A Guest Post By E. Fink
It seems that the Cordoba House in downtown Manhattan has cleared a major hurdle by winning a 9-0 vote of the Landmarks Conservation Commission. (NY Times link)
Conservatives and liberals seem to be at loggerheads on this particular issue. Sarah Palin made headlines with her plea that the center be blocked and fellow right wing pundits have expressed their distaste to the center. They feel it disgraces the deceased by glorifying what they believe to be the religion that caused the tragedy at Ground Zero almost 9 years ago. Liberals, on the other hand, see the center as an olive branch to Islam and think the center glorifies America, not the dangerous form of Islamic Fundamentalism that took down the Twin Towers, 3000 victims and the U.S. economy.
I can't say whether the center is an affront or not. That's because it varies with each person. Everyone is free to react as they choose. I can't say one side is right and one side is wrong.
What I can say is that the center has a bad marketing plan.
The center is not a mosque. It is a massive cultural center. There is a sanctuary planned but it is a minor part of a broader institution. An institution that, according to their website attempts to bring the gap between Islam and the West. An institution that also fights for women's rights and opportunitities within Islam. In fact, if we are to believe the Cordoba website, it is exactly what Americans (especially Conservatives) should be supporting.
From their website:
Cordoba House is a Muslim-led project which will build a world-class facility that promotes tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of New York City. The center will be community-driven, serving as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.
This proposed project is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic values in their truest form - compassion, generosity, and respect for all.
The site will contain tremendous amounts of resources that otherwise would not exist in Lower Manhattan; a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores, restaurants - all these services would form a cultural nexus for a region of New York City that, as it continues to grow, requires the sort of hub that Cordoba House will provide.
So why call themselves a mosque? Bad marketing.
The center is not "at Ground Zero" either. It is 2 blocks away. If you've never been to Manhattan you can't appreciate how FAR part 2 blocks in NYC are. Two blocks in Manhattan is very far. It is a few minutes walk and more importantly, it is certainly not within the line of sight. They should be saying that their center is a few minutes walk from Ground Zero. Not "at Ground Zero".
From their website:
So the Mosque at Ground Zero is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero. It is an Islamic Center in Downtown Manhattan. Is that still as offensive to those who oppose the center?
The only reasonable explanation for opposition that remains is conspiracy.
In other words, the website is a sham. The REAL purpose of Cordoba House is to spread Fundamental Islam and serve as a springboard for the continued spread of Islam in their quest for world dominance. This is Islamaphobia. (Which is up there with Homophobia and Gynophobia as the three biggest phobias in the frum community.)
There are people who believe this to be the case. I do not.
If you are asking me, which you aren't, I say support the Cordoba House and the brand of Islam they espouse and perhaps get involved a see it for yourself if you are not convinced. Working together will go a long way.
Search for more information about Islamaphobia at 4torah.com.