Partying with a Professor at a MOSQUE?09.09.2010There is controversy currently as to the building of a mosque at ground zero. The media is portraying that the mosque would be a symbol of "Muslim success" for the events of 9/11. To further complicate the problem, the Muslim world is ending Ramadan, their month of fasting and reflection, and the date happens to be on 9/11 this year. Media extremists are using this to add fuel to the fire as to why the mosque, which will be inside Park51, should not be built. The misinformation, which is being promulgated throughout the media, is far from factual.
The mosque will NOT be built at ground zero, nor will it be visible from ground zero. What is being constructed is the Muslim equivalent of a Christian YMCA or a Jewish JCC. Amongst other things that will be inside Park51, there will be a swimming pool, fitness center, and here's the kicker..a 9/11 memorial!!!! This building will be far from offensive. It will be a great addition to a troubled area. Lower Manhattan is known for their "gentlemen's clubs" and adding something positive to the area would do the area some good.
Ramadan ends this year on 9/11 but do to the nature of the media, Muslims have been asked by their leaders not to celebrate on this day so that there is no confusion as to the motive for the celebration. Due to that request most Muslims celebrated earlier this week, and I was able to partake in a Ramadan celebration with my religion Professor.
While at the celebration, I sat in on a speech, given by a local doctor, about what Muslim Sharia is. It isn't a law dictating all Muslims must go "kaboom" against the US in the name of Allah. It's a set of GUIDELINES as to how a Muslim can (not must) live a good life upholding the tenants of Islam. After his speech I got to witness a Muslim prayer service. Although I couldn't understand what was being said, I did feel a sense of inclusivity because they allowed me, an outsider, to partake in such an intimate service. The end of the prayer service marked the end of Ramadan, and so we broke the fast by eating dates and then we ate a full course meal. The food was excellent and I ate my fill. The whole time I was there eating, I was sitting with a local cardiologist, an owner of two businesses, and a man who taught local school children how to play chess in after school programs listening about their lives and families. They were the complete opposite of what some of the media portrays Muslims to be. I had a great time and I encourage all students to reach out to all peaceful peoples. Don't judge people based on second hand information. PICK UP A BOOK!!! and read for yourself what's going on. Hopefully there isn't a Quran burning this weekend, but if there is please know that the Muslim community has been advised by their leaders not to react, besides the whole reason Muslims memorize their versus is because their religion isn't printed in a book, it's in their hearts, minds, and exudes through their actions. Burning a book will serve no other purpose, to the majority of the Muslim world, than unneeded air pollution and a sad reminder of the intolerance and prejudice some people still have. Don't fall victim to misinformation, that's what a UD education will teach you. Even this blog needs to be viewed with a lens of skepticism until you research for yourself whether these things are true or not.