Message to leaders of the Cordoba Initiative

Today – more than any other day – as America commemorates the horrors of September 11, 2001, you carry a huge responsibility on your shoulders.  It is not only the responsibility of standing up against hateful propaganda, Islamophobia, and xenophobia in general, but you also carry the huge burden of defending the human values that Americans love to call their own.  One hundred years from now and for a much longer time thereafter, Americans – and all of humanity, for that matter – will read in history books one of two things:  [a] Muslim Americans stood tall, defended what is right, and contributed to upholding the American constitution; or [b] they succumb to pressure and were unable to stand to the forces of wilful ignorance and hate.  You are in the process of deciding what will future generations read about the Cordoba Initiative.

Forget about national security concerns, and forget about the probable reactions anywhere in the world if you back down and surrender to the will of the wilfully ignorant Americans who refuse to be informed about the true nature, noble spirit, and inclusive motivations behind your Cordoba Initiative.  Those concerns can be addressed by political leaders, military leaders, pundits on television networks, and countless number of people on all faces of the diversified media.  Anything you might say in that regard would be interpreted, as it has already been, as a threat, blackmail, or delving into an area that is not of your expertise.

Your message should be focused on three principles:

1.  Standing up for the values of respectful coexistence of all religions:
Tolerance is not what you should seek.  You should seek that which you willingly offer; acceptance and respectful coexistence.

2.  Defending the American constitution against the forces of wilful ignorance and hate:
People who can be accurately informed but refuse to read, listen, watch, or otherwise learn anything about the history of your congregation, the undisputed historic facts about “Cordoba”, or the peaceful nature of Islam, are not just ignorant, but wilfully so.


3.  There should be no sensitivity about building an Islamic community centre or a mosque anywhere in America, including lower Manhattan:
There is nothing for which you should apologize.  Islam is clean, and must not be held accountable for the actions of a few individuals who claim to act in its name; exactly in the same way that Christianity and Judaism are clean, and must not be held accountable for the actions of a few individuals who claim to act in the name of either of them.

To accept that building an Islamic centre or a mosque anywhere in lower Manhattan might carry any sensitivity – positive, negative, or otherwise – towards the victims of the horrible acts of September 11, 2001 and their families; is to indict all Muslims and Islam itself of that horrible act.

Your responsibility is indeed huge.  May God guide you to the right path!

Monzer Zimmo
Ottawa, Canada

Hope is the stuff from which life is made!

About Alcanaanite

Monzer Zimmo, a Palestinian-Canadian living and working in Ottawa, Canada. Monzer is an advocate of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the peaceful creation of a bi-national-democratic state on all the territory of historic Palestine, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others live together as equal citizens; be and feel safe, secure, and at home.
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3 Responses to Message to leaders of the Cordoba Initiative

  1. G.A.Kouchakji says:

    This is an excellent approach towards peaceful coexistance and especially respect rather than tolerance. America or any part of this earth is not a legitimate claim for any particular religion or religious population. Our planet Earth is a place for sharing and not for exclusive possession. We need wisdom and peace, and for that the right decision makers.
    I am also a Dispossessed and displaced Palestinian and I fully share with and support Monzer’s Principles for Peaceful Coexistance for all ethnic and religious populations on this Earth.

  2. Nicolas A. Sayegh says:

    The problem is that in spite of our acceeptance of coexistance, the Zionist Jews and heir American counter parts do not wish to realize nor achieve Peace! As a result they will end up paying for their own misakes sooner than later.

  3. Ismail Zayid says:

    This Message, to the Leaders of the Cordoba Initiative, says it exactly as it should be. Building an Islamic Centre or a mosque, anywhere in a country that claims freedom, is a basic right. Islamic tolerance must be emphasised, and Islam owes no apology for any actions that may be carried out by few misguided people. Other faiths are not being blamed for the massive crimes that some of their adherents carry out.

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