Muslims Who Seek To Build $100 Million NYC Complex, Near Ground Zero, Say They Are The “Anti-Terrorists”

The proposed Muslim Center will be decorated with geometric, Islamic style patterns.

Sarah Palin yesterday joined the debate concerning whether a proposed $100 million, 15 story, Muslim Center should be built two blocks from ground zero in NYC, tweeting, “Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”

Palin later shrugged off her use of the non existent word, “Refudiate,”  by noting, “Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!” Twitter users then began creating their own Palin Shakespearian statements —#ShakesPalin — like: “But soft, what light from yonder window breaks? It is the East, and I can see Russia from my front porch.”

Palin’s comment inspired me to do some googling about the proposed project. I found that the sponsors of the project describe it more like a modern YMCA, than a place of worship just for Muslims.

The Cordoba web-site explains, “Why a Cordoba House?

Cordoba House is a Muslim-led project which will build a world-class facility that promotes tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of New York City.  The center will be community-driven, serving as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.

This proposed project is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture.  Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic values in their truest form – compassion, generosity, and respect for all.

The site will contain tremendous amounts of resources that otherwise would not exist in Lower Manhattan; a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores, restaurants – all these services would form a cultural nexus for a region of New York City that, as it continues to grow, requires the sort of hub that Cordoba House will provide.

The leader of the Cordoba project, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, says,My colleagues and I are the antiterrorists. We are the people who want to embolden the vast majority of Muslims who hate terrorism to stand up to the radical rhetoric. Our purpose is to interweave America’s Muslim population into the mainstream society.  People who are stake holders in society, who believe they are welcomed as equal partners, do not want to destroy it.”

Imam Faisa says, “What grieves me most is the false reporting that leads some families of 9/11 victims to think this project somehow is designed by Muslims to gloat over the attack.  That could not be further from the truth.”

Palin seems to be wanting to make political hay out of this proposed project — along with other Republicans.  The Republican candidate for New York Governor, Rick Lazio, seems to be trying to gain attention for his candidacy by questioning the funding sources of the proposed project.  It is interesting that the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, which lost 37 members on 9/11, is condemning such demagoguery.  They put out this statement:  “Rick Lazio should stop exploiting the worst day in New York history for the sake of his campaign.  For any candidate for public office to politicize Ground Zero shows a lack of respect to the families, who will forever live with the terrible memory of that dark day.”

Lots of comments on the web.  This one, I think, deserves to be repeated  (See Portraits of Grief)

Imagine being the family of Salman Hamdani, and being told the Muslims aren’t welcome in lower Manhattan. Hamdami was a part-time ambulance driver, incoming medical student, and devout Muslim. He was also an NYPD cadet. When he disappeared on September 11, law enforcement officials came to his family, seeking him for questioning in relation to the terrorist attacks. They allegedly believed he was somehow involved. His whereabouts were undetermined for over six months, until his remains were finally identified. He was found near the North Tower, with his EMT medical bag beside him, presumably doing everything he could to help those in need. His family could finally rest, knowing that he died the hero they always knew him to be.

It’s people like Hamdami and the dozens of decent hard working Islamic workers from companies like Kantor Fitzgerald, Pitney Bowles, Windows on the World and the other firms at the WTC who themselves were murdered on 9/11 who are disgraced by this pointless debate.

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