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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Aug 16, 2010

Debate Over the Cordoba Islamic Center in New York City

During the past few months, the approval of the construction of an Islamic cultural center by Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, created a shameful upheaval in the United States. In New York City, 53% of the misinformed public opposed the construction of the mosque. Many opportunistic, racist and ignorant politicians publicly announced their opposition to the construction of the mosque near Ground Zero, where the 9/11 attacks took place. First of all, the proposed Islamic cultural center is located two blocks away from the site. Furthermore, many people of different faiths (Christians, Jews, Muslims and others) were killed in the attacks. Well known conservative politician Sarah Palin said that the construction of the mosque is a stab in the heart of every family who lost a loved one on 9/11. Newt Gingrich, an aspiring presidential candidate, as well as the leader of the Tea Party movement, Mark Williams, are among those leading the opposition to the construction of the Islamic mosque. The negative journalistic campaign, especially that of well-known Zionist and neoconservative journalists like the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer, has fueled the opposition to the construction of the mosque.

Mr. Krauthammer’s negative views of Islam and Arabs were well known even prior to the 9/11 attacks. There are conservative evangelical preachers who also joined the negative campaign to express their objections to the mosque’s construction. Also, some Jewish Zionist organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, joined the campaign to stop the construction of the Islamic mosque. This group was known for its negative campaign against Islam in general and Arabs in particular even before the 9/11 attacks. The main objective behind such an attack is to continue to create a wide gap between Christians and Muslims for the benefit of Israel.

The public call by a fanatic, ignorant preacher to burn the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 reveals that many of these people are unfortunately ill informed of the content of the American Constitution. Among other important things, the constitution provides freedom of religious practices and beliefs for all people in the United States. Sometimes, many ignorant and fanatical people hide behind the First Amendment (freedom of speech). But with that freedom there is also a responsibility to stop freedom of expression from impeding upon the freedom of others.

The bright side of this issue is the fact that there are responsible and honest people who have stood their ground and publicly supported the construction of the Islamic cultural center in New York. Among the leading political figures is Michael Bloomberg, who condemned bigotry and discrimination and supported the construction of the mosque. President Barack Obama has also announced his support for the construction of the mosque and for freedom of religious beliefs. He said, “As a citizen and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.” (www.truth-out.org, 8/15/2010).

Some religious Christians and Jewish leaders came out in support of the project. One of these people is Rabbi Arthur Fascov, who spoke in favor of the Islamic mosque and criticized the Anti-Defamation League’s opposition to the construction of the Islamic Center. Also, some journalists came out in support of constructing the mosque, such as Joe Klein, who, in an article for Time Magazine, wrote a rebuttal to Krauthammer’s opposition to the construction of the Islamic Center.

The negative campaign against Islam pre-dates the tragic event of 9/11. Nevertheless, Osama Bin Laden provided the ignorant bigots with the rationale to create anti-Islamic fervor in the West. . He used Islam as a pretext to launch a terrorist campaign against the U.S. to protest American foreign policy in the Middle East. Bin Laden does not represent the 1.5 billion Muslim people around the globe. Nevertheless, the followers of the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have a great deal more in common than the fanatics and bigots are aware of.

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