Blogs > HNN > The Ground Zero 'Cordoba' Mosque: Da`wah, Not Religious Tolerance

Aug 18, 2010 1:36 pm

The Ground Zero 'Cordoba' Mosque: Da`wah, Not Religious Tolerance

Opponents of the proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York City (Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, most prominently) have adduced the feelings of the 9/11 victims’ families as the primary reason why it should not be built several blocks from the site of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. But at the risk of appearing even more heartless than these aforementioned conservatives,wounded emotions are not the reason to be against this particular Islamic worship center. Rather, the psychological and geo-religious symbolism a mosque at Ground Zero would represent is the problem. As former Muslim Sam Solomon so accurately puts it:

[A] mosque, totally unlike a church or synagogue, is a “sign” and a “symbol” of the establishment of “authority”—both religious and political—not just a place of worship for its adherents. A mosque is the symbol of the establishment of an Islamic authority, and an announcement of the beginning of the “rightful restoration” of the land according to Islamic claims that the “whole world is a mosque,” and is echoed in Muhammad’s words, “the whole earth has been declared unto me a mosque.” Therefore it is a matter of “restoring” rather than “claiming” the land to Islam, as any land not in current submission is at virtual war with Islam, and must be brought “back” according to the Qur’anic version of history. This process of “bringing back” has a name, it is called “Islamisation...” and is implemented progressively though immigrating, segregating, gaining rights, and slowly asserting the supremacy of Islam politically, socially and even culturally. So, yes, the Ground Zero Mosque would be a beachhead—and an important one….

In early Islamic history, a number of prominent Muslim theologians declared that establishing Muslim garrisons in enemy territory is more pleasing to Allah than prayer and fasting. And according to Professor Brannon Wheeler’s paper “Martyrdom and Territorial Claims,” the famous medieval Islamic scholar al-Suyuti categorized martyrdom as not just including Muslims killed waging jihad, but those “those killed under a collapsed building.” Some two dozen Muslims were killed in the 9/11 attacks. How long will it be before the imams at the “Cordoba Mosque” are preaching khutbas (sermons) on the “martyrs” who lie under American soil just a few hundred feet away? (Cavalierly ignoring, of course, the fact that they were killed by co-religionists.) This would almost certainly further spur the phenomenon, well-known in Islamic history, that “as soon as a mosque became a regular sanctuary, it became an object of pious visits” (Encyclopedia of Islam, s.v. “Masdjid). And what better way to cap off such a pilgrimage than with a visit to the luxurious Marmara Hotel, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, to take advantage of its “birth tourism suites” where foreign women can come to bear their little, newly-minted American citizens. (Since the Marmara is Turkish-owned, I doubt that many of the 15 $5k+ packages they’ve sold so far have gone to Mexican Catholics or Swedish Lutherans.) New York City already has over 100 mosques, so it’s not only absurd but insulting for Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama to accuse Cordoba Mosque opponents of bigotry and religious intolerance. Instead, perhaps we should be given some credit for recognizing an obvious salient of Islamic religio-political da`wah (proselytization) when we see it.

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james joseph butler - 2/19/2011

Get a life Butler. I'm sorry I just read Dr. Furnish's criticism of my, "sophomoric usage of my first name."

The great and powerful Professor has spoken, go away. Timothy, history will judge you, OK, history will ignore you, just the same as will ignore this grade school teacher. But the point is Israel and the USA are on the wrong side of the truth, and justice, and the strategic balance of power. It's 2/19/11 Egypt, Tunisia,Bahrain... g'head explain Doctor Furnish. Is that OK, or should I address you as PHD Timothy Furnish or that guy who knows more than those barbaric A-rabs?

Cyrus Goram - 8/25/2010

While Dr. Furnish has every right to voice his opinions with regards to the proximity of the Ground Zero/Cordoba House/Park 51 Mosque-Islamic Center, he is making a big fuss over something he is completely powerless to stop. A Mosque as a psychological & geo-religious symbol and a Mosque as hostile direct action against non-muslims are too different things. Dr. Furnish's comments would hold more weight if Christianity were the official religion of the United States of America, but it is not, and in view of this, most of Furnish's editorial is dangerously similar to the multitude of Islamophobic, intolerant, and paranoid rants of individuals like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.

