Why Cordoba?

A Mosque Near Ground Zero – another perspective?
Vinod Kumar
A great controversy is raging around the nation.
A New York City community board voted Tuesday – May 25, 2010 — to support a Muslim-led plan to build a mosque near ground zero. About 150 people packed the Community Board. One meeting and after four hours of heated debate, the board ultimately gave a 29-to-1 vote of residential approval. The building will be called Cordoba House.
Opponents of the project protested the proposal, waving pictures of loved ones killed in the World Trade Center and holding up signs that read, “Honor 3,000, 9/11 — No mosque!”
1. Why a mosque near ground zero?
Why a mosque at that particular place – the site where the existing structure was damaged when World Trade Center twin towers were attacked by Muslim terrorists in the name of Islam?  The site has emotional feelings for not just the relatives and friends of those who were killed on that fateful day or the New Yorkers but also for the entire nation as this was a well orchestrated attack on the fundamental icons of America. On that day the plan was to attack three icons of what America stands for – economic might, military might and democracy. The first two icons were successfully attacked – the attempt for the third was foiled by the brave and vigilant passengers of the flight that crashed in the fields of western Pennsylvania.
The pagan pantheon of the Ka’aba, located in Mecca, was the first non-Muslim sanctuary to be used as a mosque; this was done by Prophet Muhammad himself after he conquered Mecca in 630 CE.
Since then it has been established practice of Muslim conquerors to demolish icons of people they conquer and build a mosque or use the iconic structure of the vanquished as mosque. Islam is a supremacist faith – it believes it is to be the only true faith.(Koran 3:19 and others) Al-Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem at a site also known as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, the place where the First and Second Temples, are generally accepted to have stood, Ummayad mosque in Damascus on the site of church of St. John, the converted Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Babri mosque (demolished in 1992) at Lord Rama’s birthplace in Ayodhya, India – are just a few of the long list of mosques built on the site of earlier churches and temples. In India alone historian Sita Ram Goel in his book Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them gives a partial list of 2000 Islamic monuments built at the site of deliberately demolished Hindu temples or material obtained from them.
In the medieval times churches, synagogues and temples used to be icons of civilizations. So they demolished those and built mosque there. Today these icons have been replaced by democracy, military and economic might – that is what America stands for today. Building a mosque at the hallowed ground of demolished WTCs  — icons of America’s economic might is in Muslim eyes be a symbol of Islam’s victory over mighty America.  The selection of the site is not accidental – it is rather a very astute decision.
2. Why name it Cordoba Initiative / House:
The name given to the project to a casual observer sounds quite innocent but on closer scrutiny betrays the intentions of the project. It is named Cordoba Initiative and the building will be called Cordoba House. One wonders why would a Muslim group building a mosque or a community center, as they call it, in New York City in the US would name it after a Spanish city?
Symbols are powerful in any civilization and more so in Islam. So one would naturally ask what is so special about Cordoba. Cordoba was once a grand city but then there have been many grand cities in history. What is so special about Cordoba? Of course, Cordoba has deep resonance in the history of Islam.
Spain was attacked by Islamic forces in 711AD with a view to capture all Europe and convert it to Islam. Islam’s progress was arrested by Charles Martel at the borders of France in 732AD. Cordoba was the capital of the Islamic empire in Spain. Cordoba is the place where first Islamic Caliphate was established in the West. On the site of an existing and from materials obtained from the Christian Visigoth Church a grand mosque was built in Cordoba. Thus naming the new structure near the demolished World Trade Center Cordoba House carries great symbolic value.
The Cordoba mosque has a very special place in Islamic annals.  The Muslims have a great reverence for it. The spiritual father of Pakistan, poet Allama Iqbal, while on a visit to Europe in the year 1932 A.D. took special permission to visit Spain. “Among the various monuments of Islamic Spain, the most intense yearning of his soul was to experience the Grand Mosque (Le Mezquita) of Cordoba, built in the 8th century by Emir Abdul Rehman I, but now called The Holy Cathedral. At the great mosque of Qurtaba, he wrote his poem Masjid-e-Qurtaba and offered his prayers, although this ritual had been forbidden by the Government of Spain.” (www.allamaiqbal.com)
He wrote:
“Sacred for lovers of art, thou art the glory of faith,
Thou hast made Andalusia pure as a holy land.”
If Allama Iqbal was to revisits the earth, I have no doubt that he would wish to visit the so called Cardoba House in New York and show the same reverence that he showed in his poem towards Masjid-e-Qurtaba.
There is no doubt that the proposed “community center” would serve as a land mark of Islamic conquest of America and would be visited not so much by the local Muslim community but the visitors from all over the Islamic world and in time the prayers would be conducted for those who destroyed the twin towers rather than those who perished in them.
3. What is the purpose of Cordoba House?
This is defined on the web site of Cordoba initiative and I quote from the web site as of June 1, 2010:
“This proposed project is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic values in their truest form – compassion, generosity, and respect for all.”
I admire the people behind the Cordoba Initiative for their noble aims.
It is not America or New York City that needs promoting integration, and tolerance of difference and community cohesion. America, and the New York city specially, is a wonderful living testament to integration and tolerance of people from all over the world working together in an exemplary fashion. Would it not be better to spend 100 million dollars in building churches and temples and community centers of art and culture where such integration and tolerance does not exist, where the practice or propagation of religion other than Islam is prohibited, where women and non-Muslims are treated as second class citizens, where there is no freedom of religion, conscience, speech or thought?  Would it not be better to promote integration and tolerance in the country where the Islamic terrorists who attacked the US on 9/11 came from?
Mosque near ground zero is a terrible idea. Mosque near ground zero is a psychological surrender to the very forces that attacked the WTCs on 9/11.   Mosque near ground zero is an insult to the memory of 3000 who perished in the attack on the twin towers.
June 2, 2010

