Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

August 23, 2010


A new public face to the Downtown Mosquetiers has appeared: Sharif El Gamal, a developer. In an interview last Tuesday on NY ONE, he appeared as a smooth, articulate, and unbendable figure. He was the one who will see the mosque put into concrete and steel. No question about it. It will happen. Sensitivity to New Yorkers? Not to worry. This will be a "defining" moment for the country, for all fifty states! It will teach New Yorkers about freedom of religion, the constitutional right of all of us. As NYers ourselves, we will teach the real meaning of New York to all of you. The mosque will be an icon. People will come from around the world to see it. (Like the Hamas, who have approved the site!) Somehow the image of a Nazi gauleiter came to mind. Sharif is one of the best arguments to date against the mosques' location. Arrogance personified!

A Saudi judge asked several hospitals to cripple the spine of an attacker, who had left his victim paralized. (NY Times 8-19-2010) An eye for an eye! Muslim law! A judge in Iran recently sentenced a couple to death by stoning! Death is the penalty for apostacy! These examples, like the terrorists on 9/11, were based on principles from the Qur'an. The public has the right to ask of the developer and the imam and his wife how their Islamic faith differs from that of their co-religionists in the above examples. Their own peace-loving affirmations must be much more specific than their own generalized statements as to peace. Will they publicly disavow in writing the specific provisions of the Qur'an on which the above actions are based?

Similar peace-affirming Moslems have been content to offer general or incomplete answers. In August 2002, the University of North Carolina required new students to read Michael Sells' "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Years". The book was intended to show the peace-loving spirit of the Qur'an. But it dealt with only the first thirty-five suras - all imbued with a peaceful spirit. The harshness of the sharia would appear only in the later portions. Thus the volume, pretending the essentials, failed in omitting the harsh portions.

After 9/11, a small group of Moslems distributed a flier throughout my neighborhood, distancing themselves from the Islam of the 9/11 hijackers.The flier was headed by a quotation from the Qur'an: "If a man slays another man...he slays all mankind. 5,32" I got a copy of the Qur'an, curious to see what had been omitted, as noted by the three dots. I found: "not in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land." Of course, "mischief" provides a blank check for murder. It is translated variously: "blasphemy", "indecency", or "degradation". Interpretations could vary: a billboard with a bikini-clad lady to publicly worshipping by a Christian or a Jew.

Many in the public would welcome the answers as to how the downtown mosque people differentiate themselves from the more violent. Please, let us know!