As the summer draws to a close, my thoughts race forward to embrace the day of infamy, the day of the 9/11 horror, the day my son, Matthew J. Burke, along with almost 3000 other human beings, was murdered as he sat at his desk on the 104th floor of tower one at the World Trade Center.
Nothing will ever erase the memory of that day, the worst day of my life; nor will I ever lose the feelings of joy he brought to the lives of my wife and all our family. His life and the lives of all those murdered that day must never, ever be forgotten, but remembered with love, dignity, and respect.
Something which runs counter to the need for such remembrance and honor is the plan to build a mosque adjacent to ground zero, the final resting place of the 9/11 victims. The placement of such a building is a symbolic insult to the victims, their families, and the great people of this nation.
The response from the critics of this view is that those who oppose the mosque oppose the Muslim religion of Islam; this smoke screen of an argument couldn’t be further from the truth. The argument rests in the fanatical, ideological pursuit of a philosophy “that would support murder, restrict freedom, oppress women, and mandate a myriad of laws and precepts on all who subscribe to these tenets. These are the people who are backing the “Park51or Cordoba project”.
There are hundreds of mosques attended by thousands of Muslims throughout our city. These people are free to worship as they please, as is the American way.
So, why a need for this mosque in this place? No Muslim religious community was displaced by eminent domain, fire, or the atrocity of 9/11; they are not looking to rebuild that which was there, which is in stark contrast to the loss of the Church of St. Nicholas which was destroyed in the 9/11 attack. Attempts by this community to rebuild and return have been thwarted at every turn.
The desire to place this building less than 1000 feet from the site of the worst tragedy in our country’s history is, in my opinion, a conscious effort to demean and desecrate this hallowed ground, the gravesite of so many innocent people. It is this juxtaposition of a powerful symbol that is consistent with the radical elements of Islam-invade, destroy, rebuild in their image.
While I realize that only 20 deranged, religious fanatics attacked our nation that day, hundreds more aided and abetted these fiends, thousands more from the Arab countries to Coney Island Avenue rejoiced in the horrific results, and hundreds of thousands, to this day, have not condemned these terrorist acts
It is ironic and sad to think that if the building of this mosque is approved, it will probably be built before those buildings honoring our fallen at ground zero. As we approach this day of mourning and remembrance, it is time to stand firm in our beliefs, reaffirm our trust in the American dream, return to our core values, and speak out.
We must bring back the America our forefathers initiated, that which was defended time and again by American blood. We must not let our country be attacked from outside or undermined from within. Stand up, speak out, turn out in opposition to the mosque.