At this point, some of you may be aware of the controversy surrounding the “Ground Zero Mosque” and the high emotions that are surrounding this construction. There have been many different viewpoints and opinions on it, with many of the public attention being paid toward FOX News and their rather sensationalist perspective on the matter.
After conducting some research as well as several wonderful friends who gave me information on what is really happening, here is a fact list to let you know what is simply the truth of the matter.
- First of all, it is not really a mosque as it’s closer to an Islamic YMCA more than anything, with a swimming pool, basketball court, auditorium, and culinary center. Two floors will have a prayer room while the other eleven will host movie nights, performances, group dinners, etc. Basically it’s a place that is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
- The construction is not at Ground Zero but rather where a former Burlington Coat Factory used to be.
- An Islamic Community Center is already in existence four blocks away. It would be about two blocks away from one corner of where Ground Zero is.
- The second World Trade center tower actually had a Muslim prayer room in it and when 9/11 happened, there were Muslims who died in the tower as well. Terrorism knows no bounds and EVERYBODY is affected.
- There is a strip club and a sex toy shop two blocks from the Ground Zero site, which seems to be okay for the protesters but not a mosque, because the Ground Zero site is considered “sacred.”
- Timothy McVeigh was a Christian and was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombings but there was no reaction or protest when Christian churches were being built around the area.
- Finally, the Pentagon, which was also attacked on 9/11, has had a Mosque within its walls since 9/11 for the Muslims who work there.
All in all, there are raw emotions running rampant with this construction but if one steps back to look back the larger picture, this is a clear case where we need to not have our emotions dictate our actions, but rather use our logic and intellect. There is still a huge misunderstanding of Islam and the inability for many folks to separate the religion from the narrow extremist factions (i.e. Al-Qaeda) which only represent a tiny fraction of Muslims. With this construction of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” the opponents for this construction are making a statement that Islam is not welcome on American soil. This aspect of not being welcome is yet another reminder that Asians and Asian Pacific Americans are still not fully accepted in this country and we still got a long way to go.