Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk and opinion about whether or not a mosque should be built two blocks away from the World Trade Center site.  Now, I don’t have any proven statistics on this, but it seems like the overwhelming majority of non-Muslim Americans don’t want the thing to be built.  And their (our) reasons make sense.  I don’t want the mosque to be built, but my reasons differ from the flock.  There is also the dividing issue about whether or not the government should allow the mosque to be built.  My opinion is that the government should allow it.  But again, my reasons are atypical.  Please allow me to explain.

I’ll admit that I have a prejudice towards Islam.  (If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can you be honest with?)  It’s hard to not be these days.  Every time you hear about Islam in the news, it’s usually coupled with terms like “car bomb” and “Sharia Law”.  Their Qur’an is chock full of violence towards infidels.  Now, I want to be clear that my prejudices in this matter have nothing to do with any particular race or nationality, just the religion.  So it is hard for me to care if American rights are extended to Muslims in the case of building the mosque.  I just can’t flatly state that it’s their American right to build a mosque without me secretly hoping that the government prevents it.  I know this is wrong, but it’s currently how I feel.

So then, why do I think the government should allow the mosque to be built?

My reason (and I’m just being transparent here) is actually selfish.  In the “Land of the Free,” the government does a pretty good job impeding some harmless freedoms in the name of morality. And that makes me a bit squeamish. What’s going to happen when the government decides to do something about people who do idiotic things in the name of Jesus?  What if no Christian religious activity can be performed within a few blocks of an abortion clinic that gets assaulted by some religious nut-job?  What if all churches start having their sermons monitored for hate speech because of the fanatics at the Westboro Baptist Church?

Just like anyone else, I feel angered and insulted with the thought of this mosque being built.  I’m not incensed because of some distance principle.  I have some first hand experience with American-Muslim communities, so my raw feelings are for personal reasons, with addition to the memory of 9/11.  But here is the whole point of this blog:  my personal feelings about Muslims are NOT the biggest reason why I don’t want the mosque to be built.

I don’t want the mosque to be built because I value the safety of Muslims in New York.

This mosque is a horribly bad idea because I believe that there are going to be people who will show their disdain in violent ways.  This is simply wrong, no matter how you feel about the Muslims.

I could argue this from a Christian perspective, but this encompasses all rational human beings.  It is never right to escalate a situation to physical violence on the grounds of being insulted.  I’d like to think we’re past that backwoods, anachronistic way of thinking.  We’re no longer the Hatfields in the mountains. We’ve evolved.  And violence is not the answer.

So do I want the mosque to be built near the 9/11 site?  No.  Do I think it’s insulting?  Yes.  But more importantly, do I think we need to pray for the peace of those who insult us?

Absolutely.

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Comments on: "Why I Don’t Want The Mosque" (5)

  1. Well said. You probably summed it up better than anyone I’ve heard so far. Good job son. You make me proud.

  2. yeah, imo your thought process is nearly 100% reasonable.
    You could also extend your observation, “their religious texts are full of gratuitous and perverted violence” to ‘judeo-christian’ texts. But my impression is that *actual acts* of bulk insane violence by xians occur (almost?) completely within Africa.
    and as with “Islamic violence”, both sides (anti-sect & pro-sect) can disavow (refudiate!) the violent as “false” xians/muslims.

    btw, the dittohead “first you build a synagogue in saudi arabia!” is nearly pure canard. SA bans anything but islam. private worship is technically legal, but sometimes oppressed. But almost all the middle east countries are islamic, but have non-islamic churches/temples (synagogues obviously the least common, but catholic, orthodox, etc and hindu seem most common)

    And of course the immediately obvious response is:
    1) “why do conservatives want the USA to emulate their theocratic/Wahhabi oppression?”
    2) “Why would you let Saudi Arabia determine USA constitutional principles?”

    the howling against the “victory mosque” is childishly counterproductive, since we should court the most reasonable muslims.

    I like the interwebz suggestion to ask the developer to turn the project into a multi-religious building, but afaik this hasn’t been discussed by the bureaucrats.

    • joshuasphilosophy said:

      Hello N!

