.

    Islamophobia in America

  43. Ivan says:

    Islamophobia is the biggest red-herring there is. Why are we not having this conversation about Buddhists or Hindus? If Islam were a garden variety religion hardly anyone is going to bother about it. In any era or clime or national dispensation or tribal agglomeration or any other permutation that one cares to think about, the presence of Islam makes things just that much worse. There is nothing redeeming in that religion, as the cliche goes Muslims are good in spite of Islam, not as a result of it.

  44. David says:

    As Catholics we should be asking the question “What does the Church teach?”

    Vatican Council and Papal Statements on Islam

    USCCB on Islam

  45. David says:

    As discussed in my earlier comments above I would refer folks to God’s Bomber Pilot on this topic.

    Pope B16′s Regensburg Address

  46. Phillip says:

    David,

    Unfortunately the link to the Communion and Liberation flyer does nothing to explain how this is Islamophobia. It unfortunately sounds like those who claim that opposition to illegal immigration is the result of racism. There are some who do so because of racism as there are some who hate Muslims. Just as there are Muslims who hate Americans and who support violent jihad here and abroad.

    But CL reducing the Mosque controversy to such is irresponsible and has nothing to do with true Christianity. True Christianity is not simply holding up the memory of Mother Teresa and saying we must act in Charity. True Charity is founded in the truth – and the truth is far more than the simplistic CL leaflet. It includes as I have said true respect that is clearly lacking in the Muslim/Christian dialogue.

  47. [...] have received a lot of feedback on it, both positive and negative. The article was cross-posted at The American Catholic, Il Sussidiario, and Catholic Online. A local version of the article ran in my hometown newspaper [...]

  48. Raymond says:

    After the horror the world has seen on 09-11-2001, it is not right even to think to build a mosque on this sensitive site. It clearly indicates the islamist want to win over the Christians & the Americans. It is a shame that Americans are afraid to say no. There is a lot of vacant land in the US, let them build elswhere. There is this nagging thought, that they are almost dominating in some Europeon countries. If you American don’t do anything about your own faith, I must say beware. America is separating the Church from the state, right?? Everything I beleive must be religion free in US. You will reap what you sow.

  49. [...] Ground Zero Mosque and Religious Freedom, Part Three In my previous posts on this topic (Part One and Part Two) and the comments contained therein, one of the things which I feel is missing is a [...]

  50. [...] Religious Freedom, and Interfaith Dialog with Islam. Earlier posts on this topic can be found here (Part One, Part Two, & Part [...]

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