The Ground Zero Mosque and Religious Freedom

Saturday, September 11, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

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

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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.

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Zeitoun Marian Apparition 40 Year Anniversary

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

April 2, 1968 A.D. the Blessed Virgin Mary began appearing on top of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Zeitoun District of Cairo, Egypt.  An estimated one million people were able to witness the numerous Marian apparitions that occurred during a two year stretch ending in 1971 A.D.

Both Christians and Muslims witnessed Our Lady of the Light appear on top of the domed church.  Even then President Nasser of Egypt witnessed it himself and ordered a complete investigation, intimidating and pilfering the church.  They came up with no evidence of any hoax.  In the end even he, a Muslim, admitted to this reality.

From my limited understanding, this is the only instance I can recall where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in front of largely non-Catholics.  In my humble opinion is that the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria was founded by Saint Mark the Evangelist, the one and only of the same gospel, and that many, many saints were buried beneath that church in Zeitoun, Egypt.

Hence the special importance of why the Blessed Virgin Mary chose that particular church, the Virgin Mary Church in Zeitoun.  Having an unbroken apostolic tradition with the blood of many martyrs sanctifying the beautiful church where these apparitions occurred.

(Biretta Tip: Canterbury Tales)

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To learn more about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt, click here.

To learn more about the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria click here.  For the Wikipedia version click here.

To learn more about Saint Mark the Evangelist click here.  For the Wikipedia version click here.