Shelomo Alfassa: Beware the Cordoba Initiative

Source: Press Release (6-2-10)

[Shelomo Alfassa is the former US director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries and a scholar of Judaic life in Islamic Spain. He lives in New York.]

The world should know that the ‘Cordoba Initiative,’ the New York City based organization desiring to construct a massive Islamic house of prayer at ‘Ground Zero,’ has posted on its website, a peculiar and disingenuous statement indicating the desire to bring back the atmosphere of, “interfaith tolerance and respect that we have longed for since Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony and prosperity eight hundred years ago.”

I point this out because contemporary scholarship has clearly demonstrated that there was no ‘harmony’ or ‘prosperity’ for non-Muslims in Islamic Spain. The Cordoba Initiative is attempting to revisit some sort of mythical “tolerance and respect” which never existed.

What is irrefutable is that living under Islam, the non-Muslim population was always mandated to submit to Islam, accept discriminatory laws, and make payment of a mandatory Quranic tax imposed upon every non-Muslim. For a period of about 800 years, most of Spain was ruled by Muslims and this area was known as ‘Al-Andalus.’ Islamic rule ended in 1492, when the city of Granada, the last Muslim kingdom in Western Europe, capitulated to the Spanish Catholics.

The Cordoba Initiative is an organization whose very name makes reference to what was, 1,000 years ago, one of the world’s most advanced cities, Cordoba, Al-Andalus (Spain). This was a city that was politically and religiously dominated by Islam, and a city that was conquered by jihad (holy war). Today, there are Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda that have a dream of seeing a pan-Islamic world that would extend from old Al-Andalus (Spain). This is based upon Islam’s principle of dar-al-Islam, which means a world where Islamic sovereignty prevails over the citizenry. Dar-al-Islam is attained through jihad and the media is replete with Al- Qaeda’s calls for jihad and their claims to Al-Andalus and its major cities such as Cordoba.

Clearly, Islamic Cordoba was once a city where a number of intellectual Muslims such as Averroes (Ibn-Rushd), influenced European thought with Arab philosophy related to the scientific teachings of Aristotle. In mathematics, the Arabs built upon the foundations of Greek mathematicians. At one point there were dozens of free schools in Cordoba for the education of poor Arabs and at some point there existed some 600 mosques. However, even with all of this scholastic and societal grandeur, the route to get to such a point of magnificence was through violent warfare.

Not only were successive battles for Spanish cities bloody, but desiring more than Spain–the Arabs declared a jihad against France, then crossed the Pyrenees, and in successive swarms spread over the southern regions of the French countryside, slaughtering the Christians by thousands, and burning their churches to the ground before being halted.

