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This past week, just a few months prior to the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the Planning Commission of lower Manhattan has approved the construction of a $100 million mosque near the site of Ground Zero. The 13-floor building, as reported by The New York Times a few days ago, will reach the height of one hundred feet. The group sponsoring the project has said that the city and its population would benefit from its purpose as a cultural center which will work to bring harmony between Islamic culture and New Yorkers.
The mosque will be constructed in a city still bleeding from one of the worst civilian attacks since WW II and still suffering with the sad memory of the destruction of the World Trade Center and the loss of almost three thousand lives. In almost nine years New Yorkers and all Americans still wait to see the replacement of the destroyed towers, but instead we find ourselves with a proposed Islamic cultural center, which for some will be nothing more than a landmark and a memorial to the victory of Bin Laden and company as a sample of Islamic Jihad against Western infidels.
As a professional architect I wonder why the Planning Commission of lower Manhattan decided to keep its residents uninformed about a project in this sensitive location with such purpose and proportion. A project of this size would normally need an in-depth urban study and infrastructure planning. The location for construction of an Islamic cultural center in very close proximity to the disaster area of Ground Zero where less than nine years ago two commercial airliners carrying innocent passengers were hijacked by Muslims from Saudi Arabia and Egypt and flown into two office buildings is not a mistake or coincidence and, at the very least, insensitive to Americans.
Aren't we the least bit suspicious of this desired harmony when so far not even one public condemnation or demonstration of remorse has been made by Muslims and Arab leaders regarding this barbaric act? In fact the only reports we do have are to the contrary with Arabs and Muslims around the world celebrating the success of this attack on the United States. Furthermore, all Americans have suffered the offensive rumors spread by Arabs which claim the origin of the 9/11 attacks to be an inside job by our own FBI or the American Jews -- insulting our intelligence and humiliating the victims and their families in this insidious form of denial.
Let us not forget as well that New York City Mayor Giuliani refused to accept a donation of ten million dollars from a Saudi Prince as a pledge to rebuild whatever was destroyed by Arab terrorists (his own fellow citizens) in lower Manhattan. It is now important that New Yorkers and all Americans remember the reason for the former Mayor's rejection of this offer along with the Prince's statement against U.S. policy in favor of Israel.
Giuliani proved to America and the whole world that freedom is priceless and that money means nothing next to the integrity of our free country where no manipulation of our foreign or our domestic policies will be tolerated. By using his heart in a moment of great courage, Giuliani gave the whole world a lesson in confronting Arab hypocrisy. At a time when Americans were in a state of shock, the insensitivity of such an offer by the Saudi Prince was counteracted by the American spirit embodied in Giuliani's wholesale rejection of money coming from the same source as the attackers in order to dictate their own agenda and buy our sovereignty.
Recently The New York Times reported a statement made by an Imam indicating that the intended cultural center would bring "a new discourse in the relationship between the United States, New York City, and the Muslim world." One only needs to look at the current situations in Muslim-majority countries today where non-Muslim minorities suffer human rights violations sanctioned under Shariah law which dominates the constitutions of those nations. The reality of a supremacist system within Islamic culture should be enough to preclude any dialogue with those who live by the U.S. Constitution and subscribe to the modern culture of New York City.
Which Islamic organization in America, Europe or Arab-Muslim country condemned the recent attacks in Upper Egypt where innocent people were killed leaving their church on the Eastern Christmas Eve? Where are the Islamic voices opposing and protesting the persecution, oppression and discrimination in their own homelands in countries such as Egypt, Sudan Nigeria and Iraq, to name just a few? Islamic actions, not words, are what Americans need to heed, and we must be cautious toward what we are being told by those whose actions are lethal around the world.
Respect for human rights is a fundamental principle that governs our free democratic society, but not so in Arab-Islamic countries.
In the West religion is a personal issue and the right of every citizen to practice a private matter between an individual and their God. How is it possible to have discourse between our culture which is based on such freedoms and a culture which is based on the goal to make their religious precepts their legal system and government even in other non-Muslim countries? A few days ago in an interview published in Kul-al-Arab, a weekly newspaper in Israel, a Knesset Member, Imam Masoud Ganaim, was calling to replace the state of Israel with an Islamic Caliphate (http://voiceofthecopts.org/en/news/replace_israel_with_islamic_caliphate.html).
This kind of remark shows the true nature of Islam today, and yet we allow ourselves as Americans to be told that we need to have discourse with those who espouse ideas antithetical and detrimental to the basic precepts of free democratic societies in the world, including the United States of America. What more as Americans are we to understand that we can't already see for ourselves? Leaders of Islam and the Cordoba Institute must first prove to us that they demonstrate the same openness to co-exist with those of all other faiths and beliefs in the nations where Islam dominates.
