My visit inside the Ground Zero Mosque
by Eric Golub on September 10, 2010 at 2:55 PM
As Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan are in the news (not to mention the NFL Kickoff of the NFC Title Rematch between the Vikings and New Orleans Saints, including # 4 Brett Favre), some Jews and Muslims are hopeful that a peace process most sure to be a complete waste of time somehow turns out otherwise.
Before getting to the main event, I am forcefully condemning the decision by a Florida church to burn the Koran.
This is stupid, reckless, disgusting, and morally repugnant. I despise Radical Islam, but burning the Koran is an affront to the many decent Muslims worldwide who also hate Radical Islam.
Everybody from General David Petraeus to Bridgitte Gabriel has harshly criticized this potential act.
There is still time for the church to back down. They should.
Also, if they do burn the Korans, and the Middle East explodes in violence and murder, that violence and murder will be unjustified as well. Responding to the burning of books, no matter how awful, with killing human beings…the killing of humans is worse.
As for the burning of the Korans, just because somebody has the legal right to do something does not mean it is morally right. This brings us to the Ground Zero Mosque.
As 9/11 approaches, I decided to take a trip to see the Ground Zero Mosque for myself. I went with an open mind. This was done several days ago on September 2nd.
I stopped by Ground Zero first. The mosque never would have been an issue if ordinary New York bureaucracy and turf wars had been put aside and allowed something…anything…to be built in the 9 years since the deadliest attack on the America mainland in many of our lifetimes.
Nobody is questioning that the Ground Zero Mosque is legally allowed to be built. The issue is a moral one. Islam has a history of conquering lands and building mosques at sites of conquest. Many see this mosque as a celebration of an Islamofascist triumph on 9/11. The left is concerned about insensitivity toward Muslims. The insensitivity is being shown to the 9/11 families.
We also have no idea exactly who and how this mosque is being funded. If this was being funded cleanly, disclosure would have been done already.
I went to the building. It used to be a Burlington Coat Factory. You can still see those words in the cement, although the block letters have been removed.
The building is only four stories tall. It is perfectly big enough for a mosque the way it is. If it were to remain such a small size, opposition to the mosque might lessen. Yet the notion of tearing down the building and replacing it with a gigantic building will only harden the opposition.
There is an Irish pub nearby, and an Indian restaurant. Yet like the mosque building right now, they are all inconspicuous. The builders are going out of their way to build a building to attract attention.
I walked up to the building. A gigantically large man was inside, staring out at the public through a large glass front door. He looked like a bar bouncer. I asked him if it was permissible to come in. He granted that permission.
This man asked me to take off my shoes. I complied. Personally, I have zero problem with that request. This was not a public park. It was private property. I did not consider myself surrendering to the Caliphate. It was a matter of politeness. I ask people to remove their shoes when coming in my home, and I am not Muslim.
He then asked me to turn my pager off because people were praying. I again complied with his request, finding it reasonable and appropriate.
Then something dawned on me. If people were praying, that meant that the mosque already existed.
The debate has been over whether or not to build a mosque. People are arguing over whether or not to build a physical structure. Even if building the mega-mosque is defeated, there will still be Muslims praying in this location. I am not offering commentary on this, just pointing out a fact. A mosque already exists there.
The upstairs room I walked into was an empty room. There was one Muslim praying by himself. The rest of the room was barren.
As I prepared to walk downstairs, I heard voices. Any reasonable person would think that it was more Muslims praying. To my surprise, the Muslim “bouncer” who let me in the building forbade me from going downstairs.
I was stunned. I told him that I wanted to see the downstairs. He told me that the downstairs was exactly like the upstairs, and that I had seen everything I needed to see.
I did not want to mess with this guy. I came back to the front door, put my shoes on, and left.
Is it possible he was worried that I would disrupt the prayers? Sure.
Is it also possible he was hiding something?
Liberals will say that I have no proof of any illegal or untoward behavior.
Yet what was this guy hiding?
I was there. I was in the building. I know the difference between an empty room and a room with people.
Is it possible Jihadists were plotting to blow up parts of New York?
Yes, it is.
They checked me when I came in. They saw I had no weapons. I did not have a camera.
(I could have taken pictures with my cellphone, but would not have done so unless I saw something illegal. To take pictures of people praying would have been disrespectful.)
There were several people downstairs. I heard the voices. There was only one of me. Had I done anything inappropriate, they would have easily outnumbered me.
What were they hiding?
If all I saw was people praying, I would have reported that.
Why would they have prevented me from seeing what was down there?
Liberals will also argue that they had every legal right to keep me from going downstairs.
For the umpteenth time, none of this is about legality. It is about morality.
This is not about the court of law. It is about the court of public opinion.
By not letting me downstairs, my suspicions have only deepened.
I came in biased, but open to being persuaded. Instead I felt intimidated, as a big Muslim man was prepared to beat me to a pulp if I set my non-Muslim body on his territory.
This did not close the issue or put anything to rest.
People with nothing to hide do not act like they are hiding something. If they are bluffing so I jump to incorrect conclusions, that is their fault, not mine.
(Think Saddam Hussein acting like he had WMD. Whether he lied or was truthful, he got what he deserved.)
The man could have gone with me. He could have watched me downstairs. He could have installed cameras to make sure I did not break any rules. If I did, he could have shown that to the world.
Whatever is going on at this Burlington Coat Factory, I can confirm that the Muslims in that downstairs room do not want outsiders to know about it.
This could be completely innocent.
It is not. It is every bit as mysterious as the downstairs room of a “restaurant” where “business” is being discussed that has nothing to do with the restaurant.
With every other culture, it would be permissible to ask questions. Answers could have put my concerns to rest. Instead, my worries about this project have deepened to a chasm that will not be bridged.
I was there. I saw…and didn’t see…everything I needed to see.
The Ground Zero Mosque should not be built.
Not now. Not ever.