M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Syrian/American, and former US Navy lieutenant commander thinks not. In an op-ed in the New York Post he explains why ground zero is not an appropriate place to build
an ostentatious $100 million, 13-story Muslim community center including a gym, a swimming pool, a performance-arts facility and a mosque.As a man whose parents moved here from Syria, and who helped construct local Muslim community-built mosques in the various towns they lived, he's concerned that some of the funding for the mosque at ground zero is possibly being provided by foreign Islamists, and whatever those ramifications are, could be troubling.
I am an American Muslim dedicated to defeating the ideology that fuels global Islamist terror -- political Islam. And I don't see such a "center" actually fighting terrorism or being a very "positive" addition near Ground Zero, no matter how well intentioned.
To put it bluntly, Ground Zero is the one place in America where Muslims should think less about teaching Islam and "our good side" and more about being American and fulfilling our responsibilities to confront the ideology of our enemies.
Jasser is one of those rare few who appreciate that they are Americans who happen to be Muslim and looks at things from that perspective.
This is not about the building of a mosque or a religious facility. It is not about religious freedom. This is about a deep, soulful understanding of what happened to our country on 9/11.
When Americans are attacked, they come together as one, under one flag, under one law against a common enemy that we are not afraid to identify. Religious freedom is central to our nation - and that is why the location of this project is so misguided. Ground Zero is purely about being American. It can never be about being Muslim.
The World Trade Center site represents Ground Zero in America's war against radical Islamists who seek to destroy the American way of life. It is not ground zero of a cultural exchange.
We American Muslims cannot merely passively avoid Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots. We need to ask ourselves: Are we Americans who happen to be Muslim or Muslims blindly demanding to be American?
This is one of the rare few who realize that radical Islam is just as much a threat to them as it is to the rest of us.
On Sept. 12, 2001, I was first an American. When those planes hit the World Trade Center, they hit at the core of my being as an American. The attack on my faith by the terrorists was secondary to their attack on my homeland.
We need to focus our efforts more transparently on teaching Muslim youth that the American concepts of liberty and freedom are preferable to sharia and the Islamic state. American Muslims represent the best opportunity to fight Islamist radicalization not because we understand Islam but because we have experienced and understood what American liberty provides to the Muslim experience.
Americans must always remember the horrors of 9/11 and must be vigilant in not allowing political Islam to wear down the principles that built our country.
We need more like Jasser to speak up.
To read the entire op-ed click here.