Islam Experts: Ground Zero 'Mega Mosque' Is Political Statement
Several experts on Islam, including the Son of Hamas author, are opposed to the idea of building a "mega mosque" near Ground Zero because they say the motivation is political not reconciliation.
"Why was this particular site selected? Because the need for a $100 million mosque is so great? Because 45-47 Park Place is the only place left in Manhattan to put a mosque?" posed Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the bestselling book Son of Hamas, on his blog Friday.
"No. Because it will make a powerful political and religious statement."
Yousef, like several other Christian scholars with expertise on Islamic strategies, warns that despite appealing reasons given for the mosque – such as improving interfaith relations and promoting tolerance – it will stand as a "bold affirmation" of the same Quran cited by the Muslim extremists who brought down the World Trade Center and killed thousands of American civilians in 2001.
"If Cordoba and other Muslim organizations in America would like to 'do a huge amount of good,' let them build a hospital instead of a mosque," proposed Yousef, whose father is one of the founding leaders of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. "Build something that will help the families of the 9/11 victims. Do something productive for humanity in general, instead of challenging liberty and confusing people about the realities of Islam."
Yousef, who has become a follower of Jesus Christ, is an outspoken critic of Islam after witnessing first-hand how it inspired Muslims in the Middle East to use violence against their enemies. In his book Son of Hamas, Yousef details his life in the West Bank living under the ideology of terrorism and how he was shocked to learn about the teachings of Jesus to forgive and love one's enemy.
The "Son of Hamas" author describes Westerners as going to almost any length to "avoid offending Islam," while the Muslim community "appears to think nothing of pouring acid in America's open wounds."
Over the past few months, a heated, emotionally-charged debate has been occurring over whether to allow the construction of a 13-story Muslim community center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Cordoba Initiative, which is behind the proposal for the $100 million Cordoba House, says the center will include a 500-seat auditorium, a swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, as well as bookstores and restaurants.
Opponents of the project say it is insensitive and offensive to the 2,976 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their family members.
"We feel that it is a cemetery and sacred ground and the dead should be honored," said Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger and leader of a group called Stop the Islamicization of America, on CNN'S "America Morning" last week. "To build a 13-story mega mosque on the cemetery, on the largest site in American history, I think, is incredibly insensitive."
New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission is in the process of deciding whether to grant the current building on the site landmark status. If it is given landmark status, the Cordoba Initiative cannot raze the current building and replace it with its mosque. They could, however, build on top of the current building if they receive permission to add floors.
The Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement own the property at 45-47 Park Place after paying $4.85 million cash to Soho Properties, a Muslim-run real estate company, last year. They have been using the building for prayer meetings.
"One of the primary means of Da'wah, or Islamic mission, has to do with the planting of Islamic cultural centers and ultimately the placement of a mosque in strategic locations," said a theologian, who has spent 40 years studying the Islamic world, to The Christian Post on Friday. He requested to remain anonymous.
The Islam expert, who has lived in Morocco and North Africa, said the world's attention is and will probably always be on the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"That is a historical marker in American history that is equivalent to the death of John F. Kennedy," he said. "There are historical markers like that that never escape the memories of people."
"So this particular location, or the closest they can get to it, is the attempt to establish a historical marker for the visible progress of Islam worldwide, because it was with that event that they established themselves in the eyes of the world as legitimate victims of the West."
Muslims, the expert said, are using the victim strategy, showing that they have been mistreated by the West, to advance their agenda.
The New York commission is expected to vote in August on the landmark status of the 45-47 Park Place building.