The Wasatch Behind: Tit for Tat war memorials
Uncle Spud was angry.
"Did you see that the city fathers of New York have agreed to allow the Muslims to build a mosque at the site of ground zero?" he growled.
"What's ground zero?" I asked.
"You remember," he said. "That's where Muslim extremists, flying hijacked airliners, killed 3,000 innocent Americans on 9-11."
"Oh, that ground zero."
"Now the Muslims want to build a shrine there that will cast a long shadow over the ruins of the world trade center."
"That seems a little insensitive," I said.
"It's more than insensitive," Spud sputtered. "It's a victory monument. It's an in-your-face insult to all Americans. This thing should never be allowed there. Ground zero is sacred ground - American sacred ground."
"The imams say Muslims died on 9-11, too."
"Yeah, but only a few, and most of them were flying the airplanes."
"But a mosque is a church," I offered. "What's wrong with the Muslims building a church there?"
"Muslims have a long history of building mosques at sites where they have conquered others. The Dome of the Rock sits on the site of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. It was built in the seventh century to honor a Muslim victory over the Syrians who occupied Jerusalem at the time. And then, when the Muslims conquered Spain in the eighth century, they demolished the Christian cathedral at Cordoba, and in its place they built Islam's third largest mosque. For centuries, the Cordoba Mosque was celebrated by Muslims as a grand war memorial."
"I didn't know that," I had to admit.
"Do you know what the Muslims have named their proposed new mosque at ground zero?"
"They will call it the Cordoba Mosque. You don't suppose there is any symbolism attached to that name, do you?"
"Good grief," I gasped. "Why aren't the news people telling us about this? Where is the outrage?
"We've got to be tolerant and non-judgmental," Spud snarled. "Political correctness trumps common sense, national defense, and national honor. We want to show the Muslims we are good people. Maybe if we kiss up and give them everything they want they won't kill us anymore."
"Why won't the Muslims let us build churches in places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait?" I asked.
"They don't even pretend to tolerate other religions," Spud growled. "A Christian cross or a bible, anywhere in the land of Islam, can get you beheaded."
"But we saved their bacon during the Gulf War," I insisted. "We've been their friends. We sent the American army to liberate Kuwait and save Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein. American soldiers died doing that. We spent billions of dollars to protect them and we've asked for nothing in return. We didn't seize the oil fields. We still pay top dollar for their products. You would think they could have extended just a little concession toward their liberators and let our troops worship in Christian churches."
"Good point," Spud admitted. "We should have built a war memorial there too, a nice monument to honor the American soldiers who died fighting to liberate Muslims."
"Maybe that's the solution," I suggested. "Let's tell the Muslims they can build their mosque at ground zero, but only after we build a monument to American soldiers in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia would be perfect since most of the Muslims flying the airplanes on 9-11 were Saudi citizens.
"Like theirs, our monument will be 13 stories tall, commemorating the ten commandments and the holy trinity. It will be a church, a religious school and a Christian community center. It will be constructed in a very prominent place in downtown Riyadh.
"Like theirs, our monument will have a big public address system aimed out over the streets, and every hour or two we will loudly invite Christians everywhere to come and attend church services.
"Like theirs, our monument will be a place for Christians to gather to discuss world peace and remember a great American military victory in the middle east. It will be a place of pilgrimage, where thousands of Christians, from all over the world, can visit to celebrate their culture, religion, and military might."
"Fat chance of that ever happening," Uncle Spud laughed.
"I know," I said sadly. "Muslims must be laughing at us all over the world. No wonder they don't respect us. What pathetic, gutless people we are if we allow this mosque to be built in New York."