The U.S constitution has been in existence for more than two hundred years and is based upon the conviction that a civilized nation is built on freedom and human rights. The first amendment of the United State's Constitution states,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Accordingly, Americans enjoy the freedom to live by any faith and speak freely about their beliefs. Anyone on American soil for even a few hours knows the value of our first amendment rights. History shows that European immigrants longing for a better life came to America to find prosperity in a democratic land as do the Mexicans coming across our borders today. They kept their identity and celebrated their heritage yet swore allegiance to America as they strove to assimilate the culture and values -- enjoying freedom, believing in it, and going to war to preserve it. Today's second and third generation Americans, hearing the personal stories of parents and grandparents who left their homeland to start a new life in America, take for granted that all those now coming to our country from foreign lands are motivated by the same dream. It would be safe to say the majority of Americans assume this about our new Arab-Muslim neighbors. However, this assumption deserves a closer look.
From the aftermath of WWII until now, America's appetite for oil and high demand for new consumer markets made a perfect partner to the oil-rich, goods-deprived countries of the Middle East, and money began to flow into corporate entities and bankroll Islamic royal families. With unprecedented purchase power, wealth in the hands of Islamic loyalists is now more than ever being used to make inroads into American culture. This money can be seen in the purchase of real estate, the construction of mosques which include Madrasah (Islamic school), endowments of America's universities, and the financing of candidates running for office.
No time in the history of America has power, influence and money been a key component of immigration of a particular group as we see it today. Likewise, no other time in American history have we witnessed the building of an infrastructure on American soil by foreigners with an agenda to further their own separate, incompatible ideology and legal system. Loyalty to Islam has no borders and takes precedent over allegiance to the flag of any nation, including America. Muslim-Americans serving in the U.S. military or working for our government naturally experience this conflict.
The free world has already allowed the most egregious actions to take place, such as; the placement of Iran onto the UN Commission for Women's Rights, the FIFA reversal of the banning of the hijab worn in Olympic games, and the Egyptian sponsorship of the UN Religious Defamation Act, to name just a few in recent days. Shall we add to this list the building of an Islamic mega-center at the sacred site of Ground Zero as if the teachings consistent with the forces that caused this tragedy will not be taking place inside?
In order to identify the pattern of Islamic immigration and its consequences it is necessary that we look into the histories of other countries where we see Islamic religious doctrine playing out in societal changes to suit Islamic doctrine within the occupied country. Arab-Muslims seek to dominate by aiming to erase the identity and culture of the conquered population and replacing it with a desert culture dating back 1,400 years. The history of Egypt, before and after the Arab occupation, is an excellent model of the Arab path and methods.
ARAB-MUSLIMS NEVER INTEGRATE INTO A NEW SOCIETY to become a part of it because their allegiance is first to Islam. Recently a member of the Egyptian Parliament who was also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood stated he would not have a problem if a Pakistani-Muslim ruled his country, but he would never allow an Egyptian Copt to have the same right. Copts living in Egypt are the descendents of the ancient Egyptians and would logically have this right; however, his conviction was based on what all Muslims are taught, to put Islam first before duty to country. Islamic doctrine states that no kafier (Jew or Christian) can lead or command a Muslim believer.
In Egypt, when Islam grew to become the majority religion, freedom of religion, as we know it in the Western world, took on a completely different meaning. The Omranyah conditions, mandates and restrictions placed upon Egyptian Coptic Christians by the invading Arab-Muslims, were issued at the time of the Arab takeover of Egypt. As it illustrates the supremacy of Islam and the suppression of a minority faith at that time it continues to form the basis for the oppression of the Christian population by the current Mubarak regime as follows:
The Arab Republic of Egypt has always been considered by the West to be a leader among all Arab-Muslim countries. In order to unveil the real face of Arabs to the West and better comprehend their mentality we can begin by examining the Arabs who lead Egypt. It is vital for our political leaders to understand the attitude of Arabs toward the West in considering policies to protect our country.
Looking at statements made by the President of the Egyptian Parliament, Mr. Fathy Sourour, in the handling of the massacre of Coptic Christians in Nag Hamadi and the Farshoot incident when commenting about the report issued by the European Parliament we get a true sense of their duplicity.
After the massacre of Copts in Nag Hammadi on the Coptic Christmas Eve this year, the Egyptian regime and its parliament attempted to conceal the true motivation for this massacre, indicating at first that the killings resulted from a personal issue between the victims and the perpetrators. They followed this with a new statement that the killings were due to a vendetta in response to a rape which occurred between a Coptic man and a Muslim girl a couple of months earlier.
Neither versions of their two official responses have anything to do with the true nature of this horrible episode but instead have merely proven to be fabrications for the purpose of a cover-up. In the first place these explanations make no sense to anyone who knows the local environment. Egypt is a country governed by military law known for its secret service control and surveillance of the most intimate circumstances in the lives of its citizens, such as observing couples inside their bedroom.
