2010-07-30 / Columnists

Point of View

“The Rabbi’s Personal Column” Rabbi Allan Blaine Temple Beth-El, Rockaway Park

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

While I applaud many of your decisions regarding our beloved New York City in which I and my wife and our families have lived for over one hundred years, I take exception to your public statements defending the building of an Islamic Mosque and fifteen-story center, steps away from Ground Zero.

You have publicly criticized those like me who feel that building a mosque on what may very well be the ashes of those American men, women and children incinerated by terrorists who destroyed the Twin Towers is not a moral act.

You use as the basis of your opinion your pride as an American, and as a New Yorker in, “freedom of worship and the glory of diversity” – hallmarks of our nation. Mr. Mayor, do you really think that those who oppose the mosque do not revel and rejoice in freedom of worship? Many of us are first, second generation or third generation children of immigrants coming from all parts of Europe at the beginning of this century and know full well the persecution and travail of living in countries in which there was no freedom of worship. Not the least is the Jewish community’s pride in America’s freedom. Please do not label those who are in opposition to the mosque as unpatriotic.

For many of us allowing the building at this time of a mosque at Ground Zero is tantamount to opening a raw nerve for the bereaved families and is premature. Perhaps in years to come when the wounds have begun to heal. Few, if any, apologies have come from even moderate Islamic leaders, Imams and Mullahs in their Friday sermons in the mosque. Saudi Arabia has spent billions upon billions pushing the extremists’ Wahhabi version of Islam that spawned Jihadi terror and has poured money into groups that backed violent Islamists and “it has never paid a price for 9/11!” Terrorism continues unabated.

The victims’ families coming to visit the memorial to their loved ones may glance to the side and see a fifteen story mosque and recall the murderers’ last words as they crashed into the Twin Towers, “Praise to our God and religion”; a little more sensitivity to the victims’ families and less political correctness is needed.

We are certainly not opposed to mosque building, but this is simply not the right time nor is it the right place. It is likely to be seen by our enemies as a triumphal act, as justification for their cause and, in a sense, as submission on our part to their radical beliefs. No, Mr. Mayor it will not be seen by Al-Qaeda and Taliban as magnanimity on your part, but rather as weakness and appeasement. And how do you think it will be seen by many bereaved families? As if their loved ones died in vain.

One of the weaknesses of our nation, indeed all nations, is, “historic amnesia.” We forget too soon and consequently fail to learn from past mistakes. I write this letter during the Jewish three weeks of mourning which each year precede the anniversary of the ancient destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple 2000 years ago. Think of it! Mourning and remembrance continues after all of these years and its purpose is to teach us to learn the lessons of history. Pity the people who forget their past.

Mr. Mayor, do not get me wrong. Of course encourage the bounties of diversity and the blessings of freedom of worship for which our nation is famous, but my mind and heart tell me that this is not the right time for a mosque at Ground Zero.

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Hear Hear! Bloomberg should

Hear Hear! Bloomberg should listen, but won't. Further, any construction outfit that takes on that particular job should be boycotted. They're just putting the icing on the cake that the Islamic extremists baked on 9-11. A fool could see it, but a politically correct one never could.

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