Americans are not fools; they saw that the desperate Governor of New York David Paterson proposed a public land somewhere else for the mosque but the proposal was declined. Americans are also watching the Tsunami of protests from the majority of their countrymen, which include Muslim and non-Muslim victims of 9-11, Muslim Americans, Muslim organizations in America and beyond — including the Muslim Canadian Congress and the Bangladesh Jamate Islami falling on deaf ears and hardened hearts.
Such deliberate and destructive interfaith actions reduce our interfaith dialogues to fraudulent lip-service in the eyes of non-Muslims. No matter how sweet the proponents of the mosque talk, constructing a building at the cost of peace shows a dire lack of wisdom, sensitivity and far-sightedness on the part of our Islamic leadership. New York already has 30 mosques and nothing special or new can be achieved in that proposed building. Furthermore, Dr. Ali Aliyami of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, Washington, said it correctly: “Building of the mosque next to Ground Zero will send the wrong messages to terrorist groups and autocratic and theocratic Muslim dictators.”
Our Muslim identity, dignity, safety and rights are not toys for our religious leaders to play with. In recent years, the image of Islam and of Muslims has suffered badly for their wrong actions. The issue of the Ground Zero mosque gave them a perfect opportunity to restore our image and to show Islamic tolerance to peoples’ opinion; they still have time to grab this opportunity. If this pawn on the chessboard of politics, ego and money-game is built, it will be ceaselessly cursed by the majority of Americans — including a portion of American Muslims.
All mosques are not Islamic either. That is why God warned our Prophet about such a mosque (The Quran 9-107) and the Prophet destroyed the “Mosque Al Zarrar.” Our leaders must learn also from the Hudaybia treaty in 628; our Prophet and his thousand followers had every right and strength to perform the Hajj but for the cause of peace, the Prophet sacrificed it along with the two most important tenets of Islam on that written document. That saved two warring people from bloody battle and Muslims gained much the following year.
The mosque at Ground Zero, if constructed, will become a permanent liability for Americans — and for American Muslims even more.
Hasan Mahmud is an author, playwright, director of Sharia Law and former president of Muslim Canadian Congress.
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