The documentary on the 9/11 mosque was rather sad. Firstly the anti camp, begun in a blogging campaign, fully using and enjoying the media hunger for story, it seemed to me, and talking about a ‘Victory Mosque’, and how Islam has always built on places of Jihad, and their conquest of ‘our’ holy sites. There is obviously a strain in unreformed Islam that has produced appalling militancy and extremism, and that needs to be talked about – isn’t it inevitable when you hold to Sharia Law? – but if we are talking about an ancient ‘clash of civilisations’ that those voices want to stress, try studying the history of the Crusades. One of its great lessons is the Christian Crusaders, armed with their own concept of Holy War, were astoundingly brutal and a lot more tolerance came out of Islam, at different times, not least allowing Christian and Jew to live and worship as ‘people of the book’, taxed of course! Look back in history and you can find many justifications for your argument, but try living in the now and the future. History is not a ‘fact’, it is a way of deepening, civilising and creating a living culture but their point, I suppose, is they enjoy that clash of civilisations.
One of those antis also mentioned another clash of civilisations, capitalism versus communism, and it is perhaps the key to modern American side-based thinking. But then you got the half polish New Yorker who is trying to establish it, two blocks from Ground Zero, saying ‘I’m naard (Not) a humanitarian, I’m a capitalist’, clearly seeking a meaning and community though, and comparing himself, as a property developer, to a ‘shark, used to gobbling up the seals’. So suddenly having to deal with something far more sensitive, was clearly a shock. In fact, though there is a lot commendable in protecting those innocent and frightened Muslims in New York who went underground, he did seem rather naive, and insensitive to the families of all those people who died, and others. Though I am not sure about the blogger’s comment ‘we’re all the families of nine eleven, they just took the hit for us.’His first Imam sponsor though was apparently talking about an ‘interfaith’ centre anyway, not a mosque, while another moderate Imam stressed that his own concept of Islam meant ‘peace‘ and demanded respect for other’s wishes and pain, so it was an insult to put it there. One of the best was the American father of one of the victims, saying something loudly about freedom and responsibility. ‘We know you have the right, but sometimes a hero is made by not exercising that right.‘ The fact is the guy’s personality did him very little favours and why not establish the right, on private property, as Obama supported, in a country that crucially defends the freedom of worship for all, but still take it somewhere else. If that is hard, in New York, seek help for it, and don’t worry about others who try to gloat.