Today I've learned that I am not a muckraker. I'm not a bona-fide investigative journalist.
But I have learned a lot about the vast undercurrent of murky assumptions growing ever deeper under New York's "Ground Zero mosque."
While the journalist in me should be able to present all of the allegations, suspicions, and accusations in a neutral manner, the ethicist in me hasn't been able to validate all of the charges and ambiguities to my high levels of satisfaction.
Suffice it to say that what I have read and researched today has made me even more uncomfortable about the Cordoba Initiative and their plans for 51 Park Place. Because I haven't been able to corroborate everything I've seen today with impartial sources - something I do for all of my essays - I'm not prepared to render an official opinion on them, particularly since this issue, taken to the lengths it appears capable of reaching, would be considerably explosive.
However, I'm just skeptical enough to wonder if we Americans are really being told everything that is going on behind the organizations and personalities who are pushing for this 13-story, $100 million Muslim social club a mere two blocks from Ground Zero. It's not just another New York developer wanting to tear down a drab old building and construct a monument to himself. It's not just a religious organization wanting to erect a conventional house of worship. It's not about New York being America's most pluralistic and open-minded city. It's not even about a controversial group wanting to build a community center.
In fact, all of these supposed elements of this debate may actually be obscuring far more dire issues. Issues that for-profit media conglomerates may not want to broach. Issues that American politicians can't bear to associate with. Issues that many people of faith have never, ever contemplated.
Maybe it all really is a racist tempest in a hateful teapot, as NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has insinuated.
But then again... if you don't want to get any sleep tonight, here are some links you might find shocking or outrageous... or both:
- Dutch parliament member and anti-Islam activist Geert Wilders
- Europe-centric anti-Islam blog Gates of Vienna
And if you want to hear what developers of the "Ground Zero mosque" have to say for themselves, here are two links:
- Cordoba Initiative, the official sponsors of Park 51
- American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), a group affiliated with Cordoba Initiative which may be involved in fundraising for the "Ground Zero mosque"
By the way, the reason I'm putting "Ground Zero mosque" in quotes is to acknowledge what one blogger I've read has stated: "It's neither at Ground Zero, nor is it just a mosque."
Nor is it just a community center, is it?