Khush Amdeed (Welcome)

Welcome to Chowraha - crossroads!

Chowraha is the crossroads of thoughts, events, opinions and feelings...all that have been shaped by individuals living in an increasingly complex world inter-connected through various means of communications.

This blog is about the crossroads in society - whether it is those of a diaspora community, global media complicating the structure of nations and cultures, or individuals finding parallels in spaces unknown to them.

The above picture is courtesy a much-admired photographer (Ali Khurshid) whose work is a source of inspiration and reaffirms the belief in the complex beauty of this world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Only People to Blame for 9/11 Are...

My Friend's Note

Guess it's about time I acknowledge this...
Yesterday at 2:45pm
...since I've received a few questions about my feelings on this issue. Here's a link to a note written by the one and only Sarah Palin, where she writes about how wrong it is that a mosque even be THOUGHT about in the same city as Ground Zero.

As a victim of 9/11, I want to speak out against these sentiments. I personally don't have any problem even conceiving the thought of erecting a mosque near Ground Zero. The unfortunate truth is that 9/11 was a crime committed by EXTREMISTS who happened to be associated with Islam (which is actually a quite interesting religion, for those who know little or nothing about it). Islam does not mean terrorism, and it continues to sadden me that many (not all) Americans and September 11th victims alike seem to associate it with such a disgusting act. If the extremists were Christians, or from a world which we could sympathize with more, I wonder if we would be so quick to isolate a proposed cathedral or church. We also seem to forget that many Muslims lost their lives because of what these terrorists did on 9/11, too.

I do not believe that having a mosque in downtown New York City near the former World Trade Center will take anything away from the memory of my father, or the few thousand people who tragically lost their lives in this heinous act of violence. Rather, I hope that it will extend a small olive branch to a community which so many of us have cast aside because of sheer ignorance. Perhaps it will allow us all to learn more about one another, and together grow as a world against terror, not segregated citizens of the world trampling one another.

No place of worship - mosque, cathedral, church, synagogue, or otherwise - will ever detract from the memory of our loved ones. No building will ever be able to erase the memory of what happened on September 11th, 2001. Furthermore, the memorial that will one day be erected on the former WTC site will never sit in any shadow, like many seem to believe. It will be its own sacred ground for those of us who wish for our loved ones' memories to live on. And they will, mosque down the street or not.

We also forget that there are countless street vendors selling WTC and patriotic paraphernalia lining the former World Trade Center. To me, that is more disrespectful and distracting from the respect those who lost their lives deserve than a religious institution. We might be better off asking the street vendors to leave the perimeter entirely instead of continuing to push away a community, and a religion, that is just as American as any other.

The only people to blame for what happened on 9/11 are those who acted out against our nation and killed innocent people who were simply going about their business. We do not have the entire Islamic faith to call the culprit, and the world would be a better place if we could find it in our hearts to accept difference, learn about those we do not understand, and come together to fight violence, not a different God.

Simply put, Muslim is not synonymous with terrorist.

The beauty of social media highlights itself in moments like this, because it gives volume to voices that would otherwise go unheard. Just as many have voiced their hate and opposition of this idea, I am voicing my support as someone who lost a loved one that will never be replaced. This petty battle detracts from the memory of an important event in our history, of those we loved and lost, and of where our country should be heading.

Never forget.

This note has been made Public, and is available for the entire Facebook community to view, so feel free to share it.

Sarah Palin's Note on Mosque at Ground Zero

The original post can be found on (xxx)

An Intolerable Mistake on Hallowed Ground
Today at 11:47am
Earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg responded to my comments about the planned mosque at Ground Zero by suggesting that a decision not to allow the building of a mosque at that sacred place would somehow violate American principles of tolerance and openness.

No one is disputing that America stands for – and should stand for – religious tolerance. It is a foundation of our republic. This is not an issue of religious tolerance but of common moral sense. To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks. Just days after 9/11, the spiritual leader of the organization that wants to build the mosque, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, suggested that blame be placed on the innocents when he stated that the “United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened” and that “in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.” Rauf refuses to recognize that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of our ally, Israel, and refuses to provide information about the sources of funding for the $100 million mosque. Rauf also plays a key role in a group behind the flotilla designed to provoke Israel in its justifiable blockade of Gaza. These are just a few of the points Americans are realizing as New York considers the proposed mosque just a stone’s throw away from 9/11’s sacred ground.

I agree with the sister of one of the 9/11 victims (and a New York resident) who said: “This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists. I think that it is incredibly insensitive and audacious really for them to build a mosque, not only on that site, but to do it specifically so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened.”

Many Americans, myself included, feel it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground. This is nothing close to “religious intolerance,” it’s just common decency.

- Sarah Palin

*Note: The original post of this statement (on July 20, 2010) was somehow unintentionally deleted by mistake or technical glitch.

A Mosque Maligned

***The following article regarding the mosque being built near Ground Zero was originally written by Robert Wright and published in NYTimes***

Just to show you how na├»ve I am: When I first heard about the plan to build a mosque and community center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks, I didn’t envision any real opposition to it.

Sure, I can understand how some people traumatized by 9/11 — firefighters who survived it, or people whose loved ones didn’t — might not like the idea. But I’d have thought that opinion leaders of all ideological stripes could reach consensus by applying a basic rule of thumb: Just ask, “What would Osama bin Laden want?” and then do the opposite.

Bin Laden would love to be able to say that in America you can build a church or synagogue anywhere you want, but not a mosque. That fits perfectly with his recruiting pitch — that America has declared war on Islam. And bin Laden would thrill to the claim that a mosque near ground zero dishonors the victims of 9/11, because the unspoken premise is that the attacks really were, as he claims, a valid expression of Islam.

Apparently I was wrong....

Read more here