Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Mosque at Ground Zero - An essay written by Sherrie Carpenter

I want to share with you my final essay I wrote for my English Composition class.  It's regarding a controversial topic that affects all of us American's and something that I feel very passionate about. 

The propriety of building a Muslim Mosque at Ground Zero

On September 11, 2001 radical Muslim terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers killing thousands of innocent people, destroying the buildings, shattering the ideals of the American people and forever changing our lives as we knew them. Fast forward nine years later to today and now Muslims (extreme radicals or not) are planning on building a Muslim Mosque very near the site that is called Ground Zero.

This has caused a huge debate within the United States, dividing the country, and bringing out strong feelings of anger towards one another. Kuhner writes, “The building of this mosque is a sacrilegious act - a deliberate slap in the face to the victims, their families and all Americans. The mosque will cast a giant, dark shadow over ground zero, serving as a testament to the Islamist conquest of America. Islamists are using our freedoms in an effort to destroy our freedoms” (Kuhner 2010, para.4). Even though the United States was built upon tolerance and religious freedom, I don't believe a mosque should be built near that site or at all because that ground is sacred, it will bring about continued hate, discontent and additional terrorism and most importantly because Muslims build mosques in places they have conquered.

To begin with, the backers of the mosque feel that because the “United States was built upon tolerance and religious freedom, a mosque at Ground Zero would represent American values.” They also suggest that “Muslims have the same right to build a house of worship in Lower Manhattan and to pray for the victims of 9/11 as any other group” ( 2010, October 28) .

I agree that America is recognized for its tolerance and that American’s have many freedoms other countries do not, including religious freedom. But does that mean we have to be naïve and allow others to use those freedoms against us? I think not! Being that it is America; Muslims are free to build mosques and to practice their religion however they see fit. In fact mosques are scattered all around the United States. However, that does not mean that they should build one on or near the area where so many lost their lives at the hands of Islamic terrorists. The majority of people in this country feel that Ground Zero is “our cemetery – our sacred place” (Bottum 2010), a place that should be memorialized. A New York construction worker who lost an uncle on 9/11 says about the plans to build a mosque, “It's like spitting in the face of all the people that died” (Investor’s Business Daily, 2010 August 23).

Additionally, Newt Gingrich tells us that “there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.” He also goes on to say “there should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over” (Gingrich 2010, para.1 and 4)

According to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, "All the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero will do is create more division, more anger, and more hatred" (, 2010). I believe the backers of the mosque are getting exactly what they want. They want to see the American people divided and full of hate towards one another, causing much discontent for all of us that have lived in a peaceful and free country for most of our lives. Many people ask why Muslims would think that it’s okay to build a mosque at Ground Zero. This is why folks! Because having so much hate, discontent and a country divided ultimately diminishes the freedoms we have and enjoy, and then the United States would emulate many of the Muslim controlled countries.

While doing my research for this paper I came across literally hundreds of articles and comments all around the world from many countries who are calling this a deliberate act of provocation. Personally, I was impressed with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s statement while addressing the controversy via twitter. She stated “Peace-seeking Muslims, please understand, the Ground Zero mosque is an unnecessary provocation; it stabs hearts. Please reject it in the interests of healing” (, 2010 para.9).

Furthermore, it is has been proven that mosques have served as a “breeding ground for terrorism” (Scarborough 2010). We hear it all the time in the news where mosques have been used as meeting and training places for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. It was a mosque in Hamburg, Germany where the planners of the September 11th attack met and organized their plans.

Additionally, Scarborough includes in his article a quote by Steve Emerson who is the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism for Human Events. Emerson says "Around the world, mosques have been disproportionately used as venues for terrorists to raise funds, plot operations, recruit new terrorists and radicalize young Muslims”, (Scarborough 2010). Do we really need another place where radical Islamic terrorists can meet, train, plan and carryout the next terroristic plot against the United States right on top of the hallowed ground of Ground Zero? I believe this would be a bad or dangerous idea. We would be allowing them to stick it to us again. And this is just what they want.

