The proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero has polarized
Most of them have probably not read the Imam’s book, “What’s Right with Islam is What’s Right with America.” If they had, and were honest about it, the wind would go out of their sails. When the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was killed by fanatics claiming to be Muslims, Abdul Rauf delivered a moving eulogy in a synagogue in
But now the country is divided and emotions are high. To calm nerves and close wounds, what is needed is for a central figure in this drama to take the moral high ground. I hope Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf will soon give a speech along these lines:
(Disclaimer: I do not personally know the Imam. I only know him through his writings).
“My fellow Americans,
“My colleagues and I wanted to transform a shuttered store near ground zero into a symbol of
“Through this center, I wanted to let Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations know that they have failed – and will always fail - in their attempt to portray
“But now it is clear that the location of the center has become a source of division, anguish and anger in
“I particularly recognize with humility such emotions coming from the families of the 9/11 victims. Although the loved ones of many of those who perished in the attacks support us, I believe that if the center at this location brings anguish to the family of a single 9/11 victim, it is one family too many.
“I, therefore, have decided not to build the center at
“Of the many Americans who have defended our right, even the necessity, of building this Islamic cultural center, no one has been more persuasive and passionate than mayor Bloomberg of New York City. His ringing endorsement of our center in the context of American history and the constitution will inspire us for years.
“The mayor asked us ‘not to cave to popular sentiment because that would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.’ But I also believe that removing resentments and uniting Americans transcend any other consideration, particularly as we fight the malignant militancy of terrorists.
"Besides, my vision for the center is unchanged. Wherever it is built in this freest of cities, it will stand as a monument to religious freedom, inclusivity and openness. Those enduring American values are independent of geographical coordinates. They are what have traditionally made