9/11 Families Who Support Park51 Community Center
It’s time for the Bigot Brigade to stop claiming they speak for all the 9/11 families when they rant against the “Ground Zero mosque” (which is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero), because there are victim’s families who see clearly that the opposition to Park51 is driven by sheer prejudice: 9/11 Victims’ Families Have Mixed Reactions to Ground Zero Muslim Center.
Herb Ouida, whose son Todd died in the attacks, says he supports the Cordoba Initiative’s project.
“To call it a mosque is not right. It’s a community center that includes a prayer center,” Ouida told AOL News today.
The 68-year-old father from River Edge, N.J., says he is deeply concerned about the tone of some of the opposition to the project.
“What we are doing [when we oppose the community center] is we are saying to the world that we are at war with Islam. And we can’t be. I want my grandchildren to live in a better world,” he said.
“To say that we’re going to condemn a religion and castigate a billion people in the world because they’re Muslims, to say that they shouldn’t have the ability to pray near the World Trade Center — I don’t think that’s going to bring people together and cross the divide.”
On 9/11, Marvin Bethea rushed to the World Trade Center to try to save lives, and has had trouble breathing ever since. The former Emergency Medical Services worker says he had to retire in 2004 when the breathing problems he acquired from toxic materials at the site made it too hard for him to work. But Bethea said he supports the Islamic center anyway.
“Even though my life has changed, I don’t hate the Muslims,” Bethea, 50, said. “Especially being a black man, I know what it’s like to be discriminated against. I’ve lived with that.”
Bethea believes racism is stoking the controversy.
“I understand the families are hurt and lost,” he said. But “how do you sit here and condemn all Muslims as being terrorists?” he said. “That’s just bigotry and hatred. We’re a better nation than that. The diversity that we have, this is what New York is about. But we have such prejudices, some of us. We have a long way to go.”
There are also some quotes from people who’ve given in to the fear-mongering and blind hatred, but you already know what they have to say so I won’t bother quoting them.