This 9/11 Widow’s Take on a Mosque at Ground Zero

I’m likely to get myself into trouble in the form of nasty emails with this post, but it seems important to respond to the Mosque at Ground Zero furor. I suppose I should not be surprised that the media has bit down on this one, and politicians are using the issue for political gain. What else is new? Where is that so-called tolerance than Americans pride themselves on? Polls have found most Americans are AGAINST the mosque at G.Z. Are the media and politicians feeding the flames of this one, for their own ratings and political gain? Gee. Ya think?

When I first heard of the Mosque I thought “Good. What better way to teach tolerance on both sides of the coin?” Thoughts of it being “insensitive” to 9/11 family members did not enter my mind. I began to hear rumblings of how Muslims build mosques at the sites of their victories, but have discovered there are various interpretations of that understanding, one being that they build mosques at sites within crying distance of Muslims. Muslims were killed in the buildings too. Muslims have suffered from post 9/11 racism. So yes, building in a place of tears makes sense to me. Building within crying distance for all Americans makes sense to me. We are all finding ways of healing.

On NPR today, a woman spoke of being at Pearl Harbor recently when several Japanese warships cruised by. The crowd of hundreds were awed by the sight. There was no protest. Would we protest if a Shinto Shrine were built near Pearl Harbour? Oklahoma bombing was also mentioned, whereby Timothy McVeigh pronounced his act was in the name of Christianity. Is there a Christian church near that site?

Surely by allowing a Mosque to be built near Ground Zero, we are sending an even more powerful message to Muslims worldwide than one of submission in response to their cowardly act of terror. Surely this gives us a chance to teach the world the true meanings of freedom, tolerance, and forgiveness. Traits I thought Americans valued, but lessons, clearly we all need to be reminded of.

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  1. Sarah August 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    wow. i really admire your take on this. i think your take sends a powerful message itself.

  2. Boo Mayhew August 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Bravo. It takes courage to post your views about this in the public domain. Thank you for having your beautiful heart and choosing to not be bitter or hateful through your huge loss and heartbreak. I can’t find adequate words to express my thoughts on this, but suffice to say that I am proud to have met you. Hugs, Boo x

  3. Debbie Thomas August 24, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Great post. I’m cheering you on from here. The world would be a better place if more people had your attitude.

  4. John Dobbin August 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I was wondering what you thought of all this.

    The polarization of politics and the raw wound of anything happening in regards to the site is likely to keep going for some time.

    It is hard to say when healing can begin. For some, the war continues.

  5. Bob Clough August 26, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I admire both your perspective and your conviction to share it.

    All the best to you and your kids.

    Carpe Diem

  6. megan August 30, 2010 at 11:34 am

    beautiful. I love the idea of within crying distance.

  7. dadshouse August 31, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Very nice post. As long as the mosque doesn’t make a display of celebrating the bombing, we should show tolerance and let the mosque be built.

  8. J M Daniel August 31, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    One of the things that has bothered me the most about this whole faux controversy (faux because I never considered the Coat Factory to be within some special zone, and because most people offering opinions really have little concept of lower Manhattan) is that so many treated those who suffered personal loss not as individuals, but as an impersonal single entity- to support their uninformed political views. Really shameful. Thanks so much for adding a perspective from you, a real person, with a view that matters.

  9. BB September 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Dear Abbey,

    After listening to Karen Armstrong’s measured support for the mosque near G Zero on FORAtv, I found your blog and read your magnanimous remarks on the subject and learned of your remarkable book. Armstrong believes in ‘an ethical alchemy’ in her examination of the universals inherent in religious experience, so you may find her interesting if you have not been exposed to her work.

    Your writings here reveal a genuine heroine, one on a demanding and compassionate spiritual quest. But you have a wonderful sense of humour (which is the shock absorber of the psyche).

    Also butterflies are symbols of hope in some Catholic iconography, and for the Haida, they represent the spirits of departed ancestors,so there is a symmetry in your iconographic constructions.

    While your journey is an astoundingly complex one, your karma may well include having an older more integrated Carter proudly give his mother away in marriage to a strong sensitive man – while an abundance of butterflies flit about your garden.



  10. Abby Carter September 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you all for your great comments. I Honestly wasn’t sure how my view would be received. Glad there are some sane minds out there.

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