Though it’s a still a few weeks out from the ninth commemoration of the events of September 11, this year is going to be a bit different. The feelings are a bit rawer and the passion running a bit hotter than previous years. Nine years after the fact it could not be more clear that while the 9/11 “truthers” have receded a bit into the background, there is still a tug of war between the fantasies and realities of what happened that day and who should be blamed for it.
The fantasy is building the proposed Cordoba cultural center in Manhattan would be “disrespectful” to those the thousands who died at Ground Zero, two blocks away. I’ll get to that in a bit but first some facts. The guy spearheading the project is one Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf . Rauf was born in Kuwait, educated in England, Egypt and Malaysia. He immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt with his father who was also an imam. Rauf received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Columbia University and has a Master’s degree in plasma physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.
Rauf is obviously a hell of a lot smarter than Sarah Palin. Now a few inconvenient truths for those who prefer thinly veiled appeals to anti-Muslim sentiments to the hard, cold facts of the matter.
- There are at least two other mosques in the neighborhood. The Masjid al Farah, where Rauf served as prayer leader until 2009, sits 12 blocks from Ground Zero. The Masjid Manhattan, which was founded in 1970, is four blocks from Ground Zero, on Warren Street.
- The plan is for a cultural center that would contain a mosque.
- The project’s organizers have said that the center would be modeled on Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y, a community center open to all New Yorkers. The center would house meeting rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a restaurant and culinary school, a library, a 500-seat auditorium, a mosque and a Sept. 11 memorial and reflection space. The organizers have estimated that the mosque could attract as many as 2,000 worshipers on Fridays.
Many of those opposed to the cultural center such as Mrs. Palin say the area around Ground Zero is “hallowed ground.” Maybe Sarah hasn’t seen that particular part of the city in her last trip so here’s a link to a site showing some of the other businesses in the supposedly sacred ground.
Finally, before anyone else dredges up that “let’s have some respect for the dead” line now is a good time to point out Muslims died as well on 9/11 and here is a partial list of them:
Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
Jamal Legesse Desantis
Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
Arslan Khan Khakwani
Qasim Ali Khan
Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.’s Fiduciary Trust)
Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
It shouldn’t be necessary to remind anyone everyone who died on 9/11 wasn’t White and Christian and are still counted among the Americans who perished that day.
It shouldn’t be necessary but apparently it is.