Letter to the Editor

'America first' means knowledge

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Editor,

This is in response to the letter to the editor, "America First" by Marilyn Friesbie.

It appalls me that people are willing to hear, but not listen; scan, but not read; and look, but not see.

If you do just a little research on the "mosque" being built at ground zero, you can very readily find a blog on the Sojourners journal website (sojo.net) written by Melvin Bray.

I must first point out that Sojourners is a journal that in its mission statement says "our mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice ... "

Bray's article points out two very simple facts. First, the word "mosque" means something completely different in English than in Arabic. The Arabic translation is a place of worship; not a place for Muslim worship as it is connoted in the English language.

The second, which I feel is the true point, is that the place of worship is not, as Ms. Friesbie states, "a large expensive mosque 13 stories high" but a 13-story community center. A community center that includes "a gym, auditorium, restaurant, culinary school, library, art studio, child care, and a prayer/contemplation/worship space and memorial for those who lost their lives on 9-11" (Bray).

The center already has a spot for prayer, but when the new building is finished the prayer area will be larger than before; that is all. It's not like they are building a building that states no Christians, no Jews, or no Atheists allowed.

Another portion of Ms. Fiesbie's letter is also of interest; at what point in your "research" did you fail to see that Feisal Abdul Rauf was actually a part of the Bush Administration's focus on broadening the United States' appeal as not a Christian country, but a country of many religions.

He is an integral part of trying to show that the United States is a place of religious freedom. Oh, and he is, by the way, one of a few who are trying to show the Middle East and other regions that Western culture is actually in fit with Islamic society "because it is pluralistic and peaceful" (Bray). So, before you point fingers at the current administration for supporting Feisal Abdul Rauf, you should do some more research.

"Ground Zero" should be a place of prayer, togetherness, remembrance and spiritual healing for all, but I don't know that that will happen any time soon.

Justin Bass,


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  • Way to go Justin. Now, thanks to you I will have the Pete Seeger song "where have all the flowers gone" running through my head all day long.The only change in the lyrics will be jingos in place of flowers.

    -- Posted by hulapopper on Fri, Sep 10, 2010, at 6:30 AM
  • In addition I've seen little or no mention of the fact that there were Prayer rooms for Muslims in both the Pentagon and on the 17th floor of the South Tower of the Trade center.Opponents attempts to characterize this repurposing of an existing abandoned industrial building into a YMCA analog as nothing more than a Muslim religious building are as ridiculous as characterizing a Las Vegas casino as a cathedral because it contains a wedding chapel.

    -- Posted by davis_x_machina on Mon, Sep 13, 2010, at 8:25 AM
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