Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Ground Zero Mosque, By Any Other Name

“This is why only fools are heroes - because you never know when some lunatic will come along with a sadistic choice.”     The Green Goblin, Spiderman (2002)

The first Spiderman film was released just about the time the crews were finishing up the recovery at Ground Zero in 2002.

The Associated Press has ordered its reporters not to use the phrase “Ground Zero Mosque”. This missive wraps up a week of nothing but talk of the GZM. Someone posted a comment on Glenn Beck’s Facebook page that trading government land with these pirates is nothing short of giving in to their terrorism. They were right, too.

Some choice – allowing anti-American Muslims to erect a victory mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, in a building that suffered damage in the attacks thus reducing its property value, with their promise that they will begin construction on Sept. 11th of next year, the tenth anniversary of the attack.

Or, trading with them for U.S. government land upon which they can plant their flag, at the expense of the American taxpayer, since the new property will be vastly more valuable than the $4 million he paid for the old Burlington Coat Factory building.

And now, there’s a preacher in California who wants to mark September 11th as Burn the Koran Day. Oh dear.

Look, I know, we’re all bummed out by the treachery of Community Board One, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and New York City Mayor Bloomberg. But as other pundits have pointed out, Liberals though they are, burning the Koran is a huge mistake. It makes us like them. If we’re going to act like them, then we’re wasting our time protesting the erection of this mosque on Park Place. We might as well join them, get down on our knees and stick our butts up in the air.

What’s more, burning their holy book will only give them an excuse for violence. They’ll go on a rampage, murdering innocent people anywhere they can find them. Look at how they behaved simply because a cartoonist drew a caricature of their prophet, Mohammed. We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up and peacefully defend our way of life. Instigating violence, on the other hand, bringing it upon ourselves deliberately, by such an obviously provocative act, isn’t courageous; it’s foolish and unnecessary.

If protesters really wanted to make a point, they’d go to a protest-a-mosque rally with their Bible (or Torah or Declaration of Independence) in one hand – and holding a dog’s leash with the other. If this is truly a holy war – and I believe it is – we must prove our faith stronger through faith, not violence. Faithful Christians don’t need the Muslims to build them a bridge to God – the As-Sirat, as they call it - a bridge which the Muslims have deemed themselves righteous to throw infidels from, in one way or another.

Jesus already did the hard work for them, faithful Christians tell me. There’s nothing they must, or even can, do to prove to God that they love Him and are worthy of eternal life, I’m told (I’m certainly no expert – I fear my ticket is already punched for that other place). That path is as easy or as hard as an individual wants to make it. To force allegiance to God through mortal fear and castigation is to cheat Him of His omnipotent right to judge the human heart on its own merits.

Therein lies the problem with Islam and in particular, a Ground Zero Victory Mosque. The owners’ determination to build there, in spite of protests and pleas, speaks to their true intentions and spirit. The Liberals and the propagandist Media are their willing allies. The funding, it seems now, will come not from the United States but from abroad.

Some righteous anger at the construction of this mosque in such a sensitive area is justified. But only good conduct on our part will justify that anger. We Americans are the injured parties. We don’t want to turn that charge over to their side by performing superfluous acts of violence. The hole in the ground two blocks from Park Place, the now-decrepit condition of that neighborhood, the many photographs of September 11th, the prominent display of the American flag, and the broken hearts of the 9/11 families will be more than sufficient evidence to point the finger of blame in the right direction.

Don’t expect them to feel guilty. But they shouldn’t expect us to bow down to them with our butts in the air, either, to prove how “tolerant” we are.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Downtown Ghost Town

The developers of the Ground Zero mosque, and their supporters, claim that this new mosque and Islamic center will revitalize Lower Manhattan. That’s an extraordinary claim, considering who is responsible for the present condition of Lower Manhattan, particularly the West Side.

Farther south and east along Wall Street, business is still bustling, but the west side of Lower Manhattan is dead. As the local New York City newspapers, particularly The N.Y. Post, have noted, the real estate values around Ground Zero are pretty much at Ground Zero.

This Cordoba Initiative picked up the old Burlington Coat Factory store at a bargain basement price precisely because of the damage it suffered on Sept. 11th. But somehow, this victory mosque is going to perform a financial miracle and bring Lower Manhattan back to life.

Lower Manhattan would be teeming with life again if the Port Authority and the City hadn’t dragged its heels rebuilding the site. Each of the Twin Towers, at their peak, had a population of some 20,000 to 25,000 occupants. That’s 50,000 potential customers gone, either dead, injured, or now employed elsewhere. Not to mention the tourists who came for the spectacular, if somewhat unnerving, view from the top.