We must remember that a practice associated with conquering Islamic armies was the construction of a mosque at the location where their triumphant battle was won. Thus, this modern Islamic organization is seeking to build a mosque at the site of 9/11 attack—an attack which was carried out by 19 Muslim hijackers who considered their mission holy war.

Insomuch, it is this man’s opinion that a Muslim house of prayer that would be cemented in the ashes of catastrophe at the foot of New York’s lost Twin Towers would be a symbolic victory flag for Muslims who seek the destruction of America. Further, it is my honest opinion that no matter how the construction of a mosque at ‘Ground Zero’ may be perceived by well-meaning Americans, the construction of a mosque on the spot where Al-Qaeda brought jihad to the United States will unquestionably represent victory to the worldwide forces of Radical Islam.

A Muslim Journalist speaks out against Cordoba and about its true motives

What Could Possibly Be Wrong About Building A Mosque Named Cordoba at Ground Zero?

By Abdullah Al Araby (http://IslamReview.Com)

The news is out.  The Muslims of America are planning to build a $100 million mosque across the street from 9/11’s Ground Zero in New York City. So far, for most Americans there is nothing notable about such news. We are getting used to seeing magnificent multimillion dollar mosques spring up here and there throughout our nation.  Little do we realize the extent to which such mosques serve multi-purposes beyond their stated functions as educational centers and places of worship for Muslims.  In addition, they are advertisements for gaining converts to Islam.  As you will soon understand, the Ground Zero Mosque signals something very significant to the entire Islamic World.

America is the global symbol for religious freedom.  We even demonstrate tolerance for religions like Islam that do not show the same tolerance for Americans who want to build churches in Islamic nations.  For instance, in Saudi Arabia, Christians are not allowed to build a church on its soil. In Egypt; Coptic Christians need a Presidential Decree of approval to build a church. In addition, such approvals require red tape security clearances that can take decades to obtain.

But, our attitude is, “that is just the way it is in the Islamic World.” For us, the contrast between them and us is expected in matters about religious tolerance.

But, do we really understand the extent of the contrast?

America is a huge country encompassing fifty states. The States are already saturated with over 1200 mosques that have been built in recent years.  When Muslims ask for a permit to build a new mosque, nobody ask if there is a need for another mosque.  Nobody is required to give an answer. Our attitude is let them build whatever they like, wherever they like.  It is of no problem to us. .

However, alarms of some sort ought to arise when a new mosque is planned just a few hundred feet away from where the Twin Towers once stood.  Alarms should sound that it was Muslim terrorists that brought down the Twin Towers and took 3,000 lives while doing so. That should spark some pointed questions in the minds of conscientious Americans.

What message is the building of the Ground Zero Mosque sending to Americans? The message is clear; it is a reminder of the defeat of America by Muslims in the Battle of Manhattan on September 11, 2001. The defeat caused the towers of the World Trade Center, the symbol of the American economy, to collapse. In its place, Muslims are planning a 13 story Islamic Center that will cost 100 million dollars.  The proposed Islamic Center will consist of a museum, a library, and a mosque.  The top floor will feature skyscraper minaret. Five times daily, Muslims will be called to prayer from that minaret.  The Arabic prayers will be blasted over loud speakers down upon the very spot where over 20,000 victim body parts were collected in the aftermath of that horrible day.

It is a humiliating message to America.  It is an insult to the country that generously provided safe havens to Muslims, many of whom were persecuted in their Islamic mother countries.

And, what message will this send to the families of the victims of September 11, 2001? About 3,000 people were killed on that tragic day. Those people never harbored any animosity towards Islam or Muslims. They never pointed a gun at Muslims.  They never uttered unkind words about Muslims.  Nevertheless, they found themselves facing terrifying deaths.  Some burnt to death.  Many died by toxic smoke inhalations. Others jumped to their deaths to get relief from the flames. Countless others were blown to bits by the crashing planes and their body parts were scattered throughout the area. .

But, the insult intensifies with the name the Muslims plan to give their new mosque!

The name of the proposed mosque is The Cordoba Mosque.

