Proposed mosque represents tolerance


Oqsa MUG

Column by Aqsa Qureshi. E-mail

Coexist. This empowering word is often seen plastered on the bumpers of numerous cars. The word has come to bring a sense of brotherhood between people who at first may not seem alike, but upon closer observation share more similarities than differences.

I wish more citizens of our nation could experience the sense of unity I feel upon viewing the bumper sticker.

Park51, better known as the “Ground Zero Mosque” is a community center to be built two blocks away from Ground Zero. The community center has been under construction since its initial purchase in July of 2009. Author, imam, and activist, Feisal Abdul Rauf founded the community center which is to be named the “Cordoba house.”

A common argument surrounding the construction of the community center is that it is “insensitive” and “disrespectful to those lost in the attacks.”

In contrast, constructing this community center is the embodiment of American principles and beliefs.

American beliefs are centered on tolerance, diversity, freedom of religion, in addition to equal rights for all citizens.

Denying the creation of this center is essentially labeling and condemning a portion of American populace as less than American citizens.

It is important to remember that not only is this center within the constitutional rights of the American citizens building it but also is very respectful to those lost in the attacks.

Within the center, which includes an area for Muslim prayer, is a monument which is to honor the lives lost in the

World Trade Center attacks. There were many innocent lives lost in the attacks, including many innocent Muslim lives. We as a nation share this grief, regardless of which faith we practice.

I sympathize with the families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, and at the same time, I think it would be impractical to completely veto the plans for constructing the community center.

Yes, the center is to be located in the same city as the attacks, but two blocks away.

Yes, the center is called the “Ground Zero Mosque,” but it is more of a community center which houses a mosque than a mosque itself.

And yes, people say it is insensitive to build this center, but as I mentioned, the center will include a monument for the lives lost. I think that the construction of the center should proceed and be viewed as a building which is a step away from ignorance and a step towards tolerance.

As a fellow University of Kentucky student and member of the Muslim Student Association, I would like to see my community, beginning with students, become more tolerant and learn to at least respect the construction of this center which is beneficial to all.