If a feud of this consequence were brewing between individuals, the regime would have known of it. Furthermore, it would most likely have taken place inside a bar or night club involving alcohol or drugs and not likely to extend to premeditated murder of people leaving church. But if a personal dispute did lead to these killings as suggested, the regime knew of it and did nothing to stop it.
The second version of their official response which related to a Coptic man raping a Muslim girl is not a likely scenario either for the following reasons: the Coptic man accused of the rape was already in custody and awaits his trial, and the rape happened in a different town about 40 miles (60 km) away from the supposed vindication. Furthermore, the criminals who committed the Christmas Eve massacre are not in any way related to the girl who was raped.
Most importantly, when the information concerning the rape of the Muslim girl in a town called Farshoot was released at the time of the case, Arab-Muslims living in Farshoot took their revenge then in a barbaric fashion, attacking homes and businesses of Copts causing much physical and fiscal damage to the Coptic community. Information indicating that the Coptic man accused of rape was framed precipitated this vengeful attack on the Copts of Farshoot. In this attack, Arabs were hoping to chase the Coptic community away from their town. The Arabs used this tactic many times in the past to achieve that end.
All of this occurred under the blessing of the regime's police system who withheld from intervening to enforce order and secure the safety of all citizens. Typically, no one questioned the absence of Egypt's special military law when such a barbaric attack was happening. No one questioned why the regime arrested no one for this brutal act.
Furthermore, there was much international interest and concern about this atrocity in both Nag Hammadi and Farshoot and the Egyptian regime managed to avoid public shame and deflect the focus away from their suspicious role by choosing that moment to attack Italy for their internal problem with illegal immigrants. Earlier, in a similar moment the regime made an attack upon the Swiss for a referendum banning minaret construction in their country. Likewise, around the same time, the regime requested an official apology from the German government for the killing of an Arab-Egyptian woman by a German citizen.
According to the actions of the Egyptian regime, it is perfectly permissible for a country to intervene in the internal affairs of another sovereign state. Why then would the regime look askance at questions by the international community concerning Coptic killings and other minority issues within Egypt?
When the Egyptian regime realized the severity of the international scrutiny and its echo throughout the Western world, Egyptian law enforcement immediately arrested three of at least ten people involved in the killing. As per an eyewitness in the street, there were three cars in a drive-by shooting with at least three people in each one all opening fire at once in Jihadist fashion.
Additionally, the regime gave a false official statement which said that a Muslim guard on duty at the door of the church (normally an official spy appointed by the Egyptian regime) who was protecting the congregation the evening of the massacre was murdered along with the other Copts exiting the church. However the truth is that the Muslim killed in that attack was a military soldier on leave riding in a taxi along with three Christians who were all attacked and killed, our source from the scene indicated. Typically an inaccurate statement as such is made by the regime to cover up the criminal actions of Arab-Muslims against Copts.
The Egyptian Parliament had various discussions concerning the Christmas Eve massacre. The President, Fathy Sourour, along with some members attempted to change the reality of the facts regarding the massacre when they responded to the condemning report by the European Parliament.
Here are some relevent videos
destroying Copts' homes and business
Nag Hammadi Families crying over their dead.
Herewith are some of the articles related to the massacre issued by the European Parliament based on various Egyptian regime-controlled newspapers between January 21-25, 2010:
E. whereas on 6 January 2010 a drive-by shooting killed seven individuals six Coptic Christians and a policeman and injured others when worshipers were leaving a church after midnight mass on Coptic Christmas Eve in the city of Nagaa Hammadi in Upper Egypt; whereas, in recent weeks, further clashes involving Coptic Christians and Muslims have broken out and have been qualified by the Egyptian Government as individual incidents,
F. whereas on 8 January 2010 the Egyptian authorities announced that they had arrested and were holding three people in connection with the attack in Nagaa Hammadi on 6 January; whereas the Egyptian Public Prosecutor decided that the three accused should be tried before the Emergency State Security Court for premeditated murder,
G. whereas Coptic Christians represent around 10% of the Egyptian population; whereas there have been recurrent acts of violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt over recent years,
H. whereas the Egyptian Constitution guarantees freedom of belief and freedom to practice religious rites,
I. whereas it attaches great importance to relations with Egypt and underlines the importance of Egypt and EU-Egypt relations for the stability and development of the EU-Mediterranean area,
Sourour's sentiments are clear when he, in a meeting held on Sunday, January 24th, 2010, commented to the members of the Egyptian Parliament about the condemning report issued by the European Parliament saying that the report made by the European Parliament regarding the Nag Hammadi massacre is 'Vchenk' (slang for a gun loaded with blanks) thanks to the Egyptian diplomatic officials and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who sent letters to certain members of European Parliament who moved them through the European Parliament headquarters and succeeded in alleviating the problem. (Translated from Arabic)
Sourour further informed them of his meeting with the head of the Foreign Relation Committee of the European Parliament concerning the drafted report entitled Human Rights and Christianity in Malaysia and Egypt: "we succeeded to delete Egypt from the title of this final report." Furthermore, he added that, "there were several paragraphs indicating that Europe is not excluded from cases related to violation of freedom and crimes against individuals belonging to minorities on the basis of their beliefs." (Translated from the Arabic)
In addition, Sourour commented upon the paragraph in the report that called for the Egyptian government to ensure that Christian Copts and other non-Muslim religious minorities enjoy freedom of religion and requested that the Egyptian government guarantee to everyone (all faiths) the right to change their religion freely. He noted that this last request emphasized their ignorance about Reddah (death penalty) law which is to punish with death whoever intends to change from Islamic belief to another faith.
Of course Reddah law is part of Shariah law and Shariah is enforced by the second amendment of the Egyptian Constitution. It was instituted by Anwar Sadat in 1981 without a consensus.
Sourour continued by saying that the report had language very damaging to the reputation of the Egyptian regime, and he considered sending a delegation to change them, but time was short and he was prevented. Finally, he claimed that the report "did not contain any defamatory statements against Egypt and stressed that the wording of that report was an Egyptian victory, but overall a loss for those who were hoping to get us." (Translated from the Arabic)
The above account of the conversation between Fathy Sourour and the Egyptian Parliament lead to the following conclusions:
In conclusion, if the Egyptian regime had been given the time to change the wording in the European Parliament report to match their own version of reality, would this change have actually extended to the hearts and minds of the individual members of European Parliament who know as sacred the Declaration of Human Rights? Moreover, would this continue to influence the West's idea of Egypt in its effort to analyze the facts and understand the truth regarding human rights issues in Egypt?
Arab-Muslims willing to lie about Egypt's internal politicize and deceive the world as they resolve to violate human rights through Islamization serve to destroy civilization in Egypt and turn back the clocks to the sixth century. This has been ongoing in Egypt for 1,430 years. Westerners need to be aware of these tactics in order to defeat the forces in the world today who seek to destroy basic human rights and freedoms.
Our dilemma lies in the fact that the American people, as well as others in the West, are simply unable to grasp the Arab-Muslim mentality because to understand it we must be outside our Western mind-set. By reaching beyond our borders and focusing on both the accounts of the oppressed non-Muslims within Arab countries and parallel examples around the world, we may begin to understand the goals, motives and thinking of this particular culture.
Muslims come to the U.S. to join their colleagues and families, open mosques and worship freely. In addition, their accompanying religious legal system (Shariah) rules every aspect of a Muslim lifestyle and forms the mind-set and practice of Muslim culture. This is strikingly different from the Christian way of thinking. In Matthew 22:21, Jesus confirms the concept of separation of church and state by saying, "Give to Cesar what is Cesar's, and to God what is God's." There is no similar concept in Islam because Mohammad was both the political and religious leader.
Arab-Muslims living in America experience true freedom of religion because they are allowed to worship freely as a minority religion. In most cases, the countries they have left behind do not have this practice, but have religious-run governments with no tolerance for other faiths. Arab-Muslims do not immigrate to America to find religious freedom because they are able to practice without hindrance in their homelands.
It does seem likely that practitioners of Islam here in America are not subscribers to the Bill of Rights for the long term, but instead choose the precepts of Islam and the verses which dictate their actions. As sweet words are spoken, the sword is drawn and ready, as in this quote translated into English from one of the basic Islamic reference books: Sahih al-Bukhari 6924 Allah's Messenger said, "I have been ordered to kill the people till they say, 'there is no other god but but Allah' ('La ilaha illallah'), and whoever said La ilaha illahllah, Allah will save his property and his life from me."
The United States is indeed at a crossroads, and it is time to put aside our political differences in order to defend our liberties. Our freedom is a way of life and a treasure which we are obligated to protect, and we must acknowledge that we are accepting those into our country who now constitute a serious threat to our values. Islamic immigration with the implementation of Shariah law is not assimilation into the U.S. of America but rather a distinctly different intention. We must not be silent on this issue but find the courage to speak out to defend our precious freedom here on American soil.
If New York is in need of a new cultural center in the heart of the Ground Zero community it should be built and run by those who stand up for freedom, human rights, tolerance and the love of humanity. New Yorkers have been the ones to open their hearts and receive immigrants who come from around the world to seek a better life and share in our freedom the kind of freedom which those who seek to build this project know nothing about.
Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah is a practicing architect and a Copt. He live is Italy, but is currently in U.S.A., and he is President of the Voice of the Copts. View his websites at www.voiceofthecopts.org and www.lavocedeicopti.org This article is a composite of three essays submitted July 26, 2010.
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