I worked in the City back in the Eighties, in Midtown. One week, the 34th Street PATH line was closed off. We Midtowners had to take the Path Train from, I believe it was Jersey City, into the World Trade Center.

You just could not believe the volumes of people coming up from the PATH and subway lines into the Towers. Thousands and thousands of them, riding the escalators seven abreast in a seemingly unending line. A few would get off at the street level and head off into Lower Manhattan. But the bulk of the crowd headed straight up into the Towers - and they came directly back down again in the evening.

But the Victory Mosque proponents will have us believe their center can generate the same numbers. They’ll be lucky if they can equal the number of people killed on Sept. 11th, much less match the number of hard-working people who were displaced when the Twin Towers were destroyed.

That section of Lower Manhattan is, indeed, a neighborhood of bars and girly joints (mostly bars I thought). The bars didn’t seem surprising, given the number of construction workers at the Ground Zero. Once the office buildings are built, that would change. That’s what will restore life to that section of LM, not an Islamic Center filled with potential Mohammed Attahs and Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds.

The memorial, when finished, will attract visitors, and with them will come respectable hotels and restaurants, stores and other service providers. According to one columnist, there’s a law on the city books that says no bar or adult entertainment center can stand within 200 feet of any religious building. Three bars were removed from a block where a basement mosque held forth.

The mosque developers declare that their center will have a gym. Will it, or will they simply take over the gym that’s on the back side of the center, on Murray Street? What’s going to happen to the bar on the corner of Park and Church, if the City once again enforces that law?

That section of Lower Manhattan is a ghost town, and a dangerous one, at that. It’s too bad the City has dragged its feet to allow thriving businesses to return and restore the life that was once there, and has rolled out the red carpet for representatives of the same religion that turned it into a ghost town.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We Have Met the Enemy?

And according to Nancy Pelosi, they are us? We’re the “intolerant,” well-funded opposition speaking out against the Ground Zero mosque?

I don’t know about “well-funded.” None of us will be very well-funded by the time Health Care and Financial Reform are through stripping our wallets. I had to find the free blog services to carry my blog and hope that someone actually reads it.

But she’s right. I’m not a very “tolerant” person. I don’t have much tolerance for a religion that stones couples for falling in love, cutting off the ears and noses of teenage girls who want to dress in western style.

I don’t have much tolerance for a religion that bans all others. That threatens death to anyone who tries to leave that religion for another. That demotes non-believers and women to second-class status. That doesn’t allow women to get an education, drive, or work.

That bans drinking, dancing, music, and movies. That creates murder and mayhem in Western societies that reject its teachings. That bombs hotels, restaurants, and airplanes. That teaches zealotry, to hate and kill anyone not like them.

That has conquered other civilizations and religions through force, violence, and slavery, destroying other churches and religious symbols and building their own upon the ruins of the vanquished.  That seeks to conquer the world.

I don’t have much tolerance, either, for political hacks who find such religious tyranny useful. Nor much more tolerance for spineless pundits who want to be patted on the back for protecting the Constitution, all the while exposing it to the knife that will destroy it to shreds.

The owner of the property where the Ground Zero mosque will be located rejected New York Gov. Paterson’s offer of another location on state property. What a surprise. But it’s Community Board One that should be hung by its own petards for this failure.

I have no tolerance for a community that watched an enemy murder nearly 2,800 people and then allow that enemy to build a victory mosque on the perimeter of the devastation. Do they think they’re being magnanimous? Do they delude themselves into thinking they’re the truly patriotic Americans? Do they feel all warm and fuzzy that this imam is patting them on the back for being so politically correct?

My father had a saying, “Watch out for the guy who pats you on the back – he’s looking for a place to stick the knife in.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Patron Saint of New York City

He was the patron saint of children, sailors, and merchants among other types of people. He was also made the patron Saint of New York City. Up until Sept. 11, 2001, one of the Greek Orthodox Churches named for him sat in the shadow of the World Trade Center, on Cedar Street.

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was built in 1922. Four stories tall, the 1,200 sq. ft. church was home to 70 parishioner families. Nine years later, the church has still not been rebuilt. Originally, the Port Authority agreed that it would be rebuilt. But delays and disagreements over its size and ownership of the land beneath it, where the Port Authority planned to build the vehicle entrance to the new World Trade Center’s underground garage have delayed the rebuilding.

When the church requested more space to build a bigger building (the entire parcel belongs to the church), with a large, traditional Greek Orthodox dome, the Port Authority refused, stating the dome couldn’t be higher than the World Trade Center Memorial. Even though Ground Zero is surrounded by soaring skyscrapers.

