The people of Maspeth and Middle Village, for the most part, have a catbird's view of the ever-changing Manhattan skyline. There is the continual demolition of buildings and the erections of new and usually taller buildings, but when you examine this very recent photo of Juniper Valley Park, which was taken from a boom truck, the background reminds us all that the Twin Towers are GONE. Those majestic towers that stood 110 stories tall were demolished by a terrorist attack by radical Muslims disguised in western garb. Yes, clean shaven, no turbans, no robes, no sandals, indeed it was a very well planned stealth attack.
Several months after the infamous day of 09/11/2001, the Juniper Park Civic Association formed a committee to organize a Memorial Banner Program dedicated to the victims and heroes of that tragic event, where more than 65 people that lived or worked in our local community suffered a horrible death. A total of over 2,700 died on that day and thousands of children lost either a mother, a father, or in some cases, both parents. As a constant reminder of that sneak attack the 09/11/2001 Memorial Banner Program will be extended to 09/11/2011, which will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the horrific day not only in New York City, but also across our entire nation.
In many respects, New York City and the nation have changed and rebuilt since 09/11/2001 but, if we are to protect ourselves against future well- planned stealth attacks on United States soil, much more work is needed in all aspects of our society. It is now necessary to cast a watchful eye on politicians, educators, PhD's, and the clergy, to guarantee that the little children who are at play in the foreground of the picture do not suffer the loss of their parents in a similar fashion to the children that played in the park on 09/11/2001.
With respect to the ever-changing NYC skyline, after nine years of political wrangling and court cases, the Freedom Tower has finally begun to rise above the skyline of downtown Manhattan. I contrast this unacceptable length of time with the fast tracking that the Cordoba Initiative has received from most all our New York politicians. Frankly, The Cordoba House Project has been so deeply embraced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it should be renamed the Bloomberg Mosque.
The selection of the name, Cordoba House, for the structure that is to be erected at the now vacant 45-51 Park Place address has become of great interest, so, I had to do a bit of research and the results were surprising. Cordoba was, for about 500 years, the capital of Islamic Spain. According to Wikipedia, in the Middle Ages, it was a capital of an Islamic caliphate and one of the largest cities in the world. (A caliphate is the rank or region ruled by a caliph and a caliph is a successor to Mohammed, a supreme ruler and secular and religious head of Islam). Any student of history knows that the churches were replaced with mosques and there wasn't any freedom of religion in Cordoba.
The Israel Insider also noted a FOX News report that a second and even larger mosque, the Masjid Mosque, has raised 8.5 million dollars to build the House of Allah next to the World Trade Center. Their website advertises, help us raise the flag of ALLAH in downtown Manhattan.
For those of us who oppose the construction of a Muslim Mosque so close to ground zero based on the sensitivity of a nation, we are portrayed as bigots, racists, prejudiced, intolerant, etc. Those in favor, cite the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that the government shall make no laws restricting the practice of religion. Clearly, the question is not about religious rights, but of understanding and tolerance by American Muslims for the moral values and history of America.
With regard to the term prejudice, Webster's Dictionary defines prejudice as a judgment or opinion before the facts are known. The question of prejudice was initiated at Manhattan's Community Board 1, when they cast a vote without learning all the facts regarding the background of the applicants for the Cordoba Initiative. Clearly, the fact that 10 board members abstained was a signal that the matter was pushed through to satisfy the local politicians.
Community Board 1 stands with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Council Member Margaret Chin and their support of the Cordoba Initiative's efforts to develop the Cordoba House Project and the important community facilities it will provide for our community at the now vacant 45-51 Park Place, which has been abandoned since September 11th.
Be it further resolved that:
Community Board 1 takes no position regarding the religious aspects of any religious facilities associated with either the Cordoba Initiative or the Cordoba House project.
It is incomprehensible that our elected officials from Mayor Bloomberg to and including President Obama so quickly supported the construction of the Cordoba Mosque adjacent to ground zero without considering the will of the people of the United States of America.
Now that more has come to light regarding those behind the Cordoba Initiative more than 70% of Americans are against the construction of a mosque at this site. I note again, because there are hundreds of mosques throughout the USA, and there is a mosque four blocks from the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, clearly, it is not a question of religious freedom. It boils down to those who misunderstand the founding fathers' concept of religious freedom versus those who honor the thousands of civilians who lost their lives in the most horrific crime committed in the United States of America, a nation that now eternally grieves for the loss of their loved ones.
The first Muslim crowned Miss USA, Rima Fakih, spoke out against the planned mosque near ground zero, saying the project is insensitive to 9/11 victims. Former Mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani certainly understands the sensitivity issue, and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League is not in favor of the project because of funding issues and the location is counterproductive to the healing process. Why doesn't Mayor Bloomberg get it?