The Muslim initiative to build a $100 million mosque just blocks from Ground Zero, where nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered by terrorists on 9/11, is understandably generating massive opposition from groups including leading politicians and the Anti-Defamation League.
After all, the perpetrators of the atrocities of 9/11 were Muslims who claimed their violence to be part of a Holy War against other faiths and against America.
Why, critics wonder, would any Muslim group seek to inflame the still-open wounds of 9/11 survivors and loved ones of those killed by planting the feet of their faith so close to the site where their religion’s extremists exterminated thousands of innocent people?
I really don’t care why — not one bit.
I want that mosque built if its proponents are seeking to enshrine the best intentions of their faith. But I want it built, even if its proponents seek to rub salt in our wounds. I want it built if its supporters are seeking the common good and looking to enrich all of us spiritually, through the exercise of their spirituality. But I want it built even if its proponents seek to glorify themselves at our expense.
I want that mosque built if its donors love me or if they hate me.
I want that mosque built because, psychologically speaking, there can be no better site for a mosque than near Ground Zero (other than at Ground Zero, which is the single location I would prefer). Only near Ground Zero could a mosque stand as testimony to everything great about America: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to invest capital as one chooses, wherever and whenever one chooses, within what should be the very limited bounds prescribed by law.
Nowhere but near Ground Zero could a mosque actually etch American values so deeply into the landscape of New York City, a landscape marred by the 9/11 terrorists.
Nowhere but near Ground Zero could a mosque miraculously transform the pain caused by Mohammed Atta and his co-conspirators into American power.
Nowhere but near Ground Zero could a mosque join the churches and synagogues and temples that stand as testimony to our faith in a God who teaches us to worship those forces and faces of love that will always and forever be infinitely greater than intolerance and hatred.
Nowhere but near Ground Zero could we as Catholic and Mormon and Protestant and Jewish and Buddhist Americans own stock in the soul of a mosque by simply offering no resistance to its existence.
What could be easier? What could be more simple and beautiful?
A mosque near Ground Zero will be God’s gym, wherein the muscles of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness develop not through an opposition of forces, but through accepting the greatest force in our universe.
So let the building begin.
I only hope that Americans of every faith will be contributors and visitors and that the workings of evil will be turned thereby upon themselves, transmuted into compassion by the rare alchemy possible in America.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatry correspondent for Fox News Channel and a New York Times bestselling author. His book, “Living the Truth: Transform Your Life Through the Power of Insight and Honesty” has launched a new self-help movement including www.livingthetruth.com. Dr. Ablow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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