A little glance back in Islamic history will reveal the significance of naming a mosque on American soil the Cordoba Mosque. We must travel back in time to the hegira period of 622 A.D.  The hegira period began after Mohammad moved his headquarters in Arabia from Mecca to Medina.  That is when he was transformed from an eccentric religionist to a Jihad warlord. During that era his armies conquered much of the Mediterranean World including Andalusia in Spain. Huge sections of civilization were conquered by Muslims and became part of the Islamic Empire.  It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty with Damascus as its capital.  After the fall of the Umayyad dynasty and the rise of the Abbasid dynasty, a bitter war took place to eliminate the Umayyad rulers in all of the empire. However, Muslims in Andalusia chose a young man of the Umayyad by the name of Abdel Rahman Aldakhel to be their ruler.  Aldakhel was one of few Umayyads that was able to escape the Abbasid crush.

Aldakhel ruled Andalusia for 34 years and was credited with many accomplishments.  His greatest feat was initiating the project of building the Cordoba Mosque. The mosque started a little after the First Hegira Century.  As time passed it was enlarged by subsequent rulers.  It was completed 250 years later. It was acclaimed as the benchmark of Islamic architecture.

Until this day, Muslims sing the praises of The Cordoba Mosque.  The mosque was said to be an architectural master piece, the best structure ever designed by Muslim engineers.

However, after the fall of Cordoba to Spain, some 1000 years ago, the mosque was turned into a Catholic church.  From that day until this, it is heavily guarded by Spanish police. Spanish authorities refused to give the mosque back to Muslim rulers.  They would not sell it back to them no matter what price was offered. At this juncture in history, Muslims are forbidden to even pray at the site

The picture will get clearer about what the Cordoba title means for the Ground Zero Mosque when you understand the following fact and ask the following questions.  The fact is the building site was formerly owned by the Catholic Church.  Could the Cordoba Mosque project in Manhattan, New York possibly be a settling of ancient scores with the Christian World for what happened to the ancient Cordoba Mosque in Andalusia, Spain centuries ago?  Is the fact that the mosque is to be built a few hundred feet from the site of the Battle of Manhattan significant?  Could it  be that the Muslims are signaling something that Americans would never guess?  Shouldn’t we be a little suspicious to learn that much of the funding is coming from Islamic strongholds that aid and abet terrorists?  Is it possible that the building of the Cordoba Mosque near 9/11’s catastrophic site is the Islamic World’s prideful celebration of the defeat of the greatest military force in the world?  Does it give them ongoing good cause to rejoice over the two towers of the World Trade Center crumbling into ashes and piles of debris? The Islamic World is very much into symbolisms.  On September the 11th, 1623 the Muslim Jihad armies were defeated at Europe’s door.  The timing of the 9/11/2001 attack on America’s shores was not coincidental.  It was a signal to the home of the free and Christians everywhere that Islam has regained its strength and is back with a vengeance.  Are we wise to think there are no correlations between the Muslim loss of the Cordoba Mosque 1000 years ago and rebuilding another of the same name in present day America?

But, of what benefit is for anyone to dig up old memories remindful of bitterness that affected almost everybody. In that event, memory wouldn’t forget the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia that was built in the 6th Century in Istanbul, Turkey.  The conquering Muslims turned it into a mosque for 5 centuries.  It has subsequently been changed into a museum.

An important question needs to be posed.  Is the planned building of the new Cordoba Mosque in New York a genuine attempt to bring healing and peace amongst people of different faiths?  Or, is it a call to reopen old wounds and to cause streams of blood to run?

Surely, the building of that mosque does not help the efforts of reconciliation between followers of different religions in America. If I were a Muslim, I would object to building the mosque.  My concern would be that building a mosque on the designated site at this time would be inappropriate.  Naming the edifice the Cordoba Mosque does not serve the best interest of anyone.  If American Muslims and the Islamic World at large really want peace they should realize that building a Cordoba Mosque near Ground Zero is an inflammatory and provocative act of grotesque proportions.

If American Muslims intend to really honor the martyrs of September 11, here is a suggestion that would do it. They can buy full-page ads in major newspapers and on major TV networks around the country to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  The gist of the ads could state something like this: “On the occasion of the tenth commemoration of the attack of September 11, 2001, we, the Muslims of America, unconditionally condemn the attack as evil attack.  We condemn the terrorists and the terrorist organization that planed and funded it. We deeply regret that Islamic religious texts were used to justify violence and the killing of innocent people. We declare that we honor those who died and those who were injured on that day. We send our sincere condolences to their families and loved ones. On behalf of every Muslim in the world, we apologize to the United States.”


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