The mosque, the imam, 9/11, and six degrees of separation

I feel for Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who has devoted his life to building bridges between Islam and the West, and is now leading the effort to build a mosque in New York 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero. When I was nine years old I learned to defend myself against bullies who beat me up because I had killed Christ. I didn’t know what the accusation meant, but I knew I was being picked on because I was Jewish, and I’d better learn to fight off these guys.

Most of the opposition to the mosque is because Imam Rauf killed 3000 Americans on 9/11. Or if he didn’t personally do it, his people (“they”) did it. Just as everybody is connected within six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon, all Muslims are connected within six degrees to some terrorist. Or to someone who gave money to a charity that gave money to terrorists. Or who has a cousin who once said that Hamas had a point.

In the 1950s Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee tarred innocents with guilt by association. Today’s haters don’t even need association to make their accusations, they just need something within six degrees of separation.

Thursday’s New York Times has a good analysis by Robert Wright of the accusations against Imam Rauf, detailing how flimsy and unfair they are. He also points out that Bin Laden would secretly applaud the effort to stop the mosque because it would show that in America you can build a church or synagogue anywhere you want, but not a mosque. That fits perfectly with his recruiting pitch — that America has declared war on Islam.

That’s a war that we must not declare. Geopolitics and our Bill of Rights say so.

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2 Responses to “The mosque, the imam, 9/11, and six degrees of separation”

  1. Truth Always Says:

    I am all for peace and reconciliation…..and this gracious man should continue his work. However, though we recognize that not all muslims are terrorists, it was terrorists in the name of their religion that perpetrated the largest terrorist act in the U.S. It is unforgettable! At least at this time and era. It is wound that will take generations to heal. So I say intent is good, but not now and certainly not close to the land plot. It is like putting salt in a wound or forgive my lack of a better phrase “pissing on the graves of victims.” Why there? Seems a little selfish and insensitive. It makes me question the real intent, and for whose cause? Why there? Build it somewhere else!!!!!!!!

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    The 9/11 terrorists were al Qaeda. They’ve killed lots of Muslims in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other places. They don’t represent Islam in any way, any more than the Ku Klux Klan represented Christianity.

    The people who want to build the mosque are New Yorkers, Americans who cried for loved ones killed on 9/11. They are entitled to pray where they want. They have a place two blocks up and one half block over from Ground Zero. They ought to be able to pray there. This is America. We have the Bill of Rights.

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