24 August 2010

The cultural centre near "Ground Zero"

The following was posted to the House of Bishops/Deputies list. I asked and received permission to post it here. This is the first time I've heard a perspective from someone who nearly died in the terrorism.
I [am] responding to a post that spoke to the anguish those at “ground zero” might feel at hearing the call to prayers at the “mosque” and also referred to the ADL’s agreement with those protesting. Besides the point that this center is no more a mosque than a Knights of Columbus hall is a “church” there is already one other Muslim prayer facility nearby that has been there since the ‘70’s. There are no minarets and no call to prayers.

I was there that day (9-11-01). I was saved from death because the subway train I was on had been delayed by a train ahead of us with brake trouble. I arrived shortly after the first plane hit. I saw people leaping from the top floors of tower one, choosing that death over the death from the heat and flames. Two co-workers of mine did die that day.

Unlike many I do not blame Islam for that attack. I blame a man who has a particular axe to grind and who managed to get 19 deluded souls to do the dirty work for him and has used an extreme and distorted interpretation of Islam to justify the act. Let us not forget that our own Christian hands are not unsullied by atrocities committed in Christ’s name over the past several centuries.

Today those who will misuse the teachings of Mohammad to radicalize young impressionable Muslims are only helped by those of us who condemn out of hand such projects as this Center (which, by the way is not at “Ground Zero,” but some distance away). They tell these deluded young men and women that we are their enemies; that we want to destroy Islam; that we have no respect for them, and attitudes like those expressed by the opposition of this Center only serve to confirm these lies in their minds.

I personally am tired of the exploitation of the events of that day (9/11/01) by those who were not there and experienced it second hand.

Our Lord told us that we are to love our enemies; that we are to do good to those who have hurt us. But many ignore those teachings of the Gospel because they would rather have revenge. They would rather sit in judgment than reach out in love.

The ADL, of all people, should understand this kind of prejudice and where it can lead. But unfortunately history shows us that those who have been oppressed, rather than have empathy for all the oppressed are far too ready to oppress others when given the opportunity.

Shame on all of us for our lack of love, the love we were commanded to practice by Christ himself.

Diocese of Long Island
TTLS thanks Charlie for granting permission to post his comments.

Now please go over to Episcopal Life Online and read an excellent opinion by the Rev'd Anne Mallonee who is Vicar of Trinity, Wall Street, across the lane from "Ground Zero."