As a believing Muslim, it is hard to see a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City as anything other than another horror-- a kick on the face to everyone who is still heavy with shock at the tragic death of 3,000 people killed by Islamist militants during the attack on 9/11. The mosque will cost over US$ 100 million; by now, money is already being shifted in the fund for its construction. Incidentally, a major segment of this money is coming from Arab nations, especially Saudis.
At this time, the largest mosque and cultural center in Manhattan is The Islamic Cultural Center of New York. This $17 million dollar center opened on April 15, 1991, just after the First Gulf War ended. Since September 11th, 2001, a number of controversial statements have came from at least two of the Center's leaders, both of them blaming the Jewish population for the attacks and denying any Muslim involvement.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is planning the Islamic Community Center and mosque near Ground Zero says his critics are bigots, and that the project will stamp out terrorism -- not fan the flames: "We condemn terrorists," said Rauf, who is leading the charge to build the Cordoba House, as it is called. "We recognize it exists in our faith, but we are committed to eradicate it. We want to rebuild this community. This is about moderate Muslims who intend to be and want to be part of the solution."
However, Rauf is also on record telling CNN, right after the 9/11 attacks, "U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. We [the U.S.] have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. Osama bin Laden was made in the USA."
Elsewhere, Rauf has stated that terrorism will end only when the West acknowledges the harm it has done to Muslims. And that it was Christians who started mass attacks on civilians.
According to anti-jihadist author, Madeline Brooks, "Rauf has numerous ties to CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Department of Justice funding case brought against Hamas, an openly terrorist organization. CAIR is also the initiator of numerous cases designed to intimidate non-Muslims from criticizing aggressive Muslim behavior, and to use our own legal and democratic presses to undermine and dominate America, forcing it to become Islamic.
"Rauf calls himself a Sufi, evoking among non-Muslims a "peace and love" image. But that's not the whole picture. Sufism has many sides to it, including the Koranic injunction to spread Islam one way or another, and it has a rich history of waging war, too. Could it be that one of the frequently used tools of war, lying to the enemy, explains the contradiction between Rauf's image as reconciler of religions and his sympathies and associations with terrorists?
A previous Rauf project, Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, clearly shows on its website that it is headed and funded by individuals from Saudi Arabia, the country that spawned fifteen of the nineteen jihad jockeys who rode the 9/11 planes of destruction. The funding for the mosque at Ground Zero is so far much murkier. All that has been publicly disclosed is that the support comes from unidentified sources in Saudi Arabia and Muslim-ruled Malaysia. Rauf reportedly says he paid $4.85 million for the property -- in cash. Where exactly did this money come from? Was it Wahhabist-supporting Saudi sources, which have already funded many other mosques in New York City?"
My newspaper, the Weekly Blitz, has been continuing to publish articles against the idea of constructing a mosque at Ground Zero site. To Muslims worldwide, it would be a symbol of the progress they are making, like triumphantly planting an Islamic flag in Ground Zero. None of the newspapers in the Muslim world is even uttering a single word against this project. Rather, many are either advocating its construction or even trying to provoke readers into raising their voices in favor of the construction of this mosque.
Since we started publishing the articles opposed to the construction oif the Cordoba mosque, several international news media tried to get our comments on this issue, and a senior official with a Bangladeshi intelligence agency called me a number of times threatening me of the consequences if we continued to publish such articles. He said, "these are extremely provocative anti-Islamic materials. You cannot continue to publish this rubbish. If you do not stop, we shall make sure the registration of your newspaper is cancelled".
This officer is also using some of his junior officers to put pressure on me and other members of my newspaper.
I know that the intention of the Bangladeshi intelligence officer is to make Saudis and other anti-American elements happy. He might even be trying to renew their previous secret affiliations with Jihadist groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
The plan to build a mosque and cultural center, known as Cordoba House, just around the corner from the gaping hole where the Twin Towers once stood, has also upset locals. A website has already been created to protest the building of the mosque, saying it will "cast a rude shadow over Ground Zero."
New Yorkers seem overwhelmingly opposed to the plan, comparing its insensitivity to the German government opening, say, a Nazi appreciation museum right outside the Auschwitz death camp.
On radio shows, families of 9/11 victims called in to condemn the plans as "a slap in the face," "highly insensitive," and "a despicable attempt to claim victory at the site where so many innocent Americans died."
Debra Burlingame, the sister of the American Airlines pilot whose jet was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon, as well as the founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, said in a recent interview to Fox News, "The idea that you would establish a religious institution that embraces the very Shariah Law that terrorists point to as their justification for what they did … to build that where almost 3,000 people died, that is an obscenity to me."
Although there have been countless critics, including some relatives of 9/11 victims, the Cordoba project has the support of virtually every lower Manhattan politician and Community Board 1. "There's been a tremendous amount of bigotry associated with this," said CB1 president Julie Menin. "If we've learned any lesson from 9/11, it's to respect people's religious freedoms."
"Our city's open to anybody, no matter what your religion is," New York City Mayor Bloomberg said.
The 13-story Cordoba House is to include a mosque, fitness center, pool, classrooms, kitchens and a theater for lectures and performances.
Another mosque - much smaller than the Cordoba plan - has existed downtown on Warren St. since 1970 and has been operating out of 20 Warren St. since 2008.
We want to be loud enough to tell our readers that the Weekly Blitz and I will not stop from opposing the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero in New York City. Implementation of this mosque will make the Jihadists delighted. And I have no taste for helping them be so.