Muslims want to build a Mosque in Manhattan near Ground Zero. The laws of the city of New York and the Constitution of the United States of America back the Muslims. Debate over. Freedom of religion (and all that it comes with as defined by the United States Constitution, as well as the laws of this nation) is freedom of religion, it doesn't matter if zealots following the religion of the Booger Bear attacked New York City. All of these other things like comments from former Muslims and quotes from medieval Islamic scholars accompanied by out-of-context commentary make excellent water-cooler talking points, but at the end of the day in a multi-religious, secular nation amount to nothing more than 'much ado about nothing.'

If Dr. Furnish and other non-Muslims here in the United States are so concerned about the Ground Zero Mosque and its implications, then where's the same concern and psychological discomfort about other Mosques that already exist within close proximity to the Ground Zero site, chief of which is the Manhattan Masjid, located four blocks near Ground Zero and has been in operation since 1970? Where are all of the protests, perpetually disgruntled sore-loser conservative ranting online and on television, and apocalyptic shrieking from Islamophobes like Franklin Graham and John Hagee about Masjid Manhattan? Why only the Ground Zero Mosque?

Even if as Dr. Furnish states, that this Mosque is an "obvious salient of Islamic religio-political da'wah," such an institution is part and parcel of a secular, multi-religious society and is no different than what is being done by Christian sects like the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, and others. Muslims in this nation have every right to do the same, irrespective of the actions of their "co-religionists."

If you don't like the location of the Ground Zero Mosque, then the solution is quite simple: don't go there. THAT'S the beauty of FREEDOM in the United States of America...

John Doeman - 8/24/2010

I totally agree with Jack Smith. It is God's will that American foreign policy be dictated by the religious biblical prophecy of pretribulational dispensational premillenialism as revealed to the holy men in the American Evangelical movement.

Employees at the Department of Defense and State Department need to study Matthew 24:7-8, Revelation 6:13-14, Ephesians 2:2, Joel 2:30 and so forth. They MUST and WILL adhere to this vision of biblical prophecy which proves that great rivers of blood will soon flow between Jews, Christians and Muslims. This is a geopolitical inevitability.

But I disagree with Jack Smith in believing that we should WELCOME these vile actions of Christ-hating Muslims near Ground Zero. It is only an affirmation of the eschatological facts revealed in great detail to the American Evangelical movement.

John Doeman - 8/24/2010

Judge Learned Hand explained in the 1950 case United States v. Dennis why the government should take extraordinary measures against Communists:

"[They are] a highly articulated, well contrived, far spread organization, numbering thousands of adherents, rigidly and ruthlessly disciplined, many of whom are infused with a passionate Utopian faith that is to redeem mankind. It has its Founder, its apostles, its sacred texts — perhaps even its martyrs. It seeks converts far and wide by an extensive system of schooling, demanding of all an inflexible doctrinal orthodoxy. The violent capture of all existing governments is one article of the creed of that faith, which abjures the possibility of success by lawful means."

Per Furnish, the Muslim's agenda sounds pretty scary, their actions a knowing abomination against the tragedy of 9/11. Should America do more than just discourage the building of this particular mosque? How far should we go to address the domestic Islamic threat of subversion as a national security threat? It seems like a suicide pact allowing any Muslim to demand the inviolable rights of American citizens when their ultimate goal is so insidious.

Timothy Furnish - 8/24/2010

Mr. Butler,
I have read the Constitution, and taught it, sir.
You reall think that Christianity is responsible for more deaths in history than Islam? You, sir, are a fool. Calling someone with whom you disagree a "bigot" does nothing to mitigate that obvious fact--it merely proves that you either do not know the meaning of the word, or you have redefined it in your mind so that is is meaningless. Nor does your sophomoric usage of my first name.

james joseph butler - 8/23/2010

Grow up Jack. Muhammed's Night Journey is a fairy tale, I love the part about Moses' counsel to Mo regarding the practicality of praying fifty times a day.

Dear Mr. Smith, if you take your lessons from old world texts you will find yourself in old world wars, prime example being Israel, Micronesia, and America vs. The World. Of course you're right Jack, Yahweh, Jesus, and Newt, say so.

