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The Untold Story Behind the “Mosque at Ground Zero”

A powerful piece by Ahmed Rehab in the Huffington Post laying the bottom line about the swelling controversy surrounding the “mosque at Ground Zero.”  (hat tip: Schmorgus)

The Untold Story of the Mosque at Ground Zero

by Ahmed Rehab | Huffington Post

Americans have a right to assemble and worship freely in this country, period. It’s not only a founding principle of this nation, but a main justification for its founding. It is why many White Christians flooded to this country in the first place.

Those opposed to American Muslims practicing their right to build a religious and cultural center on their private property near Ground Zero and in concordance with all laws and regulations reluctantly concede that they have no legal grounds to challenge it. So they argue instead that they should voluntarily forgo their right out of sensitivity for the sacredness of that site.

2010-08-20-nomosquesign.jpgThis is a particularly disingenuous line.

If it is about sensitivity for the sacred, then why aren’t those same people opposing the deli, bar, coffee shop, and offices, or strip club for that matter, that are open for business in that same sacred vicinity?

What is particularly indecent or insensitive about American Muslims building a house of peace, community, and worship that doesn’t apply to the New York Dolls gentlemen’s club?

Let’s be blunt: it is only indecent and insensitive if you buy into the canard that American Muslims are somehow collectively guilty for 9/11. That is the coded message at the heart of opposition to the center. It is a message we reject on its face.

American Muslims bear no collective guilt or blame for the crime of 9/11. We have nothing to apologize for and everything to be proud of, including our loyalty and hard-earned livelihoods. We are not guest citizens, we are not second-rate citizens; we reject marginalization and require no validation. We are equal citizens living and worshipping in our country.

We are part and parcel of the diversity of America including the diversity of the 3,000 people who died on 9/11. We are part of the diversity of the hundreds who were injured and those who were first responders to Ground Zero. We are part of the diversity of the millions who grieved and still grieve. When “they” attacked “us,” we were attacked. We are part of the “us” not the “they.”

The whole brouhaha about the “Mosque at Ground Zero” is frankly bogus. It has little to do with sacred ground, or sensitive hearts. It does however have everything to do with the exploitation of the sacred and the sensitive for the furtherance of the sacrilegious and the insensitive: the phenomenon of Muslim-bashing that is ravaging our nation today.

The Cordoba House, now Park51, is an old story. In fact, it was reported on in the New York Times and other mainstream media as far back as two years ago. Why the frenzy now?

That’s not all: Muslims have been worshipping at Mosque Manhattan a few blocks away from Ground Zero, long before Ground Zero was Ground Zero; in fact, since 1970, before the twin towers were the twin towers.

So again, why the sudden frenzy?

Failure to ask “why” is a collective indictment of the media establishment (with a few notable exceptions). Just as the media shirked its responsibilities in questioning the Bush administration on the justifications for the war in Iraq, now too it fails to properly investigate, scrutinize, and report the origins of this controversy. Here is what it failed to tell you:

2010-08-20-spencer_geller.pngThe”Ground Zero Mosque” fiasco is a fabricated controversy that traces its origins to a couple of long-time anti-Muslim goons from the annals of the hate blogosphere by the names of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller as a flagship campaign of their newly founded organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA). SIOA is part of an emerging phenomenon of astroturf anti-Muslim organizations that seek to project any public expression of Muslim life in this country as tantamount to a stealth “Islamization of America.” (Except it’s not so stealth since everyone and their mother is talking about it).

It was SIOA that first coined the misnomer “Mosque at Ground Zero,” purposely twisting the reality that the proposed Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero is neither a Mosque nor at Ground Zero. It was the SIOA that sought to redefine Imam Rauf as a radical Imam even though he was heralded by the Bush administration, the FBI and others as a moderate voice of reason. It was the SIOA and its partners that ruthlessly sought to stoke the fears and suspicions of otherwise good, unsuspecting Americans.

The fact that bigots see fit to peddle sensational drivel for a living is not shocking.

