Muslim community still feels effects of ground zero debate

By Felicia Melvin
September 27, 2010

Controversy over the building of a Muslim community center near ground zero is also a concern for a local Muslim community in Philadelphia.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast-growing international revival movement within Islam.  The Ahmadiyya Muslim community center is located in the Logan section of Philadelphia.

“The understanding we have is America is a free country and the First Amendment gives everyone the single right to worship,” Mujeeb Chaudhary, president of Ahmadiyya Muslim community, said. “All those people who are making it hard are going against the constitution of America.”

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, has proposed the building of a Muslim community center that will hold a mosque blocks away from ground zero. This proposal has caused uproar in the media and among politicians.

Sarah Palin was one of the politicians who opposed the building of the center.

“Will Obama express U.S. lingering pain and ask Muslims for tolerance by discouraging the 9/11 mosque while he celebrates Islamic holy month tonight?” Palin said via Twitter.

“The news media is getting a kick out of the situation and they will keep it going until election,” Chaudhary said.

Polls have shown that 71 percent of Americans believe that it is inappropriate to build a mosque near ground zero, while 22 percent believe it is appropriate.

“Republicans are taking a hard stand against the building of the mosque. They want to show that they are taking a stand for the people that vanished on 9/11,” Chaudhary said.

“Islam is a religion of peace; Rauf should show courtesy and build it somewhere else. It is against the Islam religion to hurt that many people,” Chaudhary said.

Many Americans are still mourning over their loved ones who were murdered due to the event of 9/11.

Terry Jones, a pastor from Florida, has gained media attention from his repeated threat to burn the Quran, which is the Islamic holy book.

“In the Bible it says to love your enemies. How dare he believe he is a Christian and make a statement like that about another holy book,” Chaudhary said.  “As a Muslim, we honor all the holy books.”

Although the controversy over the building of an Islamic community near ground zero is far from over, the hate and terror of 9/11 will never be forgotten.

“We are not aggressive people. We want to obey Allah first and that means obeying the law of the lands,” Chaduhary said. “In the east they train the children to hate the west. They kill innocent people over there. When they bombed the west they were doing injustice. It is sad because that is carried onto the beautiful faith of Islam.”

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Felicia Melvin

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