Is the Cordoba Project (The Islamic Center for Ground Zero) for Real?
If Imam Rauf and his financial backers truly want to build a Muslim center that promotes moderation, they need to walk their talk. And if they do, I believe the Islamic Center, even at ground zero itself, not just close by, is most appropriate.
If those who support the Cordoba center want to promote non-radical behavior and denounce radical Muslim behavior, why don’t they dedicate one or two floors in the Center to a permanent exhibit of the atrocities that radical Muslims have committed in the last fifteen years?
How about a film showing Muslim women being stoned to death, for the alleged crime of adultery, by those radicals they denounce?
Show exhibits of the bombings in London and Madrid. Show the scattered body parts. And of course, do not skip the terror attacks in Israel, which killed even small children in their nurseries.
I would like to see a room dedicated to beheadings, especially of Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded in front of video cameras, only––I repeat, only––because he was a Jew. Show the whole tape, non-stop. Let the audience squirm. Let children scream in disgust.
What about dedicating one floor to the 9/11 terror attacks? Tell the whole world about the Muslims who piloted those planes meant to kill innocent people. Tell your visitors where the terrorists got their religious education, and who paid for it.
Develop educational programs for Muslim children, so that they too will be disgusted and learn to denounce Muslim terrorism.
The Germans denounced the Nazis.About two years ago, during a trip to Berlin, I visited the Holocaust museum, near the Brandenburg gate in the heart of the city, spitting distance from Hitler’s bunker. With this museum, the German people were openly washing their dirty linen. By exhibiting pictures of atrocities committed during the Holocaust, they were denouncing the Nazis’ crimes loud and clear.
If the founders of the Muslim center really denounce radical Islam, let them prove it in action not just words
I have met Imam Rauf, and I believe he is a sincere, well-meaning leader of the Muslim religion. But even though he is here today, sometime in the future he will be gone. Nobody is immortal. Having this permanent exhibit will assure us that this center, located on hallowed ground, does not become another hub of radical Muslim activity, applauding 9/11 rather than denouncing it, after he departs the scene. If the center ever took down the exhibits, we would know its leader’s goals had changed.
Another point of importance: This exhibit will test the real intentions of the financial backers of the center. If the commitment to the exhibit causes them to disappear, along with their funds, maybe the people who are supporting the center financially, or at least some of them, are the same people who finance the madrassas that glorify jihad and suicide terrorism.
If the Imam wants our trust, he must denounce radical Islam but not only in words but in deeds.
This contribution was sent to the op pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal who all rejected it.
Santa Barbara News Press published it October 3 2010
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes