Fox News to the contrary, there ain't gonna be any mosque at Ground Zero here in New York.
There will be an Islamic center 2 1/2 blocks away on the site of an old building that once housed a Burlington Coat outlet store. It will have a place for prayer, but will not be a mosque. The center is the initiative of a moderate to liberal Muslim group seeking reconciliation with all faiths. The imam is a friend of former President George W. Bush. There are already small mosques and cab stands serving Bangladeshi and Pakistani cab drivers and store clerks blocks away in Tribeca. Before the World Trade Center was built, the area was a Syrian and Greek neighborhood with tenement mosques next to tenement Eastern Orthodox churches.
There is someone who has been forgotten in all this hysteria who you should really remember.
Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23 year old NYPD cadet and EMT. On September 11th, 2001, he saw the attacks and ran toward the burning towers. Rescue workers found his remains weeks later in the rubble next to his EMT bag. He apparently was leading a group of people out when the tower collapsed. The local and national press tried to vilify him, accusing him of being a collaborator in the attacks despite the lack of any evidence. The evidence on the ground indicated that he was in fact a hero who died trying to rescue others. He was belatedly and posthumously recognized for his heroism by the City of New York.
Mohammed Salman Hamdani's funeral
I fully expect that 10, 20 years from now, there will be much that has taken place since the 9/11 attacks that we will bitterly regret, as much as we regret the WWII internment of Japanese Americans, and as much as we regret racial segregation.
There were scores of Muslim victims in the September 11th attacks. Some were passengers on the planes. Others were employees in the towers. Many were employees at Windows on the World working at a breakfast event that morning.
If hysteria prevails and the Islamic center is scuttled, then we will no longer be the United States of America. We will be something else. We will have forfeited our national birthright in the name of fear and expediency. We really will be the Empire of the Frightened Bitter Old White People.