Islamic Center and Mosque at Ground Zero
About a decade ago, a friend and I visited the infamous Dachau concentration camp, just outside Munich Germany. As a Jew the experience was intense and overwhelming. We visited the barracks, gas chambers, crematorium, and later the cemetery where untold remains of hundreds of thousands of our people are buried.
The last place we visited was a small chapel. It was tastefully built in a way that you would not know it was not original to the site. Although it was clearly a church, perhaps run by a local monastic order, it was appropriate and welcoming to all. This chapel was a place that as a Jew I was glad to find, and a place where my friend and I could sit and contemplate what we had just experienced.
I cannot imagine the pain the relatives of the thousands of people killed on Sept. 11th feel. Perhaps it will simply take time for the anger and pain to diminish. But if the consecrated grounds of Dachau can hold a Christian chapel, then someday I hope that Ground Zero can accomodate a mosque.
German Christians killed millions of Jews, and now Germans maintain on holy ground a place of prayer for all people, including Jews to contemplate and pray. Perhaps some day Christians will be able to pray in a simple and tasteful mosque near ground zero, and we will all be able to contemplate and pray there, together, as well.