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Charles Karel Bouley Headshot

NYC Mosque: It's Our Fault We're Mad

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It's not the mosque's fault.

Nor is it the fault of the Muslim's that wish to build it.

It's our fault, We, The People, for letting a vacant lot sit where towers, a memorial, a park, where something, anything but an empty hole with some construction going on should be. Let's face it, one man (with the help of hundreds of thousands of basic slaves one step up from the construction of the pyramids) built Dubai in the same time; in the same nine, count them, nine long years since the planes flew in to the World Trade Center and brought them down.

I visited Ground Zero shortly after 9/11 and then again in 2005. There wasn't much difference. I've seen photos of the "reconstruction" that has gone on over the years. The giant inscribed cornerstone that now sits back in the quarry where it was mined, inscribed for the heroes and those that lost their lives, a rock solid symbol of things to come that never did.

No, as Dubai built the tallest buildings in the world, from 2000 through 2010, as they built islands where there was only sea, Ground Zero sat mired in permits, planning, approvals, with no real leader, no real figurehead. George W. Bush and his administration did nothing to ease this black eye on America; they did not demand and push through construction. The site was not seen as a national place of rebuilding and people are now living in condos and houses that were only vacant land in 2001 in other parts of the nation; Yet no one occupies replacement towers, landmarks, testaments to our resilience and ability to rebuild as of this day.

So when construction on an 11 story mosque is planned right near the site, many in the nation get angry. I know, I was one of them. For weeks on my show I rallied against the wisdom of building the structure; to expand the existing mosque. It seems I wasn't the only one doubting the wisdom as President Obama refuses to comment on that issue, the wisdom of building the mosque, while announcing they should have the right to build it over his recent Gulf Coast weekend.

Like me, he's forced to agree with the construction. I wasn't, at first. It took Alan Colmes, New Yorker and talk host, to come on my show and "talk me down" from my position. How did he do it? Well, he tried every argument with me; but only one prevailed: the fact that other religions have been able to build or expand places of their faith around the site already. That's the deal breaker for me in my opposition. If Christians, Jews, others are allowed, have been allowed or are being allowed to expand their presence on or near Ground Zero, then there should be no qualms about a mosque.

My position remains simple: the core of the attack, the roots of it, were, are, is, remain, religion. Yes, religion run amok, right wing, radical religion; but religion nonetheless. In fact, ever since 9/11, it's felt very Crusade-esque; the Christian nation, America, taking on the Islamic extremists. Bible verses were put on missiles in the early days for the "shock and awe" campaign; some food and other items distributed in Iraq had Christian imagery or words on them even though it's a Muslim nation.

So given that religion is so tied in to what happened, and given that there are ashes of the dead still on, in and around the buildings in the area making it all a memorial, a graveyard, I did not, do not want any kind of religious expansion there; be it Christian or Muslim. But New Yorkers, planning commissions and others have felt otherwise, as other faiths have expanded their presence near the site. Therefore, Muslims must be allowed.

As for the "wisdom" of it, well, it's not so much wisdom as timing. If something glorious were at Ground Zero now; towers, memorial, a bustling area, or an area of reflection or both...if anything other than some unfinished, vaguely planned, bureaucratically impaired lot was there with only subbasements and train stations being built or completed then this wouldn't sting so much. But the fact that Muslims can pull themselves together enough to build an 11-story Islamo-Disney as it is seen by many before the Twin Tower's replacements are operational, built, functioning just feels like another slap in the face. And no amount of logic will change that.

So what to do? How about concentrating less on the mosque and more on Ground Zero itself. How about all the meetings, all the press, focus on the rebuilding of that site? And if the President wants to get involved, how about it be to expedite that project. We have millions out of work, particularly in construction. How about one of the first big public works plans be helping to put back what was taken from the country?

Until we actually rebuild that site, finish it, until America can see that site functioning again in full force, the wisdom of doing anything else around it is lost on me. And until we rebuild what religion gone bad has caused, then all religious building or expansion should be put on hold in that area. Unfortunately it has not been, and therefore, the mosque must be allowed to proceed.

I don't like it any more than many, but I won't blame the law abiding Muslim-Americans that want to build it. I blame New York City, State and the Federal Government, and We, the People, for not insisting that part of our wound is closed and healed before we pick at the scab.

Until Ground Zero is rebuilt and fully operational there's no wisdom at all being exercised at the site.