Since the Ground Zero mosque received the green light, the City and the Port Authority have been quick to rebound on Saint Nicholas Church, that they’ll be coming to an agreement very soon! Only St. Nicholas’ immediate proximity and the problems inherent with the ongoing construction (and the possibility that St. Nicholas might ask for more money, since its building was destroyed on Port Authority property, I guess…) have caused the delay.

Since the patron saint of the church was the patron saint of the city and merchants, it seems only fitting that Nicholas’ church should sit on the perimeter of the World Trade Center. What about all that land the former Deutsch Bank, in the processing of being demolished, is sitting on?

If the church’s owners can’t come up with the money, maybe the “good” Muslims building on the other side of the Ground Zero site, could match some of the contributions to replace the church the “bad” Muslims destroyed on Sept. 11th.

Monday, August 16, 2010

May The Force Be With Us

On Friday the 13th of August, Associated Press reporter Erica Werner wrote that Obama had weighed in “forcefully” on the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

“A nation built on religious freedom must allow it,” he declared.

By Saturday, that word “forcefully” was in the headline of every major newspaper in the United States. By Sunday, Obama was forcefully trying to backtrack on his words. He was only defending their right to build it, he claimed, not the wisdom of building it. However, he refrained from questioning their wisdom, too.

New York’s Gov. Paterson even offered to make deal for another site, which the developers flatly refused, as expected. With every effort at reconciling their right to worship with the sensitivities of the families of 9/11 victimes, the remove another plank from that bridge they claim they’re trying to build.

Proponents of the Ground Zero Mosque argue that there’s a strip club three blocks away that could be considered an offense to the hallowed ground. Heck, there’s a bar right next door to the mosque. In fact, there are bars all around Lower Manhattan. Makes you wonder why any Muslim would want to worship there.

We think of Ground Zero only as the main perimeter of 12th Ave., Liberty, Church, and Vesey Streets. But as the planes plowed into the buildings and broke apart, they spread carnage for some blocks. As has already been pointed out, a piece of plane crashed into that building now occupied by the mosque. It should have qualified for Ground Zero status.

But the proponents argue, buildings are going up right on top of Ground Zero, what is being called “hallowed ground.” Three office buildings, I believe, the Freedom Tower, and the museum, along with the memorials.

Personally, I would have said don’t do it – don’t build anything there except the memorial. But New York’s can-do, never-quit spirit couldn’t reconcile itself to allowing so much valuable real estate to go to waste nor surrender the battle to anti-capitalist forces; they were determined to rebuild, particularly the Freedom Tower.

The Freedom Tower. It was renamed to something like One World Trade Center, or some such address. Why? Because it offended the sensibilities of people opposed to freedom, apparently. The name was too controversial; too inflammatory.

Under pressure, the developers of the mosque renamed their center Park 51, an anonymous, innocuous sounding street after someone revealed the etymology and history of Cordoba. Had someone not revealed the truth, it would still be called the Cordoba House, while we Americans would be robbed of the satisfaction of visiting the Freedom Tower.

Just what is it Obama expected the majority of Americans, who are opposed to the location, at least, of this mosque, to do? “Force” them to be silent? “Force” them to accept what they can’t change? Wasn’t he the candidate who campaigned on the platform of “change?”

Americans suspect the Muslims of using our Constitution as a shield, to force us to accept their presence. No one would care how they worship save for the fact that they have a notable doctrine of world dominance. Americans fear them with good reason: acceptance of Islam is compulsory in countries where they constitute the majority. Just ask the Danish cartoonist who drew a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb on his head.

But then we’re transforming into a country where you must accept government health insurance without question. You must eat the foods the government proscribes. Children can no longer bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school. They must wear helmets to ride their bicycles. Soon, we’ll be forced to drive whatever vehicles the government dictates.

You can open up a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, and a strip club three blocks away, but you can’t build a Wal-Mart. (That wouldn’t be terribly advisable in Lower Manhattan.) The mosque they’ll allow; the rebuilding of St. Nicholas’ church, the city threw roadblocks in front of, casting the blame back on the developers for demanding too much leeway, for wanting to build too big a church.

The mosque builders claim a modest proposal, but their plans include a restaurant, an auditorium, religious prayer rooms for various faiths, and a swimming pool(!?). All in that little storefront space? Such a project would take up an entire city block – and probably will.

It’s so nice that Obama has suddenly discovered the Constitution. It's so "American" of him. Now he’s concerned with property rights, is he? He wasn’t so concerned when he was redistributing our wealth, encouraging people to buy homes they couldn’t afford, and punishing those who could.

But Americans are at last proving themselves a force to be reckoned with. May The Force be with Us.