Ground Zero Mosque, Quran Burning, And Where Our Security Has Gone Astray

As if we haven’t already heard far too much about burning Qurans and Ground Zero Mosques, there is still a story to be found. The Imam of the proposed mosque, billed both as an interfaith symbol and as a Muslim takeover of America (depending on which side you sit on), is not going to move the Mosque in New York City, unlike the report from Reverend Terry Jones, from Dove Outreach Church – the Church which gained another bout of international attention recently by planning to burn Qurans, a plan which was recently abandoned.  Imam Rauf stated that had he understood the full extent of the controversy which occurred he “would have never done it.”

Interview starts at the 3:30 mark:

From Politico

“I would never have done it,” he said when asked what he would have done had he anticipated what would happen. “I’m a man of peace. I mean the whole objective of peace work is not to do something that would provoke controversy.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42029.html#ixzz0zPMrvc38

The Imam speaks about concerns including inciting radical Muslims across the globe and the increasing hatred in America towards Muslims, his feelings on continuing build the Mosque near Ground Zero (actually, its much further away – about 6 blocks – than most people think), and his own personal concerns with reforming the image of Islam in America.

The Imam displays a much more reasonable attitude than Rev. Jones, and I think the Mosque is a good idea. As one slogan put it (I wish I knew where I saw it)

Islam needs to take back its religion – right from where it was stolen

That sentiment just seems right to me. Imam Rauf is, I feel, the perfect public example of most of Islam – calm, and reasonable. America will need to deal with its issues around Islam, but we should also recognize that it is extremists which are dangerous, not the faith itself. The protests which took place on 9/11 are just one terrible example of a religion and country which has gone awry. Go out and find some of the images, and you should be saddened. Instead of a solemn day of remembrance, the images show anger, fear, and simple hatred spelled out on placards. As much as I disagree with Rev. Jones, he stepped up in my book when he announced that his church would not burn Qurans, ever. He understood the global implications of such actions; that it would only lead to more extremism and more terrorism, and would only serve as the image of the United States in the Muslim world.

Americans need to step up to the plate and represent the country they claim to love – one of freedom and acceptance, and Muslims need to show they are a religion of peace, and not the face of extremism which has taken over. Our national discourse has to move away from anger and bumper-sticker slogans and into real  respect, the same respect Americans show to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and any number of other religions and creeds. Only then will we have a real chance and making the world a better place.

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