3.6
August 25, 2010

“All I need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11.”

Freedom of Religion is American Patriotism. ~ John Spina

This country was founded on religious freedom.  Building this mosque is a great opportunity to show the Islamic world, including the millions living in America, as well as the rest of the World, that we are not fighting Islam—we are at war with terrorism and continue to be a nation of liberty and justice for all.

The recent controversy around the construction of a “Mosque” in downtown Manhattan, just blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center, is a perfect example of why some among the Middle Eastern populace hates us.

Obviously, I realize the concern around building a mosque so close to the hallowed area of Ground Zero, but give me a break. Islam is the second largest religion in the World with about 1.5 billion practitioners, and 99.99% of them are not violent fundamentalists as the exaggerated stereotype tells us.  The very fact that there is such a fuss over building a mosque (actually a community center that includes bball court, swimming pool etc.), is closed minded, ignorant, and exactly the type of behavior that gives Americans such a bad reputation around the world.

After all, our country was built on the principle of religious freedom.  Instead of fighting terrorism, it appears that we now fear Islam as a whole—a fear which the few Muslims who actually are terrorists can easily use as a recruiting tool.

From my recent studies as a political science major, I’ve come to the conclusion that terrorism is not created so much due to poverty—rather, it has its roots in the Western world not minding our own effing business.  We (the West) have had a major military presence all across the Middle East for centuries. We hide behind a veil of righteousness, throwing our might around the region in attempts to “civilize” them, but in actuality only rob them of their resources and bury them in debt.  Not only have we economically exploited the region, but we never stopped to think of the possibility that Muslims do not share our view of “being civilized” in the same way that we Americans, British, and French do.

Instead of attempting to spread prosperity and well-being globally, by generously using our economic and technologic superiority in humanitarian aid, open trade, reasonable loans, and strong diplomatic relationships, we have used these means as a way to strengthen those Western nations who share our same ideological bases, or that agree to drop their historical and religious values in favor of our “modern and liberal” ones.

Those countries that do agree to this “Westernization” ultimately end up to their necks in debt to the World Bank, with only their nation’s resources to pay it off.  This puts these already poor nations in a state of obligation and desperation. And so America’s presence no longer brings optimism or represents freedom.  Instead, violent fractions begin to control the country through illegal means, building a movement willing to do anything to be rid of American’s hegemonic influence.  However, we have such militaristic as well as economic advantages over these impoverished countries that the only way they could possibly fight back is through guerrilla, smallscale warfare.

You know, terrorism.

This country was founded on religious freedom.  Building this mosque is a great opportunity to show the Islamic world, including the millions living in America, as well as the rest of the World, that we are not fighting Islam—we are at war with terrorism and continue to be a nation of liberty and justice for all.

In addition, this sect of Islam and their leader, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, are a moderate and peaceful wing of Islam that is attempting to better educate the American people on Islam, help assimilate the religion into our nation’s culture, and at the same time, educate Muslims on the true nature of America. Building a mosque here would be a step in the right direction, asserting our peaceful goals and values as a nation, and hopefully making a statement to the Middle Eastern World.

John Spina currently attends the University of Vermont in Burlington where he will graduate with a double major in history and political science in 2011.  He writes sports for the school paper, the Vermont Cynic, as well as publishes weekly articles in the Mountain Ear, a local Nederland paper, and works as an Intern for the Elephant Journal. He loves spending time outdoors with his dog, McKinley, and being home in Colorado working for the summer.

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George Cook Apr 4, 2012 10:28am

"The recent controversy around the construction of a “Mosque” in downtown Manhattan, just blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center, is a perfect example of why some among the Middle Eastern populace hates us."

John, why don't you try building a church or synagogue in Mecca, in their own faith's hallowed space where they do not even allow non-Muslims. This is not a tolerant religion, and they do not hate us for our own intolerance; no, they hate us because we are not Muslims.

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