MWA Director Commends New York Governor in Step Toward Compromise on Ground Zero Mosque

This doesn't have to be a fight for the right to exercise religious freedom. Let us, rather, stand united for that which is simply; right.
By: Aishah Schwartz
Aishah Schwartz
Aishah Schwartz
Aug. 17, 2010 - PRLog -- WASHINGTON, DC (MWA-NET) — Late Tuesday afternoon Reuters reported that New York Governor David Paterson plans to discuss a compromise that would relocate the Muslim cultural center, dubbed by media as the 'Ground Zero Mosque'. Muslimah Writers Alliance Director, Aishah Schwartz, an American Muslim, weighs in on the announcement.

"On the morning of September 11, 2001, from the sitting room of my downtown Washington, D.C. apartment, Good Morning America was interrupted for breaking news. I stood frozen in time watching in utter despair as the ensuing tragedy unfolded.

"I remember the feeling of brain numbing disbelief.

"I remember standing on the 12th floor rooftop of the D.C. office building where I worked at the time, watching the billowing black clouds of smoke rise up over the Pentagon.

"I remember evenings walking the Coast Guard patrolled sidewalks of our neighborhood with my daughter, both of us restless and unable to sleep.

"I was born and raised in the United States and I am proud to be an American. But as a Muslim, it is my hope and prayer that voices of reason prevail in the final decision of where to construct the Cordoba Initiative's project, God-willing, and the parties involved in this can agree to compromise in choosing a less offensive location. For everyone's sake.

"Regardless of who is to blame for the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001, the currently proposed location for the Cordoba Initiative's project will never be viewed as anything less than an affront to the survivors, and those who lost loved ones on that ill-fated autumn day in New York.

"Despite the fact that 2010 marks the ninth anniversary of what has been described as the most dramatic attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, it is clear from recent events surrounding the proposed construction project, that painful sentiments run deep and hearts are far from healed. These are wounds that will only deepen if construction proceeds as planned. And history will forever brand the surely well-intended Cordoba Initiative's concept as, the 'Ground Zero Mosque'.

"This decision also affects each and every Muslim living in the United States; citizen or not. The choice of location for constructing the center is flat out confrontational; merely serving to add fuel to an already inflamed climate of Islamophobia that threatens the Muslim community, and more directly its youth.

"The Islam that I embraced in April of 2002 taught me that Muslims are to exercise moderation in everything; and in this case, if what causes the greater harm is taken into consideration, I can only hope and pray - God-willing - that a new location will be agreed upon.

"This doesn't have to be a fight for the right to exercise religious freedom. Let us, rather, stand united for that which is simply; right.

"In closing I would like to personally apologize to those who feel they have been harmed by the controversy surrounding the Cordoba Initiative's endeavor, however well-intended it may be. And I commend Governor Paterson for whatever attempts he will make in extending the proverbial olive branch, if it will bring this matter to a reasonable and swift conclusion; thus allowing the healing to continue."

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Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

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