A Muslim victim of 9/11: Build the mosque somewhere else

I was born in pre-revolutionary Iran. My family led a largely secular existence — I did not attend a religious school, I never wore a headscarf — but for us, as for anyone there, Islam was part of our heritage, our culture, our entire lives. Though I have nothing but contempt for the fanaticism that propelled the terrorists to carry out their murderous attacks on Sept. 11, I still have great respect for the faith. Yet, I worry that the construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site would not promote tolerance or understanding; I fear it would become a symbol of victory for militant Muslims around the world…

I know Ground Zero is not mine alone; I must share this sanctuary with tourists, politicians, anyone who chooses to come, whatever their motivations or intentions. But a mosque nearby — even a proposed one — is already transforming the site from a sacred ground for reflection, so desperately needed by the families who lost loved ones, to a battleground for religious and political ideologies. So many people from different nationalities and religions were killed that day. This site should be a neutral place for all to come in peace and remember. I believe my mother would have thought so as well.