      Thanks very much for your response! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and you made some great points. I agree with your suggestion of extending the observation to violence done in the name of Christianity. I touched on this lightly with the mention of people doing stupid things in the name of Christianity but only as a sidebar. No one can deny that Christianity has had a bloody history. And there are still people (although scarce) that still do violence in the name of Christianity. I abhor this type of violence and contend that those who do violence for Christianity’s sake are getting the message of Christ so wrong that they are not Christians.

      Perhaps the same line of thought can be extended to non-violent Muslims?

      It’s true that the Bible, specifically the Old Testament is chock full of violence. However, I do see some big differences in the Qu’ran and the Bible regarding violence. Whereas the Bible’s violence takes completely in the old covenant where it is more historical and about war, the Qu’ran’s violence seems to be a bit more of a philosophy and a command. Also, when Jesus Christ came on the scene, he completely abolished violence, and focused on self-sacrificial love for all.

      But I’ll be honest, I’m a bit rusty on Islam. Do Muslims derive any passages from the Qu’ran that command them to be non-violent towards infidels? Any insight would be great.

      I’m not aware of opions from interwebz and with dittohead, I’m assuming you’re talking about Rush Limbaugh. I stopped listening to political talk radio awhile back for the sake of my own blood pressure :). So I’m not familiar with his opinions on this. I totally agree that we should court reasonable Muslims. But I’m having a hard time correlating Sauda Arabia’s religious oppression with the fact that no one wants the Victory Mosque to be built. People’s grievances against this particular mosque isn’t because of a prejudice against Islam, but the fact that it’s intentionally being built near ground zero, the fact that their opening ceremony is going to be on 9/11, and the fact that it’s’ being called Victory Mosque. Now, if the U.S. were to oppress all 1200+ mosques in the country, then yes, that would be correlating with the anachronistic views of Saudia Arabia. But I severely doubt that that it ever happen.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts! I hope we can continue in this conversation.

      -Joshua

  3. Nonsense. The muslims also value their safety in New York and they still want a mosque there. It seems to me you simply dislike islam and go from there indulging your feelings over the fraternity that we as christians should offer.

    • joshuasphilosophy said:

      Marc,

      What can I say? You make a great point. I never considered that my article could be viewed that way. I see it now so thanks for pointing that out.

      I guess I have some ‘splaining to do.

      My writing has always been a little more indirect and ambigous. But it’s this way for a reason. I am constantly trying to ever-so slightly nudge people out of their thought box. It works…sometimes. Sometimes the reader response is way different from what I had intended and I wind up eating my words later. Hey, I’m still an amateur.

      In regards to the whole mosque thing, I completely agree with you. Muslims obviously value their safety and they still want the mosque there. My audience when I wrote this consisted of mostly right-wing conservative Christians who were fiercly patriotic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I feel that many Christians often put their American thoughts before their Kingdom of God thoughts. The feeling I was getting from many Christians was that they cared too much about American pride and not enough about the fact that Muslims are also unequivocally loved by God. So this whole article was never meant to be a political commentary, it was a (perhaps miserable) attempt at trying to get Christians to step back and reconsider their priorities. Ergo, which is more important for a Christian to care about, damaged American pride or the safety of God’s creation?

      But since you threw down the gauntlet, I guess I’ll give you my political view on the whole thing. My feelings I put in the article were all true for the time. I did (and still do) struggle with the issue of Muslims. I have to be honest with you though, my facts are very limited. While the few first-hand experiences I’ve had with American Muslims have not been very pleasant, I have to consider that people wrongly stereotype me as a Christian and the same is probably happening to the Muslims. So the verdict is still out. I have reached a point though where I have to make myself stop objectively researching things to my satisfaction. There’s just too much I’m interested in and not enough time and brain capacity to do it in. But if I were forced at gunpoint to make a decision now, I would say that if the biggest consequence of the muslims having the NYC mosque is that it damages American pride, then I’d say that’s not a good enough reason and they should have the right to have it (much to the disproval of my more conservative friends).

      Again, thanks for the response. I was able to better flesh out my thoughts.

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