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Michael Moore and the Ground Zero Mosque - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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“I knew that many of you would respond to my call to help out the embattled Islamic community center being built in lower Manhattan. I asked each of you to send a dollar (or five or ten) to their nonprofit organization, Cordoba Initiative, as a symbolic act against the bigotry Muslim Americans are facing. To help kick it off, I promised to match dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000, hoping to raise somewhere near that number by the end of this week. That’s not what happened. Within hours of posting that blog on Saturday, so many thousands of you had responded, we were already far beyond the $10,000 goal. In fact, as of this morning, we’re estimating that the funds raised from you have exceeded an amazing $50,000!”

This is what US filmmaker, liberal political commentator and activist Michael Moore posted on his website, expressing his solidarity with America’s Muslim community in the face of the extremists and racists. I found that a lot of ordinary people had united in solidarity with Michael Moore’s stance, and some of the comments posted on his website are as follows:

– Michael. Here’s my donation. I’m a Presbyterian from Kalamazoo who has a friend who was on the plane that crashed near Pittsburgh (on 9/11). Carol Smith

– Michael. Please find enclosed my receipt for my $5.00 donation. I am in the process of losing my house, but I will not ever lose my Soul. That was a great letter; I made the donation with out thinking about it twice. Thanks for matching it. Bless your heart. Regards, Ed B.

– From Rabbi Yonassan Gershom: I am Jewish, and it is now the Jewish High Holy Day season, when it is traditional to give extra charity. I am donating $18 on behalf of my wife Caryl and myself, as a gesture of fellowship and solidarity.

– Mr. Moore. First of all, I should state that I am not a fan of yours… I just want to say that I loved the article you wrote regarding the mosque being built in NYC and “this not being America any more”. As I mentioned…I don’t find myself in agreement with you very often. But this article was spot-on.

These comments do not require interpretation or analysis. They sum up what some us can’t, or perhaps don’t want to, understand, which is that it is not true that everything that we see on the other side is completely and always bad, or that the world – as Osama Bin Laden claims – is divided into two camps; us and them.

American filmmaker and activist Michael Moore is a man with a political and moral stance; a man who fights for what he believes in with all his power, defending individual rights, as well as the rights of ethnic minorities living in the US. Although he is not a Muslim or an Arab, and he might not agree with many of the beliefs held by the Muslim community in the US, Moore feels that it is his duty to defend their right to exist, whether this is with regards to freedom of expression or freedom of worship.

I am not writing this article in order to say that those who want to construct this mosque are right, and in fact I believe otherwise, nevertheless I am interested in highlighting a particular issue, which is how an individual can adopt a moral stance to follow his own convictions, not to support his own group or sect or community. In my personal opinion, the construction of a mosque is a natural right, however constructing this mosque in that particular location where 3,000 innocent American civilians lost their lives at the hands of 19 misguided Muslims will hurt the feelings of many of the families of the victims. The final video recordings of the 19 hijackers were broadcast by Al Qaeda, and their heinous crime was hailed by extremist Islamic groups. However Moore and his friends are of the opposite view, they argue that building this mosque is a constitutional right that cannot be banned. Therefore we are presenting two contradictory opinions, based upon contrary logic, but the principle is the same. However my question is; why can’t we learn to take whatever position we like on an issue without resorting to accusing others or betrayal or apostasy? Why don’t we try and adopt an opposing stance whenever we feel that some sort of injustice has been inflicted on a group fighting for its rights?

Moore’s actions met with whole-hearted support from many of those who supported the Muslim community in the US financially and morally. Despite the fact that contradicts 70 percent of public opinion they were not afraid to swim against the stream. This is the beauty of disagreement which our culture does not allow and which is not respected by some of our intellectuals who would attack you and for not seeing eye-to-eye with them.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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