That’s why Muslims want to build a mosque at Ground Zero

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If  Catholics around the world do not deserve to be linked to Nazism simply because Hitler happened to be a born Catholic, then Muslims around the world don’t deserve to be linked to terrorism simply because Osama Bin Laden, the leader of some fake terrorist organization happened to adhere to the extreme side of Islam.

By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Blue mosque, Istanbul, Turkey.

President Obama said on Friday that he supports the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, saying that opposing the project is at odds with American values. “Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” he said at a White House ceremony marking the traditional breaking of the daily Ramadan fast, and added “That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.

President Obama refined his defense of the Ground Zero mosque the following day, saying his previous comments defended the right to build it, not the “wisdom” of its location.

There has lately been a stormy national debate over the construction of what is called “Ground zero mosque”

The president’s statement is not likely to put an end to this debate; rather it will make him a major participant in the controversy over the Ground Zero mosque.

Obama has made repairing strained U.S. relations with the Islamic world a centerpiece of his presidency. Reconciling with the Muslims seemed to be on top of his priorities, for shortly after he took office as president; he flew to Cairo and addressed the Muslim world with promises of starting over with United States on newer grounds of mutual understanding and respect as friends not foes.

But did the speech Obama gave in Cairo manage to do the job of reconciliation? Did it make a difference? Do the Americans see the Muslims as friends or foes?

 Polls suggest that most Americans disagree with the project to construct a Muslim cultural center in lower Manhattan; a recent CNN poll found 68 percent opposed to building a mosque near the Sept. 11 site. Some groups also blasted demands for a probe of the mosque builders’ finances. Well, that’s not exactly my idea of a friendly attitude. 

Let’s not fool ourselves. Americans still see the Muslims as their enemies and this is the crucial issue here, not the mosque. The level of anti-Muslim hysteria has gotten out of control over the last couple of weeks and has been manifested in a wide range of unprecedented antagonism to Islam.

How on earth did this happen?

People are entitled to feel and express their feelings of rejection to whatever or whoever they see themselves antagonist to. I can understand when people denounce horrible atrocities like rape, genocide and war. But I can’t understand it when people are made to denounce a faith, a religion of 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. Quarter of the world population cannot be the enemies of the American people.

10 years ago, not so many Americans even bothered with Islam nor gave a damn about how or where Muslims perform their prayers. The majority never heard of Islam and most of them thought it was some kind of local and weird oriental cult.

They never knew that Islam was the closest monotheistic faith to the Judeo-Christian religion. And I’m not taking sides here.Muslims believe in one incomparable God, The god of Abraham. They regard their religion as the completed and latest version of a primordial, monotheistic faith revealed at many times and places before, including, notably, to the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Islamic tradition holds those prophets and their revelations as highly revered and forever sacred.

Qur`an-The holy book of Muslims.

How could an Abrahamic faith that does not denounce the main theme of the Judeo-Christian doctrine be antagonist to western and American culture? Of course, there are anti-West sentiments and movements in the world today, but hundreds of millions of Muslim peoples are also friends of the West.

 How would one otherwise classify a majority of Muslim populations of Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Egypt? What about millions of Muslim masses who dream Western dreams? Why have millions of these people chosen to migrate to England, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Sweden and the USA if they are enemies of the Christian West?

How could it be possible for a religion that has been adopted by millions of ordinary and peaceful believers all around the world to be portrayed as inherently violent and extreme? And for Muslims to be characterized as incapable of being moderate nor tolerant?

How could a religion that has been coexisting with other creeds for fifteen centuries now turn aggressively dangerous and intolerant over night?

Actually it did not turn violent over any given night; it was the night of the September 11 attacks on America.

Why there?

The most recent development of the ground zero mosque came this week as a right-group won approval to run on NYC buses an advertisement that showed a photograph of a hijacked airplane flying into one of the twin towers on 9/11. The advertisement also showed a high-rise building with an Islamic crescent and the label “WTC Mega Mosque” and the words “Why There?” In other words, why should Muslims build their mosque at the same site of their despicable crime that killed 3000 Americans on 9/11?

This is the bottom line of the Ground Zero mosque story. This is unfortunately the same bottom line of the 9/11 narrative.

Almost ten years since the horrific attacks on the world trade center twin towers and the Americans are still confused about it. They never witnessed horror of that magnitude or sophistication before in their history. They never thought anyone would hate them that much. They never saw it coming. But somehow, someone did. Someone knew of it beforehand. Someone with the power to paralyze the American national defense system for hours until the 9/11 mission was accomplished. Someone who enjoyed watching the masterpiece demolition of the towers on TV screens and then shortly afterwards began to distribute the names and photos of 19 pathetic hijackers as the most liable suspects behind the attacks. 

Those hijackers had nothing in common except their religion. People were told that they were Muslims and that they were members of a terrorist group named “al Qaeda”.

