Wednesday, January 31, 2007

THE PASSION OF ROXBURY

Local college and university alumni decided to contribute something to our city. Do they have the right to erect a place of worship in Boston? They are American citizens. Does it matter if they got a good deal on the purchase of land, similar to the breaks given to area churches and synagogues? The corner where the Roxbury mosque is located used to be a trash-littered area in a dangerous neighborhood. Now, it’s a place through which people drive the long way home just so they can glimpse the mosque-in-progress. Roxbury’s new mosque is an appropriate edifice for the major world intellectual and cultural center that Boston is. This glamorous combination of red brick and gold expresses the sincere desire of Boston’s Muslims to give back to the community of which they are a part.

Roxbury’s mega-mosque is the last work of the late Hasan Fathi, who is one of the great architects of the 20th century. The Egyptian architect, known for his environmentally appropriate buildings, created a Bostonian “look” for this premiere mosque that sparkles yet blends into its surroundings harmoniously. It complements the nearby churches, some of which are 100-175 years old. When the Roxbury Mosque is completed, it will attract tourists from all over the world to a section of Boston that desperately needs tourist dollars.

There are some who feel threatened by the inclusion of Muslims in the melting pot of American society. The Roxbury mosque project has been subject to intense scrutiny because of empty, malicious accusations in the media against the Islamic Development Bank, probably the world’s most respected Sharia-compliant financial institution. Simple fairness requires exposure of an Islamophobic agenda, which incites religious and race hatred to marginalize American Muslims.

Conspiracy to deprive Americans of their constitutional rights is unethical. The media’s vigilante effort to defame the Islamic Society of Boston, its leadership and its membership deprives us, the American public, of the ability to hear important points of view, and it is probably illegal. Demonizing Islamic finance closes the USA to financial investments from the Arab world.

Venture capital can flow away from our region in the blink of an eye if international investors see that fanatic racists and Islamophobes dominate Boston politics. This campaign against the Roxbury mosque will probably cost the Massachusetts economy tens of billions of dollars of investment capital.

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