Letter to the editor

By Joshua Patton

I am disappointed to see Steve Kaszycki’s Sept. 15 column, “Ground Zero Mosque should move,… I am disappointed to see Steve Kaszycki’s Sept. 15 column, “Ground Zero Mosque should move, kindly,” both as a new student to the Pitt campus and as a first-time regular reader of The Pitt News. I am an Iraq war veteran, and while I knew no one who perished on Sept. 11, I do know far too many friends and colleagues who have died on their behalf. To the families of the victims of those attacks this is an emotional subject, because to them those attacks were not levied against this nation, but against their families. Given the charged emotions, their feelings on this issue should be respectfully — disregarded. We are not talking about Ground Zero but a run-down former Burlington Coat Factory in a neighborhood that has been all-but-abandoned.

The “hearts and minds” we are so desperately trying to win are Islamic hearts and Muslim minds. The tragic irony is that Rauf and his followers are Sufi, the exact sort of liberal-minded Muslim we should be courting in order to win a battle that will not be fought with soldiers, guns or bombs. Even the Bush Administration got that part right. Terry Jones threatened to burn the Quran, and thousands of miles away in Afghanistan two people he would have never met anyway died in protests against the mere threat. This sort of thinking proves the philosophy of the extremists correct: that Americans equate “enemy” with “Islam.” And if the Islamic center is moved, what will be the fate of the not-yet-rebuilt Catholic Church, demolished when the towers fell?

Joshua M. Patton

College of General Studies