Ground Zero Mosque a Show of America’s Religious Tolerance?

| August 5, 2010 | 1 Comment

In Response to NYT’s “Broadway and the Mosque

Good intentions don’t mean anything if you’re missing the truth. Liberals keep talking about how a Ground Zero Mosque will help bridge the gap, and now well-intentioned Thomas Friedman offers his perspective on Ground Zero. Friedman notes how areas in the Mid East/South Asia don’t allow churches and synagogues, namely Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

He rightly points out:

“Personally, if I had $100 million to build a mosque that promotes interfaith tolerance, I would not build it in Manhattan. I’d build it in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. That is where 9/11 came from, and those are the countries that espouse the most puritanical version of Sunni Islam — a version that shows little tolerance not only for other religions but for other strands of Islam, particularly Shiite, Sufi and Ahmadiyya Islam. You can study Islam at virtually any American university, but you can’t even build a one-room church in Saudi Arabia.”


He then suggests that we should allow a mosque on Ground Zero because “that resistance to diversity, though, is not something we want to emulate…When we tell the world, ‘Yes, we are a country that will even tolerate a mosque near the site of 9/11,’ we send such a powerful message of inclusion and openness.”


As an idealist myself, I know idealism has limits before it starts bordering on stupidity.  In this case, we have to be realists and we have to realize that a mosque on Ground Zero under the flag of tolerance will have NO bearing or influence on the Middle East. It will NOT be a doorway to greater tolerance in the region or within the faith.

In an ideal world, the strategy would work. In our world, we’re not quite there yet. We’re still in the thick of a struggle that requires us to be able to observe our value system and psyche, as well as those of the Muslim world.

It’s really not that difficult. In the game of chess, you don’t make a move based on what you want. You make a move based on what your opponent is thinking.

There was another recent mention where it was proposed that a multi-faith center should be put in place of a mosque itself…a synagogue, church, and mosque trio.  THIS is the only acceptable way of having a mosque there. But can you imagine it, and what would the reaction be if Muslims and Jews were told they’d pray alongside one another? That’s the real test.



Image source: Cordoba Initiative

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