This is not a “controversy” blog, and I will almost never write politically motivated rants here, because I lack the knowledge and confidence to do so. And because I really don’t enjoy controversy. But here is a news item that catches my eye for many reasons, not least being that it meshes with some things we have been reading lately regarding the Muslim presence in the non-Muslim world through the ages. That’s a huge topic, and I can’t begin to tackle it, but I have some thoughts regarding a proposed Islamic Center right at Ground Zero, which hopes to break ground for construction on September 11 of this year, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack.
First I want to detour a bit and say that it’s fascinating to me that the history of Europe, roughly between the years 1000 and 1500 was very much a story of how the Muslims were, at great cost to life and limb, being kept from infiltrating the continent. Where the Muslims gained ground in Constantinople and in Spain, Christian nations lost land, monuments, revenue, and trading routes.
Countless lives were lost. And in these conflicts, even Christians behaved in the most shameful manner, believing themselves to be justified to do evil in fighting off a force they saw as a greater evil. National borders were strengthened as part of the ongoing war to keep the Muslims out of Europe.
And then, as my son likes to say, 75 years after the invention of the airplane, the continent of Europe was overtaken by Muslims who simply flew in and made themselves at home, easy as pie. And they are equally present in North America. And we are told, and it often appears, that they have come in peace.
But if they are here in peace, history indicates that this is a different brand of Islam. Muslim crimes against Christians, and Jews are legendary. There is also a history of intolerance against Buddhists, women, and Muslims who do not take their faith seriously enough. There is even a web-site hosted by Muslims which chronicles the criminal treatment non-Muslims receive when living in a Muslim culture. And we all know the story of how Al-Qaeda funded and trained Muslim terrorists to fly four jumbo jets into large and strategic American landmarks on September 11, 2001, killing 2,995 people.
And now, Faisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam of an Islamic Center which is to be constructed two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, has paid $4.85 million for this particular piece of property, describing it as “iconic” due to its location. And he paid cash. That is quite a sum! All that has been publicly disclosed about the funding of this project is that the support comes from unidentified sources in Saudi Arabia and Muslim ruled Malaysia. There are many who like to point out the irony that Saudi Arabia funded the September 11 attacks too, though the American State Department claims that the Saudi Arabian tie is uncertain.
The Mosque is to be named Cordoba House. Muslims view Spain and the city of Cordoba in particular as a place where Muslim rule reached a glorious peak. There is some myth of a Golden Age of equality during the Muslim occupation of Spain. But a more accurate view is that Spain and Cordoba were places where Christians and Jews were persecuted and treated as social inferiors under Islamic oppression.
Rauf admits this himself and is quoted as saying , “Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule simply had to pay a tax to finance their protection by their Muslim overlords.” (That’s extortion, not protection.) Equal civil rights never existed for non-Muslims under Sharia, or Islamic law.
But Daisy Khan, the wife of an Imam in Manhattan says “The idea of a cultural center that strengthens ties between Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds is positive.” And Michael Bloomberg’s director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Fatima Shama, went further. “We as New York Muslims have as much of a commitment to rebuilding New York as anybody.” But the relationship described here is not one that is much evidenced by Muslim treatment of non-Muslims historically, what has changed?
Rauf has created an organization, called The Cordoba Initiative, which will measure how closely countries follow Sharia law with a “Sharia Index”. Sharia covers every aspect of Muslim life from food to clothing to weddings, music, entertainment, and all manner of social interaction. Sharia demands that Muslim life be governed by the laws of the the Koran, without the intervention of civic institutions. For the faithful Muslim, Sharia law becomes the law of the land. And the ultimate objective of this law code is that the Koran shall dictate that everyone, even non-Muslims, must ultimately live under Sharia.
That an institution who’s ambition may be the imposition of Islamic standards upon non-Muslims should be erected at the site where nearly 3,000 individuals were murdered in the name of Islam is an awful irony. It is the worst sort of insult to heap on top of such a horrifying injury.
Americans should be outraged and disgusted and busy busy busy preventing this construction. But if it is stopped, it will only prevent the construction of one building. The movement will continue unchecked unless Godly people work in a Godly way to turn the hearts of all men…. in homes, churches, and government, back to a humble and obedient service to Christ.
I sometimes wonder what we North Americans expected. As a culture, and in the name of open mindedness and inclusivity, Americans have smiled and nodded and allowed all sorts of sin into the church, all sorts of godlessness into our culture. We have not protected our hearts, we have not protected our homes, we have not been diligent to understand Biblical teaching or to apply it in our lives. Our complacency has caught up with us. But more, American Christians need to be more rigorous in our understanding of how Islam fits into Biblical history. How does the sovereign God of the Bible, who’s earth this is, view it all. Has he forgotten us? No. Is this God’s judgement on us as a lazy and unconcerned nation which claims a form of godliness, forgetting and denying its power.