An underlying issue regarding the protests against the proposed Ground Zero mosque is simply that New Yorkers and America at large are not interested in seeing the area where thousands of Americans were murdered turned into a relativist politicized site, and where revisionist history of the events surrounding 9/11 could begin to form.
Many who defend the appropriateness of the mosque’s location will say that opposing what has become known as the “Cordoba House” amounts to Islamophobia or bigotry towards Muslims.
However, a number of proposed Ground Zero structures have yet to be built or, for that matter, rebuilt since the 9/11 attacks. These include the building meant to replace the World Trade Center towers and the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church, a structure that was crushed as a result of the September 11th attacks.
In fact, a one proposed idea that was eventually rejected was the International Freedom Center. This cultural center, first proposed in 2004, was a left-wing endorsed project that presented itself as a tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11.
The CNN report on the IFC in 2005 showed the that those on Left had tried previously to get their relativist version of 9/11 events integrated with the destroyed area of lower Manhattan through a secular institution. According to the Gotham Gazette, with the help of Michael Posner, executive director at Human Rights First, Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, Columbia University radical professor Eric foner, and billionaire George Soros the freedom center would have included a showcase that exhibited how civil liberties in this country had been curtailed since 9/11 among other anti-Bush administration themes at the time.
At the time, the Freedom Center was a bothersome idea to 9/11 families and othes given the blame America first theme of the proposed building. According to CNN:
“There remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the IFC and we must move forward with our first priority — the creation of an inspiring memorial to pay tribute to our lost loved ones and tell their stories to the world,” Pataki said in a written statement.
A growing chorus of September 11 victims’ family members had objected to proposed exhibits that would cover subjects in American history unrelated to the 2001 terrorists attack. Some also objected to the center occupying an eight-story cultural center in the southwest quadrant of the 16-acre site where the memorial will be centered.
“Therefore, the IFC cannot be located on the memorial quadrant,” Pataki said.
Pataki said he wanted the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the city-state agency overseeing rebuilding on the site, to explore other locations for the center.
But the center immediately issued a statement saying it did not see “a viable alternative place.”
“We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end,” said the center’s chief operating officer, Richard Tofel.
The center was proposed to be a museum featuring exhibits on the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, but also on American values — from the Revolution to the civil rights movement.
Hundreds of September 11 families protested the plan in recent weeks, staging demonstrations at Ground Zero to “take back the memorial” and circulating petitions. They contended the freedom center would detract from the necessary, singular focus on the terrorist attacks that toppled the Twin Towers and claimed 2,749 lives in Lower Manhattan.
In fact, Mayor Bloomberg, a supporter of building the Ground Zero mosque, also supported the creation of the “freedom center” but not so much the 9/11 memorial that was also proposed at the same time:
The freedom center was the most controversial of four cultural institutions chosen to occupy space on the site. The others were the Joyce International Dance Theater, the Signature Theater Company and the fine arts Drawing Center. The Drawing Center recently withdrew from the plan.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has advocated the integration of cultural institutions into the site, said, “Although I understand Governor Pataki’s decision, I am disappointed that we were not able to find a way to reconcile the freedoms we hold so dear with the sanctity of the site.”
Imam Faisel Rauf is the mysterious individual who wants to raise money for the $100 million Cordoba House project. He is a highly political figure who, according to various news sources, has called the United States policy an “accessory” to the attacks on September 11th, remained evasive when asked if Hamas was a terrorist organization, supported the Turkish flotilla passengers who brutally attacked Israeli military, and claimed that “American political structure is sharia-compliant.”.
Why shouldn’t those who did not want to see Ground Zero associated with the promotion of 9/11 through a secular liberal lens in 2005 want to see the area politicized through a proposed religious institution with suspicious political ties? One thing is for sure, Americans did not want it then, and they do not want it now.