Indian-American Muslim: Relocate mosque away from Ground Zero

August 24, 2010

The initiative of a set of New York City Muslims to build an Islamic Cultural Center a couple of blocks from the site of the terrorists'-destroyed Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, New York City, has generated a super-heated controversy and much tension in U.S. society. In this tense situation a national debate is raging across America and a potential for violence exists.

It is very laudable that the New York City government headed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the U.S. government headed by President Barack Obama, and a large segment of U.S. intellectuals and community leaders have defended the religious freedom rights of America's Muslims to build their places of worship anywhere in the U.S.

However, it is time for the American Muslims to turn more sensitive, take initiative and make a serious effort to resolve this unseemly controversy and diffuse this very divisive tension. That particular location has no historical or religious significance for the Muslims. Hence, with a view to respect the sentiments of a large number of Americans, New York City Muslims should voluntarily relocate this Islamic Center to a new location in lower Manhattan that is farther away from Ground Zero.

In taking this initiative on their own, Muslims will earn much goodwill of the entire American nation, will resolve the post 9/11 tense relationship between Muslim-Americans and other Americans, and will build a very durable bridge of understanding between Muslims and others in America. On behalf of a large number of American-Muslims with origin in India, we appeal to the Cordoba Institute and other promoters of this Islamic Center that in the interest of the larger good of their community and the American nation they relocate it.

Kaleem Kawaja

The writer is board member of the Association of Indian Muslims of America, Silver Spring, MD.

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