The fact that the media is unwilling or incapable of calling it out is disturbing.

The fact that a significant segment of this population stands to be duped by it is disappointing.

And the fact that public officials who should know better are all too content pandering to the bigoted, misguided, and confused in search of votes this election season is outright nauseating.

Here’s another under reported fact:

The battle raging on now is not one that pits Muslims on one side and non-Muslims on the other as critics would have you believe. It is in fact a showdown between Americans of all backgrounds (Muslim and otherwise) who are fighting for the freedom and dignity of what it means to be American, on one side; and those who are willing to throw those values under the bus in exchange for publicity, notoriety, ratings, or votes, on the other.

It is a struggle between those wishing to affirm our pluralism and our equality as color-blind, race-blind, and faith-blind citizens and those wishing to immerse us into identity politics that make some more equal than others.

The Park51 battle is a microcosm of this generation’s struggle for the soul of America.

That’s the untold “Mosque at Ground Zero” story any red-blooded American journalist who still has respect for the integrity of the profession should be telling.

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  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    I came across this htt:// and it seems to be the most bizzare take on the whole newyork mosque thing .
    She feels its all the fault of Fox News as its well known as a supporter of Islam ????????
    Are drugs legal where she lives ?
    Can I get them by post ?

  • Ahmed

    great work loonwatchers, for exposing these loons.

    Even after exposing them dont u think the mosque would still carry the bad image they managed to put onto the project ?

    there are also conspiracy theories regarding the funding of the project ? do u have any clear details on it ?

  • Les

    Anti-muslim Rally at Ground Zero

    “A man walks through the crowd at the Ground Zero protest and is mistaken as a Muslim. The crowd turns on him and confronts him. The man in the blue hard hat calls him a coward and tries to fight him. The tall man who I think was one of the organizers tried to get between the two men. Later I caught up with the man who’s name is Kenny. He is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero. We discussed what a scary moment that was for him. I told him that I hoped it did not ruin his day.”

  • Long Live The Huffington Post!!!

    rooting out Islamophobia on facebook/youtube

  • Awesome

    This article puts into words quite well, what I honestly feel about the whole situation.

    The sensitivities of bigotry should not be respected, and that’s what the opposition to the mosque basically is; bigotry.

    It is also hypocrisy, as they feel they shouldn’t have to care for Muslim sensitivities, but they think Muslims should have to care for theirs.

  • mindy1

    True-I first heard about it a year agoe with the screaming headline MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO!!!

  • Watcher

    This is one of the most insensitive calls for sensitivity I’ve read in a while. Yeah, it’s true that Muslims are not second-class citizens. It’s also true that the very existence of this idea has been claimed as a propaganda victory by some Muslim groups in the Middle East. I certainly don’t approve of strip clubs and am surprised there’s one so close to Ground Zero, but to equate a deli with a Mosque a breathtaking cupidity.

  • Awesome

    The woman next to Spencer is Geller.

  • PatHenry

    Powerful indeed, goosebump powerful. This is what America is about sons.
    It looks like Muslims are not ready to go down to bunch of bigots anytime soon.

  • Spencer’s conscience

    When is Spencer gonna open his strip club? Also, is that woman he’s groping with his arm one of his stripper? Cuz she is nasty!

  • Ali Azizi

    For all the money Spencer is making off of his lies, he could at least afford a nice suit.

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  • Spencer is a tea pot
    Short and stout
    There is his handle
    There is his spout
    When he gets all steamed up
    Hear him shout

  • Biz

    Great article! I wonder if any one will mention it in mainstream media?

  • Good piece. Thank you. Ahmed Rehab is from CAIR isn’t he? I’m glad to see him published here. CAIR activists are very good at monitoring theese Islamophobes

    Please also keep an eye on Max Blumenthal and try to publish him here, Geller is scared of him, she told her gang of thugs to watch out for him and his camera at her 9/11 rally.

    We need the Muslim version of Max Blumenthal and Mikey Weinstein

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