Of much more concern is the real underlying motive for building the mosque on Ground Zero. It is said that Muslims build mosques in places they have conquered to be a symbol of a triumphant victory. There is a very long history that gives proof that “thousands of mosques, from Spain to India, were built on sites of important religious or political conquests” (The American Critic, 2010 September 9). Many people including Muslims themselves can attest to this statement. For example, in a Washington Times article a Sudanese immigrant writes a piece about his experiences, stating “The building of mosques near sites of Islamic conquests or successful military actions later became common throughout much of the world, including Cordoba, Spain, for which the proposed Ground Zero Mosque project is named. They became unmistakable portraits of victory and of the domination and control exercised by the victors, who plundered cities and converted captives at the point of a sword. In 1683, the whole of Europe was threatened until the king of Poland came to its aid at Vienna's gates. That happened on Sept. 11, a date al-Qaeda chose in striking America nine years ago” (Levi, 2010 para.5).

One of the most sacred places of all time, in all of Christendom, is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem where Jesus was believed to be resurrected. Jerusalem was captured by Muslims in 638 and soon after, all the churches were “cleansed”. Following the “cleansing” the Muslim conquerors built a “spectacular edifice”, what is called the Dome of the Rock, right on top of that sacred place. This was their way of proclaiming “Islamic supremacy, to ensure that the followers of Islam would not be tempted by Christianity” (Gray, 1989-2009). This is just one of many examples throughout history. Even though some people think otherwise, the Islam religion does not tolerate anyone who opposes the teachings of Islam. The very meaning of the word Islam is “submission”. In fact, if a Muslim rejects or turns away from the teachings of Islam, the penalties are extremely severe, that may include being disinherited, jail, or even death. Historically, Islam is not a peaceful religion and I can feel and see it’s evilness in many ways. Islam creates violence. Its history of death and destruction speaks for itself.

Levi also reports, “Throughout much of the Muslim world, the sight of a brand-new mosque rising over the ruins of the Twin Towers will be a powerful and enduring image and symbol. It will be interpreted widely in a manner unfavorable to the United States. It will serve as a triumphal rallying cry for terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, which will seize upon the symbolism as a recruiting tool” (Levi, 2010 para.6).

The proponents of the mosque say that it will be an asset to the city of New York, a holy place, where Muslims can worship to denounce terrorism and promote peaceful relationships with Americans of other faiths. While that is a nice thought, I don’t believe that for a minute. There are just too many other instances where it has been proven otherwise.

In summary, while building a Muslim mosque at that location is not illegal or unconstitutional, is it appropriate to do so? If building a mosque on or near Ground Zero causes so much hate and discontent between Muslims and Americans of other faiths and feelings like we are getting slapped in the face, one must ask why? Why are the backers of this mosque so intent on building it there? The majority of the people in the United States believe that it is hallowed ground and a place that one should be able to go to remember those that lost their lives that September day. If the proponents of the mosque are being truthful and it is intended for a peaceful, holy place of worship, then they should understand that Ground Zero is not the place to build it. Islamists and proponents of the mosque that call for tolerance should really look at their “own practices” rather than criticizing America’s (, 2010). There are over 100 mosques in the state of New York, not to mention the hundreds scattered all around the country. When a Christian church or synagogue is built in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Islam region, then we can talk about tolerance (Gingrich 2010). Rather than building a mosque, let’s build a memorial to commemorate the 2,966 lives that were lost. If you agree with me, then let your voices be heard! Let’s come together as a country and demand that a memorial be built there and boycott that mosque.

I am astounded and appalled at the number of our elected officials that are proponents of building this mosque. Namely, the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and our dear President of the United States, Barrack Obama. I am horrified that the U. S. President would support such a thing to be built right where so many people lost their lives at the hands of Muslim terrorists. I am shocked that he would support a mosque over a memorial. But then again President Obama is a closet Muslim isn’t he? However, that will have to be a different topic for another paper on a future date. I just don’t understand that when given a plethora of facts and lessons of history, why anyone would agree that building a mosque in what should be a sacred commemorative place is a fine thing to do.
The solution is simple, and it should have been done years ago. Building a memorial is easy and what the majority of American’s want to see be done at that location. It’s just the right thing to do!

