The ZOA feels the hurt of the increased pain and suffering felt by the families of the 9/11 victims because of this proposed mosque being built adjacent to the site where their loved ones were murdered by Islamists in the name of Islam.

We would have hoped the leaders of this proposed Cordoba Mosque would have been sensitive to the increased pain that their actions are causing to these families, who have suffered enough already. In the past, ZOA opposed the construction of the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz because Auschwitz is a massive Jewish cemetery filled with the remains of Jewish victims of Nazism. Even though Nazism was a profoundly anti-Christian movement, it drew among other things on a history of Christian anti-Semitism and its ranks included many professing Christians. For this reason, a convent at the site was widely regarded as an affront to the Holocaust victims, and the late Pope John Paul II recognized this when he called for the convent project to be abandoned.

With regard to 9/11, carried out by Islamists acting in the name of Islam, where is the sensitivity of Imam Rauf and his associates to the pain and suffering of the families and friends of 9/11 victims? Do the organizers of this mosque need to build so near the site of the 9/11 attacks? Could they have not found some other site? We urge the leaders of this mosque project to follow in the wise, just and sensitive tradition of Pope John Paul II and find another site.

Another compelling reason why this mosque should not be built is because this particular mosque is led by an extremist, anti – U.S., pro – Hamas Islamist Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who refuses to condemn genocidal minded terrorists like Hamas, a State Department listed terrorist organization that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7); and who blames terrorist attacks committed against Americans on the U.S. and the West.

Yet another reason for ZOA’s opposition is the fact that building mosques adjacent to or on the site of another group’s sacred and holy sites is tragically a time-honored Muslim supremacist tradition. The Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques, standing today atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the former two Jewish temples once stood, are only two prominent examples among hundreds of this historical practice that can be found in lands that fell to Muslim conquest, from North Africa to India. Indeed, some Islamists extremists and terrorists, including al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and others may interpret the construction of this mosque as a victory over non-Muslims and thereby encourage more acts of terror. This warrants reconsideration about whether building this mosque is the wisest thing to do. Even if such was not the intention of those concerned with the Cordoba Mosque, its construction near the site of 9/11 may well be interpreted by some Islamists that way.

Morton Klein is president of the Zionist Organization of America