The argument now is over the Constitutional right of Muslims to build where they want in America as compared to other religions, but those opposed to this building acknowledge readily, as true Americans would, that right. But as the after effects of that day linger, the extended families of the victims and the multitudes who were captured on film dancing in celebration as the towers burned and crumbled have only seen their gulf further divided. To the latter group, the day symbolized a huge victory.
To them, that was only stage one of the battle, unarguably a battle for which they could claim success. They blew one by us, and as a movie character once said, "Savor the flavor, kid, 'cause it ain't gonna happen again". Undeterred, some still try.
Imam Rauf, at the heart of this proposed building, insists that his is a mission of "bridge building", a gesture of good faith toward the non-Muslims of America and, by extension, the West. He claims an attempt to demonstrate that compassion can overcome contention, but when met with passionate opposition, turns to stone and cold defiance. Despite the fact that the opposed have done so peacefully, the Imam has dug in his heels and refuses to move.
After a huge outcry from the public and the blogosphere - which has been portrayed as a collection of imaginative juveniles by a nervously envious mainstream media as crazed - the group behind the "Ground Zero Mosque" has strategically changed its name of the project. When the comparison of the "Cordoba Initiative" to the Conquest of Cordoba in Spain in the eighth century was too much to bear, the project name was changed to Park51.
As I pointed out in Cordoba Sounds Nice a month ago, Cordoba was designed to sound more European and romantic to Americans than what its meaning actually held. It was a tactical error by the good Imam and his cohorts based on the assumption that we, Americans, were all fat, dumb and happy. Now that they are discovering the opposite, and as they realize their counter claims that we are merely crazy won't work, they have cleverly changed the name of the project. But they're really not as clever as the change might otherwise indicate to the few who are exactly as the Imam thought.
But the new name, Park51, is just as Cordoba was; built for subterfuge, which is a mainstay of Mohammed and Allah in the war against the "infidel". The Quran commands lying in order to attain victory, and many still listen.
What Malzberg brought to light was a reference in the Imam's own Holy Book to the significance of the kinder, gentler Park51 name, and its relation to the message of triumph just as Cordoba held. The address of the mosque building (I refer to it as "the mosque" for expediency, even though I know those critical will complain of the label) is not 51 Park Place, as many View watchers will assume with a relieved sigh. It is actually 45-51 Park Place.
*Malzberg's account is 45-47 Park Place, Wikipedia has it as 47-51 Park Place.
Americans read left to right, Asians right to left. Presumably, Muslims read right to left, I do not claim to know, but it might account for the Park51 being derived from the latter of the address numbers. But a perusal of Chapter 51 of the Quran, versus 45-47, reveals that the message of triumphant conquest is alive in this mosque endeavor. From the know Quran website:
Considering Imam Rauf's recent assertion that this property has more significance than that of just a "piece of real estate", it must be considered that he means something else. Perhaps the significance lies in the numerical address of that property. It is, after all, about symbolism.Sphere: Related Content