Tarek Fatah is the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. He explained his religious objection:
If a step taken by an individual causes disharmony then it is ‘fitna.’ [The mosque] has caused so much pain. There are many mosques already in New York … if there is opposition to a mosque on grounds of hatred I would be the first to confront it. But over here [Ground Zero] it is a matter of sensitivity.
They want to use this Islamic center as a place for diplomacy to the Middle East to demonstrate that the United States is a place where Muslims thrive. But that has backfired because this could have been done in many other ways.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, had a patriotic message for Ramadan:
This is not a humble Islamic statement. A mosque such as this is actually a political structure that casts a shadow over a cemetery. [The Mosque] is going to be used around the world, especially in Islamic media. From the ashes of this destruction comes the flourishing of Islam and I think that is just the wrong message. It is not good for America or for Muslims…We are Americans who happen to be Muslims, not Muslims who happen to be Americans.
From sunup to sundown Muslims are fasting and working on putting our needs tertiary to our God and our country, not what we need. They are abandoning these principles and saying, ‘Well, this is what we need and we are victims if you don’t let us do this. And we can do it, so we are going to.’ I think that is un-Islamic.
Jasser suggested that Muslim opposition to the mosque may be more widespread than we think. Many Muslims dislike the placement, but won’t speak out. He explains:
There is a widespread belief among Muslim teaching that anyone who opposes the construction of a mosque, which is the house of God, is committing a sin. So a lot of people who want to voice their opinion do not… But especially during the month of Ramadan it is important that our actions not cause pain to anyone.
Caroline May’s full article is here.