Jack Smith - 8/23/2010

The Ground Zero mosque, if built, will communicate the same message to the world that the Dome of the Rock communicates in Jerusalem. The Dome is a shrine to Muhammad's Night Journey and stands as a message to the world that Islam conquered Christianity, and that Jesus is "trumped" by Muhammad, Islam's last prophet. The Dome is also the fulfillment of the Abomination of Desolation prophesied by Matt 24:15. The Ground Zero mosque will aslo servce as an abomination -- to those who lost loved ones at 9/11. This is not about religious freedom; it is about dominion and authority (Rev 13:7-8).

james joseph butler - 8/22/2010

This is really simple stuff. Doctor Furnish and his ilk need to read the Bill of Rights, 1st Amendment. Religion is not the business of the state. I can't help but be snarky because it's that simple.

I'm supposed to be impressed with his scholarship regarding Islam? Which religion is responsible for the deaths of more millions, Christianity or Islam? I need I a PhD to know that? Do I think that Madeline Albright would've been as sanguine and sure in her affirmative response to Leslie Stahl's question of whether the deaths of half a million Iraqi children "were worth it" to topple Sadaam Hussein if they had been Christian or Jewish? Are you kidding?

Timothy is a bigot like a lot of other Americans, with or without a degree.

Sayan Neviot - 8/18/2010

To James Joseph Butler:

For starters, he is Dr. Furnish, not Mr. Furnish. That distinction indicates advanced study, which you seem to have overlooked, and which, based on your commentary, clearly you lack.

Your attempt to separate politics and religion simply holds no water in the case of Islam, as Islam is more than just a religion, it is also a political, social, legal, economic and military ideology.
Calling Islam 'a religion' is like calling Bach's Magnificat 'a sound', and displays how little you know of the complexities of Islamic doctrine.

You claim mosques are exactly like churches and synagogues, so to support this claim, kindly identify the specific churches and synagogues where people have been recruited to perform suicide bombings in recent history? Which churches and synagogues have been used to house rockets and other munitions in recent history? Specifically which churches and synagogues have been raising money to finance terror attacks against civilian targets? Which mosques and synagogues are used as safe-houses by terror groups, or as fall-back positions following terror attacks?
Numerous mosques have been identified doing exactly these things, all over the world, and in point of fact the German government very recently closed the radical mosque where members of the 9/11 attacks were recruited.

Finally, the Burlington Coat Factory building, which you claim doesn't really exist because it is less than 50 stories tall, is SO close to the World Trade Center site that the landing gear from Muhammad Atta's hijacked airliner crashed through the roof, making it literally PART of "ground zero".

Your sneering attempt to portray Dr. Furnish as a bigot merely underscores your own ignorance of Islam. Please know what you are talking about before attempting to trivialize something that is deeply important to a great many Americans, and before trying to smear someone who clearly knows more about the subject than you do.

Timothy Furnish - 8/18/2010

Mr. Butler,
I'm tempted to think this is a caricature of a critique, but then I remembered how ill-informed (intentionally or not) far too many on the Left are--and I realized that you may actually be at the top of your game,sir.
If by "scared of Big Bad Islam" you mean historically aware, thanks to a doctorate and 20+ years of study, of the various methodologies utilized by the religio-political ideology called Islam to adavance, conquer and expand--then, Mr. Butler, I suppose I'm guilty as charged. I would submit that, your jejune sarcasm aside, you know little of Islamic history.
Pray tell, what part of my "screed" was "half-baked?" Adducing early Islamic theologians? The Encyclopedia of Islam? Reality?
There are none so blind as liberals who will not see.

james joseph butler - 8/18/2010

If Burlingtons Warehouse doesn't you scare you Timothy why are you afraid of a book? Mr. Furnish it doesn't take much effort to paint any old world religious text for what it is; a reflection of its time. Muslims have lived peaceably in this country for centuries and that includes their houses of worship.

9/11 was an act of political terrorism. Organized religion is a political act. Google how OBL justified his fatwa.

How does this kind've of half baked screed get inked on HNN? It's embarrasingly small minded. "As former Muslim Sam Solomon(Am I small minded or does Sam Solomon sound like Sam Solomon?)so accurately puts it:

[A] mosque, totally unlike a church or synagogue,"

Puhleeeeze, a mosque is exactly like a church or a synagogue. It's where people go to share ritual and tradition, or ineffable mystery, whatever.

Timothy is afraid that Big Bad Islam will stake its victory flag on Ground Zero. (It's two blocks away, which in NYC means it doesn't exist unless it's 50 stories.) Hordes of Anthony Quinns will ride across the plains sweeping virgins and civilizations off their feet. Oh my.