I would love to hear your feedback and your thoughts regarding this controversy!

Jeffrey T. Kuhner, S. (2010). Radical Islam's conquest of America. Washington Times, The
(DC), 1. Retrieved from Regional Business News database. (2010, October 28). WTC Muslim Center Retrieved from
Bottum, J. (2010). Holy War Over Ground Zero. First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion &
Public Life, (206), 3-4. Retrieved from
Investor's Business, D. (2010, August 23). Hard Hats: No Mosque! No Mosque! Investors
Business Daily, p. A14. Retrieved from
Newt Gingrich, (2010, July 21). Statement on Proposed Mosque/Islamic Community Center near
Ground Zero. Retrieved from (2010, October 28). WTC Muslim Center Retrieved from
Scarborough, R. (2010, August 24). Human Events. Bring On the Mosque, Bring On the Terror.
Retrieved from
The American Critic. (2010, September 9). Building mosques is a symbol of conquest for Islam
followers. Retrieved from
William Ochan Levi, S. (2010). A classic act of provocation. Washington Times, The
(DC), 1. Retrieved from
Martin Gray (1989-2009). Places of Peace and Power. Retrieved from


Andrea said...

Overall I thought your paper was well written. It sounded like you did some good research and it was persuasive (which I imagine was the intent).

I appreciated how you included that the mosque was to be built near and not at ground zero. I know a lot of reports on the issue have led people to believe that the mosque would be right there. I did a Google search to find how out far away it would be, and in addition to the map showing the distance, the article I pulled up also said that the proposed building isn't technically a mosque. Clyde Haberman from the NY Times was quoted as saying, "That it may even be called a mosque is debatable. It is designed as a multi-use complex with a space set aside for prayer -- no minarets, no muezzin calls to prayer blaring onto Park Place."

The only part I really didn't care for was the end that sounded anti-Muslim and changed the tone from research based to speculation. No doubt that the people who were involved in 911 did a horrible thing, but that should not reflect on the billions of good Muslims in the world. Many are US citizens, just like us. Quite a few innocent Muslim lives were lost on 911, right alongside Christians and many others. I don't believe that those who want the center (aka the mosque) built are doing so with the intent described in your essay.

I will admit that I don't know much about what Muslims believe, but I do know that we are all children of God. We should love them and afford them the same privileges we hope to have whenever we want to build our temples around the world.

As Joseph Smith stated in the 11th article of faith, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

Garden of Egan said...

Beautifully written and expressed!
Very difficult subject for so many.
I hope you get an A!

Wendy Williams said...

I agree with Andrea's previous comment. Your paper is well researched and very well written. I was not aware that it was a practice of Muslims to build mosques at "sites of victory". That's a very interesting thought process.

I identify strongly with your opinions, however, I also identify with some of the contrasting statements that have been made as well.

It could be viewed as a testament to the American spirit that even though attacks against us have been planned in many similar places, we are still standing strong as a country and are still a presence to be reckoned with.

Also, if a group wants to plan an attack against America and there is no Muslim gathering place near Ground Zero, they will simply meet somewhere else to make their plans and the attack will happen regardless. That is my opinion. I have no facts to back it up other than my experience with the mischievous deeds of children.

Another thought that came to me as I was reading your post is that condemning the entire religion based on the acts of a few is unfair. Just because most terrorists are Muslim does not mean all Muslims are terrorists. But, to be fair, I really don't know anything about their religion, so I may be totally off base with that comment.

It doesn't make our country look bad that we are somewhat divided on this issue. It's a testament that we can be divided and still stand together when the need arises. That is a part of what makes our country so wonderful. That we can all form our own opinions based on our own knowledge and express them in non violent ways. And that is a wonderful thing!