People were terrorized and desperate for any answer that would explain what happened and they needed that answer quickly. The white house didn’t keep them waiting long. In a few hours the suspects list was ready and the military response was already underway in a new war waged without borders against anybody who looked guilty to the white house eyes or better yet known as war on terrorism.

 An extremely weird scenario, but the Americans bought it, too much Hollywood movies i think. But I strongly believe that in order to bring sanity to this fake scenario we have to ask ourselves a vital and crucial question; what Islam has to do with it? What Islam as a faith and Muslims as true believers have to do with 9/11? May be this might be the answer to the ad question “why there?”…Muslims and any given American Muslim in particular can answer back by saying “why me?”

Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler.

 Adolf Hitler was a born catholic. In his public statements, especially at the beginning of his rule, Hitler frequently spoke positively about the Christian heritage of German culture, and his belief in the “AryanChrist.

 Given this fact, would this piece of information necessarily turn all Catholics around the world into Nazis?

If we supposedly swallowed the- hard to digest -official story of who did the attacks of 9/11. If we were to believe that a bunch of dreadful cave dwellers could plan and pull off the scariest and most sophisticated terrorist attack ever in history. But first, we have to remember that al Qaeda did not come forward and claimed responsibility shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

 I mean that, for an operation this big, and with a success that was so close to perfection, any terrorist group – given that they were the real perpetrators- wouldn’t hesitate not for a second to claim responsibility and take the credit for it. But that was not the case with al Qaeda; they kept silent until they were publicly accused of doing the attacks on 9/11.

 And since its leader Osama Bin Laden was known for his anti American political attitude. And with a history of failed operations that stood for nothing more than a poor mentality behind it, the 9/11 credit was too much of a temptation for Osama Bin Laden to ignore. How could he refuse the glory? How could he deny something that exceeded his wildest dreams?

Osama Bin Laden.

 The 9/11 operation was awarded to Osama bin laden on a silver platter with compliments from the hidden chef.

But again, what that distorted scenario of 9/11 has to do with Muslims and the Muslim community in the United States. If  Catholics around the world do not deserve to be linked to Nazism simply because Hitler happened to be a born Catholic, then Muslims around the world don’t deserve to be linked to terrorism simply because Osama Bin Laden, the leader of some fake terrorist organization happened to adhere to the extreme side of Islam. 9/11 is a politically motivated operation. American people should blame it on politics not religion. Americans should learn that Faith is not a crime.

Post -9/11 insecurity and political behavior toward Muslims

On 9/11 America was deeply traumatized and her wounds were on display for all the world to see. It left the American minds hungry for revenge and their hearts filled with fear of unknown enemy who wants to destroy them.

The white house and its politicians have failed the Americans terribly, they couldn’t provide them with a truly convincing answer to the 9/11 puzzle. So the majority of the Americans began to feel more insecure especially after two outside successive failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those two wars added more to their fear and insecurity

Friend/enemy & fear

If we adopt Carl Schmitt’s distinction of the political—the friend/enemy distinction— then all politics can be seen as struggle. Can we not see fear as a part of this struggle? A fear of being destroyed by one’s enemies? 

The implication that Schmitt draws in the Concept of the Political is that: 
“War is neither the aim nor the purpose nor even the very content of politics. But as an ever present possibility it is the leading presupposition which determines in a characteristic way human action and thinking and thereby creates a specifically political behavior.”

The 9/11 attacks with its ambiguous interpretation along with two unjustified and good for nothing military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have failed to terminate terrorism nor make the Americans feel triumphantly vindicated. But it mainly helped to shape the American political behavior and mentality of post-9/11.

And since the official political interpretation of 9/11 hardly left any room for logic or common sense, likewise, the post-9/11 American political behavior was severely lacking the logical thinking and the virtue of common sense.

When Osama Bin Laden foolishly accepted the credit for 9/11 little did he know that nothing comes for free.  Little did he know what the future held in store for Muslims.

Anybody with common sense could see that Muslims had nothing to do with the hole in Ground Zero that the 9/11 attacks left. But the Americans with a leap of logic couldn’t see but Muslims whenever they looked down the abyss.

Building a religious cultural center at ground zero is the way Muslims could feel acquitted of a crime they never committed.

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Ashraf Ezzat is an Egyptian born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. He graduated from the faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University. Keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research and writing. History of the ancient Near East and of Ancient Egypt has long been an area of special interest to him. In his writings, he approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a causative factor in our existing life; and to him, it's as relevant and vibrant as the current moment. In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom had been obstructed and ancient spirituality diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered. Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion. He is the author of Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites. He writes regularly at many well-known online websites such as Dissident Voice and What Really Happened. Dr. Ezzat is also an independent filmmaker. His debut film was back in 2011 The Annals of Egypt Revolution and in 2012 he made Tale of Osiris a short animation for children. In 2013 his short The Pyramids: story of creation was screened at many international film festivals in Europe. And he is working now on his first documentary "Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites".