News flash on Quran burning and mosque at Ground Zero

It’s been an eventful day.

Less than two hours ago, a UK newspaper called The Guardian broke the story that the controversial pastor from Florida decided to cancel his Quran burning event on September 11.  This is certainly good news.  (Don’t ask me how a UK paper got the memo before the American papers did.)

The pastor cancelled the event because he said an agreement had been reached with Muslim leaders to move the location of the controversial mosque to be built near Ground Zero.  This is not the best of motives, but at least the Quran burning has been scrapped.  However, the imam in New York behind the planned mosque denied any claims that the mosque would be relocated.  I hope the Florida pastor doesn’t decide to reinstate his event when he learns he was wrong about the mosque.

Moreover, the pastor’s church had its website shut down by their Internet service provider, who invoked a violation of the service’s hate-speech provisions in its “acceptable-use policy”.

Meanwhile, business magnate Donald Trump offered a truly American solution to the New York mosque controversy.  He offered to buy the site from the main Muslim investor by paying 25% more than what was originally paid.  In his letter of offer, Trump wrote:  “I am making this offer as a resident of New York and citizen of the United States, not because I think the location is a spectacular one (because it is not), but because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse.” Apparently, the Muslim investor has declined the offer.

As a side note, when I was in New York last week, I visited Ground Zero and said a prayer for the victims who died there.  Across the street is a small monument (see photo) made of two beams from the former buildings in the shape of a cross.  These beams were found as such in the rubble.  (I don’t know the significance of the two baseballs in the centre of the vertical beam.)  The crumpled silver tin hanging on the horizontal beam is very reminiscent of the cloth that Catholic churches hang on their crucifix during Easter season, as a sign of the resurrection.  The building in the background is St. Peter’s Church, the oldest Catholic parish in New York (1785).  Read the parish priest’s moving account of the events of 9/11 here.   I also visited the site of the proposed mosque.  It’s on Park street, just a couple of blocks away.  There was nothing special to see.  No signs.  No protesters.  No nothing.  Just a couple of old buildings, one of which, ironically, was damaged by falling debris from the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Yes, it’s really that close.  The building has been condemned ever since.

We also learned today that the Taliban predictably distributed leaflets in Afghanistan calling on Muslims to avenge the burning of their holy book.  A key quote from the leaflet said:  “To defend blessed Quran and righteous Islam and your religion, join our track and go for taking revenge of the holy Koran.”  (It remains to be seen whether they’ll be distributing retractions tomorrow.)

In other news, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki claimed that Israel was behind the plan to burn the Quran.  (I always knew that Israel was going to get the blame for this somehow.)

A lot of stuff happening today!

6 thoughts on “News flash on Quran burning and mosque at Ground Zero

  1. Hi Steve,
    When you visited ground zero, did you see how far the proposed mosque site is from ground zero? Is it really *at* ground zero, or just within a few blocks?

  2. Here is the story of the two baseballs:

    Tony told the story of a man who had come to the disaster site as a grieving father. The man wanted to put some sort of closure on losing his son at the World Trade Center.

    The father explained to the workers that his son loved baseball. All the father wanted to do was to place two prized baseballs at the foot of the cross found inside Ground Zero. The cross, made of iron beams and formed during the collapse, became a focal point for many. I was told that on Sundays, a church service was held at the foot of the cross for Ground Zero workers.

    Instead of just simply granting the father access to the cross, crane operators hoisted the man up on a crane and let him place the baseballs on top of the cross.

  3. I think just like Sweden that we should limit the amount of mosques
    that the muslims can place in our country … The location of the area they put them…….Don’t take my word for it open your eyes and check it out what is going on in Sweden…they are taking over our country without a shot….but we must be warned that is also coming … they are only about 2% here now but in 20 years they will have enought to put in place their own president……we are a doomed society and if we do not return to our God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.There will be no hope for us……

  4. Hi Jean, thanks for dropping by.

    I think you would agree with me that there is no problem, per se, in having Muslims (or any other group for that matter) come to our countries. We are both welcoming nations. While not stated explicitly, I think your concern implicitly stems from the fact that some Muslims that come to our countries advocate for Sharia law and other values that are not compatible with the values and freedoms that we cherish. In this respect, I understand your concern. Life would indeed be very difficult for Christians and other faiths under Sharia law. We need only see what is happening in other countries where Sharia law is in force. Fortunately, I don’t feel that there is an imminent threat of Sharia law in North America, yet. The risk is greater in some European countries.

    That being said, we have only ourselves to blame for our predicament. We have not been diligent or persuasive in evangelizing our fellow countrymen. We are not having enough children. And perhaps we may want to re-evaluate our immigration policies to make sure that anybody who comes here will be respectful of our way of life. They are free to adopt their own beliefs and proselytize for their own faith, as long as they don’t seek to change our laws and freedoms in a way that would be contrary to the common good. I don’t think that would be asking too much. That’s the same standard that this blog has advocated for everybody, whether immigrant or domestically-born: everybody’s actions should be directed towards the common good.

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