Let thy holy pilgrimage be a prayer to thy God.
Get up off of your knees. Come out of your churches, your mosques, your temples. God can hear your prayers for peace, justice, and hope in this broken world just fine while you're out creating peace, working for justice, and giving hope to this broken world. When are we finally going to realize that humanity is the solution to inhumanity? When will we finally understand that we are all drops of the same ocean, hurting together, healing together, hoping together? Don't just pray for hands to heal the hurting. Pray with hands that are healing the hurting. Don't just pray for arms to help the helpless. Pray with arms that are helping the helpless. Don't just pray for feet to respond to need. Pray on feet that are responding to need. Don't just pray for someone to do something. Be someone who does something. Don't just pray for answers. Be the answer.
We are of the earth very earthy, and we are not satisfied with contemplating the Invisible God. Somehow or other we want something which we can touch, something which we can see, something before which we can kneel down. It does not matter whether it is a book, or an empty stone building, or a stone building inhabited by numerous figures. A book will satisfy some, an empty building will satisfy some others, and many others will not be satisfied unless they see something inhabiting these empty buildings.
When I was a boy in Desuq, Egypt, a city on the Rosetta branch of the Nile, about 50 miles east of Alexandria, my family lived steps away from the local landmark, a mosque named for a 13th-century Sufi sheik.
And if the imam and the Muslim leadership in that community is so intent on building bridges, then they should voluntarily move the mosque away from ground zero and move it whether it's uptown or somewhere else, but move it away from that area, the same as the pope directed the Carmelite nuns to move a convent away from Auschwitz.
It has a Nazi echo, doesn't it? The Jews had to wear that Star of David, and Donald Trump is saying all Syrians have to carry an ID card and they can, without warrant, go into any Syrian's home or a mosque.
Does the imam have a legal right to build the mosque at Ground Zero? The answer is yes. But is it the right thing to do? The answer is no. And most Americans, and most moderate Muslims, join with me in that call.
On the banks of the Nile, the Rosetta branch, I lived an enjoyable childhood in the City of Disuq, which is the home of the famous mosque, Sidi Ibrahim.
At the NYPD, a judge doesn't need to sign off on opening up an investigation into a mosque as a terrorism organization. The oversight is internal.
Most Americans are unaware that Thomas Jefferson was the first American president to go to war against radical Islam. Jefferson was very concerned with Islam's war-like doctrine and its inability to separate mosque and state.
As a supporter of secularism, I am willing to accept same-sex weddings in a state-sanctioned register office, on grounds of equity. As a believer in Islam, however, I insist that no mosque be forced to hold one against its wishes.
In Ghazalia, Mr. Hussein showed his contempt for the majority Shiites in ways large and small. He refused to allow them even one mosque, while the Sunnis had nearly a dozen. To worship, the Shiites had to cross an inconveniently located bridge over the sewage canal to Shula.
There's a sense of being under siege in many Muslim communities. People just assume there are agents or informants in their mosque now. It's a fact of life.
To allow the construction of places of worship other than Islamic ones in Saudi Arabia, it would be like asking the Vatican to build a mosque inside of it.