Ground Zero Mosque
Back in 2009 when the proposed construction of the Ground Zero Mosque was a hot topic I designated Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the guiding force behind the project, the Flim Flam Imam because of his speaking of peace and ecumenicalism in the West while speaking quite another message to his funding sources in the Middle East. If the allegations of a law suit are to be believed, there is another reason now to refer to him as the Flim Flam Imam:
Instead, the controversial imam used some of the cash to provide lavish gifts and getaways to a woman identified as Evelyn Adorno, who shared “a personal relationship with Rauf,” said Deak’s attorney, Jonathan Nelson.
[Update: RealCatholicTV is back online!]
Salvete TAC readers!
Here are my observations and opinions on the Catholic Church in the Internet:
1. A RealCatholicTV (RCTV) representative is reporting that they have been experiencing technical difficulties and should be up and running by Tuesday evening at the latest.
The RCTV Facebook page reports that they could be up as early as this evening!
2. Last nights Sunday Night Live on EWTN had Father Benedict Groeschel interviewing Archbishop Timothy Dolan and I have to say that the good archbishop is very impressive.
He has a strong presence and speaks well with authority. Outside of dodging a question on female altar servers, he looks to be the leading archbishop and the unofficial primate of the United States of America for the foreseeable future.
His Excellency posited that the severe drop in receiving the Sacrament of Penance may have contributed to the vocational crisis since 1968. Most of the interview though was on the recent increase in vocations though.
Another theory that His Excellency suggested was the loss of grandmothers within the home. He truly believes that grandmothers have a significant impact in passing on the faith which leads to vocations to the priesthood. But with more and more families sending their dear grandmothers to retirement “homes”, the family is losing a great advocate for vocations to the priesthood.
Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.
The debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York has raised public interest in, and opposition to, other proposed or recently built mosques and Islamic centers throughout the country.
In areas where Muslim migration or immigration has been significant, some citizens have attempted to discourage construction of new mosques. Few come right out and cite the threat of terrorism; more often they seem to resort to time-honored NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) tactics such as creative interpretation of zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.
Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I understand the need to be vigilant regarding the potential for violent subversion, as well as the dangers of taking such a politically correct approach to militant Islam that people hesitate to report obvious suspicious activity for fear of being labeled bigots (as seems to have happened in the Fort Hood massacre case).
Travelling in the second half of last week, I had occasion to realize how pervasive the TV news coverage of the “ground zero mosque” has become — perhaps in part because it is doubtless a dream situation for TV news producers: All you have to do is draw 3-4 people into the studio and have them debate the question for twenty minutes, throw in a couple of commercial breaks, and voila! you have another 1/48th of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. I was reminded again of how glad I am to have cancelled the cable TV subscription and never put up an antenna.
As I think about it, this seems to me a made-for-TV controversy in more ways than one. For all the talk about this being the “ground zero mosque”, the location two blocks away will not be visible from the WTC monument itself, and is currently occupied by sacred precincts such as the offices of the University of Pheonix, Marty’s Shoes and the Dakota Roadhouse. This is New York, for goodness sake. A thirteen story building isn’t exactly going to stick out. And the visible symbols of religion closes to Ground Zero will remain St. Peter’s Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, and John Street United Methodist. (If anything, it’s a little disappointing the plans for the mosque look rather like a vertical shoebox with abstract patters on it — no minarets here.)
One of the interesting (by which I mean dull, predictable and repetitive) aspects of the 24 hour news cycle is that all forms of media have incentives to magnify and actively seek out controversy. Not only does this increase ratings/page views/newspaper sales, it provides media outlets with something – anything in a slow news month – to talk about. I can’t help but feel that the recent outburst of commentary about the construction of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks is the type of story designed to increase media consumption and accomplish little else. The First Amendment is not in dispute here; freedom of religion is well established and protected by settled case law. Furthermore, the proposed mosque is to be constructed on private property, and there is no legal reason to challenge its construction. And so most of the discussion revolves (and frequently devolves) around taste and symbolism.
This is a viral video sweeping the Internet by a group opposing the building of the Ground Zero Mosque.
The Muslims wanting to build the mosque have their reasons of putting on the face of a peaceful and moderate Islam, but the venue they have chosen couldn’t have been any worse.