Hallowed Ground

As the first cool nights of autumn reach across my home state of Pennsylvania, I have been thinking about the controversy over the "Ground Zero Mosque" that has gripped America all summer, and continues to stir emotional debate.

Some, including President Obama, have argued that the Cordoba House/Park 51 mosque project is a simple case of private property rights, in which the owners of the building should be allowed to develop their land as they see fit.  I agree that Government entities and bureaucrats often place too many constraints on the development of private property.  However, Ground Zero - like Gettysburg, Antietam, the Beaches of Normandy, and other critical battlefields - is hallowed ground, where Americans died in the midst of war.  This is not normal land subject to normal property rights.  As one small indication of just  how hallowed and sensitive this ground is, human remains continue to be discovered during the reclamation, excavation and construction processes taking place in the immediate area.  So far this year - Nine full years after the attack - body parts belonging to 72 different American casualties -- office workers, fire fighters, police officers, and others -- have been found.

Almost 3,000 Americans died on September 11, 2001 as the result of coordinated attacks perpetrated by radical Islamic terrorists hailing mostly from Saudi Arabia and sponsored by both al Qaeda and the Taliban government of Afghanistan.  The Ground Zero mosque project is purportedly led by a "moderate" imam.  However, he is raising money for the ground zero mosque from all over the Middle East including Saudi Arabia & Iran, and radical Islamic elements are saying loudly that the Ground Zero mosque, Cordoba House, must be built. 

If Cordoba House supporters were truly moderate and genuinely concerned about fostering a "healing dialogue" between Muslims and Americans as they suggest, then project leaders would not have rejected New York Governor David Patterson's offer to help them find an alternative site for their mosque.   They also would not have rejected Donald Trump's and other offers to buy them out at a large gain for the mosque developers.  Project leaders also would not have chosen a name - Cordoba House -- that symbolizes military conquest for Muslims. 

I strongly support the U.S. Constitution, and our constitutional principles of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and private property rights.  I also believe that America is a melting pot of people from all backgrounds and religions who have come together over time to form "one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."  Within the context of our American constitution and our American cultural traditions, the effort to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero symbolizing political and military victory over America is a shocking and aggressive provocation.  This is why the vast majority of Americans oppose it.  After all, as demonstrated so painfully on 9/11 at Ground Zero, al Qaeda and radical Islam have declared war on America -- on us -- and we have a right and a duty to defend our constitution, our culture, and ourselves both physically and psychologically.

Opposition to this mosque is rational and reasonable and reflects a mainstream understanding of both the aggressive tactics used to spread Islam throughout history, as well as the basics of human nature.  Throughout history, conquerors have torn down the most important symbols of a culture and society and built their new monuments of religious and political domination right on top of the ruins of the old.  This is a universal, cross cultural way of instilling fear and communicating domination.  This is basic to human nature.  Do our enemies as well as our own soft, out-of-touch leaders really believe that average Americans do not understand these truths and will allow Cordoba House at Ground Zero to happen?

There may be some moderate Muslims who see the proposed Cordoba House mosque as a positive, bridge building facility, but the voices of our enemies in radical Islam confirm our worst fears about this mosque's more aggressive nature.  If we want to continue to be a strong, secure and free nation, we cannot allow our enemies to achieve a critical psychological victory that will dishonor our dead, insult those who still grieve, signal weakness, and inspire further aggression against our constitution, our culture and our homeland.  No, we absolutely cannot give our radical enemies quarter on our most sacred ground.

Glen Meakem is a former Army Reserve Officer and Gulf War veteran.  He was founder and CEO of Internet success, FreeMarkets, Inc. and is currently Managing Director of Meakem Becker Venture Capital.  He is also host of The Glen Meakem Radio Program, broadcast on weekends in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.