She doesn’t want the World Trade Center Mosque to be built? She must be intolerant. A bigot… Narrow-minded…
Oh wait a minute, she’s Muslim. How do the PC police explain this anomaly? Neda Bolourchi, a Muslim, lost her mother on 9/11/01 as United Flight 175 slammed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. Her mother was on the flight. She says to Iman Feisal Abdu Raulf, “build your mosque somewhere else.”
I was born in pre-revolutionary Iran. My family led a largely secular existence — I did not attend a religious school, I never wore a headscarf — but for us, as for anyone there, Islam was part of our heritage, our culture, our entire lives. Though I have nothing but contempt for the fanaticism that propelled the terrorists to carry out their murderous attacks on Sept. 11, I still have great respect for the faith. Yet, I worry that the construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site would not promote tolerance or understanding; I fear it would become a symbol of victory for militant Muslims around the world.
When I am asked about the people who murdered my mother, I try to hold back my anger. I try to have a more spiritual perspective. I tell myself that perhaps what happened was meant to happen — that it was my mother’s destiny to perish this way. I try to take solace in the notion that her death has forced a much-needed conversation and reevaluation of the role of religion in the Muslim community, of the duties and obligations that the faith imposes and of its impact on the non-Muslim world.
But a mosque near Ground Zero will not move this conversation forward. There were many mosques in the United States before Sept. 11; their mere existence did not bring cross-cultural understanding. The proposed center in New York may be heralded as a peace offering — may genuinely seek to focus on "promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture," as its Web site declares — but I fear that over time, it will cultivate a fundamentalist version of the Muslim faith, embracing those who share such beliefs and hating those who do not…
…I do not like harboring resentment or anger, but I do not want the death of my mother — my best friend, my hero, my strength, my love — to become even more politicized than it already is. To the supporters of this new Islamic cultural center, I must ask: Build your ideological monument somewhere else, far from my mother’s grave, and let her rest.
As I’ve said before, they certainly have the legal right to build, but because something is legal doesn’t make it right. If they truly want to cultivate understanding, start by beginning to understand the victims involved and respect their wishes.
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