Deja vu - Judith Apter Klinghoffer
Dr. Judith Apter Klinghoffer taught history and International relations at Rowan University, Rutgers University, the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing as well as at Aarhus University in Denmark where she was a senior Fulbright professor. She is an affiliate professor at Haifa University. Her books include Israel and the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences and , International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights
ARAB RESPONSE TO CORDOBA MOSQUE/ update
Arab press has been following Ground Zero mosque carefully and some do not like what they see:
"I can't imagine that Muslims [actually] want a mosque at this particular location, because it will become an arena for the promoters of hatred, and a monument to those who committed the crime. Moreover, there are no practicing Muslims in the area who need a place to worship, because it is a commercial district. Is there anyone who is [really] eager [to build] this mosque?...
Arab News: reports Arabs distance themselves from Ground Zero Mosque
“Many Muslims fear that the mosque will become a shrine for Islamists, which would remind Americans of what Muslims did on 9/11,” Dr. Gamal Abd Al-Gawad, director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo told The Media Line. “Some people express concern that if the mosque will be built, it will harm Muslims and Islam in America. It’s not good for Muslims and Islam to be in the heart of such a controversy,” he added.
The paper also carries an opinion piece by Mohammed Saidfuddin currently residing in Dhahran entitled: The Cordoba House: What Muslims should do As a convert to Islam and a New Yorker I agree that the Cordoba House should move to a new location, if it is to exist at all.
n several blogs I have read many comments supporting the rights of Muslims to establish a place of worship, yet many felt it insensitive to build an Islamic center so close to the “Ground Zero”. I agree and see this more as a provocation than an exercise of our rights and a proof that a Muslim can be a “good American” too. A good Muslim is a good citizen anywhere in the world he or she resides. Creating such hard feelings will make giving the message of Islam more difficult and I do not believe it will be overcome by trying to make a Muslim-flavored “YMCA” type of organization.
Second, it is amazing to find an Islamic organization with $100 million or the ability to raise such a staggering sum. There are many struggling Islamic schools in America that find it very difficult just to raise a few thousand dollars. I believe supporting these schools, especially those providing accredited education is far more important than a multipurpose, multicultural center with an indoor swimming pool in lower Manhattan, which is not a highly populated residential neighborhood.
Egypt's Al Ahram sees the affair as testing Muslim American relations and presents the opposition as limited to the right wing:
As these instances of Islamophobia grow across America, fueled by preachers of sweetness and light such as Pat Robertson and Ann Coulter, and TV networks like Fox News, some wonder if Cordoba House is such a good idea. Given the rancour and acidic bitterness the issue has already generated, which is being exploited by Muslim bashers, some think the promoters should just call off the whole thing. It now seems to defeat the very object of the project.
They're probably right.
Raymond Ibrahim reports that Top Muslims Condemn Ground Zero Mosque as a ‘Zionist Conspiracy’
A number of Al Azhar ulema expressed their opposition to building a mosque near [where] the events of September 11 [occurred], convinced that it is “a conspiracy to confirm a clear connection between the strikes of September  and Islam.” Dr. ‘Abd al-Mu‘ti Bayumi, a member of the Islamic Research Academy [of Al Azhar] told Al Masry Al Youm that he rejects the building of any mosque in this area [Ground Zero], because the “devious mentality” desires to connect these events [of 9/11] with Islam, though he maintains that Islam is innocent of this accusation. Instead, it is a “Zionist conspiracy,” which many are making use of to harm the religion. Likewise, Dr. Amna Nazir, professor of doctrine and philosophy at Al Azhar, expressed her rejection that a mosque be built near the World Trade Center, saying: “Building a mosque on this rubble indicates bad intention — even if we wished to shut our eyes, close our minds, and insist on good will. I hope it is a sincere step, and not a new conspiracy against Islam and Muslims.”
The Turkish Zaman Today, international relations analyst Mehmet Kalyoncu recommend replacing the Islamic center with an Interfaith one as it is suspicious of the motives behind it. He also warns that demands for reciprocity are bound to follow:
Although the project has lofty intentions behind it, the way it has been perceived and portrayed not only signals more harm than good for interfaith understanding, but also raises suspicions as to whether it is yet another stage in the whole setup to increase interfaith discord, to the contrary of the naïve intentions of its proponents. . . .
One thing is certain: When such a mosque is eventually built as planned, it should not be a surprise to anyone if Christian and Jewish groups living in majority Muslim countries claim their rights to build places of worship and similar religious centers for their communities. While they have every right to do so, it is also obvious that almost none of those Muslim majority countries are prepared and open enough to reciprocate the gesture, unless they undertake dramatic reforms in the realm of freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
As for the mosque that sparked so much opposition, and provided the conservative and Zionist right so much ammunition with which to attack the American Muslims – this too is a losing battle, politically and culturally, even if the [Muslims] involved in it win the legal [battle over it]. From a purely legal and theoretical perspective, the New York Muslims have the right to build a mosque and an Islamic center as they wish, within the boundaries of the municipal laws. They are citizens of this cosmopolitan city, just like any other citizens of any other religion. However, the principle that should guide those who wish to build the mosque transcends the [dry letter of the] law and the [goal] of scoring legal points. After all, a legal verdict permitting them to build a mosque against the will of over half the [city's] population cannot be regarded as a victory. Building a mosque near that place [i.e., Ground Zero], legally or illegally, is a provocation that hurts people's feelings, so it is inappropriate to insist on building it on that spot, of all places...